Schlott-ering the competition
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 23:01
Utah State’s best-kept secret isn’t a student section or a stud football player; in fact, Utah State’s best-kept secret is probably known more nationally than locally.
The university’s unknown all-star is women’s basketball senior point guard Jennifer Schlott.
Schlott is No. 6 in the nation in scoring with 23.8 points per game and No. 15 in the nation in assists with 6.4 per game. She is feared and respected by opponents week after week.
However, one man saw her stellar season coming.
“I expected it,” said USU head coach Jerry Finkbeiner. “I expected her to be a top-10 scorer. She’s had an incredible year, and she is the focus of all of our opponents, which makes it all the more special because she is the focus of all our opponents’ scouting reports.”
The impressive thing about Schlott is her ability to create shots. She stands at 5-foot-6 and won’t overpower anybody with her size, yet she constantly finds her way through the paint.
“It’s just part of our offense,” Schlott said. “Coach’s offense is more of a dribble-drive kind of kick-out, and I just try to get into the lane and have the defense collapse and sometimes when they don’t, I just get wide-open shots.”
“Every game there is an ‘Ooh’ and ‘Ah’ move,” Finkbeiner said. “She is really built small, built thinly, but she has a way of bouncing off of people, drawing a foul and still having the presence to put up a shot.”
Despite Schlott’s consistent play, the Aggies have lost five-straight games. This is a trend Schlott does not anticipate to continue.
“Our last two games have been super-close, down-to-the-wire. It’s partly luck, partly we can do better,” Schlott said. “We’re just grinding through, and I think in due time we’re just going to break out.”
Finkbeiner is as confident in Schlott’s leadership ability to bring them out of their rut as he is in her scoring ability.
“I’d classify her as a leader by doing. She is not very vocal. She is quiet by nature, but you can tell the game is very important to her,” Finkbeiner said. “She is usually one of the first ones on the floor and usually one of the last ones to leave, so she provides good senior leadership just by example.”
Schlott is closing in on the school career record for assists and she holds the program record for points in a game. Before Dec.19, no women’s basketball player at USU had ever scored more than 40 points in a game.
That day against UC Santa Barbara, Schlott dropped 44 points.
“She has an uncanny way of shooting layups in the lane with contact, pulling up and shooting a mid-range jumper or shooting a three,” Finkbeiner said. “So she’s got a lot of different options to go to, and that’s what makes her hard to guard.”
Schlott shows no signs of slowing down either. Schlott continues to score and her team continues to count on her to do so. She has more points than the next two leading scorers on her team, Makenlee Williams and Franny Vaaulu, combined.
“She’s hard to guard,” Finkbeiner said. “I would admit that from my perspective as her coach, she’s got that slippery combination with that soft touch and the quick-counter moves, and that makes her really hard to guard.”
“I’m really just trying to win games, just get my team in positions to score and getting myself in positions to score, running our offense, and it’s just kind of blossomed into … what it is,” Schlott said.