A home game in the Lockhart Arena seemed to be atmosphere that the Utah Valley women’s basketball team needed to end their four-game losing streak. The Wolverines hosted the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, Feb. 13, handing them a record of 0-2 against UVU this season, with a final score of 61-54.
Going into the game, the Wolverines were only half a game up on the Vaqueros with WAC records of 5-4 and 5-5, respectively.
After a loss at Seattle where sophomore center Josie Williams had a career night, but also got herself into foul trouble, the Wolverines needed to keep all of their roster eligible and their opponent off the charity stripe. In fact, senior forward Jordan Holland had twice as many chances at the free throw line with eight than the entire UTRGV squad took, four. As a team the Wolverines made 11-of-16 compared to the Vaqueros 2-of-4.
Four UVU players reached the double-digit mark including a double-double by sophomore forward Eve Braslis with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Holland led the game with 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 2-of-3 from deep and 6-of-8 from the stripe.
Sophomore guard Maria Carvalho and Williams also joined the double-digit club with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
“I feel like we’ve been putting in the work we just haven’t been able to make that play at the end, so I was really happy to see us make some shots down the stretch and get some stops,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson to the UVU sports information director. “The girls have stayed positive and kept working and we’ve got another tough one on Saturday.”
Both teams held their own, alternating who would outscore the other each quarter. The Wolverines came out strong with 18 points, the most scored by either team in a quarter on the night, but would let UTRGV control the next 20 minutes of play.
UVU maintained a two-point lead going into half time, 30-28, with Holland controlling a third of the Wolverines points. The stats proved almost identical between the two teams at the half, with the only major differences being shots taken outside the perimeter and points off the bench. The Vaqueros led in both of those categories, though they would have liked to make more than their 4-of-15 mark from three.
Things got interesting with just under eight minutes left of play when UTRGV’s senior forward Megan Johnson tied the game at 46 with a pullup jumper, her 11th and final point of the game. The Wolverines would lead by as many as nine points from there with just over two minutes left in the game.
The difference came when the Vaqueros went 2-of-11 from the field in the final two minutes. This resulted in cutting the deficit down to six points but couldn’t close the gap anymore than that.
At the final buzzer, UVU came out victorious with a seven-point win over UTRGV. From here the Wolverines will play another home game on Saturday, Feb. 15 against New Mexico State at 2 p.m. MST in the Lockhart Arena