Feb. 11, 2003
By Elizabeth Kuehn
OU Media Relations
The ability to adapt to new situations is a quality Oklahoma senior center Theresa Schuknecht has learned well as a college basketball player. During her five seasons she has played for three universities.
Schuknecht is originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. After being heavily recruited by several schools, including Oklahoma, she ultimately chose Arizona State to start her collegiate basketball career. Schuknecht admits that the warm climate and the proximity that the Pac-10 trips to the states of Washington and Oregon and those states proximity had to Canada played a factor in her decision. For the next two seasons, Schuknecht had a very productive career on the court and off the court as well. She was ASU's top scorer and rebounder as a freshman and a sophomore. Following her sophomore season, she and husband, Seth, were married and she decided to forgo her final two years at Arizona State.
A Navy pilot, Seth, was transferred to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, and Schuknecht decided to follow him. He is also a former college basketball player at the U.S.Naval Academy. "He's my biggest fan, but it's hard for him just to watch and enjoy the game because he knows the game so well," she said.
Schuknecht originally transferred to Southern Nazarene University, in Bethany (Okla.), and joined the women's basketball program in the summer of 2000. In her short time at SNU, she was named the 2001 Kodak NAIA Player of the Year and voted to the Academic and Athletic All-American teams. "It was an honor to receive these awards, but I really wanted to play Division I ball again," Schuknecht said.
That's when she contacted the OU coaching staff and asked about transferring to Oklahoma. She joined the Sooners and returned to Division I basketball before the 2001-02 season.
"I am grateful that they (coaching staff) made room for me," Schuknecht said. "Everything has worked out for me to finish at the highest level. OU is a great school both academically and athletically." Schuknecht said.
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Schuknecht could not compete during OU's run to the NCAA Final Four, but was an invaluable member of the Sooners' practice squad last season.
"It was a good experience last year. It was very difficult sitting on the sideline watching the team. I really improved a lot and gained a better understanding of what we do here at OU," she said.
Schuknecht became eligible to play for the Sooners at the beginning of this season. She is the team leader in rebounds per game and free throw accuracy, shooting .863 from the line. Her performance from the charity stripe (87.0 percent) has her ranked among the nation's elite. The 6-3 center also averages more than 10 points per game.
Schuknecht wants to be a leader and an energy source for the Sooners. "I need to do more. It's expected of me because I'm a senior and have three years of experience. For almost everyone else on the team, it's their first year or two playing college basketball," she said.
The bad news for Sooner fans is that they get to watch Schuknecht play for only one season.
"It would have been much easier to stay at one place," Schuknecht said of her travels. "It's been neat because I've lived in a couple of different places already and I'm only 22. At the same time it would have been fun to be at the same place for four years."
If the opportunity presents itself, Schuknecht would like to continue her basketball career. She also has the option of entering the business world after completing her degree in marketing this year.