Evans looks forward to soph season at R.U.


 Christa Evans Christa Evans Getting some game experience as a freshman with the Rutgers University women’s basketball team during the 2011-12 season gave Christa Evans of Jackson a clearer idea of how to prepare for the 2012-13 campaign.

“I have a better understanding of what to do,” said Evans, a 6-3 forward who starred at Jackson Memorial High School. “It’s completely different from high school, a learning experience. It’s extremely fastpaced.”

Evans had a chance to start several games after some of the regulars were injured and Scarlet Knights coach C. Vivian Stringer decided to shake up the lineup.

“When that happened, our coach tried to do something different,” Evans said. “It was a huge change for all of us.”

Prior to the games when she was called upon to start, Evans had taken the court as a substitute and was playing against opponents that had some reserves on the court.

When Evans was tapped by Stringer to start several games, she was thrown into the action against teams that had their top five players on the floor. Evans started against Notre Dame and Connecticut, two of the most talented teams in the nation.

She said she and the other new starters had to work even more on scouting the other team’s plays and everything involved with preparation.

“There was more emphasis on everything,” Evans said. “And when we got on the floor, (Stringer) told us all first to hold them (defensively). We are all extremely competitive. It was a learning curve.”

Evans did not build up a big stat line in those games and in two others she started, but she worked on helping her teammates in areas such as boxing out on rebounds and closing down the lane on defense, and by helping to keep the ball moving on offense.

Evans started four games and played in all 32, averaging 10 minutes a game, as Rutgers finished 22-10. The Scarlet Knights lost their NCAA Tournament opener to Gonzaga, 86-73.

Evans pulled down 1.6 rebounds per game. She blocked eight shots, leading the team four times.

She said she has been working over the summer to improve her endurance and to strengthen her knees. Evans has also been working with the returning players and the newcomers in pickup games.

The Scarlet Knights’ incoming class is ranked No. 3 nationally in one survey.

“As long as I can help the underclassmen and get them stronger, that can help,” Evans said. “Everybody is ready to go. I can’t wait. We have some really good young players. We have been competitive every time we practice.”

She said the excitement of the 2012-13 basketball season will include following the college career of her sister, Shannon, a 5-10 freshman at the University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, and Amy, a 6-1 eighth-grader.

“Shannon is going to school in Philadelphia so we’ll be close to each other and able to watch each other play,” Evans said.