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December 4, 2012

Ravens Focus: Wuestefeld comfortable in senior year

Guard leads AU in points, rebounds and assists

ANDERSON, Ind. — Amy Wuestefeld never expected to be at Anderson University.

The women’s basketball team’s current leader in points, rebounds and assists is a Raven today only because she decided to tag along with her twin sister, Ashley, during a campus visit four years ago.

Wuestefeld already had determined she wouldn’t be attending the same college as her sister, and she came to AU solely as moral support. But as she learned more about the school’s education department and met the people involved in the basketball program, her mind began to change.

When it came time to make a final decision, Amy had a surprise for Ashley.

“I think I like Anderson,” she said.

“You can’t pick it,” Ashley responded. “I’m picking Anderson.”

A truce eventually was reached, and both sisters now suit up for the Ravens.

It’s been a rough ride for Ashley, who spent much of her first three seasons battling injury. But both Wuestefeld girls are healthy this year, and it’s been an obvious boost for the Ravens.

Amy paces the team with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Ashley adds 9.6 points per game and a team-best 45.5 percent clip from 3-point range.

At times, each sister seem to sense where the other is on the court without looking. They’ll make cuts and passes or set screens almost instinctively in sync with one another.

“I feel like I play better when she’s on the floor with me,” Amy said. “Everyone calls it our ‘twin telepathy.’”

That familiarity can also be frustrating at times.

If the sisters are on different teams during practice, it’s not uncommon for one to anticipate the other’s move and make a highlight-reel defensive play.

“Whenever we work out, I’ll try to do something and she’ll stop it, and I’ll say, ‘Did you read that move?’” Amy said. “And she’ll say, ‘You always do that move, Amy.’ But it’s fun because it’s competitive.”

It also can spill over to the rest of the team.

When other Ravens watch the Wuestefelds executing in tandem, they feed off that energy.

It helps that the sisters are two of four seniors on this year’s roster — joined by Jami Delagrange and Melissa Stachovic. Each senior has a different leadership style, and each brings something different to the team.

Each also becomes even more important this week as AU (0-5) begins a three-game Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference road trip at Defiance on Wednesday.

“Our seniors’ leadership and contributions are absolutely important,” AU coach Marcie Taylor said. “They’re the ones that are familiar with the teams that are coming up.”

Amy Wuestefeld said it’s not uncommon for a senior to speak up in film sessions and tell the younger players something that did or did not work last season against a conference foe.

Oftentimes as many as three newcomers are on the floor at the same time, but Wuestefeld said she’s already seen a lot of growth.

“I feel like this year, more than ever before, the freshmen have picked things up so well,” she said. “Like coach said, there are times when there are three of them on the court at the same time, but I don’t really notice it. They blend in well.”

Wuestefeld said it feels like it’s been a long time since she first stepped on the AU campus, but her basketball career seemingly has flown by.

She wants to win this season, of course, and the Ravens remain focused on earning one of the four berths in the HCAC postseason tournament. But she also fully understands her role in helping to lay a foundation for this year’s youngsters to carry on.

“It’s kind of nice, as seniors, to know there is growth for the program behind us,” Wuestefeld said. “And we’ve tried to make that growth even better with our leadership and examples.”

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