Photo by Mykah Heaton
OREM, Utah— Seeking their first win of the season, the Utah Valley University women’s basketball team lost to Eastern Washington University 83-50 Tuesday night in the UCCU Center. The Wolverines didn’t score their first points of the night until just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, already down 17 points. The Eagles stretched their lead to as much as 29 points in the first half and ultimately won by 33 points.
EWU’s leading scorer coming into the game, junior Delaney Hodgins, finished with 29 points, including five 3-pointers. The forward from Pasco, Washington was averaging 13.7 points per game before Tuesday and shined as she also snagged 10 rebounds and four assists for a double-double. Senior forward Ashli Payne tacked on 20 points of her own to help guide the Eagles to their second consecutive win.
“[Hodgins] was getting wide open shots,” head coach Cathy Nixon said. “We just have to compete. Basketball is not an exact science but you have to play with heart and you have to play with passion. Our young team better hurry up and learn that lesson.”
EWU outscored UVU 25-2 in the first quarter and drilled a buzzer-beating half-court shot to put an exclamation point at the end of a quarter in which the Eagles were a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range. The Wolverines were just 1-of-12 from the field in the first quarter and ended the half down by 27 points.
“You spot somebody that many points in the first half it’s going to be hard to come back,” Nixon said.
UVU had three players reach double figure point totals led by junior guard Taylor Gordon with 14 points but left something to be desired on defense. The Wolverines allowed the Eagles to shoot 62 percent from beyond the arc in the first half and drain 11 3-pointers in the game.
“Our team needs to learn if we’re going to be successful we need to take some pride on the defensive end,” Nixon said. “To get down there and make a stand and get stops. When we did that we were actually pretty good and we gained a little momentum.”
The Eagles had 18 points off the bench compared to the Wolverines’ two points on the night. EWU beat UVU on the boards as well, coming down with 40 rebounds, edging the Wolverines by a margin of 14.
EWU improved to 5-0 all-time versus UVU and Tuesday’s game marked the third consecutive victory in as many years against the Wolverines. UVU moves on to the Cal Poly Tournament in San Luis Obispo, California where it faces Central Michigan Friday.
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.