Thanks to a scheduling conflict for Utah Valley’s women’s basketball team, a window of opportunity opened up for the Wolverines.
On Dec. 18, the lady Wolverines will travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The storied team on Tobacco Road was in need of a game as the Wolverines were also looking for a spot to fill on the schedule.
As far as Utah Valley Coach Cathy Nixon is concerned, it’s just another game. "It’s just a chance for us to go out and enjoy ourselves and play with the focus and intensity that we would any other game," Nixon said. "We have nothing to lose."
The Blue Devils aren’t the only tough team on the Wolverines schedule this season. Utah Valley will welcome Seaton Hall from the Big East Conference to the Mckay Center, and will also play perennial winners BYU and Utah.
"This team has a lot of potential," Nixon said. "We want to measure ourselves against some of the best."
After last season, in which the Wolverines won 15 games, Utah Valley looks to improve on that mark in spite of a tough schedule.
With all-everything superstar Robyn Fairbanks returning for her junior season anything can happen on any night.
"She’s our money player," Nixon said. "The player that her teammates and coaches look to in the clutch."
Last season Fairbanks scored at a clip of nearly 24 points a game, including a 43-point outburst against Montana State.
But just as the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers have discovered, it takes more than one superstar to have a successful team.
Nixon realizes the importance of having a balanced attack and will look for other players to contribute offensively.
One of those players Nixon expects a lot from this season is Julie McMurray. "She’s in a place where she could contribute major numbers on the offensive end," Nixon said.
Jordyn Bowen, a transfer from the University of Idaho, has won the respect of coaches and players on the defensive end and will be expected to help with defensive intensity and rebounding. Nixon feels like each player on the team will be able to contribute and she expects them to when the opportunity arises. "In the long term vision of our program," Nixon said. "It’s important for us to measure ourselves against teams that are already at that level nationally."