Photo by Brigham Berthold
With each new season comes new expectations and goals. Last month, the Utah Valley University women’s basketball team returned to the hardwood. Before the season tipped off, the Wolverines were picked to finish fifth in the Western Athletic Conference by the media. Through the first few weeks of the nonconference schedule, the team has struggled to find its stride and has suffered some tough setbacks. Although the general inclination might be to panic, it seems that the hardships could be caused by necessary growing pains.
The Wolverines’ roster has a staggering 10 underclassmen, a rotation not lacking in talent but in collegiate experience. Having such a young roster comes with its ups and downs, but it is important for the team (and fans) to not lose sight of the big picture. As the players continue to find chemistry with each other, the overall production on the court will increase. That experience will not only benefit them this season, but in the years to come. UVU head coach Cathy Nixon knows what the team needs to focus on during these troubling times.
“Basketball is not an exact science, but you have to play with heart and you have to play with passion,” Nixon said after a recent loss. “Our young team better hurry up and learn that lesson.”
Although the Wolverines’ record may not be what they were hoping for at this point in the season, they have shown glimpses of greatness. In their win over Pepperdine, UVU held the Waves to one field goal in the final six-plus minutes of play.
The women’s basketball team can look at the UVU volleyball team as evidence of starting slow, but using nonconference struggles as motivation in conference play to finish the season off strong. The good news for the Wolverines is that league play does not begin until January, which gives them time to figure out the solution to their sluggish start. Additionally, it seems that some of the major issues facing the team are simple mistakes. Whether it is a costly turnover late in the fourth quarter, or catastrophic misses at the free-throw line, the team needs to relax and focus on the fundamentals.
Ultimately, what matters most is whether or not progress can be drawn over the course of the season. As Utah Valley continues to work hard as a team, it will see its rise in the WAC standings.