Anderson is one of five freshmen on the University of Wisconsin women's basketball team that is being counted on to turn the coach Lisa Stone's program around. Badger fans everywhere hope that this freshman class eventually makes history. But someone forgot to tell Anderson that it was not supposed to be until they had a few years under their belts.
Tuesday, Anderson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and the media, becoming only the fifth woman at UW to be honored with the award. She is the first to Badger garner the prize since Jessie Stomski accomplished the feat in 1999.
"It's an excellent feeling to be with Barb Franke and Jessie Stomski and be classified in the same category," Anderson said. "That is something that I am proud of and something that will stick with me."
The accolade is well deserved for the Big Ten's third-leading scorer. Anderson became the first player at UW to average more than 17 points per game or better since the 2001-02 season. In addition to scoring, Anderson was among the top 20 in the conference in four major categories. She was fifth in free throw shooting efficiency (85.2 percent), tied for fifth in 3-pointers made (1.92 per game), 11th in assists (3.23) and 17th in rebounding (5.6).
"She's carried the team in every game," Stone said. "Let's just cut to the chase. She certainly has. We ask a lot of Jolene. She has taken shots in situations that are more difficult than most people know. We don't ask her to put up big numbers. It just comes."
Her 18.1 points per game is one-tenth of a point shy of the all-time high for a Big Ten freshman; former Penn State star Kelly Mazzante set the record with 18.2 in the 2000-01 season. Anderson has led the Badgers in scoring in 16 of 26 games this season, including 10 20-plus outings.
"The coaches had us fill out a sheet at the beginning of the year and one of my goals was to be the Big Ten Freshman of the Year," Anderson said. "And now I just have to [fulfill another goal] and get Wisconsin to the postseason."
Anderson was also named third-team All-Big Ten by both the media and the coaches. It marks the first time since 2002 that a Badger was named to an all-Big Ten team, aside from honorable mention. Senior guard Stephanie Rich earned honorable mention honors in 2003 and 2004.
Throughout the season, Anderson showed she can compete against the elite players in the Big Ten.
"Definitely going against (Purdue guard) Tanisha Wright and (Penn State guard) Jess Strom, (Minnesota center) Janel McCarville and those great people, and being a freshman and competing with the upperclassman is something I can look at [with pride]," Anderson said.