June 22, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- She may already be residing in Norman and enrolled in classes, but Oklahoma women's basketball freshman Jenny Vining needed to play one final game in her home state of Arkansas.
Vining returned to Arkansas on Thursday for the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star girls basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
The Sooner guard hit the game-clinching basket with approximately four minutes remaining in the game.
Vining could have slowed things down with her West Team leading by six points in the closing minutes, instead she took advantage of the green light from her coach and nailed a 28-foot 3-pointer that put her team ahead for good, 62-53.The West squad would eventually win 68-60 with Vining scoring a team-high 11 points.
Vining has been touted by the OU coaching staff as a potential replacement for Chelsi Welch and Erin Higgins, who were the most proficient long range threats on the squad the last two seasons.
As she proved in the all-star game on Thursday night, the Marshall high school graduate has similar range to Higgins, who went down as the OU career leader in 3-pointers made and regularly shot from NBA range and beyond.
"We all heard about Jenny's shooting ability coming in," said OU sophomore forward Amanda Thompson, "but she can do a lot more than just shoot it. She is really strong, for a freshman, especially in her upper body. She has a great feel for the game and has really surprised everyone with her ability to pass."
Vining focused on becoming a more well-rounded player during her final prep season. She didn't want to be known as just a shooter, so she honed her ball handling and dribble and drive skills.
"I knew I had to do more than just shoot at this level," said Vining. "So I worked on getting to the basket and creating opportunities that way. There is still a lot of work to do, but I hope it pays off."
Her hard work has already paid off with her teammates.
"We are all fans. The girl came here ready to play," said Thompson.
Besides freshman Carlee Roethlisberger, who will arrive in Norman during the first week of July, the entire 2007-08 women's basketball team is enrolled in summer school classes and residing in Norman this summer.