A quick 8-0 run in the second half gave Bakersfield the breathing room it needed to earn a 66-51 WAC victory Saturday afternoon over Utah Valley University in the regular season finale for both teams.
UVU (7-22, 4-12 WAC) never trailed by more than five in a back-and-forth first half, getting itself to within four at 45-41 after a Whitney Jenkins jumper with 11:29 to go. That score stuck until the 8:40 mark when CSUB (18-10, 12-4 WAC) scored eight unanswered to seal the lead for good. The spurt took less than two minutes but gave the Roadrunners plenty of breathing room as the Wolverines never got back to within single digits.
Sam Loggins led Utah Valley with 13 points while hauling in six rebounds. Katie Kuklok finished with 12 points, all of which came courtesy of a 4-for-4 day from beyond the arc, and was just a board shy of the double-double at nine. The Wolverines narrowly won the rebounding battle but were undone by 26 points resulting in 24 CSUB points.
"Bakersfield is never an easy team to play, especially at home," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "They played very well today and got a boost from the Senior Day festivities. We just turned it over too much and gave them too many points as a result of those turnovers. I thought we did a good job on the defensive end in spite of that, but we just missed too many opportunities late."
UVU also outshot the `Runners by a 42 to 33 percent margin, but that disparity was negated by CSUB's plus-25 advantage in total field goal attempts.
At halftime, the Wolverines trailed by only one at 28-27 after an 8-4 run to end the half. Kuklok knocked down her third 3-pointer on a fast break and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight canned a short jumper to answer another CSUB score. Prause then went 1-of-2 from the foul line while Loggins hit a pair of freebies to settle the count at intermission.
CSUB got 13 points from Melissa Sweat while Tyonna Outland, the WAC's second leading scorer at 21.1 ppg, scored 12.
The Wolverines and `Runners will meet again in only four days, and with plenty on the line, in the first round of the WAC Tournament. It will be the first trip to the WAC postseason for both programs.
"One thing we've done well all year long is learn from our mistakes," Nixon said. "We did some good things today and hopefully that leaves us with a sense of confidence that we can be successful next week."
That game gets underway at 9:30 p.m. MT from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.