It started at seven years of age in her native Slovenia, following her father to his basketball practices. While he coached, she would dribble and shoot. That’s how College of Idaho senior guard Petra Lumpert started her life-long love affair with basketball.
Full of dedication, hard work and sweat, that relationship has paid off—culminating in Lumpert being named the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Player of the Week in January.
“Everything kind of clicked together for me this year,” Lumpert said. “When Coach Owen told me that [I was named player of the week], I was surprised. I didn’t expect it at all. But I could not have received that award without my team and my coaches. In order to achieve anything, we have to work together.”
Lumpert leads the Yotes in scoring (16.6 points per game) and assists (4.8 per game), while co-leading in rebounds (4.6 per game). Those numbers have helped the Yotes to an 8-6 record in Cascade Conference play, which has the women on the verge of a berth in the CCC Tournament.
While Lumpert has been a big part of the Yotes’ success during her two years in Caldwell, she almost never stepped foot on a college basketball court. Lumpert had two options when high school ended: step away from her passion for basketball and strictly pursue academics, or leave her native Slovenia to continue her career elsewhere.
While Lumpert was preparing herself to step away from the game, an opportunity arose to play basketball in the United States. She didn’t even have to think twice.
“It was really what I wanted to do,” Lumpert said. “I’m happy I [decided to keep playing] because it’s been an awesome experience.”
Four years ago, Lumpert packed her bags and moved 5,000 miles to Montana to play at Miles Community College. It was a fun, new beginning that included coming face-to-face with a new culture and meeting new friends that soon became her stateside family. That group included current teammate Jaycin Tini, who also played at Miles Community College and made the move with Lumpert to Caldwell.
When she arrived at the C of I in the summer of 2015, C of I women’s basketball coach Mark Owen noticed his new guard had a fun-loving attitude, as well as a deep care for people and life.
“She was exciting and jovial,” Owen said. “She was a jokester when she came in. She’s always teasing me and bumping me. Whenever I get on the bus, she’s always trying to untie my shoe.”
But she also knows when to be serious. And as the days tick down on her senior season, Lumpert isn’t taking her time on the court for granted.
“When it comes close to the end, you realize you can push yourself a little bit harder, do a little bit more and try to be your best,” Lumpert said.
And even as the Yotes enjoy a resurgent year in the standings, Lumpert remains focused on enjoying her remaining time on the court, building up her teammates to ensure a stronger Yotes squad next year, and making memories with her basketball family that will last a lifetime.
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.