Sam Ekstrom – Staff Writer
Kara Van Dyke grew up watching basketball.
All three of her older siblings played, so it was only naturally for the youngest Van Dyke to follow suit.
Now with only a handful of games left in her collegiate career, the Leota, Minn., native is poised to graduate with her name strewn throughout the Dordt College record book.
Van Dyke will conclude her career as a top-10 all-time scorer and a top-five all-time rebounder.
“Right now I don’t think about it a whole lot,” said Van Dyke. “I’m just playing the games. Down the road it might hit me more.”
Van Dyke has kept a humble attitude despite her tremendous success at every level. Before her outstanding Dordt career, she set a school record with 1,428 points at Southwest Christian High School.
However, her college decision was not based on basketball.
“Dordt was a better fit for my education,” said Van Dyke, a double major in sports management and business.
Choosing Dordt did have a basketball perk as well. She got to continue playing with her Southwest Christian teammate Kayla Broekhuis, currently a senior.
“I know how she likes to catch the ball, and she knows where I like to get the ball on the court,” said Van Dyke. “After playing with each other for eight years, you get to know that stuff.”
“We are pretty close,” said Broekhuis. “Both on and off the court you can almost always find us joking around together and giving each other a hard time with our sarcastic nature.”
Possibly the most rewarding aspect of Van Dyke’s career has been growing close to her other teammates, namely the five other seniors: Jaimie Kok, Danelle Boone, Elise Maresh, Jessica Jelsema and, of course, Broekhuis.
“We’re always together, so I think that’s good for chemistry,” said Van Dyke. “We just have a really good time out there.”
Head coach Craig Stiemsma has enjoyed watching them grow together over the years.
“They really enjoy all aspects of team: playing together, encouraging off the floor, having fun and just being there for each other as Christian teammates is special,” said Stiemsma. “They are great examples of what it means to be a great teammate.”
Surrounded by a strong group of teammates, Van Dyke’s scoring average has improved each season, as have many other aspects of her game. One quality she’s grown in is her leadership.
“Just being an example for them and working hard,” said Van Dyke. “The people above me always worked hard, so I continue to work hard every day in practice then.”
The hard work has paid off. Van Dyke is primed to score around 1,300 points and secure close to 800 rebounds.
But it’s the team camaraderie she’ll miss the most when it’s all over.
“Spending time with the team is going to be one part I miss,” said Van Dyke. “Even the roadtrips; we made so many memories from them.”