Mansi Chauhan
Mercury Staff

Men’s, women’s basketball team members gain recognition as season progresses

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are on the road
to the finals of the American Southwest Conference, with a player from each
team individually recognized by the league.

Interdisciplinary junior and forward Hans Burwitz along with
mathematics sophomore and forward Katie Gunther were announced the ASC East
Division players of the week on Nov. 19.

Burwitz grew up in Allen and spent his freshman year at
Gannon University, where he played 16 games and averaged 6.4 minutes per

“I grew up playing basketball in the backyard and I just
fell in love with the game,” Burwitz said. “I really like the team aspect of

During the 2017-2018 season, he played in 23 games off the
bench as a transfer sophomore at UTD. He was able to score in double figures in
eight games, along with a season high of 27 points.

“We’re playing good together as a team — we’re honestly
playing as one,” Burwitz. “I think that’s really helped my own success.”

In the most recent game against Sul Ross State, Burwitz led
UTD with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting and added 10 rebounds, which were both
the game highs along with his third “double-double” of the season.

“My goal this year is for us to win conference and just go
as far as we can,” Burwitz said. “Personally, I want to make the ASC team.”

The victory in Alpine, Texas extended the UTD men’s team’s
winning streak to five consecutive wins. UTD performed better than 50 percent
as a team for the fourth time in seven games.

“As long as we keep working on the little things that are
under our control and hold each other accountable, then we will keep growing
and we have a good chance at achieving our goals of winning conference and
going forward to nationals,” assistant coach Beverly Lockett said.

From The Woodlands in Houston, Katie Gunther was a two-time
all-district pick at Concordia Lutheran High School. She led the team to a
district title as a senior. As a college freshman, Gunther made eight starts in
a total of 26 games.

“My dad played basketball — that’s how I got introduced to
the game,” Gunther said. “He is my biggest role model — he would always pull me
out and coach me on my game.”

Last season, Gunther appeared in 25 games with three starts
for the Comets as a sophomore, averaging 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game
in 10.4 minutes per outing.

“I usually give three hours a day, six days a week (to
basketball)” Gunther said. “We usually have to get treatments for injuries and
staying healthy, so that adds another hour or two.”

The UTD women’s team got a 20-9 lead after the opening
period and then beat SRSU in Alpine on Nov. 29. UTD outscored SRSU 13-5 with a
defensive second quarter. Gunther added 12 points, and the Comets achieved
their largest margin of victory of the season.

“Personally, I want to play well and just help my team win
in any way that I can,” Gunther said. “I hope we can win the ASC conference and
then eventually win nationals.”