November 16, 1998 - SportsMonday - The Michigan Daily - 7
PART 1 OF THE ' o0 J FRoss '
Heather Oesterle - From the family barn to Crisler
By Uma Subramanlan
Daily Sports Writer
Behind most successful athletes lie supportive fami-
lies - you know, the kind that go to all the games and
cheer even when the team is losing badly. Heather
Oesterle's family takes the adjective to a new level.
The family's basketball ties date back nearly two
generations to the days when Oesterle's father used to
; lay in a barn on the family farm. The present genera-
tion of players got their basketball starts in much the
"My dad had four brothers and they all played bas-
ketball," said Oesterle, who is a 6-foot freshman on
the Michigan women's basketball team. "My grandpa
built a barn and put a hoop in it. When we were
young my dad taught my sisters and I how to play.
"When we got older my grandpa built us a barn and
put a full-size court with one hoop in it. It was heated
too, so we could play in the winter."
0 Because of the convenience of the facility, many
days after school Oesterle would come home from
basketball practice and shoot around some more.
Apparently, the practice paid off.
Coming out of Mason high school, Oesterle, a
guard, was one of the most highly touted players in
the state of Michigan. She was twice named to the
Detroit Free Press all-state first team for girl's basket-
ball and was named the Lansing State Journal's player
of the year.
But the motivation to get better was under the same
S "My older sister was really good," Oesterle said.
"When we were younger we all used to play 2-on-2
with my dad. But she blew out her knee her senior
year of high school."
However, there is one thing Oesterle doesn't share
with her family. Having grown up on a beef cattle
farm in suburban Lansing, Oesterle was raised as a
Spartan fan. In fact, her family remains Spartan faith-
"Everyone in my family is a State fan," Oesterle
;aid. "I knew they kind of wanted me to go there. But
they've changed a little bit. There going to root for
Michigan women's basketball, but in every other sport
they're still going to root for MSU."
But Oesterle assures that her loyalties have
Though Oesterle was greatly influenced by her Michiga
family, this Thanksgiving is one holiday she won't be mates k
spending with them.
Oesterle and her teammates will be in Cancun for the
Torneo Cancun de Basquetbol.
"I'm really excited about the trip," Oesterle said. "I went to
#ancun for spring break in high school, and I loved it. It
should be a lot of fun to go with the team."
Until recently, women's basketball was regarded primarily as
a collegiate sport - especially within the United States. But
with the inauguration of the WNBA and the recent public inter-
The 1998.99 season is a time
of transition for the Michigan
women's basketball team. An
experienced backcourt will try
and guide an inexperienced
frontcourt back to the NCAA
tournament. This year's fresh-
man class will make a signifi-
cant impact on the team.
Every player on this team has
an interesting story to tell.
The Michigan Daily women's
basketball writers will feature
each freshman once during the
Fun Fact: Fi
third in Miss
two years ag
and conditioning coach for a college team.
But for the time being, Oesterle is focused on con-
tributing to Michigan. In high school, she played all
five positions on the court. Her.versatility could make
her a major threat in the college game.
"Heather really could go the 1, 2, 3 or 4," Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "But I'll tell you something,
Heather Oesterle can pass the ball. She can thread the
needle just as well as (junior guard) Anne Thorius. I
would say that Oesterle is the second-best passer on
this team. She's also another one who can shoot the
But though she hopes to make a statement at
Michigan, Oesterle has not set any specific personal
goals as yet.
"I don't know what to expect," Oesterle said. "I'm
just having a lot of fun playing."
The midwestern farmer is known for work ethic and
strength. A day in the life of a farmer begins at the
KIND/Daly crack of dawn and ends long after the sun sets.
class- Though by her own admission Oesterle didn't have
much of an impact on the family farm growing up,
Guevara believes that Oesterle's upbringing will affect
"She comes from Mason, her family owns a lot of acres," E
Guevara said. "She's a farm girl and she's a strong girl. She can
shoot - I just have to get her to."
Oesterle returned the compliment, crediting Guevara and her
coaching style in her decision to attend Michigan. So far, she
has no regrets.
"I really love it here," Oesterle said. "I'm having a lot of fun
and everyone's really cool."
Even though the barn she plays in now is just a little bit big-
ger, she knows the game is still the same.
Fun Fact: C,
golf in high
run like a de
an guard Heather Oesterle grew up around basketball. She and her fellowI
ook to help the Wolverines return to the NCAA tournament.
est in women's sports, the future is promising for talented play-
Oesterle is no exception. She, like many others, dreams of
playing one day in the premier women's league in the world.
"I'm going to see how it goes," Gesterle said. "It'd be a
dream to play in the WNBA, but if it doesn't happen, I'm sure
I'll find something else to do. The WNBA is great because we
have more fans now. People are more interested in women's
basketball and it's helped women's sports overall."
If her WNBA dreams are not realized, Oesterle - a student
in the Division of Kinesiology - would like to be a strength
Fun Fact: Fr
which has th
Y;- Y -- r
Women's Basketball Fast Facts
AP Women's Poll
The new Associated Press top 25 women's college
basketball preseason poll. First-place votes in parenthe-
Team 2997-98 Record Pts.
1. Tennessee (42) 39.0 '1,050
2. Louisiana Tech' 31.4 1000
3. Connecticut 343 9680
4. Duke 248 894
5. Purdue 2310 876
~6.UCLA 20.9 824
7. Georgia, 17-11 679
8. Virginia 19-10 632
9. Alabama '24-10" 595
10. North Carolina 27-7 567
11. Kansas 23-9 566
12. Rutgers 22-10 527'
13. George Washington 20-10 494
14. Texas Tech 26.5 468
15. Old Dominion 29.3 449,
16. North Carolina State 25.7 - 402
17."Notre Dame 22-10 317
18. Arkansas" 22-11- 294-
19. Stanford 216 248
20. Vanderbilt 20.9 222,
21. Arizona 23-7 208
227. Florida 23-9 160
227. Iowa State 258 160
24. UCSanta Barbara 27-6 148
25. Illinois 20-10 136
ESPNIUSA Today Poll
The new ESPN/USA Today women's college basketball
preseason poll. First-place votes in parentheses.
Team 1997-98 Ranking Pts.
1. Tennessee (40) 1 1,000
2. Louisiana Tech 2 945
3. Connecticut.5 897
4. Duke t7 825
5. Purdue 11 720
6. UCLA 20 678.
7. North Carolina 3 637
8. Texas Tech 10 525
8. Kansas 22 525
10. Georgia NR 518
11. Rutgers 16 516
12. N.C. State 4 488
13. Alabama 13 475
14. Virginia 23 464
15. Old Dominion 6 395
16. George Washington NR 332
17. Stanford i5 324
18. Arkansas - t7 323
19. Notre Dame 17 282
20. Florida 12 263
21. Arizona 9 210
22. Vanderbilt 25 178
22. Wisconsin NR 155
24. Iliinis 14 151
25. Iowa State 24 143
Michigan Women's Basketball Schedule
Minnesota = 7 p.m.
Purdue , 5 p.m.
ILLINOIS 7:30 p.m.
Michigan State 5 p.m.
IOWA 7:30 p.m.
INDIANA 2 p.m.
Big Ten tournament round 1** TBA
Big Ten quarterfinals** TBA
Big Ten semifinals** TBA
Big Ten Championship** TBA,
NCAA rounds 1&2# . TBA
NCAA rounds 1&2# TBA
NCAA regionals# - TBA
NCAA Final Four# TBA
play in the g
Mstate of Ohi
Fun Fact: Ju
read the stor
on the left; tt
sum has a c
* Tourneo Cancun de Basquetbol
** at Indianapolis, Ind. (RCA Dome)
# NCAA championships - locations TBA
Home games in CAPS
Fun Fact: Has
the same birtt
day as Ricki L
and H.G. Well,
7i OHIO STATE
1997-98 RECORD: 7-9 Big Ten,
EAD COACH: Beth Bums
KEY PLAYERS: Marrita Porter,
Mindy Fusetti, Larecha Jones
No. OF RETURNING
Last year was a
layear of first for the
Buckeyes. A new
coach played a rookie at every
pmton. When all was said and
done, the results weren't terrible.
The team finished eighth in the
league. But this year Burns is at
the helm of the most competitive
team Ohio State has seen in
It's a team that returns all fve
1997-98 RECORD: 13-3 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Angie Lee
Key Players: Amy Herrig, Cara
Consuegra, Rand Peterson
No. OF RETURNING
What a difference
a year makes. Last
season, Iowa domi-
nated the Big Ten and won the
This year the team has a com-
pletely new look. With only one
returning starter and seven fresh-
men, Iowa has a major obstacle
to overcome in its quest for a
second straight title.
Herrig - the lone returning
[!] MICHIGAN STATEJ
1997-98 RECORD: 5-11 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Karen Langeland
KEY PLAYERS: Maxann Reese,
Kristen Rasmussen, Pemille
No. OF RETURNiNG
Last year was the
year of inexperience
After its first-ever Big Ten title in
1997, M aState entered the
1997-98 wi 11 players, fea-
turing five fres en.
But this season 10 players are
re , and the outlook has
e two Rs - Reese and
10 NORTHWESTERN . MINNESOTA
1997-98 RECORD: 3-13 Big
Ten, 10-21 overall
HEAD COACH: Don Perrelli
KEY PLAYERS: Kristina Divjak,
Last year was a
It was only Northwestern's
fourth season finishing under
Now the Wildcats are try-
ing to recreate the golden
days of yore.
The team is returning its
top duo in school history in
Diviak and Chawanskv. who
1997-98 RECORD: 1-15 Big Ten,
HEAD COACH: Cheryl Littlejohn
KEY PLAYERS: Sonja Robinson,
No. OF RETURNING
Gophers are a team
that's mission is to
build - not to rebuild, just build.
After last year's disastrous cam-
paign, Minnesota is searching for
that one element that will turn
things around. After al, things
re couldn't get much worse.
Thereare four freshmen and
three junior college transfers that
could make a difference in the
Member of th
Select Team I
Fun Fact: Only
player on the
I ff\ ., - Ill