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By CARISSA LUCKEY
An array of pink was seen throughout Sharp Gym as the Huskies got ready to take on the Utah Valley University Wolverines Feb. 2. The game filled with pink was in support of the Kay Yow Fund for Breast Cancer Research.
The University’s record against Utah Valley is 0-7 all-time with their final meeting in Orem, Utah on Feb. 28, 2012. The Huskies began the game with full intensity, but could not pull out the win against the Wolverines, with final score of 75-71, a much closer difference than their last meeting with the outcome ending in a 35 point loss.
Sophomore Shanice Steenholdt led the Huskies with her 12th double-double of the season, with 23 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore Erin McGarrachan scored 10 points and 8 rebounds. Freshman Rachel Arthur and sophomore Taylor Jefferson each added nine.
The crowds’ voices in Sharp Gym intensified towards the end of the first half, as the Huskies went on a consecutive run of stealing the ball increasing its lead to 42-37 before halftime.
The Huskies continued their aggressive offense by going on an 8-2 run after halftime to take their largest lead of the game at 50-39.
For the season, Steenholdt leads the Huskies with 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. She also leads the team with 31 blocks and 49 assists. Jefferson is second on the team with 9.5 ppg, but leads the squad with 35 percent of 3-pointers, totaling 28 shots, and an 88 percentage from the free-throw line.
“We wanted to pressure them defensively, we really were trying to push the ball and attack, we scored 25 points off of their turnovers, and we had great looks in the paint,” women’s head coach Mary Gleason said. “The girls stuck to the game plan and I’m happy with their effort level and with what we brought, but there was a little stretch where we gave up some rebounds and that made the difference.”
Steenholdt admits that they had some setbacks on their initial goal but adds that ultimately they just wanted to come out on fire with intensity and energy.
“Offensively, we wanted to just run on them and attack,” Steenholdt said. “Defensively, we wanted to talk and communicate.”
“We conquered that really well in the first half but in the second half we kind of just let up a little,” Steenholdt said. “Defensive setback is what really got us transition defense.”
Going into the game, one of the Huskies’ main strategies was to shut down the Wolverines leading scorer, senior forward Sammie Jensen. After realizing that she was absent, the Huskies focused more on guarding shooters and controlling them.
“We wanted to keep them from running offenses because they have a lot,” Arthur said. “Going into the second half we pretty much tried to keep it consistent, we realized what was working and what wasn’t and we tried to use what was working and make sure we got our rebounds, but it just didn’t go our way. We just need to hit more free throws and shots next time.”