The Highlanders (2-4), led by junior Keilanei Cooper, put on a dominant performance over the Utah Valley Wolverines (0-4) on Thursday, Nov. 21.
Cooper led the team in scoring, with 22 points off the bench, and sunk a career-high five three pointers. Senior guard Jannon Otto and forward Marina Ewodo, also scored in double figures for the Highlanders; Otto finished with 21 points and Ewodo finished with 10. Ewodo also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, matching her teammate, redshirt senior forward Skyler Lewis.
Otto put up the first points of the game, setting the tone for what ended up being a strong shooting performance for the Highlanders in the first half.
UCR shot 81.8% on their shots in the first half, outscoring the Wolverines 23-11 in the first 10 minutes of the game alone. The Highlanders would maintain their shooting prowess for the rest of the half, establishing a comfy 41-26 lead at halftime.
The Highlanders went right back to work in the second half, scoring 27 points off turnovers alone. Utah Valley struggled to hold on to the ball, giving it away 22 times — thanks in part to a total 10 steals by the Highlanders, with senior point guard Ann Jernigan responsible for three.. The Wolverines persistence in the second half was met with a brick wall of a defense from UCR as Utah Valley shot a mere 28.3%, making only 17 out of 60 shots.
In addition to capitalizing on turnovers, the Highlander bench displayed their talents, adding another 27 points for UCR. The Highlanders went home with a season-high 10 forced turnovers and nine successful three pointers.
Wolverines sophomore Eve Braslis would finish the game as Utah Valley’s leading scorer, ending the night with 16 points. Sophomore Josie Williams also had a double-digit scoring game and finished with 10 points.
GoHighlanders.com reported head coach Seyram Bell’s comments on the Highlanders dominant performance: “The girls have been working hard to get better every day and it’s showing.”
The Highlanders certainly responded in dominant fashion after losing their last three non-conference matchups.
UCR’s next game will be on the road against the University of Arizona (5-0) on Friday, Nov. 24.