OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University escaped with a 71-66 overtime win over Texas-Pan American in the Great West Conference opener Saturday at the UCCU Center.
Taylor Huber opened the overtime session with a 3-pointer from the left corner to give the Wolverines (6-11, 1-0 GWC) the lead for good. Utah Valley outscored the Broncs (5-10, 0-1 GWC) 8-3 in OT.
"When it came down to the game being on the line we made plays," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "In the end we got the elements we needed defensively and capitalized offensively. In overtime to get six straight stops really put us in the driver's seat."
Sammie Jensen led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds — her 12th double-double of the year — and Cydne Gray dished out a career-high 11 assists. Whitney Jenkins finished with 12 points with Huber and Tina Doughty both adding 11 and connecting on three 3-pointers apiece.
Tied at 53 with 7:32 left, the contest was neck-and-neck the rest of the way. The lead changed hands seven times and was tied on three occasions, and neither team led by more than two the remainder of regulation.
With 17 seconds to go, Jasmine Thompson gave UTPA a 63-61 lead with a layup. Jenkins answered with 2.5 seconds left to send the game to the Wolverines' first overtime since Feb. 25 of last season against the same Broncs in Edinburg, Texas.
Texas-Pan American was led by 18 points and eight assists from KaeLynn Boyd off the bench. Johnonda Patterson scored 12 points, while Joyea Marshall and Cassandra Moody both hauled in 11 rebounds.
In the first half, UTPA led 32-25 with under three minutes to go before Utah Valley closed the half on a 9-0 spurt. Jensen started the run with a pair of free throws and ended it with a defensive rebound and an assist on a lob to a streaking Sam Loggins on the other end of the court. UVU led 34-32 at the break.
After the game was tied twice in the early moments of the second half, the Wolverines got a pair of 3-pointers from Jenkins during an 8-2 run that gave UVU a six point lead just over three minutes in.
Texas-Pan American eventually knotted the score again, getting a triple from Ce'Monay Newell with 11:57 left to tie it at 49-49 setting up the stretch run.
The game opened the 2013 Great West Conference schedule and pitted a pair of schools set to join the Western Athletic Conference next season.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.