Women’s basketball player selected for PacWest committee

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A student from Dixie State University was happily surprised when a national athletic program chose her to represent her fellow student athletes.   

Gabrielle Cabanero is a sophomore computer science major from Las Vegas and was chosen to be a member of the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This position requires her to attend an annual Pacific West conference for the next three years. 

This is her second year on the women’s basketball team at DSU, and she is a shooting guard and a backup point guard.

Cabanero got the opportunity to be nominated because of a student athlete organization she participates in on campus, Cabanero said. 

“They needed someone young, so I was like, ‘OK, I’ll do it, I’ll volunteer as tribute,’” Cabanero said.

According to the Pacific West website, the SAAC is the primary governing and representative body for student athletes in Division II schools. SAAC members are student athlete representatives at national conferences who monitor and discuss rules and regulations on campuses.

Student athletes selected as Division II SAAC representatives are voting members on Division II committees such as the Management Council. They also have voting authority during the annual Division II Business Session at the NCAA Convention.

“They did a great job of selecting a great leader to represent us as a university,” head coach Jenny Thigpin said. “She’s an overall great kid — great personality (and) great worker on and off the court.”

Ashlee Burge, a sophomore business major from Riverton and one of Cabanero’s roommates, said it’s a good opportunity to represent the university. 

“[Having a DSU student on the committee] is good to get [DSU] on the map,” Burge said is most excited to meet the other student athletes picked for the position from other schools. 

“I’m excited for this whole experience,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me. I’m just glad to be representing [DSU].”

Thigpin said Cabanero has the “green light” to make any shots she wants during a game. This suits Cabanero, who said one of her favorite things about playing basketball is she loves to achieve the unexpected.

“Gabby makes a lot of crazy shots and people always [ask], ‘How does it go in?’ Thigpin said. “But at the end of the day the girls on the court say ‘Oh, it’s Gabby.’”

“When you see my shots, my shot form isn’t the greatest, but it goes in,” Cabanero said. “I just love doing trick shots … I always have to make a half-court shot before I go home. No one expects what I’ll do.”

Thigpin said the team counts on Cabanero to make the unexpected, difficult shots.

“(During) the last game against Hawaii Pacific, the seconds were counting down, and I literally just threw the ball up one handed, and it went in,” Cabanero said. “I jumped for joy during the game.”