WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Utah Valley returns home this week to host two teams from the Lone Star state in Great West Conference women's basketball. The Wolverines (4-18, 0-5) welcome Texas-Pan American on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Houston Baptist Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in the UVU Events Center in Orem.
UVU dropped two conference road games last week at Chicago State and at NJIT. Against NJIT on Saturday, Julie Smith scored a career-high 37 and moved into second place on the school's all-time scoring list.
Smith is averaging a league-best 17.3 points per game including 22.0 per contest in Great West play. Asumi Nakayama is averaging 5.0 assists overall this season including 8.0 per game in conference, both league highs.
Texas-Pan American has won three of its first four Great West games and are 7-13 overall, with Thursday's game the Lady Broncs' first conference road test. UTPA is led by Bianca Torre's 11.6 points per game with Aleeya Gribsby adding 9.0 points and 7.8 rebounds.
UVU has a 5-3 all-time series lead but lost in the only game between the two last season, 57-56, in Edinburg, Texas. In their only game next week, the Wolverines travel to Texas to face UTPA on Saturday, Feb. 13.
Saturday's contest between UVU and Houston Baptist will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Huskies, who play at Chicago State on Thursday, are 3-16 overall and 1-3 in the Great West.
WRESTLING: The Wolverines will have its toughest test of the season this weekend when two premier wrestling powerhouses will be in the state to take on the Wolverines (7-2, 2-1 WWC). UVU will first host No. 8 Boise State Friday at 7 p.m. in the Shurian Family Activity Center in Orem and then head to Vernal to lock-heads with the two-time defending National Champion and No. 1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday at 6 p.m. at Uintah High School.
Utah Valley is coming off of a big win last Saturday in Laramie, Wyo., as the Wolverines defeated the Western Wrestling Conference pre-season favorites and 24-time defending conference champion Northern Iowa Panthers, 19-16. UVU also downed fellow conference foe Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., 26-15, before they finished off the busy start to conference action by falling at Wyoming, 37-3.
The Wolverines are led by junior 125-pounder Benjamin Kjar who climbed up in the rankings (InterMat) from No. 13 to No. 11, after he went 3-0 to lead UVU to its 2-1 start in conference last week. Kjar was also recognized for his efforts by the WWC as he received his third conference Wrestler of the Week honors of the season. Juniors Flint Ray (133) and Jeb Clark (165), as well as sophomore Brad Darrington (174) have also been competing well as of late for the Wolverines as they have 17-7, 8-1, and 17-7 respective records.
Boise State (13-2, 6-0 Pac-10) recently picked up Pac-10 road wins at Stanford (29-15) and UC Davis (30-13) last weekend to stay perfect in conference.. The Broncos are led by 184-pounder Kirk Smith (19-0 overall, 14-0 dual), who is currently ranked No. 1 in the country. Smith is followed by Utah native Andrew Hochstrasser (8-0, 8-0), who is ranked No. 2 at 133 pounds. At 157-pounds, Adam Hall (22-2, 14-0), is ranked No. 3, while 141-pounder Levi Jones (16-3, 12-1) is No. 4, 149-pounder Jason Chamberlain (18-7, 10-4), who is from Springville, Utah is No. 6, and at 174-pounds, Nate Lee (13-3, 12-2), is ranked No. 11.
Live video/audio from Friday night's dual with Boise State can be viewed by visiting WolverineGreen.com. Mike Clapier will handle the play-by-play duties, with former-Wolverine wrestler Sam Allen calling the color commentary.
On Saturday UVU's dual match with Iowa (18-0, 4-0 Big Ten) will be a home match for Hawkeyes as their senior and two-time All-American Phillip Keddy (184) is from Vernal. Two other Hawkeye grapplers hail from the state of Utah as 197-pound starter Luke Lofthouse as well as freshman Ethen Lofthouse graduated from Mountain Crest High School in Avon.
Iowa has a current 56-consecutive dual match win streak, a streak that dates back to Jan. 2008. Out of the Hawkeyes 10 probable starters for Saturday night, eight of them are currently ranked in the top-20 in the country. 149-pounder Brent Metcalf and 174-pounder Jay Borschel lead they way for the Hawkeyes as they are both undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Live audio from Saturday's dual vs. Iowa can be heard by visiting HawkeyeSports.com. Steven Grace and two-time Hawkeye NCAA Champion and four-time All-American Mark Ironside will have the call.