Athlete of the Week Archive

Dec. 10, 2007

LARAMIE, Wyo. -



Rebecca Vanderjagt


Last summer when the Cowgirls traveled to Australia, what were you most excited to show your teammates about your home country?
"I was really excited to have them taste the food and to see the beaches. Where I live is right on the beach and I always talk about it, so it was good for them to see that."

What is your hometown of Townsville, Australia like compared to Laramie, Wyoming?
"They are completely different. I didn't even own any long pants before I came here because it doesn't get cold there. That was a big shock for me. I had never seen snow before I came here. Townsville is a relaxed kind of place, just a beach town. The people from both cities are very much the same though, very relaxed, so that was an easy adjustment."

Tell us what the Australian Institute of Sport is like and how it is different than high school in the U.S.?
"You live there and are there 24 hours a day, leaving only to go to class. You play basketball all the time and train twice a day. It's pretty full-on for someone who's high school age. It's like college but more strict since you are younger. There are more restrictions than you have here. You have to be selected to attend and there are only 12 girls and 12 boys there each year. It is a development program for future Olympic teams for all Australian sports."

We heard that you went camping in Yellowstone N.P. this last summer. How was that?
"That was amazing. It was beautiful. We saw bears and lots of different kinds of animals. It was way fun! We were in Yellowstone for four nights and then in the Grand Tetons for three nights. I would go back. I don't know if I would go during winter, but it was beautiful during summer."

You play both on the perimeter and in the post some. Do you have a preference?
"Not really. I feel comfortable in both, but since I mostly play the four spot that is normally a perimeter player. I'm not a big, strong post player so I guess if I had to choose I prefer to be outside."

You seem to have developed a presence inside this year with all of the shots you've blocked. Is that something you've been working on?
"I've just been working on being more aggressive and having more confidence in myself. Those things have helped me step up on defense."

That aggressiveness was apparent in the road win at Wisconsin this year when you had some big plays at the end. Talk about those plays.
"When I made the shot to send it to overtime I just remember that Hanna (Zavecz) had a great drive and drew the defense, and then I told myself that I have to score. On the defensive block and rebound at the end of overtime we had like three other people helping down on that play so that was good team defense."

Following the success of last season, what kind of potential do the Cowgirls have this year?
"We're all very comfortable with each other since we've played together a lot now. That makes a difference. Just knowing what everyone will do and where they will be. We are more experienced as a team and that is the difference between this year and last."

Not dwelling on last year, but is there one moment out of your 2007 WNIT run that sticks out in your mind?
"The whole thing was amazing, but I think that the whole team would say the Kansas State triple overtime game. When Charna (Justyna Podziemska) hit that three-pointer to force the first overtime I just knew that we were going to win."

How did you pick up your hobby of painting?
"My grandma painted when I was younger and I would go to her house for the weekends and paint with her. Now I paint little gifts for my family and just whatever comes to mind."

Have you had a chance to watch your brother David play basketball for the University of Montana?
"I haven't seen him play, but we went to that campus twice last year so I've seen where he's at. They played in Laramie last year, but we were on the road and I didn't get to see him play. He's younger than me so maybe I can watch him sometime in the future."

As a zoology major, do you have any idea what you want to use your degree for?
"I change my mind a lot, but I think I want to work in a wildlife park or something like that. Maybe animal photography."

Tell us about your roommates.
"I live with four of the girls from the team. Elisabeth (Dissen), Gemma (Koehler), Charna and Mallory (Cline). We all get along pretty well and our house is pretty big, so if we need to get away we can just hide from each other in our rooms."

What is your favorite kind of music?
"I don't really have a favorite. I listen to anything. Anything but heavy metal and country."

If you had to pick one meal to eat tonight, what would it be?
"It would probably be steak with vegetables and dessert. I love dessert and that would be my favorite meal of the day. People say that's not a meal, but I think it is! I miss the chocolate in Australia. It's creamier."