When the preseason polls came out for the Western Athletic Conference, the UVU men and women’s basketball teams were picked to finish sixth. However, on Saturday both teams will be playing for something not many expected. The women’s team hosts Seattle University and with a win will stay in the hunt for the 2-seed in the WAC Tournament that takes place March 9-12. The men travel to Seattle for a showdown with the Redhawks and the 3-seed up for grabs.
For the men’s team, finishing sixth seemed like a reality as the injury bug struck and struck hard. Zack Nelson sustained a season-ending injury in the fall and guard Hayes Garrity had doubts about returning from an ACL injury he sustained in 2014. Transfer Josh Pollard and true freshman Telly Davenport sustained season-ending injuries as well and so the Wolverines have been playing with a depleted roster.
Even with those injuries and setbacks, the men are still in a position to earn the No. 3 seed in the WAC Tournament. A win over the Redhawks on Saturday night, a team that beat UVU back on Jan. 28, might seal the deal as Seattle faces CSU Bakersfield in Bakersfield to end the regular season. Either way you look at it, what the UVU men’s team has accomplished so far this season is nothing short of remarkable.
The women have sustained their share of injuries and playing with a limited roster. Junior forward and leading scorer Rhaiah Spooner-Knight left the team after the Christmas break but that didn’t stop the Wolverines from continuing to compete. Cathy Nixon’s team has won seven out of their last nine games, including three-in-a-row and they currently sit in a tie for the No. 2 seed with UTRGV. Besides Seattle on Saturday, the Wolverines have to travel to Phoenix to face Grand Canyon on March 5. Grand Canyon defeated the Wolverines 61-53 in Orem back on Jan. 16. For a team that was picked to finish sixth and that lost their leading scorer in the middle of the season, it says a lot about the resilience and determination of the UVU women’s basketball team.
The women play Seattle at 3 p.m. MT in the PE Gym while the men play at 8 p.m. MT in Seattle. If you can’t make it to the PE Gym, you can watch the game on the WAC Digital Network.
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