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Leinneweber to play for UIW Cardinals
Shelby Leinneweber of Floresville signs her letter of intent to attend school and play basketball for the University of the Incarnate Word. She is joined by (from left) Jaguar Head Coach Terri Twilligear; her father, Gary; and her mother, Kristy.
FLORESVILLE -- As a young child, Shelby Leinneweber of Floresville always figured she would leave Texas when she got older. As time passed, however, her roots grew deep in South Texas, and the child who began playing basketball in the third grade came to the realization that she didn’t want to leave. So when the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) offered her the opportunity to be part of the Cardinal women’s basketball team, she jumped on it.
“My heart was set on UIW,” she said. “It was closer to home than I ever imagined, and upon touring it, I fell in love with everything about the campus.”
Leinneweber’s decision to attend UIW and play basketball for the Cardinals was made easier after she checked into the school’s academic offerings. Leinneweber said she wants to be a physician’s assistant one day, and feels the educational opportunities available at UIW will help her achieve that goal.
“My parents told me to do whatever made me happy,” she said. “My high school coach (Terri Twilligear) went to school there and loved it. It isn’t a big school either, and I like that. It is the perfect school for me.”
There are lots of things for Leinneweber to look forward to at UIW, but right at the top of that list are her academics and athletic contributions.
“I am looking forward to getting a degree and being the best I can be at basketball,” she said.
Although her move won’t be very far, it’s still going to be a big change, and Leinneweber knows she will be leaving things behind. While she says she “won’t miss high school,” she admits she will miss always having her family and friends nearby.
Leinneweber averaged more than eight rebounds per game and scored nearly 10 points per outing during her senior season in which she was named the district MVP, was selected to the All-State team, and was chosen to play in the All-Star game. Still, the most memorable moment for her was when the Jaguars reached the Region IV tournament her freshman year. It was a history-making moment for the Jaguars, as it was the first time in the program’s history to advance that far. During Leinneweber’s high school career, Floresville has reached the regional tournament three times.
“The atmosphere was simply amazing and so overwhelming, but it was a great feeling,” she said. “We have gone to the ‘sweet 16’ three times. Not many people can say that and I am so proud to have been a part of a program that has accomplished so many great things.”
Being part of something great stays with a person, and Leinneweber is hoping she can be part of something big at UIW. The team will begin play as part of the Southland Conference next year, as the school steps up to Division 1 play.
“I hope to make an impact immediately and help the team make a name for itself,” she said.
“I also plan to pass all of my classes with all A’s,” she added, ever mindful of the academic education she seeks.
As Leinneweber looks to close this chapter of her life, and focus squarely on the path ahead, she was quick to praise those who helped her.
“ I would like to thank my family, coaches, and all the people who believed in and supported me,” she said. “They have helped me get where I am today and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Jaguar Head Coach Terri Twilligear, a former player on the UIW basketball team, also had a few words to say about her 6-foot, 2-inch post player.
“I am really excited that Shelby is getting the opportunity to go and play basketball at UIW,” Twilligear said. “She is going to be around wonderful people and learn more about basketball and life than she can really even imagine yet.
“My goal for Shelby is for her to come in and make an immediate impact on the basketball program at UIW,” she added. “She will have to work harder than she ever has before, but I know she can do it! She is a great athlete and has a ton of potential as she heads into her college playing career.”
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