OREM, Utah - The Utah Valley University women's basketball team dropped its opening exhibition contest of the 2012-13 season 67-62 to New Mexico Highlands Wednesday night in Orem.
"Any game you play you measure where you are, especially in exhibition games. We learned tonight that we have a ways to go," said 18th year head coach Cathy Nixon. "We had some bright moments in the second half where we played well but it is what it is and we can learn a lot from it."
Despite the loss four players finished in double figures for UVU. Junior Whitney Jenkins led the way with 15. Senior Sammie Jensen tallied a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Cydne Gray (formerly Mason) added 11 and sophomore Tina Doughty chipped in 10.
The Wolverines looked sluggish in the early stages of the first half as they fell behind 14-6 seven minutes in. UVU closed the gap to four, at 18-14, after a made free throw from Gray, but the Cowgirls extended their advantage up to 10 with three minutes to play in the first half.
UVU made it a six-point game at the half after a late bucket from senior Sarah Clement to make it 28-22.
In the early stages of the second half, the Wolverines pulled to within three, at 30-27, after five quick points from Gray. New Mexico Highlands, a Division II member that plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC), later regained its lead all the way up to nine with 13:02 to play.
A layup from Jenkins pulled the Wolverines to within 53-49 with 9:40 to play, but a minute later the Cowgirls extended their lead back up to eight. UVU hung tight and made it a three-point game with 5:11 to play and got back within three with 12 seconds left, but NMHU held onto its lead to take the exhibition game.
Despite the defeat UVU outshot the Cowgirls 45.1 percent to 40.0 percent from the field on the night.
Eboni Jacobs led New Mexico Highlands in the contest with a game-high 16 points, and Morgan Lee finished with a game-high 13 rebounds and eight points.
The Wolverines will conclude their exhibition slate with one more tune-up game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Adams State in Orem. UVU will then begin its season at home in the PE Building versus Boise State on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.