Wolverines open WAC play with 98-69 loss at Cal Baptist

The Utah Valley women's basketball team lost their conference opener at California Baptist on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Photo courtesy of CBU Athletics.

The Utah Valley women’s basketball team tipped off Western Athletic Conference play on Friday, Jan. 8 with a 98-69 loss to the undefeated California Baptist Lancers. 

Both programs have seen their seasons altered drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic, with UVU having only played three games this season and CBU not having played a game since Dec. 19.

CBU came into conference play projected to win the WAC by the media polls, while UVU is projected to win the conference by the coaches polls.

A combination of poor shooting by the Wolverines and lights-out shooting from the Lancers led to the game being essentially out of hand after the first quarter of play. CBU shot 74% in the opening frame and ultimately led 36-8 by the end of the quarter. UVU shot just 18% in the first 10 minutes and turned the ball over eight times. 

CBU went with a full-court press much of the first quarter, which contributed to the Wolverines being out of sync both offensively and defensively. Turnovers have become a recurring problem for UVU, as they turned the ball over 23 times in their previous game, a loss to Montana State on Jan. 2. 

Forward Britney Thomas helped build the lead for the Lancers with her dominating post presence, tallying 20 of her game-high 24 points in the first half. Junior center Josie Williams logged a double-double for the Wolverines, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 boards. 

UVU was able to get into a rhythm as the game progressed, but couldn’t dig into the Lancer lead. After being outscored by 28 points in the first 10 minutes of play, UVU was only outscored by one point and had seven more turnovers over the course of the remainder of the game. 

Junior guards Maria Carvalho and Madison Grange and junior forward Nehaa Sohail all finished the game in double figures, adding 14, 12, and 11 points respectively.  

It will be a quick turnaround for both teams, as they will face off tomorrow, Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. MDT. The game will be aired on the WAC Digital Network. 

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