Lady Movin’ Mavs lay foundation for continued success

Emily Clarke, Lady Movin’ Mavs freshman, speeds down the court on Oct. 25 during a practice session at the Physical Education Building. Clarke played for the Orlando Magic Wheels and Tampa Bay Strong Dogs before transferring to UTA.

Lose some, gain some. The Lady Movin’ Mavs welcome a pair of freshmen and a sophomore to its roster this season.

“Our recruiting class is excellent,” head coach Jason Nelms said. “We always have one of the top three classes but this one is definitely great.”

Freshman Elizabeth Becker

Becker played wheelchair basketball for the Charlotte Rollin’ Hornets while in high school in North Carolina.

With the addition of Becker, four out of 17 members of the 2018 U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball team play for the Lady Movin’ Mavs.

The level of competition among the veterans and the newcomers in practice challenges Becker mentally and gets her out of her comfort zone, she said.

“It forces you to think in a different way,” Becker said.

Freshman Emily Clarke

Clarke played for a couple of co-ed squads, such as the Orlando Magic Wheels and Tampa Bay Strong Dogs before coming UTA. Clarke said being able to play with a high-caliber team, among Paralympians, while becoming the first in her family to go to college is a great experience.

“It’s amazing to play with them and watch them play,” Clarke said. “You learn a lot from them.”

Clarke is coming off of a year of rest following a couple surgeries, but Nelms said she has surprised him with her speed and determination and could be one of the fastest on the team in the future.

Sophomore Rachel Wakefield

Fairly new to the game, Wakefield comes to the team with experience from the University of Arizona.

“I am mind blown when I come out here and I play with these ladies,” Wakefield said. “These ladies, some of them have 15 and 10 years on me in the game.”

Now with the Lady Movin’ Mavs, Wakefield has had an open mind, Nelms said. She’s opened up to things like changing her shot and her role within the game.

With little experience under her belt, Nelms said the most important thing he was looking into when recruiting Wakefield was her attitude.

Nelms said his goal every year is to help his players make it to the Paralympic level, so with the newcomers, he’s ready to help them grow and train them to become the best they can be.

“I think a lot of people want to come here because we have a great track record of training our girls,” he said. “They know that we’re focused on getting all of our girls to the Paralympics.”

@Saint_Dallas

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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