The Utah Valley women’s basketball team emerged victorious in their game against the Chicago State Cougars on Friday, Feb. 5, by a final score of 61-53.
This was the first game the Wolverines had played in almost three weeks due to their previous two games against Tarleton State being postponed. Junior center Josie Williams recorded a career-high 26 points in the win.
The Wolverines came out of the gate cold, shooting 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter. The offensive focus was to fill the lane and find the open shooters but shots were simply not falling. Still, ball movement and running the fastbreak helped the Wolverines jump out to an early lead. The Wolverine defense was able to force four turnovers and ended up on top 15-11 at the end of the first.
When shots were not falling, the Wolverines looked to Williams to generate offense. She went on a tear, scoring 13 of her 15 first-half points in the second quarter alone. She also recorded two of her three first-half blocks in the second quarter, holding down the paint on defense. The Wolverines picked up the work on the glass, out-rebounding CSU 10-5 in the quarter. Williams and redshirt junior Nehaa Sohail lead the charge recording six rebounds each by halftime. Going into the break, the Wolverines held a narrow lead of 33-29.
The Wolverines came out in the second half attacking the paint as they did in the second quarter. The offense did not come so easily this period as the Wolverines struggled shooting from the field at around an 18% clip. Although nothing came easily offensively, the Wolverine defense held strong forcing six turnovers. In a defensive battle during the third period the Wolverines managed to hold on to the lead 40-39.
The fourth quarter would yield better offense for the Wolverines as shots finally began to fall. As a team, they shot 62% in the period and added points to the board by getting to the foul line. The Wolverines shot 18-of-24 on free throw attempts on the game which turned out to be the difference maker. Williams went a perfect 11-of-11 from the line on the night and helped put away the resilient CSU team in the final minutes.
Williams led all scorers with 26 points and sophomore forward Shay Fano also put on a strong performance with 14 points. Junior guard Maria Carvalho also ended up in double figures with 10 points. Williams and Soahil combined for 24 of the team’s 45 rebounds in the game, anchoring the paint in the win.
The Wolverines improve to 5-3 (3-2) on the season and extend their win streak to three games. Their next game will be a rematch against CSU at home on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. MDT.
Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Junior at Utah Valley University majoring in Communications with emphasis in Journalism and Media