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UVU basketball: women face fourth straight Big Sky foe Saturday at NAU

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13 2012 2:59 p.m. MST

OREM, Utah — For the fourth consecutive game, the Utah Valley University women's basketball team will take on an opponent from the Big Sky Conference, as the Wolverines face Northern Arizona on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Live stats, audio and video of the contest will be available by visiting NAUAthletics.com.

UVU is 2-9 overall this season and went 1-2 against Big Sky foes a week ago. The Wolverines began the stretch by beating in-state rival Weber State, 68-56, on Dec. 4 at home to snap a six-game skid. UVU then fell two days later to fellow in-state foe Southern Utah, 71-66, on Dec. 6 and at Idaho State last Saturday by two points, 69-67.

On Saturday against the Bengals, senior forward Sammie Jensen became the fifth player in UVU's Division I history to join the 1,000-career point club. Jensen scored 16 points against ISU to achieve the feat and now has 1,009 career points in just her third season in Orem.

The Wolverines had a chance to defeat Idaho State — a 2012 NCAA Tournament Team — on Saturday, as the Bengals missed three crucial free throws in the closing seconds. UVU got the ball back, down by just two with 3.9 seconds to go, but couldn't get a shot off before time expired as the Wolverines dropped the game to ISU.

Jensen not only played well against the Bengals but also against Weber State and Southern Utah as she was named the Great West Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season. The senior from Stansbury Park, Utah, led the Wolverines to the victory over the Wildcats with 30 points and 15 rebounds and also added her nation-leading eighth double-double of the season against SUU with 19 points and 15 rebounds. For the week, Jensen averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg.

Jensen leads the Wolverines and the Great West Conference in scoring and rebounding with an average of 18.5 ppg and 12.3 rpg. Her 12.3 rebounds per game are also good enough for ninth in the nation. Fellow senior Kaycee Mansfield is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 9.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Junior Whitney Jenkins is third in scoring with an average of 7.8 points per game.

Coach Cathy Nixon, who is in her 18th season as head coach at UVU, will enter Saturday's contest just one win shy of 300 for her career.

About Northern Arizona: NAU is 1-7 this year and hasn't played since Dec. 2 when it fell at UC Riverside by 28 points. The Lumberjacks' lone win came in their previous game, a 55-54 victory at Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 30. Northern Arizona went 9-20 last season and was picked to finish ninth out of 11 teams in the Big Sky Preseason Poll.

Senior guard Amy Patton leads the Lumberjacks and is ranked 10th nationally in scoring this season with an average of 22.0 points per game. Patton is also tops on the club in rebounds with 7.1 per game. Senior forward Tyler Stephens-Jenkins and sophomore center Raven Anderson also both average double figures in scoring for NAU with averages of 11.9 and 10.1 points per game, respectively.

Saturday's game will be the third all-time meeting between UVU and NAU. The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the two teams met up twice last season and both won on their home floor.

Up Next for the Wolverines: The Wolverines will close out their pre-Christmas schedule by hosting Carroll College on Dec. 19 and playing at Colorado of the Pac-12 Conference on Dec. 22.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.

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