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"It made me hungrier": How Johanna Teder made it to WSU from the junior college level

Teder led WSU with 21 points in the Cougars win over No. 8 Arizona on Sunday.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State women's basketball picked up a huge 18th win of the season over No. 8 Arizona 72-67 on Sunday. The Cougars top scorer was junior guard Johanna Teder, whose path to Pullman is anything but typical.

"At first it was super hard. I mean we practiced twice a day, five days a week, so you can imagine being 16 wanting to do other things was kind of hard at first," Teder said. 

Teder has been focused on basketball since her early teens. The Estonia native decided to leave home to attend a sports specialized high school to further her talents.  

"I stayed in my country, so it wasn't that big of a change. You can imagine, Estonia is small, I was away like two hours away, which felt really long. It felt really far away," Teder said.

Her sacrifice paid off, receiving offers from multiple colleges here in the United States. She was ready to play division one basketball at San Francisco, but the opportunity fell through. This led Teder to play at the junior college level in Texas at South Plains. 

"At first I was in shock, I was like 'that is a whole different experience than I expected," Teder said.

An experience that gave her more motivation.

"It made me hungrier, you wanted it, not more, but like I can go so much higher than I expected. I ended up in the Pac-12 which I didn't even think I could do that," Teder said. "I'm really thankful that I went there, but I wouldn't do it again... It was too hard!" 

The grind of JUCO led to opportunities to play at programs around the country. Teder was hesitant about WSU, but she felt it could be a home away from home.

"I saw pictures of Pullman and I was like 'that's just completely a college town, I don't know if I want to go there,' but when I talked to coaches more and more and I saw the girls, I was like 'wow it's a family that I need in the states," Teder said.

Since becoming a cougar in the 2020-21 season, Teder has continued to blossom. She helped WSU end a 30-year NCAA Tournament drought last season, averaging seven points a game. Now, in her junior year, she is averaging over 10 points a game.

With Teder's most recent 21 point performance in the win over No. 8 Arizona, she was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week.

Quite the achievement for the player whose journey took her from Estonia, to Texas and now to Pullman, WA.

"It feels special! Thinking of how many good players we have in the Pac-12, it's such a good conference. It just feels really good," Teder said.

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