There comes a moment in every team’s run to a championship when they must accomplish something that had previously been difficult for them to attain. The Wolverines were able to overcome one of their obstacles while winning at least a share of the conference championship.
UVU won its last road game of the season at Chicago State, 63-55. Sammie Jensen led the way with 18 points and 21
rebounds. The Wolverines led for most of the game, though their
lead was never large enough to feel secure about winning the game until the final seconds ran off the clock.
“I told the girls after we won at Chicago that our win was a result of their hard work,” said Head Coach Cathy Nixon. “Not just in that game and not just in that week of practice, but in last June when they were training and getting up at 7 a.m. for workouts with our conditioning coach. Each one of them put in a ton of time on their own on the court and are really committed to developing themselves and that’s what it takes to win at this level.”
What the Wolverines have done in the second half of this season is remarkable. Halfway through the season, the Wolverines were 4-10. They couldn’t win on the road and weren’t good enough to win the conference championship. Since then,
they are 9-5 and only need one more home win to win the conference outright.
“I think all along a strength we’ve had has been our work ethic,” Nixon said. “These kids compete. They haven’t gotten discouraged regardless of the score. I really think that’s one of our biggest strengths as a team. I think the difference in our play we just started executing things more consistently, we’ve had a little bit more balance scoring and honestly we’ve gotten healthy. Some of those losses we had some kids who were hurt. I think that’s kind of what developing a team is, it doesn’t fall together in the first month.”
Championship caliber teams find ways to break bad habits and overcome the odds en route to a championship, and this team appears to have done just that. They have won games on the road in conference play and are the most consistent they’ve been all year. Three of their five losses in their last 14 games have come by a combined nine points.
Four of their nine wins in the second half of the season have been on the road, and they needed to win their final road game of the year to have a shot at the conference title. They took care of business on the road and now all that stands between them and their goal of being Great West champions is Houston Baptist. The Wolverines beat them in their first matchup down in Houston. A second victory over them would put UVU atop the Great West food chain in their final season before joining the WAC.