Most people playing a team sport will say their teammates are their best friends. After eight years of playing together, it’s no longer a cliché.
Kaycee Mansfield and Cydne Mason are two juniors starting for the UVU women’s basketball team. They started playing together in seventh grade in American Fork and have continued through their college career.
Mason, at 5-6, is the point guard for the team. Mansfield is listed at 5-10 and plays the swing-forward position, which is either the small or the power forward.
They met in first grade, before most anyone could actually play real basketball. They were in the same class before a move took them out of elementary school boundaries. They played against each other through elementary school until they came to the same school in Junior High.
Once they got to high school they started showing off their skills as players and helped their teams improve each year.
During their freshman year at American Fork High School their basketball team won a total of four games.
In their junior year they were able to win their region title and take second place in state. Their senior year they helped the Cavemen win the state championship. They were both named to at least one First Team All-State team by local papers.
While they were tea mmates and came to UVU, they didn’t choose to come to Orem at the same time.
“It’s kinda funny how it happened,” Mason said. “I was a verbal commit before my senior year.”
“I knew of her decision,” Mansfield said, “but I still wanted to take a look at my options. I looked around and this was my best option. It all worked out.”
They both have an admiration for the others work ethic, which allows them to both push each other.
“Her work ethic to do whatever it takes to get better,” Mansfield said of Mason’s qualities. “She takes charge on defense.”
“Other than her work ethic,” Mason said regarding Mansfield. “She plays bigger than her position. She isn’t noticed like big scorers, but when you look up at the scoreboard she has made a big difference. She does all the little things that make a big difference.”
The two also have more in common than just basketball. Mason is going into health education and Mansfield is going into physical education. Both would be looking at doing the same thing when they stop playing basketball, teaching junior high or high school.
When asked what they would do if they weren’t playing basketball, neither was sure, but Mason said, “going to school thinking about playing basketball.”
Along with their talents they also brought some pregame rituals to the UVU team.
While in high school they set up a lot of pregame traditions. One of the rituals they had was finding heads-up lucky pennies and taping them face up and then giving them to their assistant coach, who would hold them during games so they could high-five the pennies. They also ate donuts on game-days their junior year.
Another tradition that they have brought is wearing tattoos. In high school the team would wear a temporary tattoo on their thigh and that is one they have carried on here this year as well. They are using Ed Hardy-styled tattoos right now, but once they run out they will just go to a vending machine and see what they get.
The team is full of best friends. But if these two old friends are able to repeat what they did in high school after two bad years, then things will be looking up for the Women’s team at UVU.
Jarom Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org