As the Utah Valley women’s basketball team visited Long Beach State University last Friday, head coach Cathy Nixon found the team’s greatest opportunity on the offensive side of the game. UVU fell short in their season opener against Long Beach State 75-43 starting their record 0-1.
Describing the season opener on the road, Nixon said that the team expected some “kinks” that would need to be worked out as the new season starts up again. The Wolverines shot 26.9 percent from the field in the first half and ended with an 18.5 clip in the second.
“Every year is a new year, and even though we have most of our personnel back, we’re in different roles and we’re running different things,” Nixon said. “I think we’re definitely a team that is getting better. That is what we’re supposed to be doing this time of year.”
As ball handling was an issue that the team struggled with last season, Nixon is looking to point guards Cydne Mason and Abbie Beutler to split shifts to help take care of the ball. Nixon expressed satisfaction in the increase of Mason’s confidence and comfort on the court, saying that between Beutler and Mason the team will create opportunities for scoring.
“More than anything we’re just trying to utilize our personnel and use the tools that we have,” Nixon said.
“On the offensive end, in order to do that, you have to have the ball in the right people’s hands and that’s something we’re definitely working on.” Nixon described all teams as having certain priorities that will improve their overall offense. As for the Wolverines, they want to see specific players putting up consistent shots every night. The Sammie Jensen and senior Jenna Johnson to be those players.
Johnson led the team in scoring against LBSU with 14 points in 29 minutes and Jensen came behind with 11 points on the night. If Jensen and Johnson can continue to put up those shots, Nixon views the team as an offensive success from assists to scoring.
“Taking care of the ball, that’s what we’ve been focusing on,” Johnson said. “If that’s what the team needs than I’m here for them.”
Overall, Utah Valley has viewed their season opener as an opportunity to learn where the team stands after coming out of the off season. As UVU prepares for a three-game road trip, the team will continue to practice their offensive skills and prepare themselves for the rest of the season.
“Success will come from multiple people contributing to the offense because we have a lot of good weapons,” Nixon said.
By KEVIN OLSEN
Photo by Lance Larsen