The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 19, 2014

Schoper doesn't wait, commits to Mavericks

West junior grew up watching MSU, prefers to stay close to home

MANKATO — Lexi Schoper still has two seasons of high-school basketball remaining, but she already has made plans for college basketball.

"I've always wanted to go to (Minnesota State)," Schoper said. "I grew up watching them."

This week, Schoper, a junior at Mankato West, made a verbal commitment to MSU. It's a rare step for someone who still has so much high school basketball ahead of her.

But the 5-foot-10 guard, has already played a couple of seasons on the West varsity. Schoper, who could be used at both guard positions, averaged 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.9 assists last season and shot 81 percent from the free-throw line.

Schoper scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season. Her 589 points is a single-season record at West, and she needs about 800 points to break Lori Rittenhouse's school record. Schoper made 63 3-pointers, second best in program history, including seven in one game, and she scored 38 points in a game, just one off the record held by Sarah Rippke in 1997.

"I really like (the Mavericks') style of play," Schoper said. "A lot of fast breaks and outside shooting."

West coach Kristin Krusemark, who played at Gustavus Adolphus, knows what it takes to play college basketball and the changes that have taken place with style of play in the last decade. She believes Schoper will be successful at Minnesota State, taking advantage of her long-range shooting and ball handling.

"She's such a hard worker," Krusemark said. "She's athletic and tall, and it looks like she'll continue growing. I think she has the skills to make it."

Now, Schoper has to wait for two years to play at Minnesota State, where Krusemark said she'll flourish playing in front of family and friends.

"It's a really good fit for her," Krusemark said. "I told her the No. 1 thing is to find the right school for you. She has the dream of playing college basketball.

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