Utah Valley junior guard Mariah seals became the sixth player in UVU women's basketball Division I history to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career with 12 points against Seattle U, while the Wolverines' suffered a 61-59 setback to the Redhawks on Saturday inside Lockhart Arena.
Seals, who entered the weekend seven points from the 1,000-point milestone, eclipsed 1,000 points as she drained a deep 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer after dribbling the ball past half court with seven seconds left in the period. A product of Richmond, California, Seals erupted for all 12 of her points in the second half to join Robyn Fairbanks, Julie Smith, Sandy Wall, Sammie Jensen and Jenna Johnson as the only Wolverines to reach 1,000 points in UVU's Division I existence.
"It's a great thing to get to a milestone like that because you can see what all you bring to the team," said Seals. "That's all that I want to be able to do, bring an extra edge and give energy to our team to help us get wins. Unfortunately it didn't come in a win. It's great, but at the same time I think I'm more focused with us trying to pull out a win."
Despite being held scoreless in the first half on 0-of-5 shooting, Seals provided a spark in the second half to help the Wolverines fight back from a deficit as big as 11 points in the third quarter. With the buzzer-beater that gave her 1,001 career points at that moment, Seals capped a 7-3 quarter-ending run to bring UVU to within four points of Seattle U heading into the fourth quarter.
"I'm really happy for Mariah," Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon said. "That's a special thing to do and she's worked hard to deserve that and we'll have a chance to celebrate that next week."
UVU's backcourt leader, Seals finished the day with a team-high six assists for her 15th outing with at least five helpers this season to go along with her team-leading 19th double-digit scoring effort of the year. Seals also sank five free throws and grabbed two rebounds on the defensive end.
In spite of giving up a height advantage to most opponents during her career with a 5-foot-3 frame, Seals has now accumulated 1,005 career points to rank sixth on Utah Valley's all-time scoring list in the Division-I era. In addition, Seals has now started and played in all 83 games in her career thus far, which puts her in a three-way tie for the fourth most starts in program history.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunity to play this sport and be healthy enough to play at this time. It's a great accomplishment and I'm happy to be one of the players to do that here at this school," Seals said.
Utah Valley's final comeback push began in the opening frame of the third quarter, as Taylor Gordon capped a 9-3 run with a pull-up jumper in the lane that cut the SU lead to six, 37-31. Freshman forward Jordan Holland sparked the Wolverine scoring surge with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws, while junior Sam Lubcke chipped in a basket in the paint during the first 5:24 of the period.
UVU received double-digit scoring efforts from three players on the afternoon, as Gordon scored a team-high 15 for the second-straight contest and Lubcke matched Seals with 12 points of her own. Lubcke, who pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds, tallied her sixth double-double of the year and second in the past three games.
The Redhawks, however, overcame the Wolverines' third-quarter scoring bursts with a 13-0 stretch at the start the fourth quarter and 25 points in the period to run away with the victory.
Seattle U was led by the scoring efforts of its top scorers in Alexis Montgomery and Kaylee Best, as Montgomery posted a game-high 17 points and Best finished with 15 points to lead a group of eight Redhawk players that made a basket. The dual-threat offensive duo of Best and Montgomery also combined for seven of their squad's 10 made 3-pointers in the contest.
"Hats off to Seattle U. They're a good team, they're rolling and playing confident. They hit some shots there and we missed some. Most games sort of have a tipping point and that was the one where things went their way," Nixon said.
On the glass, UVU reeled in 44 rebounds compared to 42 for Seattle U to win the battle on the boards behind a season-high-tying 23 team offensive rebounds. Paving the way for the Wolverines was Lubcke with eight offensive boards, followed by five a piece from Gordon and freshman forward Leya Harvey in the setback.
"One thing I was really pleased with tonight and that we really challenged the girls to do was rebound the ball better, so I was pleased with that effort on the boards," said Nixon.
The Wolverines next face UMKC on Feb. 9, and then Chicago State on Feb. 11, to continue WAC play and close its three-game homestand. Both contests are slated for a 7 p.m. MT tipoff in Lockhart Arena.