WALLA WALLA — Michelle Seitz’s special night against Yakima Valley on Jan. 16th did more than get her into the Walla Walla Community College womens basketball record books.
After Seitz, a versatile 5-foot-7 guard for the Warriors, scored 44 points to lead her team past the Yaks and break a school record that had stood since 1993, coach Bobbi Hazeltine sent the film out to get some bigger schools to recruit her.
Seitz got full-ride scholarship offers from a number of schools, and was set to visit Seattle Pacific, the University of Idaho, and Montana State, but she fell in love with MSU’s Bozeman, Mont., campus and committed to the Bobcats shortly after her visit. She signed a National Letter of Intent to play for MSU Wednesday.
“I really liked their program and I liked their girls when I went there,” Seitz said of her visit. “When I played with them I just fit in with them. I also liked the town — it’s not a small town and it’s not a big town. It’s a little bit bigger than here and the atmosphere was good.”
Seitz, who plans to major in execise science, should do well at the next level, Hazeltine said.
“She’s just a really good athlete,” Hazeltine said. “As a freshman we didn’t play her that much because she was playing behind some pretty good players, so she had this year to shine.”
Shine she did.
In addition to setting the single-game scoring record, Seitz was third in the NWAACC East Region in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.21 points per game and 8.62 rebounds per contest. She hit 40 percent (151-of-381) of her field goals for 2012-13, including a 35 percent (50-of-141) mark from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I say she’s athletic because she has a jumpshot like a guy,” Hazeltine said. “You don’t see that at this level very often, most girls don’t have a true, pure shot like she does. She has amazing range.”
And her combination of rebounding and shooting abilities is unusual for an outside player — something that stems from her knowledge of the game, Hazeltine said.
“She just jumps really well,” Hazeltine said. “She knows the game — she ended up as a point guard, and she’s not a point guard naturally, because she knows the game so well. I think she’s just going to get a lot better at that level where they have a lot better players.”
Seitz helped lead WWCC to a 24-5 season and the top-ranked Warriors were favored to win the NWAACC tournament before she rolled her ankle in a quarterfinals game while battling for a rebound as scouts from MSU looked on.
Seitz couldn’t finish the game out, and returned for a loser-out game in the tournament but was only able to play at half speed.
“It was frustrating that I didn’t get to finish the (quarterfinals) game,” Seitz said, “because it was an intense game and we had a good shot at winning it. It was also frustrating that we didn’t play our best ball when it was most important, but we definitely played our hardest. And we definitely had a good season, there’s no denying that.”
That injury, combined with a pair of knee injuries the Nezperce, Idaho, native suffered in high school basketball, posed some concerns for the Bobcats, but Seitz passed their physicals.
“The only concern Montana State had was, would her knee hold up?” Hazeltine said. “And they put her through some pretty extensive tests and they were happy with what they saw.”
Now Seitz has a new challenge to move on to — although it will mean leaving the program she flourished in behind.
“I’m excited to move on a see what is in store for me,” Seitz said. “But at the same time, I’m leaving behind a great program, great coaches and great teammates, so it’s definitely a bittersweet moment. But I’m looking forward to it.”