Performing on both ends of the court, Hayward's Stark emerging a - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Performing on both ends of the court, Hayward's Stark emerging as a leader for UMD women

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After a standout high school career at Hayward, Katie Stark last season was more than happy to take a step out of the spotlight with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women's basketball team. 

"In high school, coming from a small town, it felt like you always had to be the leader," said Stark. "Here as a freshman, I wasn't the leader. I could kind of take a little pressure off and just play the game."

That didn't last long for Stark, though. It was clear, even then, that she'd soon also be a leader at UMD.

"She's competitive. She's a perfectionist," said Bulldogs head coach Mandy Pearson. "She embodies a lot of the qualities we look for in basketball players who are going to help us take this to the next level."

"I knew that she was going to come out this year and do really well," said Bulldogs junior guard Sammy Kozlowski. "Last year she played a little shy. I'd always tell her she's got to shoot the ball. She's got to do it."

Stark has done just that so far this season. She's third on the team in scoring, nearly 10 points per game. She's also grabbed close to six rebounds per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from three point range. 

But one of her biggest contributions has come on defense. 

"Katie gets to the loose ball faster than anybody she's ever seen in her life. It's so instinctual," said Pearson. 

"Everybody has a role," said Stark. "I think we're doing really well in knowing our roles and giving what we have to offer."

And even with UMD out to its best NSIC start since the year 2000, Stark --- the always natural leader --- wants to help put things in perspective.

"You just have to take it one game at a time," she said. "Focus on getting ready in practice, and do everything you can to remember it's just one game."

One game at a time, each of which brings that much more experience.


UMD enters the holiday break (7-2) overall and (4-1) in conference play, placing the Bulldogs second in the NSIC North Division standings. UMD returns to action on December 30 for a road game against the University of Mary. 

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