Vernon’s Diane Schuetze (front)

Vernon’s Diane Schuetze (front)

Schuetze scores big

VSS Panther grad Diane Schuetze named First Team Canada West all-star.

KAMLOOPS – Diane Schuetze has enjoyed an extraordinary season in her fourth campaign of CIS women’s basketball.

The VSS Panther grad was earlier this year named both Canada West and CIS player of the week. Now, she is the first member of the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack program to be named a First Team Canada West all-star.

“It has been an amazing season,” she said, upon learning of her selection. “Making playoffs for the first time as a team and now this. It’s amazing. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s definitely because of my teammates because I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The 6-foot-3 post led the Canada West in scoring. She played in 18 games, scoring 109 field goals, five three points and 111 free throws for 334 points. That was an average of 18.6 points per game.

Schuetze was the third best rebounder in the league (161 averaging 8.9 per game). She was third in offensive rebounds (57, 3.2 per game average) and fourth defensively (104, 5.8 per game average).

As well, Schuetze was 14th in the Canada West in blocked shots with 57 for an average of 3.2 points.

Schuetze says her rebounding accomplishments are the most satisfying because she worked hard on trying to improve that aspect of her game.

“I need to keep following the ball on offence,” she says. “On defence, I think I do well with that but I always need to focus a lot on rebounding as a whole.”

Schuetze, who is studying tourism, spent countless hours in the gym, and on the court, to be in peak condition. She believes this honour is a direct result of that effort.

“I worked out more intensely this past summer than ever before. I knew what I had to do. It was so rewarding.”

She concentrated on footwork, speed, conditioning and making sure her shot was the still accurate as she worked on the weights to become stronger.

“I noticed that in comparison to prior years that I was able to run more and take contact inside in the latter part of the game,” she added.

Said WolfPack head coach Scott Reeves: “Diane would be the first to tell you she didn’t get this award on her own, and she is very appreciative and thankful to her team for making this happen. Diane has done a tremendous amount of work, and being recognized in this way is a true reflection of her work ethic.”

Schuetze believes the recognition that she has received with her all-star selection will turn into more attention from the opposition in her final year of CIS competition.

“I will have to be prepared for it for sure,” shesaid.

She laughed that the thought of being a Canada West first team all-star when she joined TRU four years ago would have been a far-fetched dream, and that she has come a long way as a player and a person since then.

The WolfPack finished third in the Pacific Division at 9-9 before losing to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the playoffs.

Joanne Zalesiak of the University of Regina Cougars was named the Canada West MVP.  Zalesiak, a 5-foot-7 guard from Poland, runs the point for a Regina offence that averaged 84.2 points per game during the conference schedule, a total which stands as the third-highest in conference history.

Zalesiak led the conference with 117 assists, averaging just under six per game. She also led the team in steals (57), minutes played and was second on the Cougars with 137 rebounds.

For the third straight season, Saskatchewan Huskies’ guard Katie Miyazaki is the Defensive Player of the Year.