Mid-November saw the women’s basketball team head to the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament to represent Utah Valley for the first time.
“I feel like it was a great compliment, mostly to our teams in the past,” said Coach Cathy Nixon. “It was a great honor for us to represent Utah Valley in a tournament like that and I think the girls gained a lot from it.”
The lady Wolverines started out against South Dakota State on Nov. 12, but weren’t able to keep up with them as the Wolverines shot 27 percent from the floor to the Jackrabbits’ 60 percent, letting them take the game with a 49-point lead, 87-38.
UVU then moved into the consolation bracket where they next prepared to face Lamar in Beaumont, Texas, on Nov. 19.
The lady Cardinals used Utah Valley’s 23 turnovers against them to secure them the 83-66 win, despite a Wolverine comeback effort in the second half.
Despite the loss, the lady Wolverines posted high stats. Junior All-star Jenna Johnson led Utah Valley with 19 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Kaycee Mansfield and sophomore transfer Sammie Jensen followed with 16 points apiece.
The following day, the lady Wolverines would have one final competition in the WNIT tournament, as they were granted at least three games.
Utah Valley met Austin Peay looking to take a win away from the WNIT competition. Despite holding a six-point lead in the final four minutes, they weren’t able to take the win from Austin Peay, finishing 73-69.
Four players on Nixon’s squad finished against Austin Peay in double figures. Jensen lead the lady Wolverines with 19 points and nine rebounds and was followed by sophomore transfer Abbie Beutler adding 13 points and five rebounds, freshman Kim Bell with 12 points and six rebounds and Johnson with 10 points and three rebounds.
Despite the three-game loss in WNIT play, Nixon doesn’t regret taking her squad to compete.
“It was a really good experience for us,” Nixon said. “We played some really good teams, played some conference champions and teams that competed in the tournament and my hope for this team is that we’ll start to translate some of that experience onto the basketball floor.”