WAC basketball

WAC Hoops Digest Women’s Basketball Recap 2/12/21

It’s another busy weekend of WAC Hoops, especially on the women’s side. Three series got underway on Friday afternoon. And a fourth begins on Sunday when Tarleton State and Chicago State do battle in the Windy City.

Here is a recap from Friday’s action.

CBU 82, UTRGV 61

In order to win a conference title, the CBU women’s basketball team knows they have to win road games. Entering Friday morning’s matchup in Edinburg, the Lancers were 0-2 in their visits to Rio Grande Valley. By the lunch hour on Friday that streak officially came to an end.

Caitlyn Harper had 24 points on 10-16 FG’s (1-2 3’s) & 8 rebounds in 25 minutes of work to lead CBU to their first win at UTRGV Fieldhouse. She was joined in double figures by Ane Olaeta (10 points on 4-8 FG’s & 2-5 from three with 13 assists in 33 minutes), Taylor Wu (14 points on 5-12 FG’s, 4-9 3’s with 2 Assists in 26 minutes), and Tiena Neale (12 points on 4-9 FG’s, 4-8 3’s with 3 rebounds and a block in 26 minutes). 

Although the final score won’t indicate it, this game was in doubt for much of the 40 minutes played. CBU jumped out to a 26-13 lead after ten minutes with Harper doing most of the damage inside (14 points in the opening stanza). 

UTRGV started the 2nd quarter on a 7-0 run, closing to 26-20 with 8:42 to half. Sara Bershers connected on a three off Jenna Williams assist while Soysal Burcu connected on back-to-back baskets off assists from Bershers & Amara Graham, forcing a Lancers timeout.

A 3-pointer from Neale gave CBU the lead at 36-25 with 3:30 till intermission but again UTRGV had an answer. A layup from Jordan Lewis plus another Bershers three pointer made 38-33 at half. 

3-pointers from Olaeta and Taylor Wu pushed the Lancers lead to 44-35 with 8:40 remaining in quarter three. It hit thirteen points at 56-43 off a three pointer from Brittany Klaman with 2:44 left in the third and another three from Sydney Palma made it 59-43 CBU with 1:22 till quarter break. 

A Lewis layup made it 66-55 Lancers with 6:06 remaining. Then it started to rain three’s for CBU, as Palma & Wu connected on three straight from beyond the arc, putting them up 77-57 and quashing any hope of a rally. 

Bershers finished with a career high 25 points on 8-20 FG’s (4-10 3’s), 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 37 minutes for the Vaqueros. She was joined in double figure scoring by Graham (14 points on 5-13 FG’s, 1-4 3’s to go with 6 rebounds & 3 assists in 37 minutes) and Lewis (12 points on 5-14 FG’s, 1-4 3’s to go with 15 rebounds in 29 minutes).

California Baptist University is 17-0 Overall and 8-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. They hold a two game lead over Utah Valley University and Grand Canyon University after the Wolverines won at home this afternoon. 

Utah Valley 63, Grand Canyon 51

I’m not sure what Dan Nielson would’ve said if you told him that his Wolverines team would turn it over twenty one times and end up with a plus twenty one rebounding margin against Grand Canyon on Friday.

What happened was that the Wolverines took advantage of home floor, defeating the Lopes in game one of a series that by weekend’s end will determine who slots into second place behind CBU. 

The Wolverines led for 34-plus minutes out of a possible 40 in this opener. An 8-0 run from GCU tied it at 30 with 7:31 left in the third as Tiarra Brown connected on a turnaround jumper and three pointer while Taylor Caldwell also connected from outside. Utah Valley went on a 6-0 run of their own to go up 40-34 with 2:42 left in quarter three. Maria Carvalho had two layups with Madison Grange adding another, forcing a GCU timeout. 

Tavia Rowell’s three pointer with 9:06 left made it 42-39 Wolverines. Then a Kayla Anderson layup made it 48-43 Utah Valley with 6:44 remaining. Grand Canyon’s leading scorer, Katie Scott did not hit her first shot until 2:01 left (a deep three pointer) which made it 57-51 Wolverines. Carvalho answered with a three on their next trip. Grand Canyon then attempted to play the foul game but Utah Valley was three of four on free throws, preserving a huge win. 

Carvalho finished with 23 points (a career high) on 8-15 FG’s (2-6 3’s), 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 38 minutes. She got help from Nehaa Sohail (10 points on 3-7 FG’s>>2-5 3’s and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes) & current WAC Ticketstarter Player of the Week Josie Williams (14 pts on 6-8 FG’s, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 32 minutes. 

In defeat Rowell had 12 points on 3-5 from the perimeter in 15 minutes while Tiarra Brown had 11 points on 5-12 from the field (1-2 3’s) and three rebounds in 21 minutes. 

Utah Valley is 7-3 overall, 5-2 WAC while Grand Canyon University is 13-4 overall, 5-2 WAC. 

New Mexico State University 64, Seattle University 49, in El Paso, Texas

It may not be the Pan American Center but New Mexico State made themselves at home in Edgewood High School’s gym on Friday afternoon. The Aggies led from start to finish in a 64-49 victory over Seattle which drops the Redhawks a game out of second place. 

Seattle’s offense struggled in the first two stanzas, posting a 4-29 total from the field (13.8%) and did not connect from three. They found themselves trailing 31-12 after twenty minutes. 

Ultimately that deficit was too much to overcome as although the Redhawks put up 37 second half points they were unable to make inroads into New Mexico State’s lead. 

Rodrea Echols led the Aggies with 17 points on 7-16 field goal shooting (3-7 from 3) and 3 rebounds in 32 minutes. She got help from Soufia Inoussa who added 14 points on 5-13 from the floor (1-6 3’s), 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. No Redhawk was in double figure scoring. 

New Mexico State is 4-8 overall & 2-3 in the WAC. Meanwhile Seattle falls to 9-8 overall, 4-3 in the WAC. 


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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