Wolverine cub leading the pack

Sophomore transfer Sammie Jensen is leading the lady Wolverines in points and rebounds per game.

Sophomore transfer Sammie Jensen goes for a layup in this seasons contest with BYU. Shane Maryott/UVU Review

Most sophomores in any NCAA Division I sport are fighting for any playing time they can get, much less leading their team in playing time and major stats categories.

Sammie Jensen, a forward for the lady Wolverines, is doing just that in her first year with UVU. Jensen, who refers to herself as a “quiet” individual off the court, has been making a ton of noise on the court, leading the team thus far in points per game (12.3) and rebounds per game (10.1).

Spectators and fans can only respect such ability to average a double-double so early in a collegiate career, as it is a feat that basketball fans can respect at any level. As fans watch the 20-year-old Jensen grow more confident game in and game out, she feels right at home.

“It just kind of feels like home,” Jensen said. “It’s just really fun and fulfilling to live out your dream.”

Some say that big-time players are measured by their performance against big-time teams. If this is true, then Jensen is measuring up just fine so far this season. Scoring a season high of 19 points against Boise State while pulling down 14 boards kept the lady Wolverines within reaching distance in a hard fought battle with the Broncos during winter break.

Jensen also posted a double-double against crosstown rival BYU, and fell just short in rebounds to get one against South Dakota State in the Women’s Preseason NIT to kick off the season.

“Our goal is to recruit superior athletes and superior players, and we feel like Sammie definitely is one of those,” said Coach Cathy Nixon. “She brings a combination of natural physical ability, basketball skills and mental toughness to our team that we need. You can see it in her first year here that she’s put herself right in the center of things, leading us in scoring and rebounding and definitely is an important player this year and will be for the future.”

A main reason the two-time Utah All-State basketball star is performing so well her first year in Division I is due to her time playing last year as a true freshman at Snow College, where Jensen was honored with a Second Team All-Conference award.

A question that may be on the minds of UVU fans is why Jensen wasn’t representing the Wolverines last year.

“We knew about Sammie coming out of high school and had a chance to watch her there, and in many ways she was ready for Division I basketball and academics and in some ways she wasn’t,” said Nixon. “I think her year at Snow was a really good year for her. It allowed her to have experience at a high level and play for a good coaching staff who taught her a lot of things. And I think it helped her to mature so that this year she could be in a position where we could rely on her.”

And rely on her they do. Jensen brings a level of intensity and passion to the court that is contagious, and in a rebuilding season for the lady Wolverines, that is a huge responsibility.

Jensen is all right with this so-called leadership, saying, “I love it, I think it’s cool that I can bring that kind of energy to the team. I’m really quiet everywhere else, and I let the older players take over the more experienced parts [of the game], like in the locker room and everywhere else. But on the floor, I just have passion for the game and work hard and people just feed off the energy.”

With the 2010-11 season already in the heart of the schedule and the team continuing to fight and grow, Jensen feels that she and the team have the right tools for growing success in the remaining season.

“Hard work, for sure,” Jensen stated. “That’s how everyone gets to D1 [Division I], put in the hard work and passion for the game. Those two combined means everything, and you can just see it, not only in me, but in everyone on the team. We all have passion for the game and we all work hard.”

Jensen applies the same attitude found on the court to her work in the classroom, receiving a 4.0 throughout high school, and is now a pre-med student majoring in Exercise Science. To go along with her talents on the court and in the classroom, Jensen also enjoys playing the guitar and saxophone.

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