Steiger signs to play basketball at Western Oregon

Western Oregon University’s women’s basketball program appears to be developing a South Kitsap pipeline.

Senior guard Jackie Steiger became the Wolves’ latest player to sign with WOU last week when she selected the Monmouth, Ore., school over Saint Martin’s of Lacey. Steiger’s former teammate at South, forward Dana Goularte, is a freshman at WOU.

While Steiger said that was a factor, her decision was solidified during an official visit to campus last month. Steiger, who committed on Halloween, said she loved WOU’s location, which is a small community but sits 20 minutes outside the state capital, Salem, which has about 137,000 residents.

“When I got onto campus, I knew it was a perfect fit for me,” she said.

After missing a significant portion of 2009-10 because of a stress fracture in her left foot, Steiger settled in as the Wolves’ starting shooting guard last season. One of the top shooters on the Kitsap Peninsula, Steiger converted 59.7 percent of her 3-pointers in South’s first 20 games. She also averaged 12.7 points and 1.2 steals per contest.

Steiger, who has battled tendonitis in her knees and shoulder issues, said those injury problems have moved her to pursue a major in exercise science.

“I have a physical therapist I have gone to a lot over the years,” she said. “I really love what she did. My dream would be to work with a university and athletes in rehabilitation.”

For now, she is focused on basketball. WOU, which finished with an 11-16 record last season,  competes in the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Another GNAC team is Alaska Anchor-age, which features freshman forward Alli Madison, who competed against Steiger in Port Orchard as a youth before playing at Kennedy Catholic in Burien.

“It will be awesome to play with her again,” Steiger said.

Steiger, who said her out-of-state tuition will be paid for by the university, is the second member of her family to sign with a college in recent years.

Her older brother, Brady, signed to play baseball in 2009 at Washington State. He since has transferred to Sierra College in California, where his teammate is South classmate Collin Monagle, who signed with the University of Washington out of high school.

She said having her older brother go through the recruiting process “helped a lot to understand it more and how important it was to visit a school.”

Steiger’s final season with the Wolves begins Nov. 29 when they host Bremerton in a nonleague contest.

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