Women's basketball roundup: Utes make crucial free throws down the stretch

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 11 2012 10:57 p.m. MST

"We didn't have our perimeter kids step up on Thursday night (a 48-46 loss to NJIT) and I challenged the guards to make plays today," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "I thought Jenna looked really aggressive tonight and Whitney played as well as she's played since she's been here. When we have balanced scoring to complement Sammie's consistent double-doubles we're a pretty good team."

After surrendering a big first-half lead to CSU (5-20, 3-4 GWC) and grinding to a 33-33 tie at halftime, the Wolverines (12-11, 4-2 GWC) scored four consecutive points to open the second frame, but had to sit starting point guard Abbie Beutler after the senior picked up her fourth personal foul just a minute and a half into the period.

A 9-0 Cougar run followed, giving Chicago State its largest lead of the game at 42-37 with 16:17 still to play.

But UVU would battle back, overtaking CSU at 47-44 after Jenkins buried a corner trey, and eventually growing the lead to six after another 3-pointer, this time from Johnson, at the 10:23 mark.

Back-to-back slashing layups from Cydne Mason and fast break connection from Jenkins to Finch for two highlighted a 10-2 Wolverine run over the next three minutes, as UVU took a 64-50 lead with 7:22 left in the game. All in all, the Wolverines pieced together a huge 27-8 run over a nine-minute span to seize control of the game. Johnson scored 11 of her 13 points during the pivotal stretch, while Jenkins dropped in seven.

Chicago State hung around for the last few minutes, but the outcome was never really in doubt as UVU held on to earn a split in the season series with the Cougars, winning 74-61.

In all, Jenkins led the Wolverines with a season-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Jensen registered her seventh double-double in eight games with 14 points and a game-high 12 boards. Johnson's 13 were her highest scoring output since dropping 21 against San Jose State on Jan. 5, and Finch's 10 points rounded out UVU's double-digit scoring.

Mason put together a solid performance as well, coming in after Beutler got into foul trouble. The junior finished with six points and a game-high five assists — four of which came in the second half.

Chicago State was led by 12 points apiece from guards Tierra Williams and Jackie Jones. Janay Dockery, the conference's leading scorer who burned UVU for 26 points in this season's first meeting, was limited to just 11 points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field. The Wolverines also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Cougars 40-25.

UVU steps out of GWC play next week when it travels to the Pacific Northwest for a 5 p.m. MT time tilt Saturday evening at Seattle University. The Redhawks are 14-9 on the season and have won their last two games. The Wolverines will resume league play the following week with a pair of road games at Houston Baptist and Texas-Pan American.

NO. 19 WESTMINSTER 70, CARROLL 47: At Helena, Mont., the Griffins clinched a home game for the opening round of the Frontier Conference tournament with their sixth consecutive victory.

It was again the Westminster (17-7, 10-1) defense that carried them for much of the evening. They limited Carroll (10-13, 3-7) to just 40 percent shooting while forcing the Saints into 23 turnovers. Carroll entered the game averaging 59.8 points per game and was held below 50 points in a game for just the fourth time this season.

The Griffins also had things clicking offensively on Saturday. They shot 51.2 percent from the floor in the game, including a blistering 62.5 percent in the opening half. The 51.2 percent is the second-best shooting night this season and the highest in conference games. Westminster was also on fire from beyond the arc as they went 11-of-21 from long range. The 52.4 percent from deep is easily the highest this season while the 11 makes is tied for second-most in a game this year.

Jenteal Jackson finished the night with 20 points, falling just one point shy of her career high. Jackson shot 7-of-9 from the field while also connecting on four of her six attempts from beyond the arc. She also finished with a season-high seven assists with three rebounds and one blocked shot.

DIXIE STATE 80, ACADEMY OF ART 64: At St. George, Erica Hayes led Dixie State with 18 points, extending the Red Storm's winning streak to seven games and snapping the Academy of Art's nine-game string.

Dixie State (16-5, 11-2) takes over sole possession of first place in the Pacific West Conference.

SLCC 73, SNOW COLLEGE 66: At Taylorsville, the Bruins shot a lights out 61 percent in the second half to even their conference record at 5-5.

Sophia Hepworth led the offensive output with 23 points on 7 of 13 shooting and 9 of 10 from the foul line. Nicole Newbold finished with a double-double scoring 15 point with 10 rebounds. The Bruins used 14 second chance points and outrebounded Snow 38-21.

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