ARLINGTON, TX -- If there’s one thing you learn by watching the game, it’s that there’s nothing easy about wheelchair basketball.
"I have cracks in my hands. They get so calloused up that they start cracking open and bleeding,” said UT-Arlington women’s player Rose Hollermann.
Of course, the right players, like National Player of the Year Hollermann, can make it look pretty easy.
With a perfect performance at the NWBA National Intercollegiate Tournament, the UTA Lady Movin’ Mavs, in just their second season, are the national champions for the first time.
"We went into that game with nothing to lose,” said senior Morgan Wood. "From last place to a championship game, we were just ready to play."
“I'm not a cryer,” All-American Abby Dunkin said. "I had tears coming down, so when my teammates saw me crying, they started bawling.”
Dunkin was forced into the wheelchair three years ago after a medical procedure went wrong. The longtime hoopster could’ve called it quits. Instead, she’s soaking in a special season.
"I could write a long list about everything I've lost, but I could write a novel about everything I've gained,” Dunkin said. "This has probably been the best moment of my life.”
Dunkin’s still pretty new to the game, but Hollermann, the MVP of the National Tournament, has been excelling at it since a car accident put her in a chair at five years old.
"The first time I got into a ball chair and started sprinting, it was like I finally learned how to run,” Hollermann said. "I finally, like, put on my running shoes.”
Up next for that pair is a plane ride to the Paralympics in Rio. It will be Hollermann’s second appearance with the national team at that level.
When the team gets back together at UTA, though, all focus shifts to title number two.