Schuette plays final year with Bulldogs
Taryn Schuette of Sabetha continues her senior year in women’s basketball with the Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE) Bulldogs.
Schuette started playing basketball when she was very young, and she continued to play since then.
“My earliest memory of basketball is playing three on three tournaments with my classmates,” Schuette said. “I started playing around first grade and haven’t stopped since!”
After getting a taste of the action, Schuette continued playing basketball through middle school and high school.
During her high school career, Schuette lettered and started for three years at the varsity level, as well as served as team captain for one year. Schuette received All-Conference honors three times, including first team honors as a junior and honorable mention her senior year.
Schuette received honorable mention All-State Kansas Class 3A from the Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle in her junior and senior years. She also assisted the Sabetha Bluejays in receiving Big 7 League titles for three years.
According to Alex McAfee, Schuette’s former head basketball coach, she received All-Tournament Team in the Burlington Tournament her junior year, as well as Northeast Kansas (NEK) All-Star Game Selection her senior year.
“Taryn helped lead our team to three state tournaments, including a fourth place finish her junior year and a runner-up finish her senior year. We also were Big 7 League champions three out of her four years. Her teams combined to go 78-30 over her four year career,” said Nathan Bauman, the current Sabetha High School (SHS) girls’ basketball coach and Schuette’s former assistant coach.
According to her high school coaches, Schuette scored 619 points total in 74 games. She also made 274 rebounds, 144 assists, 117 steals and 71 three-pointers.
“She ended her career a top 15 scorer in Lady Jays history with 619 points, and top 10 in three-pointers made for her career as well,” Bauman said.
Besides basketball, Schuette competed in track and field, cross country and swimming for four years each, receiving recognition and honors in these sports as well.
While attending high school, Schuette considered whether she wanted to play basketball in college.
“I was not sure if I wanted to play basketball in college until the summer before my senior year of high school. I attended a basketball camp at Concordia and started to give it more thought,” Schuette said. “I visited about three schools for their basketball programs and Concordia outweighed all of them with everything they had to offer. Once the opportunity presented itself to play at Concordia, it was one that I couldn’t pass up.”
Schuette, currently number 34 on her college team, has gained some impressive stats to her name.
Starting off her college sophomore year, Schuette played in 19 games, averaging 1.8 points per game and made 10 steals, two assists and 33 rebounds. According to https://www.cune.edu, she scored a season high of 11 points in the game against Robert Morris University, Chicago, Ill. on Dec. 28, 2017.
As a junior, Schuette played in 32 of 38 games and totaled 121 points — 3.8 per game, 46 rebounds, 19 assists and 19 steals. She also shot 37.6 percent from the field and achieved a career high of 17 points in the win over Peru State on Nov. 2, 2018.
According to Jacob Knabel, Director of Athletic Communications at Concordia, Schuette’s 2018-19 team won the National Championship title, and her 2017-18 team was the National Championship runner-up. Additionally, both teams were Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular-season and tournament champions.
“Taryn has had some incredible success in her college career,” said Drew Olson, head women’s basketball coach at Concordia. “This includes the team success of winning a national championship, three conference championships, and three final four appearances. Her individual success has been in making some big plays. Her shot this season against Southeastern was a huge reason we won that game. She has had a few games scoring in double digits.”
“My favorite memory [playing basketball] is easily winning the National Championship in 2019,” Schuette said. “There really is no greater feeling than coming out number one in the country and seeing the confetti fall all around you. It still gives me chills when I think about it.”
As of now, Schuette plays the number three guard position, which, according to Schuette, is essentially a shooting guard. She also plays the forward position on occasion.
“Occasionally, I play as a forward because of my height, but I am primarily a shooting guard,” Schuette said.
“Taryn always plays hard. She is very versatile as a shooter, driver, and good defender,” Olson said.
Bauman and McAfee commend Schuette on her past success as a guard, which she achieved due to her height.
“One of Taryn’s greatest attributes [in high school] was she was able to guard multiple positions on defense,” McAfee said. “Her height and length led to a lot of steals at the top of our press and half-court defenses, which helped us play in transition.”
“Taryn had (and has) a really unique blend of size and skill. She was nearly 6 feet tall, but could still handle the ball like a point guard and shoot the ball from outside really well, also,” Bauman said. “She was a shooting guard for us, but she was a matchup nightmare for other teams because of all of the things she could do in addition to being 5 foot, 11 inches. If they put a quick guard on her, she could take them down low. If they put a bigger player on her, they usually weren’t quick enough to guard her on the perimeter.”
At the end of January, Schuette and her team traveled to Chicago for the 69th Annual Concordia Invitational Tournament (CIT). According to Schuette, there are several Concordia Universities around the country; the four of them gather each year and rotate which school hosts the tournament.
“The 69th Annual Concordia Invitational Tournament features, in addition to the Bulldogs, Concordia University Ann Arbor, Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Chicago competing in men’s and women’s basketball, cheer and dance,” Schuette said. “CIT is one of the longest running tournaments in the country, beginning in 1951. Women were later added to the tournament in 1973. It is a highlight of the athletic year among the participating Concordias. Concordia University Nebraska’s women’s team has won the title seven consecutive years, and 30 titles since beginning the tournament. This year, they played Concordia University Ann Arbor (CUAA), winning 74-49. They also played Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) in the championship and came away with a 102-47 win.”
According to Schuette, her and her team have finished their regular season and postseason conference games, as well as nationals.
On Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, the CUNE Lady Bulldogs played against Midland University of Nebraska on the first day of their Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament. The Bulldogs won, 95-46, and continued to the semi-finals.
On Saturday, Feb. 29, Schuette’s team played against Dordt University of Iowa in the GPAC Semi-Finals. The Bulldogs won, 94-79, and made their way to the GPAC Championship.
On Tuesday, March 3, the Lady Bulldogs went head-to-head against Hastings College of Nebraska in their GPAC Championship game. After a hard-fought game, CUNE won the GPAC Championship title, 60-49.
“We won the regular season GPAC title and also the GPAC conference tournament,” Schuette said. “We have won both four straight years in a row, which no other program has done.”
After the conference tournament, the Bulldogs traveled to Sioux City, Iowa for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. On Wednesday, March 11, they played their first round against Wilberforce University of Ohio, and won, 75-57, to advance to the Sweet 16 — the semifinal round.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Kansas Wesleyan University on Friday, March 13, but the tournament was canceled the day before due to COVID-19. To end the season and Schuette’s basketball career, the Lady Bulldogs placed as the top-ranked Concordia University women’s basketball team in the nation, but did not get to finish out the tournament.
“I was very caught off guard when we found out the national tournament was canceled,” Schuette said. “Our whole team was in a conference room watching our men’s team play their first round game in the national tournament. As soon as the game ended, our head coach looked sick to his stomach, so we knew that what he was about to say wasn’t going to be good news.
“He informed us that the NAIA had canceled the rest of the games for the tournament and that our season was over. Of course, all of us seniors realized that we had played our last game ever the day before and weren’t prepared for that type of news. We all sat in the conference room very emotional that we didn’t have the opportunity to defend our national title from the previous year.
“Although our season ended the way it did, we all knew we had so much to be proud of. We had accomplished every goal that we had set for the year, and our senior class set records that no other team has done before. I was upset that my career ended the way it did, but there were so many great memories and relationships, that I will cherish forever, that top winning a national championship any day.”
Schuette has received much love and support from those around her, especially her family.
“My biggest influencers are most definitely my parents,” Schuette said. “They love the game of basketball so much and it keeps me going just because I can tell how proud of me they are for sticking with the game for so long.”
“She was a fantastic teammate. She kind of had this quiet demeanor in front of the coaches, but every once in a while, you’d see the goofball come out in her,” Bauman said. “That was great for our team and kind of kept everyone loose even as we were preparing for really important games. She was extremely unselfish as a player and really developed great toughness as she got older.”
“She is an amazing teammate. Probably her biggest strength as a player,” Olson said. “She cares about everyone, encourages, and can make them all laugh/smile when they need it. Taryn has a great heart.”
Schuette does not have future plans to continue her basketball career after she graduates in May. She is majoring in Exercise Science and plans to make a career in dental hygiene or as a dental assistant in the future.
“I hope Taryn continues to be a great teammate and be confident to make big plays in big games. I know she is going to be an amazing wife, (hopefully) mother, and successful in a career in the dental field,” Olson said.