Austin’s Vorphal headed to St. Thomas

Published 5:50 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

After playing for a winning Austin basketball program the past three years, Tina Vorphal is hoping to continue her winning ways as she prepares to play for the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities next season.

Vorphal will play for the Tommies, who were 19-8 last season and play in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. UST is an NCAA Division III school.

“They play in a really good, competitive conference and they have a good team. I’m excited to play for them,” she said. “I don’t know how quickly I’ll be in the lineup, but we’ll see.”

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After playing mostly as a forward for her first two years with the Packers, Vorphal played from the perimeter this past season, which saw Austin finish 17-8 overall. A three-year starter for the Packers, Vorphal responded well to the switch, averaging 14.1 points, six rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 2.6 steals while hitting 32.7 percent of her threes.

UST will likely use Vorphal as a guard.

“Last season helped me with my confidence a lot and I got a lot more comfortable out there,” Vorphal said. “That’ll help a lot next season.”

Austin head coach Gary Peterson said it will be tough to see Vorphal go, and he feels her best years on the court are still ahead of her.

“(UST) is getting a real good, coachable basketball player. She’s really improved on her shooting and driving and she’s always been a good post player,” he said. “Her game can keep getting better and better all the time.”

Location was a major reason Vorphal chose UST, which has reached the postseason 21 of the past 22 seasons and won the NCAA title in 1991. She also had a lot of interest in Hamline University.

Now that her future is set, she will focus on working to get better while playing in a summer league in the Twin Cities and playing in some AAU tournaments.

“I’ll just keep shooting and keep playing,” she said.

Her first chance to get better and bond with some of Minnesota’s better basektball players will be this weekend when Vorphal will play in the Minnesota Girls High School Basketball All-Star Game at Macalester College Friday at 6 p.m. Vorpahl will play again on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. (pending the outcome of the first game) at Edina High School.

“It’s a great honor and I’m glad I got chosen to play in it,” Vorphal said. “It was nice that coach Peterson took the time to nominate me.”

Peterson said Vorphal’s transition from the power forward spot to the guard spot reminded him of how Lisa Bue’s high school career went. After switching from foward to guard at Austin, Bue played four years at North Dakota State University and played professionally in Europe this past Winter.

Vorphal exchanged a few e-mails with Bue last season when she was looking for advice on how to find a college to play for.

“Just from watching her (on the court) I learned so much from her,” Vorphal said of Bue. “She’s a great player and a role model.”

Vorphal is leaning towards an education major at UST, and Peterson hope she can educate some future players.

“I’m gonna hate to see her go,” he said. “Maybe we can keep her around this summer a little bit to work with some of the other kids.”

The Tommies play in a stadium that holds 2,200 fans. UST is a Catholic School with an enrollment of just under 11,000.