Utah's Taryn Wicijowski back for a sixth season
SAN FRANCISCO – Taryn Wicijowski had big plans heading into the 2013-14 campaign. Fresh off an appearance in the WNIT finals, the Utes looked primed to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. With one of the best frontcourt tandems out there in Wicijowski and Michelle Plouffe, who was going to be able to consistently stop them?
Wicijowski certainly didn’t see herself proudly proclaiming at 2014-15 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day that she has been at Utah longer than Anthony Levrets has been the Utes’ head coach.
The two-time all-Pac-12 forward tore her ACL for the second time last October, forcing her to miss the 2013-14 season. As a result, the Utes’ hopes were dashed; Utah finished 12-19 and 11th in the Pac-12 with a 4-14 conference résumé.
“Before the injury happened, I definitely felt like we were going to make a run through our conference and get ourselves a tournament appearance and hopefully go deep into the NCAA tournament,” Wicijowski said. “For me, that was probably the hardest thing for me to try to get over after the injury – thinking about what a great opportunity it was.”
Now healthy and ready for her sixth year at Utah, Wicijowski will be leading a talented team with a lot of new faces. With four back from injury from a year ago, four freshmen and one transfer (Katie Kuklok, who actually scored 34 points against the Utes when she was with Utah Valley last season), the Utes will have nine players who did not suit up for Utah in the 2013-14 season.
Wicijowski is confident she can make up for lost time with her team this year but realizes it won’t be smooth sailing with all the moving parts.
“Having last year taken away from me, going through that a second time, showed me how much I love basketball," she said. "It is a huge year for motivation for me, and I’m thankful to play and have my sport back. We have an opportunity to do something special this year, but we will have some growing pains.”