Utah Valley guard Taylor Gordon drained the game-winning free throw and center Sam Lubcke added a career-high 21 points, as Utah Valley women's basketball pulled out a 62-59 overtime win over Chicago State on Thursday night at the Jones Convocation Center.
After trading baskets with the Cougars (0-17, 0-2 WAC) in the extra period, Gordon's go-ahead free throw came on her first attempt to give the Wolverines (6-11, 1-1 WAC) the lead with five seconds left. On Gordon's ensuing miss, Lubcke grabbed her career-high 18th rebound and sealed UVU's first WAC win of the year with another pair of free throws to cap off her fourth double-double as a Wolverine.
"Down the stretch I knew we had to do anything to get a bucket or draw a foul," Gordon said. "The game was tight in the closing minutes and I thought we had to get into the paint instead of settle for a jump shot. Then, Luckily, Sam grabbed that rebound on my miss so it ended up good."
Lubcke's and Gordon's game-sealing free throws lifted the Wolverines to a 14-9 advantage in made free throws on the night, marking the third-straight contest the squad has finished with more made foul shots than an opponent. Along with a game-high five free throws from Lubcke, Mariah Seals added four, Gordon made three and freshmen Leya Harvey and Gabrielle Leos each hit one.
In addition, UVU pulled down 42 rebounds compared to Chicago State's 21 to finish with the lead in rebounds for the fifth time this season. Behind Lubcke's 18 boards, which marked her second game this year with at least 15 rebounds, was Gordon with six rebounds and Delos Santos and Holland with five apiece.
"I had the mentality that if Taylor did miss, that rebound is mine," said Lubcke. "I got the rebound and it turned out good. I knew I had a height advantage on them because their tallest player was 5-10. I was going for 20 rebounds but 18 is still great, so I'm happy with how I played and this good team effort."
UVU jumped ahead to take a 46-36 lead with 4:57 remaining in the contest after Lubcke tallied the fifth of her seven fourth-quarter points on a basket in the paint. However, Chicago State responded to its 10-point deficit with a 7-0 push to pull to within four of the Wolverines in the final two minutes.
After the lead was cut to 50-48 following a Cailin Nix 3-pointer, a Leya Harvey free throw put UVU back up by three with 30 seconds to go.
With 13 seconds to go in regulation, Chicago State guard Kaylee Allen completed a three-point play on a driving layup and foul shot to even the score at 53-53 and send the game to overtime.
Despite three double-digit scorers for the Cougars and 18 points from Jessica Cerda, who hit four 3-pointers on the night, the Wolverines held their WAC counterpart to six points in overtime.
"Our girls really buckled down to get defensive stops when we needed them," said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. "It was about stepping up with the things we use to measure toughness, such as loose balls, charges, deflections and drawing fouls. Then we got shots when we needed to at key moments and squeaked out the win."
Utah Valley continues its two-game road swing with a trip to Kansas City, Missouri, to face WAC foe UMKC on Saturday, Jan. 14. Tipoff for the game is set for 1 p.m. MT.