By Benjamin Wideman / Director of Media Relations and Sports Information
Silver Lake College women’s basketball coach Mike Flentje doesn’t mince words when talking about Amanda Kudick.
“Simply put, she is the best overall basketball player I have ever coached,” he said. “Offense, defense, hustle, desire, leadership. You name it, she has it all.”
Thanks in part to the all-around performance of Kudick, a 5-foot-6 junior guard from Kewaunee, the Lakers are heading to their first national championship tournament in two decades.
On Feb. 24, Silver Lake College earned a bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association’s 2016 Basketball National Championships, which will be held March 1-5 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh. The Lakers (21-5) are seeded No. 4 in the eight-team Division 1 field and will play their first-round game at noon on March 2 against No. 5 seed University of Maine-Fort Kent (19-5).
The Bengals will have their hands full trying to contain Kudick, who impacts all aspects of the game. The co-captain leads the Lakers in per-game assists (4.5), steals (2.7) and minutes (27.8), and she’s third on the team in points (9.4) and rebounding (5.8). Nationally, in the USCAA she ranks eighth in assists and ninth in steals. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that she compiled them while battling a recurring knee injury throughout the season.
“I’m not worried about how many points I score. I’m definitely striving more to get steals and assists. Those are the two numbers I focus on more than the others,” said Kudick, who twice this season had seven steals in a game.
Still, she can pile up points and pull down rebounds whenever her team needs her. Kudick lit it up for 25 points at Grinnell College on Nov. 15. And three times this season she grabbed at least 10 rebounds in a game.
Kudick said she’s prepared for the national stage. After all, she’s accustomed to excelling in high-pressure situations.
Her Kewaunee High School girls’ basketball team advanced to the WIAA state tournament in her final three seasons — and the Storm won championships those last two years. Kudick credits her success to the coaches throughout her youth in Kewaunee, starting in first grade.
She brought that winning mentality to Silver Lake College, where she helped the Lakers finish 18-10 her freshman season and 23-7 her sophomore season. This season’s 21-5 record is the highest winning percentage (.808) in Flentje’s nine years as Lakers head coach.
“At Kewaunee, everyone expected us to go to state,” she said. “Here, we’re building something special. When we didn’t make it to nationals last year, we didn’t want to get our hopes up too high this time. So it was a big relief and very exciting to hear that we were selected for nationals this year. And to be a four seed, that was an even bigger surprise.”
Kudick also excels in the classroom. She was named a USCAA Academic All-American this season by virtue of maintaining a grade-point average of at least 3.5. She’s majoring in Elementary Education and Secondary Math Education.