MOSCOW, Idaho -- To hear Emily Faurholt tell it, she was
shocked that she led the nation in scoring during her first season
as a Division I college basketball player.
Faurholt describes herself as a plodder who takes hundreds of
practice shots each day in order to make a few baskets in games for
the University of Idaho.
She's not much of a rebounder or passer, either.
But somehow, the 5-foot-11 forward managed to rewrite the Idaho
record books as a sophomore by averaging 25.4 points per game last
year, 1.7 points per game better than the No. 2 scorer in the
"I'm the wrong size. I should be 6-foot-3,'' Faurholt, 21,
offered. "My athleticism leaves a lot to be desired.''
In the face of such handicaps, it's difficult to understand how
Faurholt managed to score 29 points in her first game at Idaho. Or
at least 30 points seven times last season.
Largely ignored out of high school, Faurholt spent her freshman
year at Division II Seattle Pacific. Then she decided to follow
some high school teammates to Idaho.
After sitting out a year to satisfy NCAA rules, she rampaged
through the Big West Conference like a female Michael Jordan last
season, leading Idaho to a surprising 22-7 record and winning
conference player of the year honors.
She made nearly 49 percent of her shots, including 40 percent
from 3-point range. She averaged 6.7 rebounds, led the team in
scoring 24 times, and was an honorable mention All-American. She set
team records with her scoring average, 737 points in a season, 261
field goals made and 172 free throws made.
She slapped many of the Big West's California teams, scoring 32 points against Cal State-Northridge, 30 and
then a team-record 39 against Cal State-Fullerton.
She also dropped 30 against close rival Washington State. Her
season low was 15 points.
"I just wanted to be good,'' Faurholt. "Leading the nation in
scoring hadn't even crossed my mind.''
She started playing basketball as a sixth grader and was the
Washington state 4A player of the year as a senior at Kennewick
Idaho coach Mike Devilbiss has known Faurholt since she was a
ninth-grader. He believes many of the region's high-profile teams
passed on Faurholt because she was considered too short for a
"Recruiting is not an exact science,'' Devilbiss said. "They
have a mentality that you have to be 6-2 or whatever.''
Faurholt claims she does not have a points goal at the start of
games, because that would be too much extra pressure at the start.
"I want to let the game come to me and not force things,'' she
Devilbiss said Faurholt is a good student of the game, with
quick feet and skill at positioning her body to gain advantage over
taller players inside. Faurholt is unusual in that she views
herself as a scorer and is not afraid to stand out among her
teammates, Devilbiss said.
Faurholt knows that shooting is her strength, and practices
against male friends.
"I put a lot of time into shooting. I shoot five days a week
during the season,'' Faurholt said.
This season, with a deeper team, Devilbiss said it will be even
harder to stop Faurholt, although he doesn't think she will have to
score as often.
Faurholt isn't a big fan of the WNBA, and doesn't think she has
the athletic ability to compete with professional players.
"Those girls are athletes and I can shoot the ball,'' she said
by way of comparison.