After coach Nixon’s lady Wolverines handily defeated Eastern Oregon in their one and only preseason game, the coach who has been a fixture of Utah Valley basketball had several reasons to be optimistic about her team’s upcoming season.
With several players returning who contributed significantly last season, experience on the floor will be one of the Wolverines’ strengths.
"It’s nice to have some leadership back," Nixon said. "We can review some things, rather then teach everything brand new."
Not only is Utah Valley experienced, they also pride themselves on the depth of their bench.
"Our depth is one of our strengths," Nixon said. "I intend to go 10 players deep, at times, this season."
While getting that kind of help off the bench would be great, it may not be needed with scorers like Robyn Fairbanks and Sandy Marvin on the floor. The two combined for 37 points in the win over Eastern Oregon.
However, they also got four steals from reserve point guard Asumi Nakayama and tough play from seniors Rebekah Peterson and Susie Cornejo off the bench.
Lauren Smith, a 6-foot-5 junior center out of California, also played well in limited minutes.
The Wolverines appear to be at their best when the defense creates scoring opportunities for the offense.
In the second half of the preseason victory, Marvin led a 16-1 run with her ability to make shots in transition off a steal or a turnover.
The play of all-American Fairbanks could be determined by her team’s ability to hit the open jump shot.
"We’re trying to be more of a threat on the outside," Marvin said. "We know they’re going to have two or three people down in the post, and we need to be shot-ready."
Utah Valley played back-to-back games over the weekend against Mesa State and Cal State Fullerton.
The Wolverines will travel to take on Southern Utah before returning to play UC Irvine.