This isn’t a news flash: The Pacific Lutheran University women’s basketball team won’t be going to the postseason this season.
Instead, coach Jennifer Childress is banking the future will be much brighter behind a group of sophomores who are seeing more minutes now than what was first expected.
One of them is Kristin Sturdivan, who hails from one of the area’s traditional powerhouse programs at White River High School.
At White River, Sturdivan was a spot-up corner 3-point shooter.
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But Childress needs more out of her in college. So the coach challenged her to improve her lateral quickness so she could attack the basket.
Sturdivan has worked a lot on that with new Lutes assistant coach Kelsey Patrick, a former standout at Pepperdine University.
“Without having the personnel to break down the defense like she was used to (at White River), she has to be more creative in her ability to score,” Childress said. “She has worked on a floater (shot). Now we have to get her to the point where she will pull up for shots.”
Of course, if during a PLU practice, Sturdivan is caught squealing in delight over a good move, her teammates will likely think of one thing.
At White River, Sturdivan was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) club.
“Our chapter needed pigs to raise for the livestock show at the Puyallup Fair,” Sturdivan said.
The Sturdivan family property in Buckley was large enough to raise pigs. And during her junior year, one had a litter of 18 piglets.
Sturdivan became attached to the littlest runt of that litter — one so small she could sleep in a tube sock.
“It was not strong enough to live with the other babies,” Sturdivan said. “So we bottle fed it, and got a baby playpen for it to sleep in.”
Sturdivan, who is also a competitive barrel racer, adopted it as a pet, and called it Nimrod, which eventually became “Nimmy.”
When she went off to PLU, teammates immediately became familiar with the pet, too.
“She asked if she could bring a little pig to live with us when we moved off campus,” Lutes forward Anna Hurd said. “She wanted it in the house like a dog.”
The pig also traveled with her in the car.
“I got pulled over by a police officer when the pig fell of the seat, and I was trying to pick it up,” Sturdivan said. “He was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Well, sir, my pig fell off the seat.’ He asked to see it, and I showed him.
“He seemed really confused.”
Last year, Nimmy died from E. coli poisoning in its brain. But that doesn’t mean Sturdivan will soon forget her longtime companion.
“We have a big wall of pictures in the house,” Sturdivan said. “Nimmy is all over them.”