During the offseason, Utah Valley’s two All-WAC first team seniors in Josie Williams and Maria Carvalho both announced their departure from the university. With a restructured roster and determined mentality, head coach Dan Nielson says this team is excited to get on the court and see what they can do.
“We are a different team, but we have some different really good skill sets. I am excited to see what this group can do,” said Nielson. “I like our group and I like our coaches so we’re excited.”
UVU took a trip to Euorupe during the offseason and Nielson says that chemistry for this team is through the roof.
“This is definitely our closest team since we’ve been here as far as culture-wise and continuity-wise…this year the new kids just integrated immediately…it’s been really good for us chemistry-wise,” Nielson emphasized.
With chemistry flowing, Nielson said that one of the biggest obstacles for this team has been getting everyone on the same page defensively.
“We shoot the ball a little better and we’re a little more athletic, but obviously we have a bunch of young kids so there’s going to be some growing pains,” Nielson stated. “It’s been nice, we’ve adjusted quickly with that…It’s really just been getting people up to speed with how we are defensively. Alot of our freshmen are used to being the best athletes so they can kind of get away with some stuff in high school and at this level you can’t, so that’s probably been the biggest thing.”
Nielson touched on the key differences of this team compared to years past, including a shift in the offensive game plan.
“There’s gonna be things you see differently offensively, we’ll spread it a little bit more than we have in the past,” said Nielson. “We definitely can spread it a little more, we can shoot it a little better, get to the rim. You’ll see that and a little bit faster pace of play.”
Nielson said his biggest message to his team heading into the season was to stay locked in.
“The biggest thing for this team and our growth and with our youth…is staying focused on the day-to-day, not getting too far down the road.”
UVU opened their season against Park University Nov. 7, where they came out with a 59-54 victory, setting a solid tone for the rest of the season.
Sports Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Senior at Utah Valley University majoring in applied communications.