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Oursler takes Grand Island experience to Robert Morris


Cassie Oursler

Photo by Harry Scull Jr.

By Aaron Mansfield

Cassie Oursler saw firsthand what it takes to become
a Division I basketball player. During her first three years on the Grand Island
girls squad, she played alongside Rhode
Island guard Kallie Banker.

a Division I player, and she had that intensity," Oursler said. "I
learned a lot from her, how hard of a worker she was."

Now Oursler
has reached the same level as Banker, as she prepares for her freshman season with Robert Morris
University. Oursler, the 2012-13 Buffalo News Player of the Year, has spent
this week on the campus of the suburban Pittsburgh, Pa.,
institution. She chatted with The News on the phone today.

I visited the team, everyone was very welcoming and the campus is
beautiful," said Oursler, who will come back to Grand Island Saturday and move into her dorm at RMU at the end of August. "It's the perfect size. The coaches are
awesome. The trainers are the coolest people ever. Everything just seemed to
fit perfectly in what I wanted."

As for
Oursler's training?

bunch of crazy stuff, but I enjoy it," she said.

She has
been lifting weights for an hour every day in addition to doing agility work
and running stadium stairs. Oursler has
gotten a chance to get acquainted with her new teammates this week, and she hasn't been

so motivational," she said. "We all push each other. Everyone is
happy and there's no negativity. I have teammates from different countries, so
I've learned a lot about where they're from. They're all just really great

Oursler is
not taking summer classes because she said Grand Island's graduation date was too late,
and she also isn't working this summer, so she's focusing just about all her
time on working out.

This past season, Oursler averaged 22.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. Her squad fell in the Far West Regionals. The
first-team All-WNY performer is
far from complacent with her overall game.

have to get a lot stronger," she said. "High school basketball is
going to be completely different from college basketball, so I'm definitely
working on my strength, and then getting better at shooting — not far out, but
having a better shot for my inside game. I'm working on speed and agility, too.
Everything can always get better."

who is 6-foot-4, plans on continuing to play center in college, though she
expects to get some looks at power forward, too. The Colonials return eight of
their 11 players from last year's 7-22 squad, though their starting center graduated.Their coach
may be familiar to some in Western New York. Sal
Buscaglia was the UB women’s coach from 1990-98.

* * *

This interview is part of a story on Western New York’s
four Division I-bound basketball players that will appear in The News within
the next couple weeks. The Prep Talk blog has briefly highlighted each interview
before the full story appears in the paper. Here are links to the blogs about Canisius
College guard Adam Weir
, a Canisius High School graduate, Harford University
forward La'Trice Hall
of Sacred Heart, and Canisius College
forward Jermaine Crumpton
, a former Niagara Falls Wolverine.

Follow reporter Aaron Mansfield on Twitter @aaroncmansfield.

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