Utah Valley Women Advance to WAC Tournament Semifinals | News, Sports, Jobs

UVU center Josie Williams goes for a lay-up during the WAC game against Tarleton at Lockhart Arena in Orem on Wednesday February 16, 2022. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

LAS VEGAS — Josie Williams recorded her 23rd double-double of the season with a season-high 22 points and 15 rebounds while Maria Carvalho added 21 points to lead Utah Valley to a 72-57 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley in the quarters of the WAC Tournament Thursday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Utah Valley moves to 16-14 overall and advances to the WAC Tournament semifinals to face top-seeded Stephen F. Austin on Friday at noon.

“Defensively, we made it harder for them in the second half,” Utah Valley head coach Dan Nielsen said. “We challenged all of their shots to the max and bounced the ball much better in the second half. Megan Jensen played big for us and really made a difference. The consistency of the effort and a little more size made the difference for us. Josie did a good job. The more she filters, the easier it is for us to give her the ball and she did a good job. I think Maria did a great job defensively on UTRGV guards and she’s obviously very good when engaged offensively.

The first quarter produced three draws and a lead change. Neither team led by more than three points as UVU took a 16-15 lead with 2:15 left in the first. Josie Williams then knocked down a shot at 1:54 and Maria Carvalho connected on one-and-one to spark a 9-2 UVU run over the next one to give Wolverines a 25-17 lead with 7:02 to go. play in the second quarter.

UT Rio Grande Valley responded with a 17-4 run to take a 34-29 lead with 1:28 left in the half. Emma Martin then knocked down a shot with 38 seconds on the clock that ended a nearly six-minute streak without a basket for the Wolverines to cut the UTRGV lead to a three-point deficit, 34-31, at half-time.

Williams scored four straight points and Jensen added four straight buckets as UVU opened the third quarter with 12 unanswered points to take a 43-34 lead five minutes into the half. The Wolverines went 18-3 in the third quarter to take a 49-37 lead in the fourth. Utah Valley then beat the Vaqueros 19-15 in the fourth quarter to secure the 72-57 victory.

Williams knocked down 10 of 17 shots from the field and made 2 of 3 free throws for his record 22 points. She also provided three assists in 32 minutes of action. Carvalho hit 7 of 15 shots from the floor and tied a season high with six 3-pointers for his 21 points. The junior guard also had four rebounds and recorded a steal.

Megan Jensen also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. She shot 7 of 10 and was perfect 2 of 2 from the free throw line. Madison Grange added six points with five rebounds, two assists and a block.

As a team, Utah Valley shot 46.7 percent (28-60) from the floor and knocked down 7 of 18 threes for a 38.9 percent clip. The Wolverines knocked down 9 of 10 shots at the charity strip. UVU passed UTRGV 47-32.

Utah Valley advances to the WAC Tournament semifinals on Friday to face No. 1 seed Stephen F. Austin on Friday at noon. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.


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