Commentary: Jordan Stotler adjusting to Division I basketball
Jordan Stotler hasn’t produced any spectacular numbers for the Portland State University women’s basketball team in her first season of Division I basketball.
But the Roseburg High School graduate from Camas Valley, who took her talents to the Park Blocks following two outstanding years at Umpqua Community College, won a starting spot for the Vikings. And they’ve had a successful season.
Portland State, guided by fourth-year coach Lynn Kennedy, is 21-6 overall and 13-5 in the Big Sky Conference heading into road games at Montana and Montana State this weekend to end the regular season. The Vikings are tied with Idaho State (18-9, 13-5) for third in the conference race, following Idaho (18-9, 15-3) and Northern Colorado (19-8, 14-4).
“I’m happy with where I’m at,” Stotler said Monday. “I’m happy I chose Portland State. I think I fit in well here, on and off the court.”
Stotler, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, has started 26 contests and averages 6.3 points and 7 rebounds a game. She’s averaging 23 minutes, has 41 blocked shots (second on the team), 33 assists and 25 steals. Stotler’s shooting 48 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
In conference games, she’s averaging 7.2 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Stotler posted her second double-double of the season in last Saturday’s 76-57 win over Eastern Washington at home, coming off the bench to contribute 10 points, 10 rebounds and two steals in 16 minutes.
“I’m doing all right, but I can do better,” Stotler said. “There have been a few games where I’ve been disappointed with myself, but my role isn’t to score 25 points anymore. My job is to play defense, rebound and block shots. I’ll do whatever it takes for my team to win.”
Stotler expects to contribute more offensively next year. Three of PSU’s top five scorers are redshirt seniors, including former South Medford High standout Ashley Bolston.
“Ashley’s insane,” Stotler said. “She’s so good. She’s grown up a lot since she was at South Medford. She’s more mature and has her head on straight. It’s fun playing with her.”
The Vikings have clinched a first-round bye for the Big Sky Tournament, which will be held March 11-15 in Boise, Idaho. The winner of the tourney receives an automatic berth for the NCAA Tournament.
“We need to finish conference strong,” Stotler said. “I think the top four teams are pretty close, and anything can happen in the tournament. We have to play our best basketball.”
I asked Stotler what the biggest adjustment has been moving up to D-I basketball. She felt playing for Dave Stricklin’s program at UCC prepared her well.
“It’s the practices,” she replied. “We don’t go as long as we did at Umpqua, but they’re way more intense. It’s more basketball ... there’s more running, more weightlifting.”
Stotler, who’s majoring in psychology, says school is going well. She’s living with former UCC players Alyssa Grenfell and Lily Eckert.
“I love Portland,” Stotler said. “I’m more of a city girl than a small-town girl. It’s much better suited for me.”
MAX HANE. The 2014 Roseburg graduate, a redshirt senior for the Southern Oregon University wrestling team, came up short in his bid to advance to the NAIA Championships.
Hane, an undersized heavyweight, placed fifth at 285 pounds at the Cascade Collegiate Conference Championships on Feb. 16 in Great Falls, Montana. He went 2-2 in the tournament, pinning Noel Orozco of Eastern Oregon in 5:26 in his last match. Hane finished 16-8 on the season.
The Raiders were fifth in the team standings with 101.5 points. Embry-Riddle won with 136.