Tera Bjorklund CU's T In Team
Things have changed for CU's 6-5 junior center Tera Bjorklund during the 2002-03 season. She's been touted as one of the best center's in the country, received preseason recognition, participated in an ESPN chat and even has her own website. The spotlight has not intimidated Bjorklund, whose increased role is not her biggest worry.
"I was ready to come in and start after coming off the bench," said Bjorklund, "The biggest challenge is mental toughness. My conditioning is okay, but playing 40 minutes requires a lot of energy and focus and I'm working on that."
With all the hype and expectations, Bjorklund needs all the support she can get and has gotten it from her teammates and family.
"Everyone is really supportive," Bjorklund said. "I don't feel any pressure coming on to the floor because the whole team is stepping up and they all have confidence in me. My family has always been very supportive. Whether we win or lose, they always have something positive to say when I call them after a game."
Bjorklund has had many terrific games this season. She amassed 14 points, six boards, five assists and four blocks against Colorado State and tied a career-high with 28 points in just 21 minutes versus USC. In a 78-75 win at Syracuse, Bjorklund contributed 21 points and five rebounds and put Colorado ahead 74-72 with 1:20 left in the extra period.
After an 11 point showing against Buffalo marking her 11th straight double-digit game, Bjorklund struggled going into conference play. She scored just six points in the Buffs' first three conference match-ups. But in true "Big T" form, Bjorklund bounced back with 12 points, eight boards and two blocks against Kansas. She followed up this past Wednesday at Oklahoma State with a 14 point and six rebound outing, while capitalizing on all six free throw attempts.
As proud as she is of her on-the-court contributions, Bjorklund feels her work in community service is just as important.
"Our team is really active. The main thing we do is 'Read With The Buffs' where we go to different schools and read to kids," Bjorklund said, "Even in the off-season we hold camps because there are kids that really look up to us. We also try to make it out to different schools and their games."
Coming into Sunday, Bjorklund needs only 22 points to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. Could she get it today against Texas Tech? Bjorklund answered simply: "It'd be nice."
Whatever the result, there's no question that Bjorklund has high hopes for the team and herself.
"Last year our team went to the Elite Eight. This year our goal is to go beyond that," Bjorklund said.
"Individually, I just want to continue to improve. I want to get better and be able to compete with the best centers in the country."