By Eric Butler
Jennifer Strebeck, who helped lead Texico to three straight state girls basketball championships, has decided to leave the Eastern New Mexico University program.
A psychology major, the 5-foot-8 Strebeck was a backup guard for the Zias last year as a freshman. Eastern coach Dan Buzzard said that Strebeck, who could play at both guard positions and at small forward, will be missed.
“She was starting to develop at the end of last season. We could play her at a one, two or three,” Buzzard said. “You could kind of see it coming, with her getting married, but more so when she moved back to Texico.”
A key component in Texico’s championship run, Strebeck, then Jennifer Roberts, often triggering the vaunted Lady Wolverines’ fast break as well as exhibiting a deft shooting touch from 3-point range.
Strebeck and Texico teammate Elizabeth Richards were recruited by longtime Zias coach Wayne Moore. But Moore ended his 22-year career before the freshman duo could take the court.
Strebeck, who married the summer she graduated from high school, said that the change of coaches for the Zias did not play a role in her decision.
“I loved coach Buzzard, he was very cool and has a lot of good morals. I couldn’t have asked for a better coach,” Strebeck said.
Strebeck, who averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds a game last year while playing about 15 minutes a game, said 10 years of almost continual basketball and the rigorous travel required of the ENMU squad finally caught up with her.
“It was a really, really tough decision. I didn’t like going out of town on the trips all the time, that was really hard,” she said. “It was just another commitment. I thought if I’m going to do something, I want to put all of my effort in it.
“I felt I was just unable to do that.”
Strebeck and Richards have been playing together since the third grade.
“I’m really going to miss her a lot. I’m going to miss playing with her because we’re not just teammates. We grew up together and are really, really good friends,” Richards said. “It was just something she felt like she couldn’t handle anymore. It was something God wasn’t leading her to, I guess.”