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Keeping Up With Denali

Aug 13, 2013


Every Tuesday this summer, we will hear from a different Lady Rebel as she catches up readers with an account of how their summer is going, an update on their workouts and their goal for the upcoming season. This 11th installment is provided by junior forward Denali Murnan.

Tuesday, August 13

I started at UNLV two years ago, just as a member of the women’s soccer team. Last year, however, was the best year because it was the first time I had the opportunity to play for the soccer team and the women’s basketball team. Playing sports has always been a big part of my life.  Throughout high school, I played basketball for the Shining Stars, soccer for Rush Nike and ran track on my “off-time.” My junior year I was forced to choose one sport because traveling year-round with both teams was getting to be nearly impossible. I chose to focus on soccer, but two months into my freshman year at UNLV, I found myself in the student recreation center playing pick-up basketball every free minute I had. That’s when I knew I couldn’t go the rest of college or rather the rest of my life without the love of my life… basketball.

I went to talk to my soccer coach about trying out for the basketball team right after soccer season ended my freshmen year. Due to a concussion that lasted half a year, I wasn’t able to try out for the team. At the start of my sophomore year, a new soccer coach was hired and I started the process to try to join the Lady Rebels all over again. Coach Michael Coll was thrilled to hear I was interested in playing basketball and reached out to Coach KO.  Shortly after, Coach KO came out to watch a spring soccer practice, offered me a spot on the team the next morning, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have been a part of the women’s basketball team for about five months now, and joined them for the last five games of the ’12-’13 season. I learned the coaches system, and got to know the girls and couldn’t be more excited for the next few years with the team. The day Coach KO came to my practice and invited me to join the team, is a day I will never forget and is arguably the happiest day of my life to date.



After the craziest most hectic month of my life with school, basketball, and soccer, I finished my sophomore spring semester with a 3.5 and was very happy about it because of the heavy class load I took. The day classes ended in May, I flew straight home to Colorado to join the Rush women’s semi-pro soccer team for the summer.

My summer can basically be summed up into three words: soccer, basketball, and gym. My days were almost identical and revolved around soccer and basketball, and getting better every day. A typical day in my summer consisted of running right when I wake up for soccer, then going straight to the gym to work on my shooting and ball handling. After working on my weaknesses and strengths in basketball, I got a good lift in before heading to work across town at Scott Contracting.  At the job, I mostly did paperwork in the office, and occasionally joined the staff on a job site to do some hands-on work. Straight from work I went to W-League practice from 6-8 pm, and then straight home to get a good meal in before bed. Then wake up the next morning and do it all over again!

I also got the opportunity to run a soccer camp this summer for the W-League team. One week full of coaching little girls and boys how to play soccer. It was one of the best weeks of my whole summer.

In between all of the work, and working out, I managed to squeeze in some fun, family time.  Two of my cousins graduated college this summer and two graduated from high school so my family and I ran all over town going to graduation parties and enjoying time with the family. In the remaining free time I had this summer I ran Red Rocks several times, and went to a couple Rapids games and Rockies games with the family.

I have been back in Las Vegas since early July because I am taking a summer school class in summer session three. Even though I’m back in Vegas, my days are still devoted to basketball and soccer training every day, but that’s my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I joined the Lady Rebels during a few workouts this summer, but on August 9th, soccer practice officially started.   I will continue to put in the work in the remaining months before season, even though I will be playing soccer too, and I know that it will be a challenge but it’s also an amazing opportunity.

Last year, our soccer team finished 12-4-4.  As a two-year starter, I’m ready to do my part, and help our team do even better this upcoming season. But really, I can’t wait to see what the Lady Rebels and myself can accomplish this season too!

June 4: Mia Bell

June 11: Friederike Moderegger
June 18: Danielle Miller
June 25: Jehiah Cook
July 2: Aley Rohde
July 9: Amie Callaway
July 16: Amanda Anderson

July 23: Rmanii Haynes
July 30: Alana Cesarz

August 6: Réjane Vérin

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