Too much of one thing can be a bad thing, a case the UVU women’s basketball team experienced for themselves for much of the middle portion of this season.
The Wolverines were forced to rely often on the production of post players Sammie Jensen and Erika Newbold, even as the perimeter players struggled to find any semblance of consistency. Jensen led the team in scoring five games in a row, while Newbold provided another low-post threat and an additional rebounder
While head coach Cathy Nixon wanted both players to produce more on the offensive end, she did not want the other players to drop off as drastically as they did. That reliance on the junior tandem has changed over the last three games as the Wolverines approach the Great West Conference tournament.
Three different perimeter players led the team in scoring in those games. Two ended as double-digit wins for UVU, with the third a blowout at WAC member Seattle. Even better, Thursday’s road win over Houston Baptist saw two bench players lead the team, with Taylor Huber (13 points) and Jenna Johnson (12 points) providing the offensive punch on a night Jensen went for only six.
Johnson’s recent production is particularly encouraging. The senior guard was expected to be the team’s leading perimeter scorer and second overall to Jensen heading into the season. Instead a string of poor shooting performances forced Nixon to experiment starting her on the bench, one of several attempts to find a lineup that would consistently produce.
The move has worked wonders, leading to Johnson scoring in double figures in three straight games off the bench. Her scoring has been more selective, as she has attempted – ands made – one 3-pointer in her last 30 attempts while shooting exactly 50 percent from the field.
Johnson will look to continue her torrid shooting Saturday in the Wolverines’ regular season finale at North Dakota.
By Matt Petersen