Decision to transfer followed contact with former Wildcats teammate

by: UCCS SPORTS INFORMATION - Wilsonville High alumna Kellie Krueger became a starting forward at UC Colorado Springs this past season after an unhappy freshman year at Stony Brook in New York.Kellie Krueger had seen enough.

After one season with the Stony Brook women’s basketball team, the Wilsonville High School alumna was frustrated and ready to move on.

“Their program just wasn’t the program for me,” she said. “Everyone on the team was kind of unhappy that year because a new coaching staff had come in. I wasn’t happy. And the school itself just wasn’t for me. So I decided to transfer.”

But while Krueger knew she wanted to leave New York, she didn’t know where to continue her collegiate career. Then she got in touch with former Wildcats teammate Emily Dungey, who plays on the squad at Colorado State Pueblo, and asked her about her experience in the Centennial State.

“It was kind of random,” Krueger said.

But it was also fortuitous.

Satisfied with Dungey’s testimonial, Krueger began researching teams in the area. She noticed the team at UC Colorado Springs was doing well, so she sent an email to Mountain Lions coach Corey Laster with statistics and highlights from her freshman year at Stony Brook.

“He called a half hour after I sent the email,” Krueger said.

It led to a new beginning for Krueger, who said she didn’t mind leaving a Division I program for a Division II school.

“I didn’t want to sit out a year,” she said, alluding to NCAA rules for transferring athletes. “And, as it turned out, the conference I’m in now is 10 times more competitive than the one I was in.”

This past season, Krueger started in 19 of the 21 games in which she played. She averaged 9.0 points per contest while shooting a team-best 58.1 percent from the field, also averaging 4.5 rebounds per game.

Among highlights of her first year with the Mountain Lions were a 20-point, 14-rebound performance in her team’s blowout of Western State this past January and a 21-point, eight-board effort in a two-point loss at Fort Lewis in February. UCCS went 19-8 overall and 16-6 in league play.

“It’s been great,” said Krueger, who is studying business. “I love the coaches and the team, and the school is awesome. It’s a medium-sized school, so it’s smaller than Stony Brook, and class sizes are smaller. The view is amazing because you’re right next to the Rockies. It’s really cool. The area is nice. Everyone is really friendly and welcomed me with open arms. I have to complain about feeling landlocked. But that’s the only thing.”

It’s a much shorter list of grievances than Krueger had at Stony Brook, which went 4-26 in 2011-12 and finished the campaign on a 16-game losing streak.

Still, Krueger was able to showcase her potential during her time with the Seawolves. She was named rookie of the week by the America East Conference three times in a row at Stony Brook, where she averaged 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

In high school, Krueger went from earning third-team all-conference recognition as a sophomore to being named the league player of the year and becoming a first-team all-state selection as a senior.

She averaged 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior, logging 10 double-doubles and helping the Wildcats reach the Class 5A state finals. She made the all-conference first team that year.

The following season, Krueger was even more dominant. She averaged 13.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game while recording 15 double-doubles, simultaneously topping the 20-point and 10-rebound benchmarks eight times.

Krueger wrapped up her prep career at No. 2 on Wilsonville’s charts for points and rebounds.

“Playing in the state playoffs was the highlight of my high school basketball experience,” she said. “It was amazing, the best feeling in the world. I just want to go back to that moment. I guess I’m off doing bigger and better things. I’m just really thankful for where I am.”

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