It’s that dreaded game for some and the welcome moment for others.
Senior Night is a time to reflect and celebrate.
Players try to shrug off its significance, but that’s impossible, really. Rebekah Peterson and Susie Cornejo had extra family at the game and lingered a little longer afterwards, perhaps to enjoy their final time playing as Wolverines at home.
It turned out to be a good game for both, as Peterson finished with eight points and nine rebounds while Cornejo finished with 11 points.
Both went through that miserable year when the team played its first Division I schedule, which included 20 road games. Since going 4-22, the program has come a long way.
"It was tough my freshman year, but we’ve progressed every year," Cornejo said. "We had good recruits and have just gotten better over the years. We’ve kind of grown up as a team every year we’ve gone on."
Peterson and Cornejo became the first players to play all four years at the NCAA level. Peterson, from Salinas, Calif., is fourth on Utah Valley’s all-time scoring list with 701 points. This season she’s averaged 6.4 points per game in 22.4 minutes a game.
Cornejo, from Aberdeen, Idaho, averaged 3.8 points per game through 25 games this season coming off the bench.
"It’s amazing how fast time goes," coach Cathy Nixon said.
"The thing that’s special about those two is they kind of mark the aging of our program. They have the first-hand experience of those 20 road games and just getting thumped all over the place."
It’s different now. The team won 16 games before the Independent tournament, one more than last year’s record of 15. The expectations are to win.
"Obviously, there’s been hard times," Peterson said. "The feeling of disrespect you get from other teams is disheartening. You get a lot more motivated to beat teams. I’m really glad I got to be a part of it."
While both players have grown in their four years at the school, both players have helped Utah Valley’s women’s basketball program grow since that first D-I season.
"If you don’t have kids in your program who will sell you and sell your program," Nixon said, "you’re not going to get players.
I really do tribute Bekah and Susie for that."