As Nevada women’s basketball is in the middle of a promising season four seniors are leading the pack, including Amaya West. Currently, the Wolf Pack are 16-8 and are ranked third in the Mountain West Conference. West said she has high hopes for this year’s Mountain West tournament.
“I feel like we have had a lot of ups and downs but for the most part we have been consistent in how we play,” West said. “With a lot of new people and people having new roles, it is important for us to keep that stride going and get people not on board, but in that same consistency that we had a year ago.”
West is a senior guard hailing from Mesa, Ariz., and is in her fourth year at Nevada’s program.
West attended Red Mountain high school where she had a superb career. She was a four time letter-winner and received first team all region as well as All-Tribune honorable mention honors. West averaged nearly 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals per game her junior year while leading her team to a regional championship.
All of this led to West receiving interest from Nevada, Arizona State, Army West Point, San Diego and other colleges.
“My high school career I played varsity all four years and started playing club at the end of my freshman year,” West said. “I had a few letters of interest coming into my sophomore year but my first division one offer was from Nevada. I got this offer the summer before my senior year.”
Nevada was the only D1 offer West received and was keen on following Head Coach Amanda Levens, who previously coached at Arizona State University.
“It wasn’t too far away from home and it made me feel very welcome. I feel like it was the best home away from home,” West said.
She averaged 3.3 points and 13.4 minutes per game, in her freshman year season. She shot 40.2 percent from the field and 26.1 from three. Entering her sophomore year, West improved all around where she averaged 17.3 minutes and 4.5 points per game. She was incredibly efficient in her second season as she shot an astounding 49 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from the three point line.
All her hard work came to fruition in her junior season when she averaged a team high 30.5 minutes per game. West was putting up great numbers as she averaged 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds.
West said working on her confidence was key in improving her game those first two seasons. She added it ultimately builty her game on the court.
“Last year I struggled with that and even this year I would say I’ve struggled with that because I had to learn to embrace a different role so to speak,” West said. “Aside from confidence I would also say immaturity like learning some things are okay. You just have to get over it or learn how to adapt.”
West started to round out her game as she started to achieve impressive defensive stats. She was able to create blocks and steals and she shot an astonishing 89.7 percent from the free throw line. The senior guard showcased her work ethic and her determination to play hard for her team when she eclipsed 35 minutes three different times that season.
Now, she is an integral piece to the success of this year’s team.
She currently averages 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds. She averages around 22.8 minutes and is still able to remain efficient as she shoots 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from the three point line.
Even with her improvements, West said being at Nevada “means having grit.”
“In the Mountain West, I feel that there is a lot of good competition and it’s hard to say who will win on any night,” West said. “… I have to be consistent and control what I can to ensure the success of the team. I have to be tough. In that sense, I feel like I’ve really benefited from that.”
West continues to impact the game’s defense and remains one of the highest free throw shooters as she sits around 88 percent from the charity stripe.
“I’m not going to stray away from our offense or do anything flashy. I just play my role …,” she said.
There are five games left in the conference season, which is subject to change due to COVID-19 and postponements.
She has close to 100 games played and 2000 minutes as she has 95 games under her belt while logging 1884 minute, setting her up for career milestones. Career wise she has 522 points, 82 assists and 287 rebounds.
Besides her significant statistics on the court, she said her favorite memory was beating UNLV.
“It’s always been fun and there’s always been a different dynamic every year so being able to have that kind of camaraderie, I think would be one of my favorite memories,” West said.
West has demonstrated she is a hardworking team player and she is imperative for this team’s success. Despite a team effort, West said the fans make it all worth it.
“A lot of times when [fans] reach out to me whether it is through text or social media,” West said. “It is just really comforting and affirming to know that I really matter this much in this community.”
Although West is graduating in May, she said she’s planning on pursuing a masters degree.
“I don’t know what in yet. I’m getting my undergraduate in finance but I’m thinking something on the lines of sports management for my masters,”she said.
West has had a valuable and exciting career but she is also invested in the classroom. She was an academic All Mountain West selection and named a Mountain West scholar athlete.
Anthony Miranda can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush