Heights, anything but heights. Dani Peterson, a Salt Lake native, can take on the most aggressive, rugged women in basketball, but ask her to go on the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and she likely won’t be able to swallow the challenge.
“When I was little I was not afraid of anything, and I wasn’t scared of heights,” Peterson said. “One time my family went on the Stratosphere and we were on the needle right before it shot up and I started crying. Ever since then I’ve been so afraid of heights.”
Peterson is a senior on the women’s basketball team, but there is more to her than baseketball. She is majoring in exercise and wellness and currently has an internship in the weight room for BYU athletics.
“It’s hard to imagine my life without sports because it’s been a big part of my life,” Peterson said. “I love being around athletes and athletic programs.”
Her favorite food is Chinese and she said she can hardly resist ice cream. She enjoys spending her minimal free time with family — she loves that there is always something going on at home, specifically sports games.
Peterson is the type of person who can play serious ball on the court but laugh and be fun as well.
“A few road trips ago she and a few seniors pulled a prank on the freshmen,” teammate Lexi Eaton said. “She’s a goofy girl, everyone loves her. She’s fun to be around and she makes sure to include everyone on the team.”
Coaches and team members alike say Peterson is the joker of the team.
“She’s a practical joker on the road; she was that way as a freshman but I think she shows it more now,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “But she’s a great leader. She goes out of her way to help the younger players.”
Judkins said Peterson’s leadership and care makes the team play better as a unit.
“There’s no ‘me-me-itis.’ It’s ‘us, ‘ ” Judkins said. “I’m lucky as a coach to have a player like that where that’s all they care about.”
Peterson has played four years of college ball, each year adapting and changing her role. She has come off the bench, been the second big [post player] and now is a starter. Judkins said she is focused and giving and has been a great asset to the team.
“We’re great friends, in fact, all three of us seniors, me, Kristen [Riley] and Dani [Peterson] are all best friends,” senior Haley Steed said. “To be going out with them is awesome, but it’s going to be weird. I’m going to miss them like crazy. The three of us have a connection. Both on and off the court we’re really close.”