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Dale product Chastain looking forward to junior season at UTA

Brian Johnson

Claire Chastain is ready to take on the challenge of being a leader, on and off the court, of an NCAA Division I basketball program.

The Dale High School product just completed her sophomore season at the University of Texas-Arlington where she averaged 10.9 points (second on the squad), 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in helping the Mavericks achieve a 21-11 overall record and 14-4 mark in the Sunbelt Conference.

UTA was hoping to land a postseason spot in the WNIT, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The 6-foot guard scored in double figures 19 times during the season while collecting career-best games of 22 points twice against Louisville early in the season and Georgia Southern late in the year. She also hit the 21-point mark against Appalachian State and Troy. As a freshman, she netted 21 against Texas State for her previous high in 2019.

“The K-State (Kansas State) game was really big game for us. We won and it was really fun,” Chastain said. “The game in the Virgin Islands against Louisville was good. We played them really close. Against Georgia Southern, the whole team played well and everyone was clicking on the same page.”

It was experiences like these which should enhance Chastain and her teammates going forward. A relatively young team, the Mavericks had only two seniors on the squad, one of which was leading scorer Marie Benson (16.9 average), and saw a group of youngsters grow into achieving the 20-plus win season.

Chastain says she would like to improve her overall game heading into the 2020-21 campaign and also emerge as a floor leader.

“I want to work on my overall game, including the post, mid-range game and my shot,” said Chastain. “I need to become more vocal now that I'm going to be a junior. Coach (Krista) Gerlich talked to me about how crucial that is and it's something I would like to focus on.”

That comes by accountability, according to Chastain.

“It's my other junior teammates holding me accountable and showing coach it matters,” Chastain said. “With the freshmen and sophomores, I hope to show leadership to them like I was shown leadership.”

With limited resources for working out, Chastain is trying to make the most of the circumstances.

“It's at-home workouts – band work and cardio as much as possible,” said Chastain. “I'm very limited on weights. I'm weighing down backpacks for squats. I've got to get creative with the workouts.”

Chastain, who majors in criminal justice and minors in English, plans to get into civil law in the future.

At Dale, she was named to the Small East All-State team and helped the Lady Pirates reach the state tournament three times during her career. While scoring over 1,000 career points, Chastain was named to the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison All-Tournament Team, Bertha Teague Mid-America Classic All-Tournament Team and the Little All-City Team as a sophomore.