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Alumni News: Ausdemore is 2015 inductee to IGHSAU Hall of Hame

posted Mar 5, 2015, 6:36 AM by TC Administrator
Tri-Center alum Wendy Ausdemore is a 2015 inductee into the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union's Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at halftime of the Class 4A State Championship game Saturday, March 7. 

Ausdemore played at Tri-Center, Neola from 2001 to 2005 and was named Miss Iowa Basketball in 2005. She was a two-time first-team all-state selection. She led Tri-Center to a runner-up finish in Class 2A in 2005, earning captain of the 2A all-tournament team. Ausdemore finished her career with 1,812 points and 886 career rebounds.

Ausdemore went on to play college basketball at the University of Iowa, twice earning third-team all-Big Ten honors and was a three-time academic all-conference pick. A three-year starter, Ausdemore played on three NCAA Tournament teams with the Hawkeyes. She finished her career ranked among Iowa's top 10 in career scoring, rebounding, assists and three-pointers.

Photo courtesy of University of Iowa Media Relations

The following is an article by Chuck Schoffner from the 2015 IGHSAU State Basketball Tournament Program, reprinted with permission from the IGHSAU. 


By Chuck Schoffner
Wendy Ausdemore was one of those special players who could do just about anything with a basketball -- and do it well.
Her sweet shooting stroke with a quick-as-a-flash release was something to envy. At 6-feet-2, she could post up and rebound, but also handle the ball and pass it. Those skills made her an all-state player at Neola Tri-Center, Miss Iowa Basketball in 2005 and a star at the University of Iowa.
And now, a member of the IGHSAU Hall of Fame.
A superb athlete to be sure, one who also earned all-state honors in volleyball and was a state and Drake Relays champion in the discus, not a combination you see every day.
"You don't see kids like that come along very often," said Brett Nanninga, the former Tri-Center coach and superintendent who's now the Associate Director with the Iowa High School Athletic Association. "They just have it. Everything you like to be able to teach kids skillwise, she already had that in her ability set."
Yet that's only one side of Wendy Ausdemore. Yes, people were drawn to her because she was a great athlete, but also simply because of who she is.
"She found a way to connect with kids who had nothing to do with sports and make them feel like they were part of something, yet connect with her best friends on the team," said Derek Sonderland, her basketball coach at Tri-Center. "Some kids struggle with that. Some kids fake it. With Wendy, it was just so natural. She could connect with everybody."
And not just classmates.
"She could relate to every age level," Nanninga said. "I'm talking little kids on up to senior citizens. That's a character trait that's pretty special."
Wendy knew how to relate to hard work, too.
She grew up on a farm near Persia, northeast of Council Bluffs, with her parents, Gary and Sue, and her brother Ben, who was four years older. When there was work to be done, Wendy and Ben pitched in.
"When we'd get home from school, we had about 30 minutes (of free time)," Wendy recalled. "Mom would have a snack for us. We'd get to watch TV and eat something. Then we'd go out and feed all the sows and clean out the pens."
Gary Ausdemore grew corn and soybeans and raised hogs until selling them all in 1998. 
"My dad used to joke that I could hold on to the ball so well because I was used to grabbing little baby pigs when we were castrating them and being quick with them," Wendy said.
She's not sure that was true or not, but she smiled at the memory of those days.
"Being pushed to do things that weren't always the funnest, it was part of life. Everybody had to help out," she said. "But it was also fun. Usually on Sundays was when we'd sort hogs and take the fat ones to the stockyards in Omaha. Then we'd get to eat at Joe Tess's. We got some fun out of it, too. We were rewarded for that."
Wendy began playing organized basketball in the fifth grade when Duane Barrier, who had four daughters involved in sports, formed a team and asked her to join. He was advised when putting the team together to seek out that tall farm girl. Wendy was tall for her age. A little on the pudgy side, too.
"That was me," she said with a laugh. "Farm kid that ate three full meals every day. Steak, mashed potatoes, corn -- never missed a meal. Mom made good food, for sure. When the guys worked hard in the field, she made a big dinner, and I felt like I had done just as much."
By the time she got to high school, Wendy was tall and lean, just right for volleyball and basketball. And, as it turned out, for throwing a discus. Wendy was the Class 1A state champion as a junior in 2004, finished second against throwers from all classes at the Drake Relays that year, then won the Relays title as a senior.
But basketball was her No. 1 game, and she excelled, earning first-team all-state honors twice and second-team honors once. She led her team to the Class 2A state tournament as a sophomore and again as a senior, when the Trojans went unbeaten until losing to Grundy Center in the championship game despite Wendy's 31 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
A disappointing end, but still a memorable season, capped when Wendy was voted Miss Iowa Basketball.
"It was a fun season," she said. "I had already committed to Iowa, so it was fun to just enjoy that time."
Wendy would have been a natural to play in the post. But the Trojans had 6-3 Sarah Anderson on the low block and Sonderland, now the girls coach at Logan-Magnolia, knew Wendy would play on the wing in college, so that's where he used her.
"First and foremost, we had to do the things we needed to do to be successful," he said. "But we still had to help her develop her skills so when people came to look at her, this was where she was going to be."
The move helped Wendy develop ball skills and a 3-point shot, which became her forte at Iowa.
"I might have thought it was a little crazy at first, but looking back, that move was the best thing we could have done, to really extend my game," she said. "That tells you what type of coach he is. He really knows the game and really knows his players and how to develop them."

Wendy's dedication to her sport made her a student of the game. In the classroom, she was a student extraordinaire. A perfect 4.0 grade point average wasn't good enough for Wendy. She finished with a 4-point-plus and graduated No. 1 in her class.
"I enjoyed school," she said. "At first it came easier than for a lot of kids. But by the time I was taking AP calculus my senior year, I remember being in the math room at 7:45 in the morning getting extra help. It took a lot of work, a lot of studying."
She was introduced to college basketball three weeks after high school graduation, when she began working with Iowa assistant Jan Jensen, an IGHSAU Hall of Famer who starred at Elk Horn-Kimballton and Drake. They spent hours honing Wendy's footwork, a key for getting a shot off quickly. Usually, she didn't even have a ball in her hands.
"It just appeared like in high school she was such a smooth athlete," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "She had a smooth shot and just great size. She could run the floor well and face up to the basket. We just thought all of that would translate to the college game really well."
It did. 
Wendy was a key player off the bench as a freshman and a starter her final three years. Her breakout game came her freshman season against No. 8 Purdue, when she scored 14 of the Hawkeyes' final 18 points of regulation, including an 18-footer to force overtime, and finished with 23 points as the Hawkeyes won 77-71.
Another big moment occurred in her junior season at Wisconsin. Wendy had gone scoreless and Iowa was clinging to a 74-72 lead when she knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:21 left. A little more than a minute later, she fed Megan Skouby for a layup and the Hawkeyes won 87-78 to clinch a share of the Big Ten title.
"It didn't even dawn on me what would happen, but when we got back, people were there to greet us and they had already made T-shirts," she said.
Wendy finished her career ranked among Iowa's top 20 in scoring, rebounding, assists and 3-pointers. She's the school and Big Ten's career leader in free throw percentage at .892, missing only 21 times from the line in four full seasons (NBA great Wilt Chamberlain once missed 22 in a game). She also became the first Iowa women's basketball player to win the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
"I take pride in that," she said. "It was the way I was raised, the values, my mom and dad. Just go out and play hard. Don't worry about what happens. And coach Sonderland always told us, 'You don't worry about the refs. I'll talk to them.' That stayed with me."
Wendy spent her first summer out of college as an intern for the Cedar Rapids Kernels minor league baseball team. Then she worked in the athletic department at Coe College for three years, including two as an assistant to women's basketball coach Randi Peterson, another IGHSAU Hall of Famer.
It was good experience, but Wendy wanted to be closer to her family, and now she has come full circle. She started as a secondary education major at Iowa before switching to business marketing. Once back home, she got a teaching degree and is in her second year in the Glenwood School District, teaching a financial literacy class to seventh and eighth graders, something we all probably could have used back in the day.
She also coaches freshman girls basketball and is an assistant with the varsity.
"Probably the best part about basketball are the opportunities I've gotten and the people I've met," Wendy said. "Even now coaching high school, I get the same refs that were reffing when I was playing. (Once) a ball came over to the bench, I picked it up and passed it to the ref. It was one that I'd had in high school. He goes, 'I've never seen you pass the ball that much before.'"
Folks do remember her first as a shooter and scorer, even if those who know her well regard her as so much more than that.
"With me having a daughter, I can only hope my daughter turns out as good as her," Sonderland said. "There isn't a person who's a better role model for a girl in the state of Iowa. She's exactly what you would be looking for."
During his long tenure in charge of the IGHSAU, E. Wayne Cooley promoted the concept of the "Iowa girl," a good citizen and good student as well as an athlete. That, Bluder says, is Wendy.
"Wayne Cooley," she said, "would have loved Wendy Ausdemore."