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The Drill: Christensen a key element at Minnesota West

Shelby Christensen played basketball at Murray County Central High School and she did lots of things well. Now a freshman at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, she is learning to step up her game even more.

WORTHINGTON -- Shelby Christensen played basketball at Murray County Central High School and she did lots of things well. Now a freshman at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Worthington, she is learning to step up her game even more.

If you wanted to pigeonhole Christensen as a particular kind of player, that would be hard to do. She is one of those special players who does a little bit of everything. Mostly, her various skills make her teammates better. And when she needs to, she can make the big shot and lead her team in scoring.

Even in the first few weeks of 2021, when the Lady Jays were going through growing pains and finding out about each other, Christensen demonstrated the right kind of versatility. The team lost regularly in the early-going to four-year schools, but Christensen and her teammates learned valuable lessons.

“I would say the hardest thing to get used to in college basketball, compared to high school, is just the new group of girls, getting used to that,” she recalled recently. “Because I was with the same group for four years straight. The environment, the coaching -- playing is pretty much the same because it’s the same game -- but competition is a lot harder.”

Basketball and volleyball are Christensen’s games. Minnesota West turned out to be a good fit for her, and she settled upon the college quickly.

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“It’s affordable. It had my degree (nursing). It had athletics. I knew I wanted to come here after my first visit,” she said.

So what is her role with the basketball team, really?

Explains Shelby: “I’m not going to be the biggest one, I’m not going to be the fastest one, but just getting my job done and helping others, and just doing whatever we have to do to win. I would say my role for the Lady Jays is rebounding, handling the ball, scoring, making that extra pass when I have to.”

This week’s Globe Drill subject, Christensen claims NBA star Steph Curry as her inspiration. She loves the “effortless” way he’s able to score points, and his humble side.

The Shelby Christensen Drill video can be seen online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sampling of the interview:

QUESTION: You do seem to score more points, generally, at the college level than you did in high school. What’s that about?

ANSWER: “I’m being more explosive because I have to be. I mean, those girls are big out there and you have to play with them and do what you do to do that. And I think a result of that is scoring more. We’re playing mostly five out this year, so driving is a big thing, shooting’s a big thing. If they’re guarding five out, the lane’s open and you have to get there.”

QUESTION: What is the best athletic advice you’ve received in your career?

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ANSWER: “I would say the best advice I’ve received athletically over the years is just being true to me. I mean, you’ve got all these influences around you and people telling you what to do, but you just gotta play your game and do what’s best for you. Stay true to your heart, don’t let negative things get to you, and just play the game.”

QUESTION: Have you got a special story to tell? One that you’ll always remember?

ANSWER: “One story that sticks out to me was in high school. I was either a sophomore or junior, and I was with my head coach Patrick Freeman. And I remember we were just having the worst practice ever, and he was getting so frustrated with us. So he was playing defense and someone plowed him over and he just fell right to the ground. It was so funny. And then he had to keep his madness, ‘cuz all of us were laughing at the time -- but we shouldn’t have been, because it was a bad practice. I will never forget it, just him wiping out. It was just so funny. It’s like you just had to be there.”

031021 N DG Shelby Christensen 03 10 21 Drill.jpg
Minnesota West women's basketball player Shelby Christensen. (Tim Middagh/The Globe) 03 10 21

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