OREM On the face of it, the Utah Valley State women's basketball game at No. 15 Duke tonight is one of those situations that looks bad on paper.
With the Wolverines (9-2) visiting one of the shrines of college basketball in playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, there are no real expectations to win.
But that's not to say that UVSC can't pull off the upset. Think Gardner-Webb over Kentucky, Grand Valley State beating Michigan State or the upset of all time albeit in football with Appalachian State shocking Michigan and the nation.
The lure of playing the Blue Devils (7-3) was great enough for UVSC coach Cathy Nixon not to pass up, even with a likely loss. It's a chance for the Wolverines to see one of the best women's programs up close and take notes on how to get to Duke's level.
And Nixon is leaning a lot on the players to make it a decent game.
"I'm really depending on them to be competitive and try to play our best basketball," she said.
One of those players who always scores is Robyn Fairbanks averaging 22.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game coming in.
Fairbanks can't do it alone. Sandy Marvin and Julie McMurray bring 17.8 and 16.1 ppg, respectively. But they have hit some bumps in a few games, and all of the big three can't afford to have an off night if UVSC hopes to have a chance.
The Blue Devils don't bring just any one scoring threat to the table. Center Chante Black comes in with 12.9 ppg and guard Abby Waner scores 10.8 ppg part of a balanced offense that has five other players averaging at least five points per game.
What Duke has is defense as it is letting its opponents score only 54.3 ppg. Something will have to give as UVSC scores 81.9 ppg on average."We've played good teams before and I know that Duke will be very good," Nixon said. "But I feel like it's a good place to measure where we are."
UVSC (9-2) at No. 15 Duke (7-3)
Today, 5 p.m. at Durham, N.C.