CBU forward Caitlyn Harper joined the 1,000-point club this week as CBU picked up a pair of wins. Courtesy CBU Athletics.

CBU, GCU and SFA Have Impressive Weekend to Sit Atop WAC Standings

We had a little bit of everything to start this Holiday weekend on the women’s side of WAC basketball. CBU’s Caitlyn Harper joined the 1,000-point club. GCU swept its road trip to set up a big time Thursday night game in Phoenix. Utah Valley finally got in the win column in WAC play. And games that were previously postponed were finally made up. All in all, another fun week of WAC hoops on the women’s side.

Let’s recap it and get you set for a key week in the race to a regular season champion.

Saturday, January 15

CBU 83, Utah Valley 68

Utah Valley made the Lancers earn a win in Orem. The Wolverines cut a double digit second half deficit to a single point before losing contact with CBU late to fall to 0-3 in 2022. Caitlyn Harper had a big day at the UCCU Center, setting a new career-high, with 30 points. Harper also had three rebounds and two blocks. Tiena Neale went 5-6 from 3-point land for the Lancers and added 15 points. It was the third straight game in double figures for Neale.

CBU was 13-26 from 3-point land and shot 51 percent from the field. The Lancers also had 25 assists in the contest.

Josie Williams had 22 points and 13 rebounds with three assists. Madison Grange (12 points) and Shay Fano (11 points) were also in double figures. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Wolverines struggled to hit an outside shot all day. Utah Valley hit just four 3-pointers in the contest.

Abilene Christian 76, New Mexico State 73 

One wouldn’t be too far off in describing this weekend as one that got away for the New Mexico State women’s basketball team. Thursday at Tarleton, the Aggies fell 58-56. Then, Saturday night, the Aggies played really well for three and a half quarters, putting Abilene Christian down 19 points at one juncture, before the Wildcats stormed back to prevail at home.

Freshman Bella Earle was the spark with back to back 3-point plays which cut the deficit to 11 after three quarters. Then, with 75 seconds to go, Earle recorded the go-ahead layup to cap a career day with 16 points. Sarah Griswold was 6-12 from the field for 13 points and Madi Miller added another dozen points for the Wildcats who were 27-48 from the field but held to just one 3-pointer.

Bigue Sarr led the Aggies with 21 points and 12 rebounds and Tayelin Grays added 10 points and five rebounds in defeat.

Grand Canyon 47, Tarleton 37

With Stephen F. Austin coming to town on Thursday, I’m sure Grand Canyon women’s basketball coach Molly Miller wanted to see a cleaner offensive performance from her Lopes. However, they dug down deep, rallying from an early double digit deficit to complete a weekend sweep.

After hitting double digit 3-pointers on Thursday and shooting 50 percent from the field, GCU hit just one lone perimeter jumper while shooting 34 percent on Saturday. Iyana Dorsey of Tarleton led all scorers with 13 points while three different Lopes (Amara Graham, Tiarra Brown, and Naudia Evans) each had 8 points. Grand Canyon added another 33 turnovers forced to their tally.

Dixie State 75, Seattle 69

After not participating in conference play a season ago, the Trailblazers evened out their conference record after a win against the Redhawks at Burns Arena. The Trailblazers used a 26-10 third quarter to grab the lead.

In her second game as a Trailblazer, Shanaijah Davidson led all scorers with 20 points along with seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Macie Warren also had 14 points while Brooke Vance chipped in 12 points, six rebounds and three steals for Dixie State.

Bree Calhoun had 18 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals for Seattle. The Redhawks also got 14 points and two blocks from Georgia Kehoe with another 10 points from Jadynn Alexander.

Stephen F. Austin 79, Sam Houston State 46 

It was an 8-point lead at half but Stephen F. Austin outscored the Bearkats 23-7 in third quarter play to create separation and stay undefeated in WAC play.

Aiyana Johnson was a perfect 7-7 from the field finishing with 17 points and three rebounds to lead the ‘Jacks. Zya Nugent added 13 points, three rebounds and two steals while Stephanie Visscher chipped in another 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the win.

Damaya Telemaque led Sam Houston State with 11 points and four rebounds. The Bearkats shot just 3-10 in the third quarter while the ‘Jacks, led by a perfect Johnson (6-6) were 9-14 from the field.

Lamar 55, Chicago State 47

At the Jones Convocation Center, Lamar outscored Chicago State 36-20 in the middle quarters to prevail.

Anyssia Gibbs led the Cardinals with 20 points and hit four 3-pointers. Sabria Dean also added 12 points and five rebounds.

Aalyiah Collins had 21 points and six rebounds to lead the Cougars.

Monday, January 17

It was a really competitive Monday across the conference as COVID-19 makeup games were completed. In fact, the average margin of victory was just a little over six points and favorites are earning every win until they meet each other.

CBU 76, Seattle 66

At the Redhawk Center, CBU found themselves trailing early but once they grabbed a second quarter lead, there was no looking back as they moved to 4-0 in WAC play. Seattle is winless in conference play and 5-9 overall.

Caitlyn Harper followed up her 30-point performance on Saturday with another 24 points to join the 1,000-point club. Harper also had seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal. Meanwhile, the reigning WAC Player of the Year (& preseason favorite to defend) Ane Olaeta added 22 points and matched a career high in made 3-pointers with 6 six. Olaeta also had six assists, three steals, and three rebounds.

Bree Calhoun came off the bench and led Seattle with 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Courtney Murphy added 12 points, 13 rebounds, and four steals in defeat for the Redhawks.

Stephen F. Austin 65, Lamar 53

In Beaumont, the Cardinals hit 10 3-pointers and led at intermission but fell as the Lumberjacks stay undefeated heading into a Thursday night matchup against Grand Canyon for first place.

Stephanie Visscher led the rally with 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Zya Nugent added 18 points, five rebounds, four steals, and three assists for a Lumberjack team playing without Aalyiah Johnson, Aiyana Johnson, and Avery Brittingham.

Sabria Dean had 14 points and three rebounds to lead the Cardinals. Akasha Davis added 10 points and six rebounds.

Tarleton 62, Sam Houston 61 

The Texans evened their record conference play at 3-3 on Monday. But, not before having to survive a Bearkats rally from 13 points down at half to make a game of it.

Malaya Kendrick had 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals to lead Tarleton. Jurnee President added 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the win.

Faith Cook had 19 points to lead the hosts. Madelyn Batista chipped in 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals while Kaylee Jefferson added 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in defeat.

Utah Valley 68, Dixie State 65

Monday’s first edition of the Old Hammer Rivalry Game was a wild one as Dixie State rallied from 17 points down to tie it at 62. However, last year’s NCAA tournament representative buckled down and got key stops with five late points from Josie Williams to hang on.

In a Utah Valley release coach Dan Nielson said “I was proud of the way we fought through some adversity to get a win, especially after the last month. Dixie State changed things up defensively on us and once they forced a couple of missed they really grabbed momentum. We’ll take it and move on.”

Williams had 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Wolverines. Maria Carvalho contributed 17 points, eight rebounds, and two assists while Madison Grainge had 13 points and a team-high five assists.

Emily Issacson had 19 points and hit five 3-pointers in the loss. Issacson also had nine rebounds and three assists to lead the Trailblazers. Breaunna Gillen added 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Shanaijah Davidson contributed another 16 points with three rebounds and three assists.

A look ahead…

Thursday, January 20>> 

All Games on ESPN+

Stephen F. Austin @ Grand Canyon 2pm Mountain

Tarleton State @ CBU  6pm Pacific

Abilene Christian @ Seattle U  6pm Pacific

Dixie State @ Lamar  7pm  Central

Utah Valley @ UTRGV 7pm Central

Saturday, January 22>>

Stephen F. Austin @ New Mexico State 12pm Mountain

Dixie State @ UTRGV 1pm Central

Utah Valley @ Lamar 1pm Central

Sam Houston State @ Grand Canyon 2pm Mountain

Abilene Christian @ CBU 1pm Pacific

Tarleton State @ Seattle 2pm Pacific

Standings as of 1/17/22…

Stephen F. Austin 14-3, 5-0

CBU                       13-2, 5-0

Grand Canyon      11-5, 4-1

Abilene Christian 12-5, 4-2

UTRGV.                  6-9, 2-1

Tarleton State      11-6, 3-3

Lamar                     6-4, 2-3

Dixie State             4-6, 2-3

NM State               3-7, 1-2

Utah Valley           3-7, 1-3

Chicago State      2-8, 1-4

Seattle                  3-7, 0-3

Sam Houston State 5-10, 0-4



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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