CEDAR CITY, Utah Despite a game-high 14 points and 14 rebounds from senior Sammie Jensen, the Utah Valley University women's basketball team dropped its final in-state game of the season, 66-49, to Southern Utah University on Saturday night in Cedar City.
With the defeat the Wolverines (4-11) finished the year with a 2-2 record against in-state teams. Both losses came by the hands of the Thunderbirds (7-4) while the wins were over Utah State and Weber State.
"We continued to work hard but we didn't work smart. We had 28 turnovers and we let Southern Utah control the tempo for a good portion of the game," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We need to get more shots than we did but you've got to give SUU credit, they played very well and their pressure hurt us."
With Southern Utah shooting 70 percent from the field early on and leading 18-11 midway through the opening half, the Thunderbirds missed eight straight shots and UVU enjoyed a 7-0 run to tie the game at 18-all. Freshman Sam Loggins and sophomore Ashley Klemz closed the spurt with back-to-back baskets for the Wolverines.
SUU heated back up however and used a 9-0 run to break a 20-20 tie to take a 29-20 advantage with four minutes until halftime. The Thunderbirds maintained their lead at halftime as they took a 32-24 advantage into the locker room.
Klemz led the Wolverines in the first period with seven points off the bench.
A 3-pointer by Marquelle Funk to open the second half gave the T-Birds a double digit lead at 11 points. UVU hung around for the next few minutes as they cut the deficit to single digits, at nine points, a couple of times but a 3-ball from Andrea Jones followed by a layup from Lori Parkinson gave SUU a 17-point lead with 7:22 to play.
The Wolverines didn't go away for the next few minutes as consecutive baskets from Jensen and senior Alle Finch Cardwell pulled UVU to within 12, at 55-43, with 4:55 to go. The Thunderbirds responded however and managed to put the game away by extending their lead to as many as 19 points down the stretch.
SUU outshot the Wolverines from the field, 38 to 32 percent, and outrebounded UVU, 50 to 38.
Behind Jensen's 10th double-double of the season, Klemz and Cardwell led UVU with seven points apiece. Jensen also added a team-high four assists, two blocks and two steals.
Kimie Hawkins and Sophia Hepworth led Southern Utah by each tallying 13 points.
The Wolverines will bring in the new year by facing the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Jan. 2. UVU will then begin its final season of Great West Conference play at home Jan. 5 against Texas-Pan American. The Wolverines were selected to win the GWC in the conference's preseason coaches poll.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.