Home away from home

Feb 012004
Authors: Joelle Milholm

It has been six years since CSU women’s basketball player Jasai

Ferrucho said goodbye to her family and left her native country of

Columbia for the United States. Since then, she has played four

years for the Rams and is the current Mountain West Conference

leader in assists.

When she first arrived in the United States in 1998, Ferrucho

lived in Lubbock, Texas where she played for Coronado High School.

After graduation, she packed her bags and moved to Colorado.

“I loved my recruiting trip out here. I like the mountains and

how different it is from Texas and Columbia,” Ferrucho said. “I

liked the coaches and the team. I like playing basketball here. I

don’t like the weather that much. I am not used to it yet.”

While Ferrucho is enjoying her experience at CSU, she also

misses her family and life in Columbia.

“I miss my family, the food and speaking Spanish,” Ferrucho

said. “I have not seen my family in six years, but I talk to them

on the phone a lot.”

Sophomore Vanessa Espinoza is amazed by her teammate’s


“She hasn’t seen her mom in like seven years. It’s not something

I could do. Leave my family, learn a new language,” Espinoza said.

“I just don’t think I could do it.”

Ferrucho is one of two seniors on the team, along with forward

Joy Jenkins. The 5-foot-7 guard is the only returning starter from

the 2002-03 season and leads the team with 78 assists and is second

in steals with 27 this season. Ferrucho has set a great example for

the new freshman class.

“Jasai knows a lot about the game of basketball,” freshman Kylee

O’Dwyer said. “She wants to take the last shot, she’s an excellent

passer and defender. She’s smart on the court, and knows the


Ferrucho has been red-hot lately. Setting up scoring for her

teammates, she has recorded 34 assists in the last five games. She

tops the league with 4.6 assists per game against all opponents and

is first in MWC games with a 6.3 average.

“From two and a half to three weeks ago until now she has really

started setting people up,” CSU head coach Chris Denker said. “She

has almost a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio and she is doing

phenomenal things in that regard.”

Aside from assisting other players, Ferrucho has taken on many

other key roles for the team. She is a defensive threat and, with

four more steals, will move to 13th on CSU’s all-time steal


“She has always been a defensive player for us,” Denker said.

“She is an attacker in transition with her speed and driving

ability. Of late, she has become an assisting and passing player

for us.”

With the recent hot-shooting of sophomore guard Vanessa

Espinoza, Denker is thinking of switching Ferrucho from shooting

guard to point guard and putting Espinoza in the shooting guard


“We are experimenting with the idea of moving (Ferrucho) to the

point and Vanessa to the two,” he said. “Vanessa has been shooting

3s well and we are kind of trying to change that dynamic.”

Ferrucho, who loves sharing the guard position with Espinoza, is

excited for the possible move.

“I like having the ball in my hands and creating shots for

(Espinoza),” Ferrucho said.

Ferrrucho is easy to point out on the court as she is always

wearing her trademark headband. The white headband with a black

Nike logo is something the guard never goes without, even at


“I just started wearing it one day. I just put it on and after

that day I just had to wear one,” Ferrucho said. “I feel weird if I

don’t wear one.”

She has also sported jersey No. 11 for the past three years. She

wore No. 21 her freshman year, but begged to change to 11 after the

senior who wore it graduated.

“I was No. 11 back at home in Columbia,” Ferrucho said. “I

started playing there when I was 12.”

Ferrucho has her eyes set on one goal this season: to make it to

the NCAA tournament. She scored a season-high 14-points in last

year’s WNIT semifinal loss to Baylor and wants another chance to

make a mark in the tournament.

“I want to take our team to the NCAA because last year we were

kind of there, but we did not go all the way,” Ferrucho said. “I

would like to go to the NCAA and show everyone that we can do it

and that we are a good team.”

Even though Ferrucho is in her fourth and final year of

eligibility for the Rams, she will continue to take classes at CSU

next fall. Ferrucho, who is an economics major, still plans to be

part of the team next year.

“I will probably do something with the team; practice with them

and have fun and not worry about the games,” Ferrucho said. “Most

of all, I just want to be able to go home soon.”

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