|Sara Wilson: Shooting from the outside|
By David Watson
Laramie Boomerang Sports Writer
Every player on the University of Wyoming women’s basketball team can shoot the basketball and has the ability to convert baskets with short jumpers inside the paint or with a range from outside.
Those are the type of players UW head coach Joe Legerski and his staff consistently recruit.
But there are shooters, and then there are the few sharpshooters who Legerski will always give a green light to shoot from anywhere on the court whenever they feel like it.
Former Cowgirl Jodi Bolerjack filled that role from 2005-08 when she rose to third place in the Wyoming career record book for both 3-point field goals attempted (528) and 3-point field goals made (200). Bolerjack also ranks 11th with 1,152 career points.
Current Cowgirl sophomore two-guard Kristen Scheffler now has that responsibility, and will draw the coach’s ire if she gives up open looks more than letting the ball fly toward the rim. Scheffler is already ranked ninth in both 3-point shot attempts (296) and 3-pointers made (104).
But much like Scheffler, who hails from Lovell, the Cowgirls also have another pure shooter from another small town.
Freshman Sara Wilson, who calls Grant, Neb., her home on the range, has been putting in her time on the practice court, and her shots, more often than not, swish through the net. Wilson was part of a recruiting class that also included point guard Bec Campigli and forward Chaundra Sewell.
“Sara Wilson has maybe made the biggest jump of any of the three, and she shoots the ball as well as anybody that we have in this program,” Legerski said. “Her time is going to come, and she just keeps getting better and better every day, and that is what you want to see out of all freshmen.”
Wilson has played in six games so far with highs of 11 minutes, seven points and three steals against Dakota State on Dec. 12.
“I knew it was going to be different going from high school to the Division I level,” Wilson said. “But you don’t really know until you actually start. It’s been really fun, and everyone gets along really well. The coaches tell me what I need to improve on before I can play and are straight up. I really like that.”
She is also just as quick to convey what she needs to work on.
“For sure, my defense and to get quicker. It’s always fun to make shots, but I’m never going to get out there and play unless my defense improves,” Wilson said.
Wilson came to Wyoming from Grant with a path taken similar to following her shot.
“It’s a really small town of 1,200 people. Everyone is really close in a small community,” Wilson said. “I really liked growing up in a small community rather than a big city. Everyone knows you.
“I remember starting to play in fourth grade, and we had bright green jerseys. We were kind of the underdogs in a big tournament and ending up winning it. That was my favorite earliest memory.”
Her other youthful memories include hours and hours spent with just a basketball and an outdoor hoop to shoot at.
“It’s just taking lots of shots. My dad (Russ Wilson) helped a lot, as he was one of my coaches when I was younger, then my best friend’s dad was my head coach. I had to walk two blocks to school and shoot outside,” she said.
Wilson later became a star for head coach Chris Mestl at Perkins County High School, and her team boasted an 86-7 record during her four-year tenure.
Among many accolades, she was a four-time All-South Platte Valley Association and All-Area selection, and a three-time Player of the Year by the Keith County News and North Platte Telegraph.
As a senior when she averaged 16.4 points per game and 5.8 rebounds, she was named a McDonald’s All-America nominee. Her team, called the Lady Plainsmen, won the Class C-2 state championship her senior year.
She was later recruited by every college in Nebraska except for the big red university in Lincoln, Neb.
“I was more looking at schools in Nebraska and didn’t even consider the University of Wyoming,” Wilson said. “When I did think about Wyoming when they started recruiting me, I didn’t want to go that far away. Then I realized it was just three hours from home.”
The decision was then whittled down between Colorado State and Wyoming.
“Colorado State and Wyoming were the only schools I was looking at because I wanted to stay close to home,” Wilson said. “I didn’t get a call from Colorado State until I was really, really sure I was going to Wyoming, so I didn’t consider them. I really like the coaches here. They are up front with you and have a good attitude with people.”
Now that she is here and an integral part of the Cowgirls, it is only a matter of time when the crowds in the Arena-Auditorium will be holding up the ‘3’ signs when she cashes in a trey from beyond the arc.
“I saw how loud they are and how much they care,” Wilson said. “That was another reason I wanted to come here–I love the fan support we have here.”
Editor’s note: This article was printed with permission from the Laramie Boomerang