Off Court with Heather Schreiber
"People with goals succeed because they know where they are going ... It's as simple as that."
Tiny Windthorst, Texas is home to IA Windthorst High School. Not lots of Division I college superstars come out of such small programs, but Heather Schreiber, National Player of the Year candidate, is the exception.
On November 20, 2001, then-first-year forward Schreiber donned the Burnt Orange & White and took to the Erwin Center hardwood for the first time. She was the lone freshman in a starting line-up of four returnees. A tall, wiry forward with unlimited range, Schreiber ever so calmly emerged as a level-headed performer from the start. In her first game in Texas threads, she scored 15 points in 22 minutes and paced the Longhorns comeback from a 14-point deficit as UT earned a 90-74 win against the visiting Cougars from Brigham Young. For Schreiber, the game was certainly a memorable one. It marked a strong starting point for her collegiate career; and, for Texas fans, Schreiber's performance served as a harbinger for over 100 games to come.
Three years later, in the early stages of her senior campaign, Schreiber's name is a constant in the UT starting lineup, alongside a double-digit point total and five to 10 rebounds in each box score.
Stepping onto the court day after day with a tremendous work ethic is something the All-America candidate is familiar with. For three years and counting, Heather has proven to be the model of durability for Texas women's basketball, having played in and started each of the Longhorns' 104 games since she arrived on the Forty Acres. This is a string of games which has given Texas women's basketball it's own version of a streak (while former Longhorn Stacy Stephens did start in each game in which she played, Stephens sat out one game during the 2001-02 campaign -- Schreiber's streak is unbroken).
Even more impressive than her consecutive starts streak, Schreiber has seized every opportunity along the way, rising to the occasion night after night to boast career averages of 14 points and eights rebounds.
"I think they would say I'm pretty consistent," Schreiber admits abashedly when asked what her teammates would say when given the opportunity to describe the senior. "I think my coaches and teammates know what they can expect out of me now. I have a pretty good work ethic, and, if you work hard every day in practice and in the weight room, it will pay off when you step on the court for the game."
"You can always count on Heather and to me, that's one of the best things a coach can ask of a player," said Texas head coach Jody Conradt. "She does so many things for us in addition to her consistency. She is extremely versatile. She can play on the perimeter and then post up and take advantage of mismatches on the inside. To be able to have size and touch on the ball which she has is very unique."
At 6'2", Schreiber's best weapon on the court, surprisingly, is her shooting ability. She currently ranks third all-time at UT in career free throw percentage (.804 - 262-326) and sits third all-time at UT in most three-point field goals made, only behind Longhorn guard greats Kim Lummus (1995-99) and Danielle Viglione (1993-97) in both categories. Schreiber boasts a .406 (146-360) career three-point percentage - second only to current teammate Jamie Carey in UT history - and holds three of the top 10 single-season marks for most three-point field goals made.
Entering tonight's game against top-ranked Tennessee, Schreiber is less than 100 points away from joining the illustrious 1,500-point club, joining the likes of former All-Americans Edwina Brown (1,615), Stacy Stephens (1,708) and Retha Swindell (1,795).
Schreiber is a student of the game who intently processes information in film sessions and off the opposition's scouting reports. She maintains a workman-like demeanor on the court, as the lefty never shows much emotion - except for a clenched left fist raised above her head after making a great pass or hitting one of her patented three-pointers. Mindfully aware of all else going on around her, Heather is quick to note her consistent success between the lines of the hardwood stems from many other important facets of life.
"I think being in college and going to class and playing basketball teaches you discipline and self-motivation," says Schreiber, who also is an Academic All-Big 12 honoree in addition to gaining First Team All-Big 12 playing honors. "It teaches you to take care of your top priorities first. I try to make all my classes and get as good grades as possible, because without going to class and studying hard, there would be no basketball."
There is a saying, which goes, "Opportunity seems to have an uncanny habit of favoring those who have paid the price of years of preparation." Great preparation has created opportunity and success for Heather, and in turn, for the Longhorns, ever since she put on the Longhorn uniform and grabbed a starting spot as a rookie.