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Patience pays off for Idaho’s Graham

Idaho senior post Jessica Graham is as healthy as she's been during a difficult college career that included multiple injuries to her left knee. Her Vandals, too, are having a healthy season in the Western Athletic Conference. Read story

Graham said her injuries have affected her jumping, speed and pivoting, but she compensates however she can.

One constant, she said, has been the support of Idaho coach Jon Newlee.

“He's been by my side the entire time,” Graham said. “He said as long as I wanted to play, he was going to make it happen. He's always said I have passion for the game.”

Graham said she's never seen a Vandals team with such team chemistry. Many of the Vandals' top players will be around for two or three more years.

“We have great players, well-rounded, and everybody on the team can score,” she said. “This is going to be a great team for a while.”

Graham's parents, Steve and Shari, both played basketball at Cal State Stanislaus. They divorced long ago, both both see as many of Jessica's games as possible.

Steve is a dean at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif. Jessica plans to live in one of his rental houses when she returns to California after graduation. She has an internship set up at her father's college and she may teach night classes.

Shari is a sales manager representative for a company that makes corrugated boxes. Jessica has two half-brothers from her mother's second marriage.

Jessica's brother, Justin, played at WAC rival San Jose State and became well-known for his humor and long hair during his playing days. He plays in Slovakia now.

“My brother and I watched each other play at WAC tournaments,” Jessica said.


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Greg Lee Greg Lee covers high school sports in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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