Kyle Bruderer, Sports Writer,
The Utah Valley University women’s basketball team snapped a four game losing streak on Thursday night at the UCCU center by defeating the Bakersfield Roadrunners 70-58.
“One of the good things about this team is that they keep believing. January was a rough month for us,” said head coach Cathy Nixon. “Sometimes experience is what you get when you get what you don’t want. When Bakersfield went on their runs, we were a little more composed and hopefully our team is starting to gain the experience and confidence that it takes to win in this league.”
The Wolverines stepped out onto the court with a chip on their shoulders and refused to back down to the second seeded team in the Western Athletic Conference. Freshman guard Deijah Blanks earned a starting spot and was feeling it from the mid-range, tying her career high of nine points by halftime. Blanks finished with a career high 11 points and held the WAC’s top scorer Tyonna Outland to just 14 points. UVU finished the first half on top 34-29.
“I just played hard for my team and I practice hard so I finally earned a starting position,” said Blanks. “Defensively I stop the best player, I’ll take a shot if I’m open but my primary role is to play defense.”
After five minutes in the second period UVU had opened up a 14 point lead over the Roadrunners. Bakersfield then rallied back with a 12-2 run of their own cutting the lead down to four with about eight minutes left. Freshman guard Mariah Seals buried a three pointer to end the Bakersfield run. Outland did her best to keep the Roadrunners in the game but shooting 0-8 from the field in the second half made it virtually impossible for them to recover.
Sophomore guard Rhaiah Spooner-Knight was an offensive machine in the second half, scoring 14 of her 18 points including two of her three career three pointers. Clearly there was a different attitude and drive from the Wolverines and Spooner-Knight was happy with the results.
“We came to a point where we weren’t playing for each other and there were a lot of outside influences messing it up for us,” said Spooner-Knight. “We’re here to play basketball and to play for each other, it’s starting to pay off.”
Seals lead all scorers with 20 points and also grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore forward Karlee Norris finished with 10 points and sophomore guard Georgia Agnew chipped in nine points in the victory.
UVU will host the Redhawks of Seattle University on Saturday Feb. 7 at 3p.m. in the PE building.