The Valparaiso University women’s basketball team has announced the newest addition to the program as 6-foot-1 wing Cara VanKempen (Coopersville, Mich. / Coopersville) has signed her National Letter of Intent to play for Valpo beginning next season.
The high school senior is a two-time all-conference performer and has also earned all-area first team and all-state honorable mention recognition.
“Her size and skills set impressed me right away,” Valpo head coach Mary Evans said. “She’s a legit 6-1 wing and shoots exceptionally well. She’s also a great passer. I believe she will really fit our style of play with her ability to pass the basketball and make open shots. I love her length – as we move forward, that’s the kind of players that I want to bring in.”
As a junior last season, VanKempen averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. She shot at a 45 percent clip including 34 percent from beyond the arc.
“I had an extremely good visit to Valpo when I went to campus about two months ago,” VanKempen said. “I really liked the coaches and the players on the team. I like the Valpo community, the academics and the small-school feel combined with big-time basketball. The players I met seemed a lot like me – they can be goofy but take basketball seriously. They seem like a great group and I cannot wait to spend more time with them and learn more about them.”
VanKempen fits the program’s tradition of excellence in the classroom as a two-time academic award recipient. She plans to major in pre-occupational therapy and minor in Spanish. On the court, she’s the daughter of a coach and has played for her father from a young age.
“She’s a very energetic, positive person,” Evans said. “She’s always smiling and very upbeat. She’s positive with her teammates. She comes from a basketball family, so she loves the game. She is a great student with a good family. When she came on her visit, she fit with our team and the culture they’ve created. I like kids who are energy givers, and she’s very much an energy giver on the basketball floor.”
VanKempen becomes the first high school recruit to sign with Valpo under first-year head coach Mary Evans’ watch.
“I love how real Coach Evans was with me during the recruiting process,” VanKempen said. “She didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear; she told me what I should be expecting and I liked that a lot. She seems like a good motivator and someone who will help me with a very good first year. Signing my name on that line was an extremely exciting moment. It’s relieving to know that all of the work that I’ve put in is paying off. I can’t wait to play at the next level.”