At the end of the game verses Texas-Pan American, there was a lot of celebrating on the Lady Wolverines bench. They had reason to as they had just enjoyed a convincing win and improved to 3-1 in conference play. The Wolverines fixed some problems that had plagued them, such as their poor shooting, after shooting 52 percent from the field. The defense was the bright spot in the game for the Wolverines and Erika Newbold paced the team with five blocks.
Senior point guard Abbie Beutler was back to full health as she controlled the tempo of the game and got the ball inside to Sammie Jensen, who had game highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Texas-Pan American team made a late push, but the Wolverines were able to hold them off and hang on for a 15-point win.
The Wolverines are in need of a consistent perimeter scoring option. That perimeter scorer should be Jenna Johnson, however, she has struggled with her shot as of late and was not in the starting lineup Thursday. Alle Finch replaced Johnson, a change that head coach Cathy Nixon addressed after the game.
“I think those kids are gonna get probably about the same minutes they have been getting,” Nixon said. “Alle has been playing well and we wanted to set the tone defensively.”
When asked if this starting lineup would continue, she said, “I don’t know if it will continue, but I was pleased with it tonight for sure.”
Johnson played well in a limited role, as she made two of her three shot attempts.
The team as a whole has been playing well lately. Their 3-1 start to conference play tied them for first place in the Great West Conference as of Thursday. The team’s greatest strength is something that is often underrated in sports: team chemistry. The Wolverines always cheering each other on, and the bench is very animated. The coaching staff has taken notice as well.
“This team has probably the best team chemistry I’ve had,” Nixon said. “We have very unselfish kids. They take care of each other. Sometimes January can be a little bit of a grind, but these ki ds are having fun.”
The Wolverines opened conference play by defeated their toughest competition for a league title, the University of North Dakota. It was a tightly contested game, ending in a four-point win for UVU.
Their only loss was at the hands of the Chicago State Cougars, who they face at home on Feb. 11.
By Nick Hefler