Anxiously awaiting the start of the 2012-13 season, the women’s basketball team tipped off on Friday against Boise State. The team will play its second home game Monday night against local rival Utah State. The game begins at 7 p.m. in the UCCU Center and will be televised on UVU TV.
Finishing last season at an even .500 regular season record and a 6-4 in conference play, the Wolverines are poised to be sharper this season than they were a year ago. One asset they look to is the return of Great West Conference Player of the Year Sammie Jensen.
The six-foot forward senior finished her 2011-12 campaign as the second leading scorer in the Great West with 13.4 points per game and was tough down in the paint on both ends of the ball. The top conference rebounder with an average of 10.1 rebounds per game, Jensen not only led her team with tough play, but she was also the best free throw shooter in the conference, showing a finessed touch by making .824 percent of her free throws.
The Wolverines expect her to do big things this year as Jensen was the only player to average a double-double in any statistical category in the GWC.
In addition to Jensen, the ladies will be looking to their junior guard Whitney Jenkins and junior forward Kaycee Mansfield to solidify the Wolverine line up. In an exhibition game on Nov. 3, Jenkins and Mansfield scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in a 71-55 win against Adams State.
Last season, Jenkins chipped in 6.1 points and 2 rebounds a game as a limited role-playing sophomore. The Wolverines expect those numbers to increase this year as she will get more playing time as a junior.
Mansfield played in every game last season for the women’s basketball team starting 15 of those games. Like Jenkins, UVU will need her role increased, as well, if the team wants the kind of success it knows it is capable of. Mansfield snatched a season high 11 rebounds in a 68-59 victory against Idaho State on Nov. 19, 2011. It is performances like that the Wolverines are hoping to see a lot of.
With that being said, the breakout player of the year just might be the Wolverines’ Alle Finch Cardwell. The guard, also playing in her senior season, appeared in every game in 2011-12 for UVU and shot a scorching .412 percent from beyond the arch. If Finch can deliver the same kind of precision again, coupled with the interior from Jensen and Mansfield, women’s basketball just might be one of the top teams in the GWC.
The Wolverines are lead by Cathy Nixon, entering her 18th season as the women’s basketball head coach, with Liz Darger, Dan Nielson and Abbie Beutler as assistant coaches.