HOUSTON — Playing without the services of reigning Great West Conference Player of the Year Sammie Jensen, Utah Valley University women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon knew someone would have to elevate their game in the Wolverines' contest at Houston Baptist on Saturday.
Tina Doughty and Kaycee Mansfield did just that.
Doughty scored a career-high 30 points and Mansfield added her fourth double-double of the year with a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Wolverines to the 75-71 come-from-behind victory.
"What a night Tina had combined with Kaycee," Nixon said. "Those kids stepped up. When you take the conference player of the year and a double-double out of the line-up like we did with Sammie we knew it was going to be a challenge for us."
With the win, the Wolverines improve to 8-13 overall and 3-1 in GWC play, while Houston Baptist falls to 4-17 overall and 0-3 in conference play.
Doughty and Mansfield combined to shoot 21-of-37 from the field and grabbed 18 of the Wolverines' 45 rebounds. Sarah Clement, in her first career start, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds.
The Wolverines shot 49.1 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the foul line for the game. More importantly, however, the Wolverines turned the ball over just four times after 15 miscues in the first half.
"I can't imagine a better team effort than we had collectively tonight," Nixon said. "Every player was working hard."
Utah Valley's Whitney Jenkins sandwiched a foul shots in between two jumpers by Doughty, who had 12 points in the half, and then Mansfield, who had 15 in the half, added three more points and the Wolverines led 27-20 with 8:24 left in the half.
Two minutes later, however, the Huskies tied the score at 28-28 and eventually took a 34-32 lead with 4:16 left in the half.
In all, the Huskies outscored the Wolverines 12-7 down the stretch in the first half to led by five — 42-37 — at the break.
"At halftime when we were down I told the kids that this was our test," Nixon said. "I was proud of the kids for stepping up."
The Wolverines shot 52.3 percent from the field in the first half but were hampered by the double-digit turnovers, which the Huskies turned into 18 points.
The Huskies outscored the Wolverines 8-2 to open the second half to increase their lead to 11 points with 16:38 left in the game.
Over the next five minutes, Doughty scored seven points, Mansfield added four and Alle Cardwell added a bucket as the Wolverines cut the HBU lead to 53-52 with 11:29 left.
Cydne Gray converted a 3-point play with 10:33 left to give the Wolverines their first lead since midway through the first half.
With 5:13 left the game was tied at 67-67 before Doughty's bucket gave the Wolverines the lead for good. Neither team scored for close to three minutes before Mansfield scored to increase the UVU lead to four and Doughty scored the last four to hold the Huskies at bay.
Jenkins finished with eight points and seven rebounds and Cardwell added five.
Shanice Steenholdt led the Huskies with 25 points.
The Wolverines are back in action Monday when they host Walla Walla in a non-conference. They resume conference play next Saturday when they host NJIT at the UCCU Center.
Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.