Wolverines get the best of Roadrunners in 63-56 OT thriller

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Overtime hasn’t been the Utah Valley women’s basketball team’s friend this season, as they lost their previous overtime game in Seattle 82-80. However, this go around was different, when they played CSU Bakersfield in California and took the overtime win 63-56 on Thursday, Feb. 20. 

The Roadrunners have given the Wolverines a run for their money in the past when UVU hosted them on Jan. 23. UVU led the majority of that game until CSUB senior guard Andie Easley put the game away with a buzzer-beater from deep to win the game 55-53.

“We’ve had some tough endings the last couple of weeks, so I’m really proud of the way we played. We played tough and stayed together and found a way to win on the road,” said UVU head coach Dan Nielson to the UVU sports information director.

This game seemed to be heading in a similar direction, only this time favoring the Wolverines. Maria Carvalho, UVU’s star sophomore guard, sank a corner three with 5.7 seconds remaining in the game. With the Wolverines up 50-47, Bakersfield naturally took a timeout to draw up a play and advance the ball to their side of the court. A lockdown defensive effort, or only allowing the Roadrunners two points, would have sealed the deal. 

That solid defensive effort didn’t pan out how UVU wanted it when Easley looked to send the game into overtime by letting fly an all too familiar shot from behind the arc. Instead, she would be fouled by senior forward Jordan Holland, make three free throws, and send the game into overtime all tied up at 50. 

Overtime started with three chances to score on the opening possession, missing two shots but grabbing two offensive rebounds. CSUB sophomore forward Miracle Saxon finished the possession with a layup. From there, Holland would start her overtime free throw spree, making her first two of what would eventually be seven points from the stripe in the period. 

The score remained close up until the 27-second mark, when the Wolverines spread their lead to seven points. Two more free throws, this time by Carvalho, and a layup by CSUB sophomore guard Jasmin Dixon would end the game, giving the Wolverines the upper hand, 63-56.

UVU did what they do best by getting to the charity stripe for a total of 24 attempts. It wasn’t their best shooting night from that spot, as they made 17 of them, but compared to a poor 28.6% from behind the arc, the 17 points were helpful. In contrast, the Roadrunners only got nine attempts from the free throw line, the difference being they made all nine. 

Four Wolverines hit the double-digit mark in points with Holland leading the way with 17 points. Sophomore forward Eve Braslis was next in line with 13 points, followed by Carvalho with 11 and sophomore center Josie Williams with 10 points. 

Easley put up a fight against the Wolverines, putting up a season-high 19 points. The only other Roadrunner to reach the double-digit mark was sophomore forward Jayden Eggleston, who put up 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting. 

With this win over the Roadrunners, the Wolverines now hold the solo spot in third place of the WAC standings, behind only Grand Canyon in first and Kansas City in second. UVU will stay on the road to head to Grand Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 22 before returning home to play their last regular season home game on Wednesday, Feb. 26. That game will take place in the Lockhart Arena at 6 p.m. MST.