The Wolverines were on the wrong end of an 8-0 run at the end of regulation on Thursday, March 5 as they lost to the Kangaroos from the University of Missouri-Kansas City 61-53 in the season finale to split the season series 1-1.
Both squads were tied at 53 late in the fourth quarter when the Wolverines went cold and couldn’t get a bucket in the final 1:14 of play, which ultimately sealed their fate. The loss snapped UVU’s three-game winning streak and the win for UMKC secured them the one seed heading into next week’s WAC tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UMKC caused five UVU turnovers in the last five minutes of play in addition to pressuring the Wolverines into missing their last eight shots from the floor. The Kangaroos’ strangling defense held the Wolverines scoreless over the final 5:06 of play.
UMKC’s offense got going offensively in the second quarter, hitting four triples in the first four minutes to build a 24-17 lead. Sophomore guard Emily Ivory drilled back-to-back three’s soon after that span, which helped the ‘Roos make six three’s in the first half. Down 27-19 late in the second quarter, UVU closed the first half on a 6-0 spurt to make it a two-point game, 27-25, at the half. Sophomore center Josie Williams led all scorers at the break with 11 points.
UMKC pushed the lead back to eight after starting the half on a 8-2 run thanks to two makes from behind the arc from senior forward Awal Ajak. Ajak would go on to connect on another long ball after UVU senior guard Keana Delos Santos hit two three’s in-a-row to cut the deficit to two, as UMKC led 42-37. UVU trailed UMKC 46-41 heading into the final frame.
UVU trailed 49-43 in the fourth quarter before a quick 6-0 spurt tied the game with 6:27 remaining. The Wolverines struggled to get anything going offensively from that moment forward, only scoring four points in six minutes to drop their final game of the regular season before heading into tournament play.
Williams finished with a double-double to lead UVU, tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Senior guard Alexis Cortez added 10 points off the bench for the Wolverines in the loss.
UVU now awaits the results from the rest of the WAC on Saturday that will finalize the tournament seeding. Their game against Chicago State, that was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 7, was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Following the conclusion of conference play the full seeding and the tournament bracket will be released this Saturday evening. The WAC tournament will take place March 11-14.
Photo by Hunter Hall