The champs are here. The Wolverines won their final home game of the season against Houston Baptist, 59-46. That win clinched the regular season championship and the first seed in the upcoming Great West Conference tournament.
“Ninety-nine percent of what we do every day, we do without people there,” said Head Coach Cathy Nixon. “It’s been a pleasure for me every day to coach these girls because they come to work. They come to play together and as a coach, that’s what you want and I’m really grateful for them. Stat’s don’t always tell the whole story.”
The Wolverines had already clinched at least a share of the regular season championship prior to senior night, but they knew that a win at home would seal the title and inch them closer to achieving their pre-season goal of making it to a post-season tournament.
“We knew that we had to go out there and take care of business,” said senior forward Sammie Jensen. “We wanted to win the conference championship and play hard with no regrets.”
Jensen saved her best performance for last, literally. In her final home game as a Wolverine, she scored 32 points, a career-high, and 19 rebounds. She scored in a myriad of ways, post-ups, perimeter scoring and one of her best outings from the free throw line. She was 10 for 10 before missing her final free throw in the closing moments of the game.
“I’ve said it all year long, and really since she (Jensen) got here,” Nixon said. “She brings consistency. If we were all as consistent at our job as Sammie is with hers, we’d probably all be a lot better.”
Jensen wasn’t the only senior who went out with a bang. Kaycee Mansfield finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Cydne Gray had two points and five assists. Alle Finch Cardwell chipped in with three points, three rebounds and two assists. The final two seniors, Sarah Clement and Tasha Sanborn, were able to see some time as well.
“I get kind of sad on senior day,” Nixon said. “What these girls have meant to our program is really immeasurable. If you look at where Kaycee Mansfield and Cydne Gray were their freshman year, which was last place in our conference, and then four years later they win a championship, it’s been an awesome four years with those guys. We have another championship to win and more games after that, this was just one of our goals and we we’re fortunate to accomplish it.”
A long trip to Chicago is next up for the Wolverine, standing out as a conference favorite in hopes to grab a hold of the GWC tournament title. A championship there would send the Wolverines to a post-season tournament, something the seniors want and, quite frankly, deserve.