A team with an All-American, several returning starters and a home court advantage that resulted in an undefeated run in the McKay Center last season isn’t suppose to start out the year with a loss. But that’s exactly what happened to the Wolverines.
After dropping their only exhibition game to Fort Lewis at home 82-53 the Wolverines should have taken notice. A loss in the season opener however signified the opposite. Montana State invaded the McKay Center and handled Utah Valley 94-73, putting an end to the Wolverines unbeaten streak at home. Luckily, UVU exacted revenge on the helpless Mesa State Mavericks 83-39.
How are the Wolverines going to recover from this early season debacle? Play to their strengths. As long as Robyn Fairbanks is on the floor Utah Valley will have a punchers chance against every team they play.
Fairbanks scores, rebounds and fills up the paint defensively as well as any player in the country. However, Fairbanks can’t help the Wolverines from the bench. Keeping her out of foul trouble and on the court will make or break Utah Valley’s season.
While Fairbanks is a stronghold in the Wolverine lineup she can’t do it all herself. Fellow senior Sandy Marvin-Wall is expected and needed to step up in supporting the offensive load. Along with Marvin-Wall, Julie McMurray is needed to knock down the open jump shot just as she did so consistently last season.
The Wolverines will be fine, and they will rebound from the setback. A 20-win season is still very much attainable, especially with tournament play taking place on campus. Utah Valley will find the intensity and tenacity to right the ship and sail to another successful season.