Women’s basketball: No. 6 UVU stuns No. 3 CSUB in first round of WAC Tournament

Utah Valley University women's basketball team against the Cal State University Bakersfield team during WAC tournament game held in Las Vegas, NV, Tuesday March 8, 2017. (Jay Drowns/UVU Marketing)

Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

LAS VEGAS, Nevada– The No. 6 seeded UVU women’s basketball team upset the No. 3 seeded Cal State University Bakersfield for their second all-time win in the WAC Tournament and their first ever upset win in the postseason. UVU played an incredible game, forcing overtime and ultimately winning, 59-53.

After a season that was hampered by injury, UVU only won eight games all season with a conference record of 3-11, taking the No. 6 seed, only seeding higher than winless Chicago State. None of that mattered to UVU in game one of the tournament against a team that held them to 39 points in their last meeting.

“The game [in Bakersfield] we started the game with six players and we had an ejection with thirteen minutes to go. We ended the game with five freshmen and no point guard,” said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for them, but that was a game that we wanted back.”

Nixon wasn’t the only one who was hungry. Point guard Mariah Seals wasn’t able to play in the last game against Bakersfield. It was the only game she missed all season.

“Honestly, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder since that last game because I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to get on the court and help everybody,” Seals said. “I felt that I’d come out and lay everything on the line and try to get a win for my team.”

Seals scored a game-high 22 points, eight of them on fast breaks, and a few in overtime with clutch free throws. Teammates Taylor Gordon and Sam Lubcke both had double doubles, with Gordon making several key free throws late in the game, including the score that forced overtime. Lubcke dominated the paint and was a big part of what got UVU going, scoring six of the first eight points and ending with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

UVU got off to a good start, with Lubcke and Seals doing most of the work to put UVU in a position to win early. CSUB managed to score at the end of the first and second quarters, keeping the game tied going into halftime.

After being held to only eight points in the third quarter, UVU had some catching up to do. Gordon was fouled and made both free throws to force overtime. In overtime Jordan Holland scored first with a field goal and a free throw. UVU was able to hold CSUB to only one point in overtime, hitting most of their free throws in the process.

UVU’s impressive upset will advance them further in the WAC Tournament, their next opponent being Seattle University. Seattle beat Chicago State 78-60 to advance to the semifinals. The game will start at 3:30pm MST and will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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