By Joey Peterson —
“I still think she is just scratching the surface of what she could really accomplish yet,” said Mark Thomas, the head coach of the University of Wisconsin–Stout Women’s basketball team about junior forward Jenna Goldsmith (St. Anthony, Minn.).
Goldsmith, now in her third season with the Blue Devils, has found her stride more so than in previous years and is off to a great start for the 2015-2016 season. She is leading the Blue Devils in points (14.3), rebounds (8.0), blocks (2.2), free throw percentage (76.9%), and minutes (25.2) through the first six games this season. “She is at a good place, but there is more there for her yet, which is exciting when you think about how that could impact our team,” said Thomas.
She is most certainly affecting the team in a hugely positive way and has taken great leaps and strides to improve her game each year. After only averaging 2.8 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per game her freshman year, she has improved to level of being named a first team all WIAC conference player last season. “She has gotten better physically, stronger and in better shape,” said Thomas. “Jenna has also put time into her skills to gain ground on her competitors and help take her game to the next level.”
Jenna has found early success this season and has improved in just about every statistical category from a year ago, including points, rebounds and blocks. “I think Jenna has found more success early this season because she has gotten more comfortable with the change up we have made in our system and how that adjusted her game,” said Thomas.
She has already scored in double digits in five of her first six games, including an impressive double-double against Simpson College earlier this year with a career high 23 points. She also grabbed 12 rebounds in the contest. “I’m pleased with her production so far and hopeful she is ready to go to the next level,” said Thomas.
Her head coach believes her early success this season has been because of a number of reasons. “She has improved physically, mentally and emotionally. She also is a year older, and as an athlete that usually helps,” said Thomas.
Thomas is also impressed with her success considering the difficulty in being a great basketball player at the college level. “Basketball is a difficult sport in all of these phases due to the natural flow of the game and how it constantly changes as well as having to play at least 2 games per week,” said Thomas. Just like in any sport, a coach looks for consistency game in game out, and Goldsmith has been able to give coach Thomas a go-to option heading into each and every game.
An athlete can be great on the field, but ultimately a coach looks for the full-package, meaning they are not only great on the court, but also off the court and in the classroom. Coach Thomas believes Goldsmith fits that mold because she has improved in all aspects of her leadership skills, both on the court and off the court. “I believe Jenna has strengthened her leadership skills, giving more to her teammates as a result both on and off the floor.”