Meet WBB star forward Shay Fano

Reading Time: 3 minutes Shay Fano has been a star for the Wolverines this season.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Utah Valley University women’s basketball star forward Shay Fano has been terrific during her career year for the Wolverines this season.

At the time of reporting, Fano has started all 22 games for the Wolverines while averaging 10.8 points per game, a career-high, as well as 6.7 rebounds per game. 

“I feel like the past couple of years, I’ve just tried to do my role and do what I need to do to help the team be successful,” said Fano. “This year… my role has changed into more of a scoring role. In order to win games, I need to score the ball. I don’t feel like there were too many changes I’ve made, but I think that’s my role now. That’s just what I’ve had to do to help my team be successful this year compared to other years.”

In a season that has had a lot of adversity for the Wolverines, Fano said that she has learned a lot:

“It’s been really challenging but I feel like I’ve learned a lot; it’s helped me and my team be better basketball players in a way that we have to be coachable, we have to be willing to change what we’re doing, and we have to be willing to listen to what we’re being told in order to be successful. I think it’s helped us try to stay positive and not let the outcome or result dictate our actions and our energy, which is really hard but we’ve been trying to do that.”

Fano also credits her growth to UVU Head Coach Dan Nielsen: “I feel like I’ve learned a lot from Coach Nielsen. Coach Nielsen is such a good coach. He’s been able to adjust to so many challenges that we’ve been facing. Being able to learn from him these last couple of years and being developed by him and his staff has really helped me progress not only as a player and my IQ in the game of basketball but also just as a person in life.”

Fano said that the Wolverines’ chemistry has been growing stronger and that the team always has one another’s support despite the challenges they’ve faced this season.

This season, the team has 13 freshmen and sophomores, Fano has taken on a leadership role on the team as one of the only three upperclassmen as a redshirt junior.

“… I feel lucky,” she said. “Helping them has actually helped me become more knowledgeable about the game. It’s been fun to be able to see them progress. I can see what each one of them is capable of. We are getting there; it’s been rewarding to help them in any way I can to become better basketball players,” Fano said.

Fano prepped at Timpview High School, where she was a two-time Deseret News first-team All-State selection, the Daily Herald All-Valley Defensive MVP in 2018 and offensive MVP in 2019, and was named to the 2018 USA Today All-USA Utah second team. She also averaged 19.6 points and 9.7 rebounds during her senior year. 

After high school, Fano played her first year of college basketball for the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds where she started in 30 games as a true freshman. She averaged 9.7 points per game along with 5.7 rebounds while shooting at a 42.5% three-point percentage.

While she stated enjoyed her time at SUU and had a positive experience, Fano found that she wanted to return close to home to be around her family. She decided to attend UVU after Nielsen and his staff reached out to her and entered her name into the NCAA transfer portal in early 2020. 

Fano has enjoyed her experience playing for the Wolverines so far. 

“I feel like I came into another program that had players that breathe, eat, and sleep basketball,” Fano expressed. “That was exactly what I was looking for. You can just tell that they want it so badly for you which makes you want it even more badly. They want you to be successful and they want this team to be so successful that they will do anything that they possibly can to help you be successful. I feel like that’s been a huge blessing coming to UVU.”

Fano has played for UVU for three seasons and plans on returning for another year for the 2023-24 season as a graduate player. This May, she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communication and plans on going into sports public relations once she’s finished her career playing for the Wolverines.