Lady Movin’ Mavs lay foundation for continued success

Graduate student Morgan Wood takes a photo with her mother, Karla Wood, after the Lady Movin' Mavs defeated the University of Alabama to win the championship at the 2018 National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament held at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota.

Hot off an undefeated, national championship-winning season, the Lady Movin’ Mavs look to repeat their feat and be the first team to win consecutive titles since the ’90s. Under former head coach Jim Hayes, the men’s team won four titles in a row, from 1991 to 1994. Lady Movin’ Mavs head coach Jason Nelms said he wants to create a similar dynasty by making it three in four years.

The team returns 11 players, welcomes three newcomers and is in “midseason form,” Nelms said.

“We have some stuff to work on, but we’re like 80 percent where we need to be for the end of the season,” he said. “That’s a great place to be right now.”

Senior Rose Hollermann said retaining the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball title will be difficult, but they expect nothing less.

Graduate student Morgan Wood will lead the team in her final season with the Lady Movin’ Mavs after helping start the program with Nelms back in 2013. Hollermann described her as the “backbone” of the team.

Senior Abby Dunkin said if the team focuses on fine-tuning details, like shooting, defense and structure on the court, they’ll stay consistent and be able to fight for their goal to repeat as champions.

With a core of athletes who have been together for the past five years, Dunkin said the foundation has been laid out for the program to continue to be successful in years to come.

“We hope to leave this program better than we found it,” Dunkin said. “We’re going to try and make it the best ever while we’re here.”

Dunkin said every day players step on the court, they’re faced with two choices: get better or get worse. She said the latter is never an option.

Five players are set to graduate after this season, so the rest of the players are battling for starting spots next year, a “passing of the guard,” Nelms said.

“We’re thinking about short term, but we’re also thinking about long term in development,” Nelms said. “We’re developing that second squad that’s coming in there and being ready to take over.”

Nelms said the Lady Movin’ Mavs kicked off the program with a “golden start” since 2013 — two national championships in the last three years.

Nelms believes, player by player, this will be the best women’s team UTA has put out on the court. But winning the national title will require more than what the coach thinks.

“On that side, it’s just keeping them focused and keeping them fighting and not letting them think about what they’ve done but what they’re going to do,” Nelms said.

@_julio_vega

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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