Karla Vietinghoff did not have a sophomore season to remember.
Vietinghoff, now a junior guard at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, played in only 9 games last season after suffering an ACL injury while playing at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.
"I was in a game and jump-stopped and it gave out," she said. "It was tough. It was frustrating at first, but some things happen for a reason. I overcame it and knew I had to work harder than I was."
As a freshman at Waubonsee, Vietinghoff was an all-conference pick and earned Region IV player of the week honors in December 2012.
Knee injury behind her, Vietinghoff came back this season stronger than ever at her new school. She's played a key role in Iowa Wesleyan getting off to a 13-3 start, which includes an 8-1 conference mark.
Vietinghoff recently had 14 points and 6 rebounds in the team's 73-51 victory over McMurray. She also had 23 points (5 3-pointers) and 7 rebounds in a 73-57 win over Greenville. In another recent contest, she had 20 points (4 3-pointers) and 7 rebounds in a 65-60 loss to Eureka.
Her biggest contribution of the season came in a 76-36 win over Viterbo where she had a career-high 35 points and tied the school record with 7 3-pointers. She was 2 points shy of the school's single-game scoring record. She added 11 rebounds in that game.
"My shot has improved since last year," said Vietinghoff. "I've put in a lot more practice. I'm driving more to the basket. My shot is the best part of my game. I'm shooting very well and my teammates have done a good job of getting me the ball and setting screens and helping me get open looks. I couldn't do this without my teammates."
Iowa Wesleyan coach Steve Williamson has certainly been impressed with his new player's efforts this season.
"Karla has been a great addition to this program," he said. "She is one of the best shooters I have ever coached. Teams are really focusing on her, but still cannot stop her. She finds ways to score."
Williamson said Vietinghoff's excellence on the court extends off it as well.
"As good a basketball player as she is, she is a better person off the court," he said. "I could not ask for a better young lady to have in our program. With all the success Karla has had on the court, she is a very humble person and continues to work hard to become better each day. I still think she can be a lot better than what she has shown us."
Vietinghoff said she's most-proud of the 35-point game against Viterbo, but for a different reasons.
"I'm proud of that game not only because our offense was doing well, but defensively that was probably our best game we played together," she said. "We had a good game all-around."
Vietinghoff admits she's a tad surprised by what has transpired this season.
"I thought I would come back and do well, but not this good," she said.
Vietinghoff is studying psychology and is happy she chose Iowa Wesleyan.
"I really like playing basketball here," she said. "Everybody here is nice. I like how the school is small. You know pretty much everyone here. It's a great atmosphere to be in."
Vietinghoff is looking forward to helping the team improve on that 13-3 mark it sported through midweek.
"We have a lot of conference games left that are winnable," she said. "We just have to play together. We have the talent here to do that."
Hernandez at Dominican: Bartlett graduate Alyssa Hernandez recently was named the Dominican University athlete of the week. Hernandez earned the honor after averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in a pair of Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference contests. The 6-1 Hernandez shot over 48 percent from the field and also had 4 blocked shots in the two games.
Through midweek, Hernandez was averaging 11.3 points in an average of 23 minutes of action a night. She was shooting .483 from the field and .636 from the free-throw line, while also pulling in 4.9 rebounds per contest. Her 11-point effort against Aurora University recently gave her a streak of 8 games in a row with 10 or more points.
Sanders earns honor: Dundee-Crown graduate Ali Sanders, now a sophomore on the Florida Southern University women's basketball team, recently was named to the Capital One/CoSIDA NCAA Division II academic all-district team for District 5 women's basketball.
With her selection, Sanders now is eligible for academic All-American honors by advancing to the Capital One Division II academic All-America ballot. The Division II academic All-American team will be announced Feb. 19.
In order to become eligible for all-district honors, a student-athlete musthave a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 and be at least a sophomore in eligibility and be a starter or key player on the team.
Sanders carries a 4.00 cumulative GPA in human movement and performance at FSC.
On the season, Sanders is averaging 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She is shooting 36 percent from the 3-point line (25 three-pointers) and 67 percent from the free-throw line. She has scored in double figures 3 games in a row heading into Saturday's contest against No. 5 Nova Southeastern.
Williams at Barry: Elgin graduate Arie Williams has played in 17 games this season for the Barry University men's basketball team. In an average of 15.5 minutes per game, Williams was averaging 5.9 points per game. He was shooting .471 from the field and .441 from the 3-point line (26-for-59). He also had 24 assists and 16 turnovers for a Barry team that was 14-3 overall through its first 17 contests.
Tamburrino at Roosevelt: Jacobs product Maria Tamburrino is a senior guard-forward on the Roosevelt University women's basketball team. In 23 starts this season, Tamburrino is averaging 13.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game (both rank second on the team). Through the team's first 23 games, she was shooting .394 from the field and .800 from the free-throw line. She also had 53 assists, 33 blocks and 47 steals.
In a recent 69-66 win over Indiana-South Bend she had 11 points. In a 112-99 loss to Olivet Nazarene, Tamburrino had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 steals. She also had 17 points and 7 steals in an 82-69 win over Holy Cross.
Roosevelt was 16-7 overall and 7-4 in CCAC action through mid-week.