Coach Cathy Nixon described senior guard Jenna Johnson as a female Tom Sawyer because of her love for fishing and the raft of milk jugs made by her and her teammates.
“We would test it out in the hot tub,” Johnson said. “We never went fishing off of it though. I want to but I’m not quite sure where it’s at right now.”
Although a Tom Sawyer like description might be appropriate to justify Johnson’s character in her everyday life, the easy going and relaxed description gives it little justice when she hits the court.
From the beginning of the season, Nixon expressed that the “go-to” girl for perimeter scoring would be Johnson along with her multi-talented teammate Sammie Jensen. In her junior year, Johnson scored a career-high 29 points in a game and averaged 13.5 points per game overall.
“I am just happy that my teammates and coach have the confidence in me that they do,” Johnson said.
At Spanish Fork High School Johnson stared in both volleyball and basketball, where she averaged 21 points per game. It was during high school that Johnson decided that basketball was the path she wanted to take to her college career.
“I like basketball better,” Johnson said. “I think volleyball is so fun but I was maybe a little bit better at basketball.”
Many of Johnson’s family members played basketball in their past, which sparked her own interest to start playing. Once immersed into the basketball atmosphere, Johnson started to develop friendships through the sport that would keep her clinging to it, becoming a leader in scoring along the way.
Although basketball has been a part of her family, Johnson was never forced to play. The motivation to become a better player and a better scorer came from herself and the basketball hoop in her driveway.
“My parents had never pressured me to go practice or anything,” Johnson said. “I just did it because I love it. So I played a lot when I was a kid, just went out and shot in my driveway.”
In her final year at Utah Valley, Johnson continues to contribute her talents to lead the team to victories. The annual Great West Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll projected the Wolverines would finish second in the conference. Despite being a complement overall, Johnson and the team will continue to contend for the conference championship.
The women’s basketball team played their final non-conference game on Tuesday night against Walla Walla University before starting their Great West play. Johnson shot a perfect 5-for-5 Tuesday night for 11 points.
At the end of the semester, Johnson will put a close to her college career and graduate with a bachelors in exercise science. When asked what she’ll miss the most, she didn’t hesitate in her response.
“Honestly, the friendships with my teammates,” Johnson said. “That makes it so fun. I’ll miss the competitiveness and something to keep me in shape.”
Kevin Olsen – Sports Writer