Chaz Bodily, @chizzle03, Writer
The expectations for the women’s basketball team to begin the season were that it would be a young and hungry team that would be competitive in a lot of games, but ultimately they were predicted to finish towards the bottom of their conference in the overall standings. With Seniors Whitney Jenkins and Kyra Prause, UVU knew it had some veteran leadership on the team.
The 2013-14 season was filled with a lot of ups and downs. Winning two of the first three games was a promising start to the young season, but after an early loss against a good Nevada team, other setbacks soon followed. Those opening two wins were quickly followed by nine straight marks in the loss column. Some of the games were close, like against Longwood (lost by two), Santa Clara (lost by three) and Boise State (lost by three).
However, others weren’t so close: Weber State, Utah and George Mason, for example. Finally, after that rough stretch of losing nine straight games, the Wolverines then pulled off back-to-back wins against Idaho State and New Orleans.
After that stretch, the women’s team only managed to win four of its last 16 games, 17 including the tournament, but the Wolverines didn’t go down without a fight. The game that proved they had heart was the 23-point comeback versus Seattle, only to lose in the final seconds.
”What an incredible effort from our team,” head coach Cathy Nixon said of the game. “They never backed down, showed tremendous resiliency, and showed that we can compete with any team in this league on any given night. We don’t like moral victories, but I’m very proud of the way the kids competed tonight amidst adversity.”
The two 2014 graduates, Prause and Jenkins, played important roles for the Wolverines, as both were great on the defensive end of the floor. Coming off a redshirt season, Prause proved she was back and ready for the court. She averaged the most minutes and points of her career. Jenkins started in all 30 games of the season. She also averaged the most points of her career this year, as well as tying her starts and minutes from her junior season. Both Prause and Jenkins’ leadership and dedication will be missed next season.
Utah Valley women’s basketball has a bright future ahead of it. Sophomore Katie Kuklok averaged a team high 16 points this past season and looks primed for another excellent season. The Wolverines will also be returning two other top scorers in Sam Loggins and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight, who are also great rebounders.
UVU seems to be ready for a breakout season in the Western Athletic Conference and will be in good hands with coach Nixon and the underclassman that will still be here.