Utah Valley guard Mariah Seals recorded game highs of 23 points and eight assists versus Pepperdine to help the Wolverines complete a 72-65 comeback win over the Waves on Tuesday night at the UCCU Center.
Seals scored 12 of her 23 points (7-of-16) and went 3-of-5 the final 6:30 of play to key UVU's (1-6) six-point, fourth-quarter comeback. A junior guard from Richmond, California, Seals matched her career high in assists and also grabbed five rebounds in the Wolverines' first victory of the season.
"I knew I had to just bring some energy for us," said Seals. "I was looking to find some sort of momentum and excite the team, in general. I was trying to be aggressive and make sure that everyone was in the game and understood that we needed to play hard."
With the Wolverines trailing by six in the last 6:48, Seals caught fire with a personal 8-0 run after hitting two 3-pointers and added a layup within a one-minute span. Her scoring burst gave Utah Valley its first lead since the third quarter at 63-60.
Overall, UVU used a 17-2 during a seven-minute stretch sparked by back-to-back layups from center Sam Lubcke and forward Jordan Holland prior to the Seals surge. That offensive onslaught helped the Wolverines transition their six-point deficit in the final 10 minutes into a seven-point lead with 1:13 remaining on the game clock.
"Credit these girls," said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. "They kept fighting, and it wasn't perfect tonight, but I felt like we added a few more pieces than we had in the past and were a little more consistent, especially on the defensive end."
In addition to the impressive offensive surge, UVU's defense tightened up in the game's final 10 minutes to hold the Waves to just one field goal. The Wolverines also kept Pepperdine without a made basket for seven minutes during their big fourth-quarter run.
Junior Taylor Gordon guided the stingy Utah Valley on the defensive end for the night with a career-high six steals, finishing one steal shy of tying the program's single-game record. Gordon also tallied a career-high six assists, while grabbing five rebounds and scoring nine points (3-of-4 FG) in 36 minutes.
"I think a lot of us had good numbers tonight that helped a lot. On the defensive end my teammates helped me out and I was just in the right spots. We focused on the defensive end and got stops," Gordon said.
Along with Seals' big performance on the offensive end, Lubcke contributed 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her second double-double in her last three outings and overall.
Sophomore guard Britta Hall rounded out a trio of double-digit scorers for the Wolverines with 13 points, including 12 of the squad's first 23 points in the first half. She went 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 5-of-11 from the field a game removed from draining a career-high six 3-point baskets.
Utah Valley returns to the road with a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a two-day tournament hosted by Air Force on Dec. 2-3. The Wolverines open up the Air Force Classic with a contest versus Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville at 4:30 p.m., on Friday.