Photo by Nathan Gross
The UVU women’s basketball team has experienced a down year. Barring a sudden turnaround or modern-day miracle, the Wolverines will finish the season in this week’s WAC tournament.
This team has been frustrating to watch for several reasons this season as they have sputtered their way to an 8-20 record and just three wins in conference play. The Wolverines have failed to best their opponents in nearly every major statistical category this year other than steals. The team had 142 fewer assists than their opponents – their most glaring deficiency. Of the eight wins, one of them was against an opponent with a winning record, Antelope Valley.
But more so, this season has been frustrating because head coach Cathy Nixon has not been able to use the team she pieced together properly. There are 13 women on the roster; 11 have seen action this season. Of those players who have seen the floor, four have missed extensive time this season dealing with injuries – the other two have not seen game time.
The lone senior, Rebecca MaWhinney, had hip surgery last offseason and was not ready to play this year. She received a medical hardship allowing her to play her senior season next year. Sophomore Hadley Nielson is no longer with the team due to an undisclosed medical reason. Kelsey McCann, a sophomore, has played just six minutes this season and has also received a medical hardship for this season due to an undisclosed injury.
Britta Hall, who suffered a concussion before the season began, also broke her hand in practice in December. She missed six weeks before returning for 17 minutes in late January and then was held out another three weeks. Kendall Perry saw a few minutes in the first month of the season until she went down with a recurring injury involving cartilage in her ribs requiring surgery.
Centers Sam Lubcke and Leya Harvey missed games — Lubcke with a concussion and Harvey with a leg injury. Players have also missed games when dealing with the common flu bug. Since Hall went down in mid-December, the Wolverines have played all but one game with an eight-player rotation or less, including two games where only six players were used in the entire game.
“I don’t think there’s many teams at any level that have played with as few players as we have the past couple months,” Nixon said. “It’s a tribute to our girls that they continue to fight.”
This season will be one the Wolverines will want to forget for their play on the court and the number of injuries holding the squad back.
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.