Utah Valley women's basketball used four double-digit scorers and fast starts to each half to down Antelope Valley, 78-54, as it wrapped up a six-game homestand to close the 2017 calendar year Saturday afternoon in the UCCU Center.
Senior guard Taylor Christensen paced the Wolverine (6-8) offense with a game-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and matched a career high with three made 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Jordan Holland tied her career high in scoring with 13 points, while senior guard Mariah Seals mirrored Holland with 13 points and sophomore guard Alexis Cortez's 11 points rounded out UVU's double-digit scorers.
"I was particularly pleased with the way we came out," said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. "I thought our starting five really set the tone. Defensively we played well and we executed offensively. When we can get 17 offensive rebounds and share the ball like we did, I think we played pretty good basketball."
After taking a 35-27 halftime lead, the Wolverines pulled ahead 45-29 with an 8-2 run in the first three minutes and 17 seconds of the third quarter behind six points from Seals. Seals capped the run with two free throws and a layup to follow her own steal that marked her 11th point of the afternoon.
During its explosive third quarter on offense, a Utah Valley's stingy defense held the Pioneers without a field goal for a span of eight minutes and 20 seconds after their first bucket of the quarter with 9:14 left in the period. Within that stretch, the Wolverines also forced eight of the Pioneers' 23 turnovers on the day.
A 17-6 scoring outburst to end the third quarter helped Utah Valley run away with the victory the rest of the way. The third period burst included an 11-0 run that featured a 3-pointer from freshman forward Ally Bates and two layups from Holland.
UVU opened up a nine-point lead, 15-7, with 4:14 left in the first quarter on a three at the top of the arc by Seals as the shot clock was expiring. During that stretch, Christensen added a jumper from the elbow and another pair of pull-up two-pointers inside for her first six points as part of a 13-4 spurt for the Wolverines.
In addition to its scoring, Utah Valley excelled on the glass with a 47-26 advantage over UAV to cap its new season high in rebounds on the day. Sophomore center Leya Harvey pulled down a game-high 10 boards, while Christensen followed with seven, Holland grabbed six and Bates five to lead all Wolverines.
With their stellar defending, the Wolverines also claimed a victory in the turnover margin with 19 forced turnovers that they turned into 26 points on the other end. In addition, they racked up 10 steals to finish with double-digit steals for the seventh time in the last nine outings.
Christensen's three takeaways led all UVU players, as she finished with at least three steals for the seventh-straight game. Harvey, Holland and Seals tallied two steals each in the Wolverine victory.
Along with their season high in rebounds, Utah Valley recorded a season-high-tying 18 assists en route to sinking 26 field goals. After tallying a game-high five assists, Seals finished with at least three assists for her ninth-straight outing.
The Wolverines will now end their non-conference schedule next Tuesday when they travel to the Centennial State for a game at Denver. Tipoff versus the Pioneers is set for 2 p.m. MT.