UVU basketball: Wolverines snap skid, shoot past Chicago State

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 10:16 p.m. MST

Utah Valley University matched its program record for best field goal percentage against Division I competition Thursday night, hitting 63 percent of its shots on its way to an 84-62 WAC victory over Chicago State at the UCCU Center. The win snaps the Wolverines' recent five-game losing streak and gives them the first WAC home victory in program history.

Utah Valley (5-20, 2-10 WAC) got a game-high 24 points from guard Katie Kuklok, who knocked down seven 3-pointers on the night. Sophomore center Sam Loggins set a new career-high with 21 points after going a perfect 9-of-9 from the field and 3-of-3 from the foul line.

Completing the trio of stellar Wolverine performances, freshman guard Georgia Agnew recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 12 assists. The Hamilton, New Zealand, native was just one dime shy of tying the all-time program mark.

"We're starting to see more of the team that I've always believed we could be, especially now that we're starting to get multiple positions playing well," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "I'm just really proud of Georgia (Agnew) and the work she's done at the point guard position, and Sam (Loggins) has been phenomenal the last three weeks. Of course, Katie (Kuklok) was on fire tonight. Her shots haven't quite been falling the last few games, but she's such a great shooter that the law of averages says she's due for a big night like this."

The Wolverines wasted little time against their former Great West Conference foe, jumping out to a quick 21-4 advantage after knocking down nine of their first 11 shots. Nine of those points belonged to Loggins as she got three buckets inside and converted a three-point play to put UVU ahead 15-4 early. A layup from Spooner-Knight and back-to-back jumpers from Agnew and Karlee Kartchner capped the early run.

Spooner-Knight would finish the game with eight points, ending her streak of 13 consecutive contests in double figures at 13.

UVU went on to shoot 20-of-31 from the field in the first half on its way to its best shooting percentage of any half versus Division I competition this season at 65 percent. Kuklok and Loggins accounted for 12 of those 20 makes as the former knocked down five 3-pointers on her way to 15 first half points and the latter was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field for 15 of her own. The hot-shooting half sent Utah Valley into the break with a 47-22 advantage as the visiting Cougars went just 7-of-28 from the field (25 percent) over the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Wolverines reached their largest lead of the game at 31 when Rebecca MaWhinney knifed through the lane for a bucket to make the score 61-30 with 16:07 still to go. As Nixon worked in different lineups throughout the second half, UVU maintained its hot shooting touch. The Wolverines shot 11-of-18 in the second period, good for 61 percent, as they closed the game with their record tying mark of 63-percent.

All 11 Wolverines that suited up for the contest saw action with all but one getting into the scoring column.

Chicago State was led by 20 points from junior guard Tierra Williams, while sophomore guard Jasmine Sanders finished with 14.

Loggins' 9-of-9 night marks UVU's best individual shooting performance since former All-American Robyn Fairbanks went 18-for-20 against NJIT in 2009. Meanwhile, Kuklok's game-high 24 gives her nine 20-plus outputs in 20 appearances this season.

Utah Valley's home season comes to a close Saturday when Kansas City visits the UCCU Center at 3 p.m. The Kangaroos were 10-14 and 6-4 in the WAC coming into Thursday night's contest with Bakersfield. Saturday is also Senior Day for UVU as the Wolverines will honor the careers of their two seniors, Whitney Jenkins and Kyra Prause, in a pregame ceremony.

Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.