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 represent women’s athletics on the hardwood. Keana Delos Santos is one of those seniors who shines on and off the court.
Keana Delos Santos
As a Northern California native, Delos Santos wasn’t focused on the state of Utah, let alone UVU, for her college experience. It wasn’t until she was offered a scholarship by then UVU head coach Cathy Nixon that she decided to move. She’ll be the first to admit that she wasn’t the highest recruited in high school, but what she lacked in college interest, she more than made up for in work ethic and enthusiasm.
Delos Santos was always the first to rally her teammates, whether it be on the court or from the bench. She would make sure every teammate received an energetic high five, especially after the big plays.
“The high fives [were] something I loved to do to stay engaged,” she said. “This was a religious thing for me since the Boise State game and I did it until my last game, it was important to stay engaged with the game until my number was called.”
Playing all four years of eligibility with one school doesn’t happen often and, in Keana’s case, there was a thought in her early years with UVU that transfering might be on the table. Luckily for her fans and the women’s basketball program, she stayed loyal to UVU and made it a point to make the most of her time as a Wolverine and made an emphasis on her education.
She focused so much on her education that she received Academic All-WAC honors. The jury is still out on whether she will make that list this year, but if her track record proves anything, she should get that 4-peat.
During her four years, Delos Santos played in 99 games. Her best year statistically came as a freshman when she played in 28 games, scored a career high 12 points in a game and averaged 3.4 points per game. She averaged just over 17 minutes per game that season as well, which would be drastically cut down to 6.8 minutes the following year. That was the start of her transition from being a role player to cheering on her teammates from the sidelines.
“I guess my four years haven’t really been ideal,” said Delos Santos. “Going into college, I thought I would be one of those athletes that would be on the court. However I had a different role the whole four years which was hard for me in the beginning.”
In regards to the season coming to an unfortunate end, she was excited about the fact that her team ended the season with their highest seeding ever as the second seed. Being one of the few teams in the country that got to participate in their postseason tournament was big, especially for the seniors.
But when asked if she would have had it any differently she explained that of course they would have rather won the quarterfinal game against Seattle University, but being able to play in the tournament at all was worth it.
“A lot of people didn’t get to experience their tournaments,” said Delos Santos. “That’s what we were building up to, so that was an experience for all of us and me especially.”
Delos Santos has plenty of fond memories of her years playing for UVU, but the highlight came just this last year when they beat New Mexico State on the Aggies home court. It was a game for the record books as the Wolverines snapped the Aggies 23-game home winning streak.
“Beating New Mexico finally my senior year with Dan was definitely a highlight,” she said. “I remember everything in the locker room, he was crying, everyone was crying, it was a really happy time and that was by far the highlight for my senior year.”
Now that her career has come to an end as a Wolverine, she has big professional aspirations. She’s had interviews with big name teams in the NBA as a digital marketing intern, though those aspirations might have to wait while the NBA is on hold. She plans to move back home to California for the time being to be with her family and live the quarantine life with them.
More than anything though, she’s just been grateful to have had the chance to play college basketball at UVU.
“I just wanted to thank everyone and all the fans that we’ve had, especially people that have been supporting me the last four years in Utah,” said Delos Santos. “I just want to thank the whole Utah community for supporting me and our women’s basketball. I hope you guys continue to support women’s basketball.”
(Photo by Hunter Hall)