All five starters reached double figures as Utah Valley University won its second-straight game to open Western Athletic Conference play, holding off CSU Bakersfield, 78-70, on Saturday afternoon in Lockhart Arena.
Jordan Holland led the way with 17 points, while Maria Carvalho and Alexis Cortez both scored 16 and Eve Braslis and Madison Grange added 10 points apiece. Holland was 7-of-9 from the field, while Cortez hit 6-of-8, including four of her five attempts from three. Cortez recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds and also had four steals for the second-straight game.
"I'm just proud of the girls. Bakersfield's a good team," said UVU head coach Cathy Nixon. "It was a total team effort and defensively I thought we controlled the tempo. I was impressed with our conditioning, and I think over the course of 40 minutes it made a difference."
The Wolverines (8-7, 2-0) were north of 50 percent from the field for the second game in a row, hitting 26-of-51 for a 51 percent clip. UVU was also 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) from three on the day. UVU controlled the glass, out-rebounding the Roadrunners (5-10, 1-1), 44-27.
CSUB's Alexxus Gilbert led all scorers with 22 points but cooled off after scoring 12 on 4-for-6 from three in the opening quarter. The Wolverines jumped out to a 12-5 lead, but Gilbert kept the 'Runners within striking distance with her shooting from long distance. Holland had eight points and hit a pair of triples in the quarter, and UVU lead 25-19 after Carvalho beat the buzzer with a layup. Utah Valley was 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from the field in the first.
The lead jumped to 10, 29-19, in the first minute of the second quarter on a pair of free throws from Braslis and a putback by Holland.
Both Holland and Cortez had 13 points at the half on 5-for-6 shooting, and Utah Valley was 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) in the half en route to a 44-36 at the break. The Wolverines hit 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the half. The 'Runners shot 50 percent (8-for-16) in the quarter.
CSUB scored the first four points out of the break, but Utah Valley responded with a 7-0 run to take its biggest lead to that point, 53-40. Carvalho hit a corner three, Holland got a layup on a feed from Braslis, Carvalho hit another corner jumper just inside the arc and Keana Delos Santos threaded a pass into the post to Josie Williams for an easy two.
Gilbert's first bucket since the opening quarter made it a 56-47 game with 1:16 left in the third, but Carvalho knocked down her second three of the game to extend it to 59-47 at the end of the quarter. UVU was 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from beyond the arc through three quarters.Comment on this story
Utah Valley led 64-50 before a 6-0 spurt from CSU Bakersfield made it 64-56. But Va'e Malufau hit a two from the line, and after a layup from Holland, Malufau corralled an offensive rebound off a missed free throw that eventually led to two free throws from Grange, pushing the lead back to 14, 70-56. The 'Runners chipped into the lead, getting to within six, but time ran out and the Wolverines held on despite 24 turnovers to just nine from CSUB.
The Wolverines will now play their next three games on the road beginning next Saturday, Jan. 12, at Seattle U.