As a true freshman, Abby Schulte started the final 17 games of NDSU’s 24 game season.
That is not usual, but neither is her prowess on the defensive end of the floor.
An article written by the Fargo Forum’s Eric Peterson on January 14, 2021, just 10 games into Schulte’s career, tells you all you need to know about the young stalwart’s presence on the less flashy end of the floor.
“She’s probably top two, she’s in the running for the best defender on our team,” Coach Jory Collins was quoted as saying in the article by Peterson.
And Schulte has only grown from that point in her career.
As her freshman season progressed, Schulte continued to improve, managing multiple steals in eight games.
She was no slouch on the offensive end either, scoring a season-high 16 points against a solid Green Bay team on December, 6.
What did the recruiting process look like for you? How did you end up at NDSU?
It was really interesting. I really didn’t know what to expect with the recruiting process. I was kind of just seeing which coaches would reach out and contact me. I wanted to go on as many visits as I could, but when I came here and talked to Coach Collins, I pretty much fell in love with it immediately. I knew on my drive home that I wanted to come here.
One of the biggest factors in coming here was the opportunity to be part of turning the program around. Coach Collins is really competitive and wants to win and I have a lot of that in my nature as well. So, I was really excited to come in and get to work right away.
Your dad played baseball at St. Cloud State. Your mom played volleyball at Minnesota-Duluth. Did they have any advice for you for your college career?
Not really as far as on the court stuff. They’ve just been really great about being supportive and wanting me to have fun.
It seems like the defensive end of the court is something you really emphasize, why is that so important to you?
Being really strong on the defensive end is something I’ve always thought was really important. I take a lot of pride in it and the coaches here place a real importance on it as well.
As far as your offensive game, what’re you working on heading into the season?
I’m really working on being more aggressive within the offense. I’m trying to see where I can create for myself and create for my teammates. Now that I have a really good feel for what we’re doing as a team, I know when it might be my time to go for an opening or make an extra pass. I’m really starting to find my own way in the offense.
Has getting in the weight room helped you at all?
Definitely! In high school, I didn’t really lift weights so it was a major adjustment coming here. There was a bit of an adjustment period right away
because I was still learning some of the lifts and they wouldn’t let me go up in weight until I got the movements down. But now that I have more experience, it’s fun to push the weight around and it’s great to see the progress. It’s a lot easier to see progress lifting weights than it is to see on the court sometimes.
What helped you get comfortable enough to where you were able to perform at the level you did as a freshman?
I had a lot of focus in practice every day. I paid attention to the details which was a lot, but I was just trying to stay within myself. I knew defense was one of my strengths. I definitely played towards that and I think it helped me get some minutes. On offense, I tried to play my role and do what the team wanted to do.
How did your teammates help with that process?
All of us were pretty new so we were all in the position of learning and kind of taking things slow. I wasn’t by myself. We were all working together to learn and grow at the same pace as one another.
You’re a Human Development & Family Science major. How did you come to the decision that you wanted to study that?
Pretty much my whole life, I had it in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher. In my Junior year of high school, I took an AP Psychology class and really enjoyed it. I fell in love with psychology and got introduced to family therapy and I think that’s something I can do well. I love listening to people and trying to help them as much as I can.
What are some of your personal goals for the season?
I want to score more. I think I can push myself in that way. Towards the end of the year last year, I started to get more offensive rebounds and really look for them. I didn’t do that much in high school. So, I want to continue working on crashing the boards and scoring more.
What are you most excited about for the season?
I’m just really excited to see our team grow. I know last season was a huge learning curve for a lot of us getting experience. We were really young and the more we learn and the more fun we have doing it, we’re just going to continue to grow.
What are your favorite things to do with your teammates off the court?
I actually really enjoy going to volleyball games, soccer games, things like that. I like supporting other athletes. I also really like just hanging out with the team, watching movies, getting food, things like that. It’s really simple stuff, but it’s really good.