Photo by Mykah Heaton
OREM, Utah—Mariah Seals dropped 19 points and the UVU women’s basketball team grinded out a 72-58 win over Denver in Lockhart Arena on Friday night. UVU improved its record to 3-8 and has strung together two wins for the first time all season.
UVU was dominant in the paint, scoring 32 points on the night due in large part to Sam Lubcke’s monster game. Lubcke scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to round out a double-double performance.
“Sam was awesome,” head coach Cathy Nixon said. “Nine offensive rebounds is huge and you don’t see that very often at any kind of level. That was something we really built on.”
Denver’s Lauren Loven drained seven 3-pointers in the game for 21 points. Despite Loven’s hot hand, UVU turned in a solid defensive game by holding the Pioneers to just 12 points down low. The Wolverines also held Denver to 58 points, which is the lowest an opponent has scored against UVU this season. UVU opponents were averaging 72.7 points per game coming into tonight’s contest.
“When we work hard on defense, everything flows better on offense,” Lubcke said. “That’s been our mindset over the past week and obviously it has paid off because we’ve won the past two games.”
Keana Delos Santos had a career night in her freshman campaign scoring 11 points and a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc off the bench. Delos Santos drained her 3-pointers in a three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter that maintained UVU’s lead and quashed a comeback effort from the Pioneers. Seals led the Wolverines in scoring, shooting 6-of-15 from the field and added four rebounds and five assists.
“I really feel like Mariah was the catalyst for us tonight,” Nixon said. “We’ve been continuing to work with her to go downhill off ball screens and she made things happen tonight.”
UVU trailed by as many as eight points in the second quarter, despite just two lead changes in the game. The Wolverines narrowed that lead to two points at the half and tied the game on the first possession of the third quarter. UVU never trailed again and ultimately won by 14 points.
“It came to the point where they took the lead and we had to get stops,” said Nixon. “I really feel like the kids dug in. We got stops on the defensive end when we needed them.”
UVU plays next at Utah State (6-2) in Logan on Dec. 12 with tipoff set for 7 p.m. MST.
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.