The joys of being a student-athlete have never been more apparent than they are with the seniors leaving the Utah Valley women’s basketball team. Three players have dedicated the last few years to gaining an education through UVU, as well as representing women’s athletics on the hardwood. Keana Delos Santos, Jordan Holland and Alexis Cortez have all shined in different ways and it’s time we get to know them one last time as Wolverines.
A name that will not soon be forgotten in the world of UVU athletics is Jordan Holland. Like Delos Santos, Holland played all four of her eligible basketball years as a Wolverine and had some record breaking accomplishments. The New Mexico native played in a total of 119 games, 111 of those in the starting five — putting her at second and third in all-time UVU games started and played respectively.
Holland’s name can be found in more than 16 records in the top-10 list, including total points scored, field goal and three point percentages to name a few. A full list of her statistical accomplishments can be found here.
Like others on the Wolverine women’s basketball squad, UVU wasn’t on a list of top schools to play basketball for Holland.
“I always wanted to play college basketball and get a good education,” said Holland. “Basically anywhere not in New Mexico was the plan.”
Aside from her outstanding basketball career, she has also dedicated a lot of her time towards her academics as an exercise science major. She, like Delos Santos, was awarded Academic All-WAC three straight years, with the verdict still out on her senior year.
“I really like the exercise science program here at UVU and I’m really big on education and I wanted to finish in four years,” stated Holland when asked if transferring had ever crossed her mind. “My junior year I was really close to the 1,000 point mark, so I wanted to stay and get my name in the book and get the new coach and start a new program with him [Dan Nielson].”
That 1,000 point mark was reached mid-way through her senior year. An and-one bucket right after tip-off got her the 1,000 points in what was ultimately a home loss to Grand Canyon on Jan. 25.
If you followed the women’s basketball team this season, you’d know that while they accomplished some great things, they had a rough start. Chalk that up to a new coaching staff trying to mesh with the team or just sheer bad luck, but it was a start that nobody on the team wanted.
“It hurts your soul not to win, but we stayed positive and we knew the real goal was conference so we just had to stay positive,” Holland said regarding the slow 3-9 start to the season. “I couldn’t quit, it was my senior year, I wanted to have a good senior year and everyone thought the same, they were all in it.”
Having played under one coaching staff for her first three years of basketball made her final year under Nielson and his staff a little different. She was used to playing a zone defense under coach Kathy Nixon which was uprooted when Nielson took over. That, coupled with having to form a new player-to-coach relationship led to an interesting, yet enjoyable senior year for Holland.
When asked if the scenario had been different and the Wolverines had been one of the teams that weren’t able to play in the WAC tournament before it was shut down due to COVID-19, she stated that she was just happy to finish out her senior year. Her mentality was ‘a game is a game’ and she was proud to be able to finish her season, even if it was a loss to Seattle in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament.
There are a lot of great memories for Holland to look back on as well as tough moments that helped her grow over the years.
“My freshman and sophomore years were my toughest years definitely,” said Holland. “Just like my role on the team and the team in general was really tough and hard. I could have quit, I could have transferred, but I just decided to stay and stick it through and get better and be a better person.”
“Making the buzzer-beater against UTRGV my junior year and beating New Mexico State at New Mexico,” she said, when asked what her all-time favorite moments have been as a Wolverine.
The latter will be something few Wolverines will forget anytime soon. Beating NMSU on their home court was something that had never been done in UVU history, so snapping their 23-game home winning streak was huge.
Beating UTRGV last season helped get the Wolverines to a 4-0 conference start. Holland kissed the ball off the glass as time expired for a layup of all layups to win the game 57-55 in Texas.
Holland finished out the semester in Utah after spending the week after the tournament in New Mexico with family. She has since returned home to enjoy quarantine with family and spend lots of time studying for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). She plans to take that in September and apply to medical school next year to begin the process of becoming a doctor.
“I was just blessed to have this opportunity to get my education like I always said and I had a good time playing basketball,” said Holland.
(Photo by Hunter Hall)