Anna Schwecke gets her teammates pumped up in the pregame introductions. // Photo by Oliver Hamlin
By Alisha Dixon
Anna Schwecke said she was born with a basketball in her hand. The junior center and design major grew up in Evergreen, Colorado, or what she describes as the “foothills” of her home state. As a transfer student from University of Colorado Colorado Springs, she came to Western as a sophomore joining the women’s basketball team.
“I knew I wanted to go out of state in high school when I was a senior,” Schwecke said. “When I transferred, I wanted to go somewhere completely new.”
As it turns out, that completely new place ended up being Bellingham. Coming from a small suburban town in Colorado, she said Bellingham is unlike anywhere else she’s lived.
“I love Bellingham and I love the people here,” she said.
Schwecke said she was born into basketball, since her mother played college basketball at Butler University. However, she said going to college for basketball wasn’t really something on her mind until people started mentioning it to her during her junior year of high school.
“I started getting offers and was like ‘Oh, this is actually something I could do,’” Schwecke said.
Joe Schwecke, her father, said basketball wasn’t always Schwecke’s priority growing up. He recalls that drawing, creating art and spending time outdoors were some of her favorite past times.
“Sports for her were a secondary thing,” he said.
Schwecke and her family spent time camping in Colorado, where her father said she indulged her interest in hiking and exploring the woods.
“Even at a young age we’d find her climbing in a tree or doing something out in nature,” Joe Schwecke said.
In high school Schwecke began taking design classes for college credit at her local community college before graduating and going to Colorado Springs, where she wanted to study design.
Schwecke’s father said that when she realized the program she was in at Colorado Springs wasn’t the right fit for her design interests, she set out to find a school that had Division II women’s basketball as well as a well-developed design program. Western met that criteria.
Now in her second year as a transfer student at Western, Schwecke said she is currently in the Western design major. She said after graduating from Western she would be interested in using her degree to get into visual marketing.
Combining her interests in art and the outdoors, Schwecke said she’d like to work with outdoor companies doing branding and visual marketing.
Along with her interests in design and nature, basketball is a big part of Schwecke’s life. She said the women’s basketball team adopted her into their family and she adjusted well.
“Everyone was super welcoming. We were all learning together. Our biggest problem is we’re too nice to each other,” Schwecke said.
Assistant Coach Stacey Turrell described Schwecke as a quiet leader who leads by example.
“We were so lucky to get Anna. She’s such a positive energy on the floor,” Turrell said. “I know her teammates love playing with her because she brings her A-game every time she’s out there. She’s just been a great leader like that. She works really hard and never complains. Anna says it how it is. She walks her talk and that’s why the team really respects her.”
Turrell’s comments echo those made by Schwecke’s father, who said Schwecke’s sense of responsibility is one of the things he is most proud of her for.
“She’s always been responsible and a great person for having the independence to be her own person,” he said.
Schwecke’s contribution to the basketball team has been substantial. Her 233 total points scored so far this season put her in the top-20 for scoring in the conference, which is even more impressive considering her current top-five ranking in both offensive and defensive rebounding in the conference.
Schwecke was also named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week in December of 2018 for games played Nov. 26 – Dec. 2. when she averaged 22.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. All told, she’s put up some impressive numbers this year, including a single-game season-high 24 points against Simon Fraser.
Schwecke said her most memorable game experience was at Central Washington University last season.
“We struggled last year. Our team was so new,” she said.
Despite losing that game, Schwecke said it showed her that her team could flow and work hard together to win in the future.
Some of Schwecke’s favorite memories with her team include the ones she made on their trip to Alaska.
“It’s always so fun and we get to go sledding! Those are memories I’ll have forever,” she said.
Outside of school and basketball, Schwecke said she can be found enjoying the outdoors. She said some of her favorite spots in the area are places where she can take in the beautiful sights Bellingham has to offer, including Larrabee State Park and Locust Beach.