WEST WENDOVER – Following two of the most successful seasons in school history, second-year head coach Danika Overturf said her Lady Wolverines are in “rebuild mode.”
In 2015-2016, West Wendover made the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Last year, the Lady Wolverines finished 16-6 overall and 10-4 in league play of the Division 2A North, earning a No. 3 seed for the 2A North regional tournament.
In the 2017 regional semifinal, West Wendover lost a heartbreaker by a final score of 41-39 to eventual regional champion Pershing County.
In case you’re curious about Overturf’s name, perhaps you are more familiar with her maiden name – Sharp.
Danika Sharp graduated from West Wendover in 2010, breaking the Nevada state records for scoring with 2,803 points and steals with 525 career thefts.
She went on to play for the University of Nevada, earning a Mountain West honorable mention as a junior and closing her career with a 2nd-Team All-Mountain West selection as a senior.
Following her senior season, she stayed on with the team as a member of the coaching staff.
She knows basketball; she knows she’s entering the young season with some huge voids to fill due to graduation and significant injuries.
The Wolverines graduated their starting backcourt from last season, saying goodbye to shooting guard Sydney Reamer and point guard Anahi Esparza.
Reamer led West Wendover in scoring at 19.3 points per game, adding 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals.
Esparza topped the team with 2.6 assists per game, finishing second on the roster with 4.5 steals – scoring in double figures at 11 points per contest.
To add injury to insult, some of Overturf’s top returning starters have suffered devastating knee injuries.
Senior Lila Lopez tore her ACL last season against Battle Mountain, and senior Fabiola Rojas tore her ACL during West Wendover’s powder puff football game.
Lopez led West Wendover in rebounding at 7.6 boards per game and also topped the team with 4.9 steals, scoring 7.7 points.
As a junior, Rojas scored 3.4 points per contest.
“We have a lot of inexperience, we’re real young,” Overturf said.
As Overturf grooms the younger players on her squad, she said she will look to junior post Leonela Covarrubias and senior Isabel Chavez for leadership.
Covarrubias was a major factor last year as a sophomore for the Lady Wolverines, scoring 7.4 points and yanking down five rebounds per game, coming away with two steals.
Chavez collected 2.5 steals per contest as a junior, scoring two points.
“Defensively, I think we will be solid. We have quickness. We have to focus on getting stops,” Overturf said. “Our biggest struggle will be on offense. We lost a lot of scoring from our senior guards. I think we have to get scores in transition.”
West Wendover opened its season with a 61-23 victory over West Ridge Academy (Utah) on Monday.
The Lady Wolverines received a first-round bye in the Holiday Classic at Lake Mead Christian Academy, and Overturf said her team would face either Lincoln County or Cheyenne in their first ballgame in Henderson.
The tournament began Thursday and continues through Saturday.