OREM, Utah – Senior Sammie Jensen scored a career-high 31 points and added another double-double with 14 rebounds as Utah Valley defeated Utah State 78-62 Monday night at the UCCU Center.
"I'm very proud of the kids. Utah State is a solid team and this was a good win for us," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We came together defensively tonight and gave ourselves a chance to take care of business on the offensive end. I was especially proud of the kids and how they responded after Utah State made its run to make it close second half."
Jensen shot 12-for-16 from the field en route to her career night. Jensen's previous career-high was 24 points that she scored against Texas-Pan American in the 2011 Great West Conference Tournament. Her double-double was her second of the season in as many chances and her 32nd for her career in a UVU uniform.
"Sammie Jensen was just awesome. She was really good for us tonight," added Nixon. "You combine that with the good contributions that some of the other kids made and together it was a good outcome."
Senior Kaycee Mansfield also added a double-double and tied her career-high with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Alle Finch Cardwell too had a career-night, but hers came in the assist department, as she dished out nine. Finch Cardwell also added eight points, three boards, two blocks and two steals. Junior Whitney Jenkins rounded UVU's double-digit scorers as she recorded 10 points.
The first half stayed tight in the opening stages as the score was knotted up at 11-all. The home Wolverines then went on an 8-0 run over the next five minutes to take a 19-11 advantage. Jensen and sophomore Tina Doughty paced the UVU rally with three points apiece.
Utah Valley stretched its lead to 12 with 4:04 to go in the first period, following a layup from sophomore Taylor Huber. The Aggies (0-1) would close the halftime deficit to eight, at 34-26, at the break.
UVU outshot USU 45.5 (15-33) to 21.4 percent (9-42) in the first period.
Utah State quickly cut the deficit to two just 47 seconds into the second half after back-to-back three-point plays. The Aggies later closed the gap to one following a layup from Devyn Christensen with 16:53 to go, but UVU answered with five straight points to take a six-point lead at 45-39.
With Utah State still hanging around, down just two with 11 minutes to play, UVU scored 13 of the next 17 points to pull ahead 63-52. Jensen led the stretch with five points during the run, which included back-to-back layups with just under six minutes to play.
Two USU buckets later pulled the Aggies to within seven (63-56), but UVU responded with 12 straight points to pull ahead for good. Jensen once again led the Wolverine run with seven points during the stretch.
UVU shot a red-hot 58.3 percent (14-24) for the second half and a solid 51 percent for the game compared to just 29 percent shooting by the Aggies. A good-sized crowd was also on hand to witness the Wolverines' first win of the season as 983 people were in attendance.
Christensen paced the Aggies with 16 points on 6-of-21 shooting on the night. USU was recently selected as preseason favorites to win the WAC, a conference UVU will join next season.
The Wolverines will now hit the road for their longest road-trip of the year when they head to Northern California later this week. While there, UVU will square off against San Jose State on Thursday, Santa Clara on Saturday and Sacramento State next Tuesday, Nov. 20.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company