Utah Valley women's basketball rode a season-high 10 made 3-pointers as a team and 20-point efforts from senior guards Mariah Seals and Taylor Christensen en route an 89-70 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday afternoon inside the UCCU Center.
Seals, who also drained five threes (3-of-5 3-pt FG), led four UVU (5-7) double-digit scorers with a team season-high 26 points and Christensen followed with her personal season-best 25 points in the squad's highest offensive output this year. Sophomore forward Jordan Holland, who reached a career high in scoring, and guard Gabrielle Leos rounded out the Wolverine double-digit scoring quartet with 13 points each versus the Mustangs (5-6).
"They [Cal Poly] were really aggressive and I thought our girls handled that really well," said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. "The intent on their part was to try to disrupt us, and something we've been working on was just staying focused and not get distracted. I really was pleased with the way the girls responded the way they did."
The Wolverines opened up the game on a 10-2 run in the first three minutes, 25 seconds of the game behind a pair of three-point plays from junior guard Britta Spencer and sophomore forward Jordan Holland. Spencer made a three to end her own three-game drought from distance, then Holland converted an and-one play on a foul for the early lead.
A three by junior guard Dye Stahley with 6:41 remaining in the second quarter helped cap a 7-1 run to bring Cal Poly within three of the Wolverines in the first half. A layup by Stahley started the offensive spurt and was coupled with a jumper by senior guard Kelly Wong, as the Mustangs cut the Wolverine advantage to 26-23 in the first half.
Following its response with four-straight made free-throw attempts to end the Mustang burst, back-to-back UVU 3-pointers by Seals helped the squad pull ahead 36-27 with 3:32 remaining in the half. Seals started her personal scoring spree with a high-arching left corner three and then nailed another from downtown at the top of the arc to stretch the Wolverine lead to nine for 12 of her 15 first-half points.
After the Seals three was answered by the Mustangs, Holland drained another three from up top for UVU on its third-straight offensive possession to give the squad its first 10-point lead of the afternoon, 39-29.
Behind their second quarter three-point barrage, the Wolverines finished the first half shooting 54.5 percent from downtown for their best mark from deep this year after two quarters. Among the six first-half 3-point buckets for UVU, Seals led the squad with three at the halftime break and Alexis Cortez added to the list of Wolverines to hit one in the first 20 minutes of action.
At the start of the second half, Christensen came out firing to score the first seven UVU points and push the lead to 11 points at 49-36.
CP fought back to bring the difference back into single digits, 51-43, following a 6-2 run in response to Christensen's hot third quarter start. In between a pair of free throws and jumper from Wong, Holt completed the run with a four-foot jumper on a quick basket in transition to shorten the UVU advantage to eight points.
The Mustangs traded baskets with the Wolverines before UVU answered by hitting four-straight 3-pointers to pull ahead 76-57 with 7:27 left in the contest. In between Seals' final two 3-pointers of the day, Leos hit two shots of her own from beyond the arc to help secure UVU's victory and its fourth double-digit scorer in a contest for the first time all season.
Along with their season-best in 3-point makes, the Wolverines finished with season-best marks of 45.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 54.3 percent shooting overall from the floor on the day. UVU's defense also remained stingy on the perimeter throughout the game to hold the Mustangs to 19.2 percent shooting from downtown, marking the fourth time it held an opponent to less than 20 percent from 3-point range this year.
In addition, Utah Valley rang up nearly a third of its scoring at the charity stripe by knocking down a season-high 29 free throws as a team. Seals and Christensen converted a team-high seven foul shots, while Holland made six, Leos sank five and Spencer hit all four of her attempts at the charity stripe.
Outside of their on-point shooting, the Wolverines racked up a season-high 18 assists on their 25 field goals. Seals added her seventh-consecutive game with at least three dimes by finishing with six assists versus Cal Poly.
Utah Valley returns to the court when it hosts another Big West foe in Cal State Fullerton for a pre-Christmas Eve contest on Saturday, Dec. 23. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. MT, inside the UCCU Center.