Heading to Vegas

Stephen Miner, Staff Photographer, @stephenminer

Women’s Basketball is off to the WAC Tournament

Kyle Bruderer | Sports Writer | @brudkyle

The Utah Valley University women’s basketball team’s second regular season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference has come to an end. After a disappointing 7-23 record in their inaugural year with the WAC, the Wolverines were desperate for change and new on-court leadership. UVU currently finds themselves in the middle of the WAC standings, which makes the odds of a first round tournament exit much less likely.

“I think the most important thing is that we play well, that we’re playing Utah Valley basketball defensively and offensively,” head coach Cathy Nixon said. “I think the thing that’s been lacking in terms of being able to clinch wins is just being able to finish and be consistent at the end. We’ve struggled taking care of the ball down the wire when we have had a lead. It’s something that we’re working on and hopefully we can be tight with the ball on the offensive end and be stingy on the defensive end.”

The toughest obstacle that the Wolverines have had this year is winning games on the road. The most frustrating part is that UVU generally takes a lead at some point of every game, but on the road those leads always seem to slip away in the second half. Tournament games however are played in a neutral site. Hopefully the Wolverines will be able to shake off the big pile of road losses and prove that they can compete with anyone in the league.

“To be honest sometimes we have a lead on the road and then we relax,” said freshman guard Mariah Seals. “I feel like if we take each possession and treat it as if it’s the last play of the game we’ll be fine. We have to learn that when we have our foot on someone’s throat we have to keep it there we can’t let up and allow them to get back in the game.”

If you take a look at the WAC standings going into the tournament, you’ll see that Grand Canyon University is ranked in the top half of the pack. Unfortunately for them, they are ineligible to play in the post season due to their recent joining of Division One basketball. Therefore UVU is able to move up in the rankings.

The Wolverines enter this year’s tournament as a very young and inexperienced team. This past season has been a process for coach Nixon to find out exactly what she will be working with over the next couple of years. As expected, sophomore guards Rhaiah Spooner-Knight and Georgia Agnew have taken on leadership roles. Sophomore forward Rebecca MaWhinney and freshman guard Mariah Seals have also emerged this season as deadly weapons offensively.

The WAC tournament will be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas beginning on March 11.

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