The Wolverines season came crashing down in the Great West Conference tournament when they couldn’t generate enough offense to beat NJIT. UVU lost a hard-fought battle 52-42.
“We played pretty well defensively,” said Head Coach Cathy Nixon. “We held them to 52 points and we got good shots, but they just didn’t fall and we went cold.”
Not only was the tournament championship lost, but the Wolverines needed that win to secure a post-season bid. One of the lesser tournaments had talked to UVU prior to the Great West tournament, making the Wolverines aware they were on their radar, but they needed the tournament championship to secure that invitation. Even then, the invitation wasn’t guaranteed. NJIT, the tournament winner, was not invited to a tournament. That brought the Wolverines some comfort but not enough to suppress the disappointment of not continuing their season.
“The hardest thing is knowing that we won’t be a team anymore,” Nixon said. “We will always be a family, but my thoughts were that we all worked so hard to get to that point in that journey then it just stops. It feels like you running full speed on a treadmill then someone pulls the plug.”
After a slow start in non-conference play, the Wolverines fought back and put together an impressive run in the second half of the season. They finished the season winning seven of their final eight games, which put them at .500 for the season at 14-14. Their second-half run will be something coach Nixon will always remember.
“They are some great girls in terms of who they are as people,” Nixon said. “They’re focus and ability to be successful is inspiring. They manage the life of a student athlete in an amazing way and it’s awesome.”
Sammie Jensen led a senior class that will always be remembered at UVU for their accomplishments. Jensen set new Wolverine highs for points and rebounds. She also joined the 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound club. A very small group of players can say they’ve accomplished that in a career. Cydne Gray and Kaycee Mansfield helped lead the Wolverines to three championship game appearances in the four years they played for UVU. Mansfield finished her career as the Wolverine who appeared in the most games. Gray finished top ten in career assists. Alle Finch-Cardwell, Tasha Sanborn, and Sarah Clement helped elevate this program to the level it’s at today.
“I’ve always said that if this silly game of basketball doesn’t make us better people, then it’s a waste of time,” Nixon said. “This team made me a better person this season, and I only wish I could coach them for one more game. I love this team and those seniors for the way they’ve raised the bar and the expectation for our program going forward.”
In a lot of ways this was a successful season for the Wolverines. They achieved most of their goals, but the loss against NJIT at the end of the season will remain with them for quite some time.