Utah Valley University suffered a home, WAC setback Thursday night, falling to former Great West Conference foe Texas-Pan American, 64-54, at the UCCU Center. Rebecca MaWhinney scored a season-high 18 points for the Wolverines, who dropped a home game to UTPA for the first time since Feb. 2010.
"This was a missed opportunity for us," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We had all the opportunities on the offensive end to win this game. If we would have just capitalized on that in a reasonable way I think we could have gotten a win tonight. But things just didn't go our way so we'll look to regroup tomorrow and get ready for a tough New Mexico State squad on Saturday."
Trailing by as many as eight in the second half, Utah Valley (4-16, 1-6 WAC) made a push midway through the frame to get all the way to within two. A 6-0 run, powered by four points from MaWhinney and a couple free throws from Rhaiah Spooner-Knight, made the score 40-38 in favor of the Broncs.
A KaeLynn Boyd layup for UTPA (11-9, 5-2 WAC) put the Wolverines down four, but Spooner-Knight, who scored 14 points on the night, hit a couple more freebies to cut the deficit back to two.
The Wolverines would get no closer, though, as the Broncs opened up a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to put the home team in a 12-point hole. Boyd, who scored a team-high 17 points for UTPA, capped the run with her only three on the night, leaving UVU trailing 54-42 with just under three minutes to go.
A late, frenzied push from the Wolverines kept things interesting when Ashley Baugh and Georgia Agnew teamed up to score four straight points. At the one-minute mark, Baugh came away with steals on subsequent UTPA possessions with each turnover leading to Agnew points — one layup and two free throws. The quick spurt found UVU within six at 58-52 with 56 seconds to go, but the Broncs would ice things at the line to seal their fifth WAC win.
As a team, the Wolverines controlled the rebounding edge, 42-38, and shot a stellar 22-of-25 from the foul line. Still, those strong numbers were not enough to combat Utah Valley's shooting woes, finishing the game at 29 percent from the field.
MaWhinney's 18 points gives her two consecutive games of setting season highs. She scored a then season-best 15 at Chicago State on Saturday. She also hauled in nine rebounds, another season mark. Meanwhile, Spooner-Knight has now scored in double figures in nine straight contests.
"I thought Rebecca was really comfortable out there," Nixon said. "She looked confident off the dribble and shooting the three. I'm just very happy with the way she's playing."
UVU returns to action Saturday when New Mexico State visits the PE Building for a 2 p.m. tipoff. The Aggies fell, 86-63, at Bakersfield on Thursday night.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.