BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Utah Valley University women's basketball team erased a 12-point second half deficit but was unable to grab the lead late, falling 67-65 to CSU Bakersfield at the Icardo Center on Saturday afternoon.
Sammie Jensen recorded her 14th double-double on the season in the game, scoring 19 points to go with 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Kaycee Mansfield was close behind with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and seven boards. CSUB's Tyonna Outland recorded a double-double of her own, scoring a game-high 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"Unfortunately, the second half was a tale of missed opportunities for us," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We had a handful of missed layups and a bunch of missed free throws and if we capitalize on those opportunities I think it's a different ballgame."
Trailing by 41-32 at the break, the Wolverines found themselves trailing by 12 with 14 minutes left to play after Janae Coffee converted a pair of free throws for the Roadrunners. But UVU responded to the big deficit with its best sustained run of the afternoon, opening up a 12-1 spurt after a Mansfield tip-in.
Jensen scored six straight points during the run, which brought the Wolverines all the way to within one at 52-51 at the 11:10 mark.
CSUB was able to work the advantage back to four at 57-53, but a 9-1 UVU response gave the Wolverines the lead at 62-58, their largest of the game and first since the 19:40 mark in the first half.
That lead was quickly erased, however, when the `Runners scored eight consecutive points to get back in front by four, 66-62.
A runner from Jensen put UVU back to within one possession at 3:50, but the game became a grind-it-out affair from there, with every remaining point coming from the foul line.
Trailing by three, Alle Cardwell went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make the score 67-65, and after a couple empty possessions, the Wolverines held possession with just 7.8 seconds remaining.
Needing to go the length of the floor, Cardwell pushed the ball up the right sideline against CSUB pressure. Cardwell got the ball to the right wing before reverse pivoting and firing a pass to Jensen at the left elbow. Jensen had no choice but to jump a fall-away 15-footer at the buzzer that was just long.
The Wolverines outscored and outshot the `Runners in the second half but couldn't find the big bucket they needed down the stretch.
The Wolverines trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, due in large part to CSUB's dominance on the glass. The `Runners outrebounded the Wolverines 23-15 in the opening frame, including 12 offensive rebounds. Those additional offensive opportunities resulted in eight second-chance points and 24 points in the paint for the home team.
UVU will have a chance to avenge Saturday's loss later in the season when it welcomes CSUB to the UCCU Center on Feb. 27.
Great West Conference play resumes for the Wolverines next weekend as it travels to Newark, N.J., to face the Highlanders of NJIT. That game will tip at 3 p.m. MT.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.