Kinderknecht shines despite limited role

To Lady Blues junior guard Laura Kinderknecht basketball is much more than just a game. Basketball is heart, hard work, family and the desire to win.

Kinderknecht, originally from Saint Marys, Kan., has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve been playing basketball pretty much since I started walking,” said Kinderknecht. “My dad was the high school coach so I would always go to the pracices and play around.”

Kinderknecht’s first year of competitive basketball, however, was not until her first year of junior high school. She then moved on to play competitive basketball at Saint Marys High School, where she began playing in two positions.

“I have always played either the point guard or the guard position, as I do now at Washburn University” said Kinderknecht.

In 21 games this season, six of which she started, Kinderknecht has averaged 5.9 points per game and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 34 percent from the three point line in 20.2 minutes per game. On Jan. 11, she scored a season-high 14 points in a road game against Pittsburg State University, going 2-for-4 from the three-point line and 5-for-11 from the field.

Last season, however, her scoring totals were considerably higher, as she started all 29 games for the Lady Blues, scoring 10.7 points per game while averaging more minutes per game than anyone in school history, at 34.8 minutes per contest. Her 63 made three-point field goals in 2010-11 rank seventh all-time in Washburn’s single-season rankings, and she is currently tied for ninth place in the school’s all-time rankings with 108 career three-pointers.

For Kinderknecht, Washburn athletics is a family tradition. She first came to Washburn University because of her older brother, Steve, who was a pitcher and infielder for the Washburn baseball team and is engaged to Jordan Shefte, a former defender on the Washburn soccer team.

“My brother attended Washburn University before I did, so I knew the program well,” said Kinderknecht.

Kinderknecht said Washburn, her first choice when choosing which college to attend, has been a great experience.

“Playing basketball at Washburn has allowed me to gain so many new friends through the basketball team,” said Kinderknecht. “It has been so cool to be able to play with these girls over the past three years.”

Being a part of a team like the Washburn Lady Blues, to Kinderknecht, has meant more and more to her with every game.

“My favorite part about being a Washburn Lady Blue has to do with the history of the program and its coaching,” said Kinderknecht. “The basketball team is good every single year and is always competing for championships.”

The one thing that is and will always be different for Kinderknecht though is the adjustment she was forced to make when moving on from her high school coach to Washburn head coach, Ron McHenry.

“It was a difficult transitioning from high school to college basketball because I had only ever been coached by my dad,” said Kinderknecht. “But now, I really enjoy playing for Coach McHenry. There is never a dull moment in our practice or even our games.”

She said transition was made easier by her teammates over the years.

“Every game I get to play, I’m playing basketball with some of my best friends,” said Kinderknecht. “As a Washburn Lady Blue what else could possibly ask for?”