When it counted the most, the Utah Valley women’s basketball team put on an energetic 74-57 win over California Baptist University. The win came in the last home game of the season in the Lockhart Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Three seniors were honored after they played their final game with a Wolverine logo at center court. Guard Alexis Cortez, guard Keana Delos Santos and forward Jordan Holland all saw minutes and put points on the board on senior night.
Delos Santos and Holland started their college basketball careers four years ago and have worn the green and white jerseys ever sense. Cortez, though she started playing college basketball at East Carolina, has put her heart and sole into her number 20 UVU jersey for the last three seasons.
“I’m just really happy for these seniors,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson. “They have had a lot of ups and downs in their careers here and Cal Baptist has been a team they have struggled a little bit with.”
The win over the Lancers started out in a high intense fashion with a 10-3 early lead. Holland started out the night with a deep three to kick-off her 18-point game. She put up nine points in the first quarter, outscoring the Lancers eight points.
UVU would suffer a slight drought to start the next 10 minutes of play, but would end with a layup by sophomore guard Eve Braslis at the 5:26 mark. This quarter it was the Wolverines that came up short with only nine points, compared to the Lancers 14 points.
CBU started interrupting the Wolverines rhythm with a full court press, which would have worked, minus a large pain in the Lancers side — UVU sophomore guard Maria Carvalho. Her speed and agility broke down the tight defense, after a few turnovers by multiple Wolverines of course.
The Wolverines shined in several other aspects of the game besides high intensity. UVU also performed rather well rebounding with 46 total. Carvalho and Braslis each pulled down 10 boards, which made up for the lack of boards that junior center Josie Williams would usually contribute. Williams sat out due to a minor injury possibly suffered during the previous game against Grand Canyon.
One thing the Lancers succeeded at was keeping the Wolverines from the charity stripe. A team that usually reaches the double-digit mark in points scored from the free throw line, only took eight shots and only one made against CBU.
Four UVU players contributed more than 10 points with Braslis and Holland leading the way with 18 points a piece. Carvalho knocked down 11 and sophomore guard Madison Grange had 10 points of her own. Cortez was not far behind with nine points to go along with eight rebounds. Both Carvalho and Braslis recorded double-doubles with their points and rebounds.
“Having a crowd like this, having people here in the den, when that happens it changes the energy,” said Nielson. “This was a perfect way to send them out at home.”
The Lancers were the last of their WAC competitors the Wolverines hadn’t beaten this season. Overall, CBU led the all-time series 3-0 before this loss.
UVU has only two more games remaining before the WAC tournament. The first will take place on Thursday, March 5 in Kansas City, and the final game will be two days later on Saturday, March 7 at Chicago State.
From there the Wolverines will see where they sit on the WAC leaderboard and who their first game will be against in their final steps towards a potential WAC championship.
Photo by Hunter Hall