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Rookie May Step Right In Next Season

Remember this for future reference because it might be worth a prize at an Idaho women’s basketball game:

Vandals redshirt freshman Lara Chaney wears size 14 men’s shoes.

Chaney is Idaho’s 6-foot-7 center from Richmond, Calif. She was 5-3 in kindergarten and, when high school started, she was 6-2 and weighed just under 300 pounds. By the time she finished, however, she was a lean 230.

For the moment, Chaney is a long way from being dominant like 6-5 U.S. Olympian Rebecca Lobo or Lobo’s former University of Connecticut teammate, Kara Wolters, who is 6-7.

“Next year, she’ll be ready to play,” Idaho coach Julie Holt said. “If she works hard and progresses the way she’s capable of, she could be dominating as a sophomore.”

However, Chaney will have to overcome some health problems. She suffers from asthma and has been troubled by aching knees and a sore back for a number of years. She hopes weight-lifting and running programs will help her overcome the latter problems.

Like most women who stand taller than 6 feet, Chaney said she finds that a lot of people are intimidated by her size.

To combat that, she hangs out with David Sturing as much as possible. Sturing is a 7-foot redshirt freshman on Idaho’s men’s team.

Pirates take their lumps

The bad news for Helen Higgs and her Whitworth Pirates is that the team is 1-6. The good news is that their losses have all come against NAIA Division I teams. The Pirates are NAIA Division II.

And what’s the difference?

“The number of quality athletes,” Higgs said. “These teams have five starters and at least a player or two off the bench that are quality athletes. And their schools can provide more financial aid, which always helps a program.”

Lewis-Clark State is one of those teams. At 9-2, the Warriors demolished Whitworth 73-48. They also beat NCAA Division I Eastern Washington on Tuesday.

Friday at 6 p.m. at the Whitworth Fieldhouse, Whitworth will take on Carroll College, which defeated the Pirates 69-51 at the Sarsfield Classic at Butte, Mont., just after Thanksgiving.

Carroll is led by Katherine Mason’s 16.5 points a game and Allison George’s 13.5 points and six rebounds.

Last year, the Pirates started the season 3-8 before winning 16 of their last 20 games. Higgs schedules tough non-conference competition with the hope of better preparing her team for league play.

“That’s my intention, anyway,” she said. “It worked last year, but sometimes I do get concerned that that strategy might blow the confidence. Right now I haven’t seen any signs that our confidence isn’t there.”

, DataTimes

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