By: Dave Collins, Eagle Radio Chadron Sports Director
Chadron State welcomed in a new recruiting class to its women’s basketball program with signing day last week. Two of the signees are from Colorado and today we’ll learn more about the pair that is headed to The Rock for hoops.
First up: Toni Lopez is a 5’9” small forward and shooting guard from Limon High School. The four-year starter averaged 8.8 points along with 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game over the course of her career. She shot 37 percent from three her senior year and 51 percent from the floor for her career.
Lopez comes in with a winning pedigree – the Badgers were 24-1 last season and lost just 11 times in Lopez’ career. She dropped a season high 22 points in the Great 8 round of the 2A State playoffs in a win over Holly High School before the tournament was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why did she choose CSC?
Lopez says, "Well my cousin, Javier Zamora, plays football there which started my interest. Then, at a college fair earlier this year, the Chadron representative did an amazing job and then I was basically hooked. I plan on studying Athletic Training, which I am really looking forward to."
Lopez said CSC's style of play is similar to what she was a part of at Limon but expects the game to be more intense at the college level.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing college teams to change their recruiting strategies and rely on technology rather than in-person interactions Lopez found CSC's methods to be very helpful.
"Unfortunately, I was unable to go for a visit due to the pandemic; however, Coach Raymer did give me a tour through FaceTime and did send me a link for a virtual tour which I am very thankful for. I love the campus! It’s so beautiful!" Lopez said.
Without all the normal basketball resources she's still staying focused on training and isn't letting the COVID-19 restrictive measures become an excuse or a distraction.
"I’ve been having to do a lot of at-home workouts. Fortunately, I have access to weights so I am able to lift. I run around town and do speed/agility workouts as well. I also have access to a hoop so I get shots in almost everyday!"
Coach Raymer likes to bring in players with ambition, high goals and self determination. Lopez checks all those boxes and is ready to take on whatever role can best help her new team in Chadron win ballgames.
"My goals might seem a little over-the-top since I’m a freshman but I’m very determined to reach them" says Lopez. "When it comes to team goals, I really want us to work hard for a winning record. I understand that the difficulty level between high school and college basketball is completely different, but I believe that we have the talent and skill level to do this, the question is if we have the mindset. Once we all develop this relentless mindset, I’m positive we’ll do great things!"
"When it comes to personal goals, I’m really going to work on not holding myself back. I did that a lot in high school so I never really showed my true potential until late in the season my senior year, and even then I don’t believe it reached my max. I want to do anything I can in order to make our team better. I will take the role I am given and work to perfect it!"
Lopez added she's excited to be a part of developing a great connection within the team, and mentioned sophomore Jordan Morris has been very helpful.
Check back on Panhandle Post for more on the CSC women's basketball recruiting class soon.