USAFA, Colo. - The Utah Valley University women's basketball team ushered in the new year with a bang, picking up a 70-60 road win over Air Force in Colorado Springs on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Sammie Jensen recorded her 11th double-double on the season in the victory, scoring 20 points with 13 boards, while sophomore Tina Doughty finished with a season-high 20 points - going 6-of-8 from three.
"I thought we did some really nice things in this one, especially in the second half," head coach Cathy Nixon said. "It was great to see Tina have the type of night she had, but really we had a great all-around effort. We got out in transition, defended well, and this is a big win for us as we prepare for conference play this weekend."
After a back-and-forth first half, the Wolverines held just a five point advantage at the break and struggled to gain any sort of separation early in the second frame. Still holding a five point lead, UVU went on a huge 19-2 run to blow things open.
After Cydne Gray converted the back-end of a pair of free throws after an AFA flagrant foul, Jensen got a layup on the subsequent possession. Then, after another defensive stop, Ashley Klemz found a streaking Gray for an easy layup and one of her team-high four assists and the run was on.
Doughty converted two more threes, and Jensen and Sam Loggins both scored buckets inside to push the Wolverine lead to 61-41 with 9:31 to go. UVU got up by as many as 22 after another Loggins score and never looked back, cruising to the 70-60 final.
Besides the big performances from Doughty and Jensen, the Wolverines got a season-high 9 points from Loggins to go along with five rebounds. Gray and Cardwell added seven and six points, respectively.
Senior Alicia Leipprandt led the Falcons with 19 points and scored her 1,000th career point early in the first half, becoming just the fourth AFA player to eclipse that milestone.
The Wolverines appeared to have gained control midway through the first half when Doughty first caught fire from beyond the arc. The sophomore buried three triples over a three minute span, helping UVU to a 21-11 lead midway through the opening frame after a 13-2 run.
The hot hand quickly changed sides, however, as AFA dominated the next seven minutes. The Falcons scored 16 of the game's next 20 points to reclaim the lead at 27-25 with 5:19 until the break.
Still, it was the Wolverines regaining steam toward the end of the half, stringing together a series of excellent possessions to build a 36-31 advantage at halftime. Another trey from Doughty got UVU back in front at 32-31, and she helped extend the lead when she gathered in a long rebound and found Cydne Gray on the fast break for an easy layup. The halftime advantage was established just 1:15 before the halftime buzzer as Cardwell found Jensen for an uncontested two after a seamless pick and roll.
UVU now jumps directly into Great West Conference play, returning to Orem for its league opener Saturday against Texas-Pan American. That game tips at 3 p.m. at the UCCU Center. The Wolverines went 1-1 against the Broncs last season, as both teams picked up a win on its home floor.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.