Women’s basketball: Successful season culminates in program’s first ever WAC tournament win

Photo by Jay Drowns.

Wolverines overcome injuries and depth issues to finish 16-15 on the season

The 2015-16 UVU women’s basketball season was Head Coach Cathy Nixon’s 21st season with the team, and it was one of her most successful years. The Wolverines finished with a Western Athletic Conference record of 8-6 and a 16-15 record overall, which is the most wins by the team in a season since 2011-12 and the most conference wins UVU has collected in a season since joining the WAC in 2013-14.

From very early on in the season it became clear that the Wolverine women wouldn’t be pushed around, as they went into Boise and knocked off the defending Mountain West Conference champion Boise State Broncos in the final seconds of a 72-70 victory on November 19. Junior guard Georgia Agnew shined in that game, scoring 21 points to go with two rebounds, two assists and two steals.

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UVU head coach Cathy Nixon draws up a play during a timeout of the Wolverines during a WAC semifinal game against New Mexico State on March 11. Photo by Jay Drowns.

The win over the Broncos came in the midst of a season-high six-game win streak which also included what was perhaps UVU’s most thrilling victory of the season, a 94-88 overtime decision over the University of San Francisco on November 23. Sophomore guard Mariah Seals scored 33 points and UVU scored 73 points in the second half and overtime, including 37 in the fourth quarter, to storm back from a 19-point deficit late in the third. Junior forward Rebecca MaWhinney added 22 points while sophomore guard Deijah Blanks chipped in 20. San Francisco went on to win the West Coast Conference tournament, further proving that these Wolverines could run with anyone.

This season wasn’t without its adversities, however, which showed when the team lost 10 of its next 11 immediately following the early win streak, including their first three conference contests; many of them close heartbreaking losses in the last minutes. Closing games became a bit of a problem for UVU as they lost five different games in which they were tied or led in the final three minutes. The Wolverines broke the ice with their first conference victory on January 21, a 79-71 win over Missouri – Kansas City. Four different players scored in double digits, combining for 63 points.

That style of victory was common when UVU was at its best as balance was somewhat of a signature for this year’s version of the Wolverines. They closed out conference play winning five of their last seven. In every win they had anywhere from three to six players score in double digits. In the losses, they never exceeded two players in double digits.

The 8-6-conference record was good to secure the No. 4 seed in the WAC tournament. On March 9 UVU won their first WAC tournament game in program history over No. 5 seed UMKC 61-53. Senior center Sam Loggins led the team with 14 points, seven rebounds and a block. Seals added 12 and Blanks 11. UVU swept all three meetings with UMKC on the year. Two days later, the Wolverines fell to No. 1 seed New Mexico State in a disappointing 58-44 loss. Still, the 2015-16 season must be considered a hard-fought success for the team.

UVU will graduate only two seniors, Loggins and guard Patrice Toston. Loggins played every game and started all but one, averaging 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Toston appeared in 28 games, starting 13. She averaged 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, one assist and 1.2 steals per game.

“It’s been great. I had the time of my life, and I love my teammates,” Loggins said. “I’m just glad we were able to have a good season.”

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