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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

women's basketball

Freshman adapts to life, game in US

Latvian

Pack up your things. Travel across the globe to a different continent. Adapt to a different culture, language and people.

Oh, and also take four years of college courses.

Sound difficult?

Not to freshman center Kristiana Stauere.

“The biggest difficulty was the time adjustment,” she said. “My home in Latvia is seven hours ahead from here. Everyone, including my teammates, coaches and even people on the street, everyone has been extremely helpful. So I haven’t really had any
problems.”

The big move was obviously not an issue for the 6-foot-4 center, who has been in the spotlight her entire life.

Brought up by parents who both played basketball, Stauere began playing at 12 years old. She was the tallest girl in her high school.

The Latvian national team quickly took notice of her natural talent for basketball and invited her to play on the country’s U-16 age grouping national team.

On the U-16 squad, Stauere averaged 3.2 blocked shots per game. She experienced similar success on the older U-18 team, where she shot more than 50 percent from the field.

But the prospect of playing overseas didn’t begin for the high school standout until earlier last year.

“I started getting interest in my senior year of high school from a lot of universities and junior colleges,” Stauere said. “When I was looking at other schools on the Internet, I don’t know what was different about IU, but it just felt like the right place to be. It’s hard to explain.”

Because of restrictions, Stauere did not visit any of the schools recruiting her, but she ultimately chose to play for coach Felisha Legette-Jack
at IU.

“It’s really an incredible thing to see this lady come from another country and absorb our personalities and blend,” Legette-Jack said. “I adore this kid, and she is probably one of the smartest you’re ever going to meet.”

After playing overseas for the summer, Stauere had to come to Bloomington in the fall and quickly start adapting to the differences on and off the court.

As one of four new Hoosier forwards, the Latvianfreshman was put into an up-tempo style of play, requiring a learning curve after playing in Europe her whole life.

Senior guard Jori Davis emphasized the importance of having fast forwards.

“With us being a running team, and the post being quick, that will definitely work to our advantage,” Davis said. “With a quick post being able to rack up points, it just all works together.”

Stauere said Legette-Jack and the coaching staff have prioritized conditioning and getting their team in shape for the 2010-11 campaign.

But before the coaches can see if those hours doing suicides in Cook Hall have paid off, they can enjoy the anticipation and excitement of a new season with their lengthy recruit from across the Atlantic.

“I think she is going to be an excellent presence for us on the perimeter. We’re excited about our future with her,” Legette-Jack said. “If you haven’t gotten a chance to meet Kri yet, you’re going to enjoy her, because she’s a special kid.”

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