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1,000 point-stars: 3 Utes reached 1,000-point plateau on Utah women's basketball team this season

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8 2013 6:55 p.m. MST

“What she’s been able to do after an incredible freshman year and then the horrible knee injury that happened, she’s remarkable that way,” Levrets said. “She is a 3.94 double major. It’s remarkable; her ability to be a high-level athlete along with one of the best students on our campus — not just one of the best student-athletes, one of the best students on our campus.”

Wicijowski has been working toward a degree in biology all along, but the injury widened her scope.

“I want to be a doctor,” she said. “I was a biology major, and when I tore my ACL and got an extra year, I was like, ‘Well, I might as well do something with it.’ So I decided to major in psychology, too, just because it’s really interesting to me.”

Wicijowski surpassed the 1,000-point mark during a 20-point outing in the Utes’ home-opener against Southern Utah. The 6-foot-3 power forward is averaging a team-high 15.8 points this year. She was named first-team all-Pac-12 last season, and was the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2010.

Following footsteps

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Plouffe attended the National Elite Development Academy during her junior year of high school, where she first played with Wicijowski. Together, the two have helped continue the tradition of Canadian women playing for Utah.

“Utah was actually the only visit I took,” Plouffe said. “I knew it was a great program.”

The 6-foot-4 communications major has been a dominant force since arriving in Utah, and her work has led to opportunities to play on greater stages. Plouffe represented Canada in the London Olympics last August alongside former Utes Shona Thorburn and Kim Smith.

“That was just the highlight of my basketball career,” Plouffe said. “I learned so much from all the women who have so much experience. When I got to play, it was the biggest rush ever because it was in front of so many people.”

She also enjoyed absorbing the Olympic atmosphere off the court.

“The (Olympic) Village was so cool just being around all these athletes,” she said. “You try and guess what sport they are because there’s just so many different body types.”

Levrets is pleased to have Plouffe on his roster for another year — both for her basketball abilities and her personality.

“She’s just a cool person. She’s just fun to be around,” he said. “She’s intelligent, obviously has played in so many high-level basketball games being in the Olympics, and she’s just a cool chick. I really like her.”

Plouffe hit 1,000 points on a free throw during a 14-point night against Northern Colorado and is tied with Wicijowski for a team-best 15.8 points per game this season. Last season, she was selected as an AP All-American honorable mention and an all-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Achieving success

With the majority of the conference season remaining and three dominant scorers leading the way, the Utes optimistic.

“The example of how (Rodrigues, Wicijowski, and Plouffe) prepare, what they do day in and day out at practice, how they approach film sessions — they’re great examples to our young kids of what we want in this program," Levrets said.

And while the goal is to continue accumulating stats and victories and to earn a spot to continue playing into March, all three players and their coach noted that the team has already achieved important success.

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had in 16 years of coaching,” Levrets said. “It’s because of those three, and all of the players. Their personality — they’re just fun to coach and be around.”

EMAIL: sthomas@desnews.com

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