Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics
The UVU women's basketball team gets ready to start the second half of an exhibition game versus New Mexico Highlands in Orem on Oct. 31.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - Utah Valley University has been selected by the coaches to win the 2012-13 Great West Conference women's basketball championship.

The Wolverines received four first-place votes in the balloting for a total of 24 points.

UVU finished tied for second in the Great West last season with NJIT as each team posted 6-4 marks in conference play. The Highlanders were second in the preseason polling, garnering 19 points and picking up the other first-place vote.

Utah Valley coach Cathy Nixon will look to the reigning Great West Conference Player of the Year Sammie Jensen to lead her squad. Jensen averaged a double-double of 13.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last year, earning 15 double-doubles during the season. In addition to first-team All-GWC honors, the senior was also named to the GWC All-Tournament team after leading her team to the championship game.

Jensen, who was also the 2010-11 Great West Newcomer of the Year, will be joined by Whitney Jenkins and Alle Finch Cardwell as the top returners for UVU.

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Jenkins was an honorable mention All-GWC selection last season after averaging 6.1 ppg, while Cardwell shot 41.2 percent from 3-point range.

NJIT finished second in the poll with one first-place vote and a total of 19 points in the preseason poll. Texas-Pan American was projected to finish third in the poll with 14 points, while Chicago State was fourth with 11 and Houston Baptist fifth with seven.

The Wolverines will host Utah State on Monday at 7 p.m. in the UCCU Center. UVU will then begin its quest for a Great West Conference Championship on Jan. 5 at home against UTPA.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit