Hermiston Bulldog senior Shelby Sanders has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball for the Portland State University Vikings beginning in the 2014-15 season. 

Sanders, a 6-foot-2-inch forward, averaged seven points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs, last season. She helped her team to a first-place finish at the Nike Interstate Shootout and a third-place finish at the 5A Oregon School Activities Association State Tournament.

The Vikings, of the Big Sky Conference, had a record of 12-17 last season. They are currently 2-1 this season.

Sanders said she feels great about her decision to become a Viking.

“It’s a great fit for me,” she said. “I really enjoyed my visit there. I knew then that Portland State was going to be the right choice.”

Sanders said her desire to succeed academically played a part in her decision-making process. 

“They have a lot of different educational options,” she said. “That was just as important as the on-the-court aspect of my decision.”

Sanders met with staff from PSU’s School of Business while touring campus. She said studying business in a bigger city will be a great way to learn.

“I haven’t decided what I’ll study yet,” she said. “However, I’m excited to learn about all of the different offerings Portland State has.”

Sanders was considering a few other schools, including the University of Portland and Idaho State. Portland State reached out to her, she said.

“Once Portland State made the call, I knew that’s where I wanted to be,” Sanders said. “I’m excited to get started.”

Sanders said she is excited for the opportunity to play for Vikings head coach Sherri Murrell

“I think coach Murrell is an amazing coach,” Sanders said. “I’m honored that I’ll get to play for her.”

Sanders said the friendly culture Murrell has built at PSU peaked her interest in attending school there. 

“It’s like a family,” she said. “Everyone I’ve talked to, from the coaching staff to current and former players, everyone has been so nice. It’s a really close-knit community.”

Sanders said she was happy the process is over so now she can focus her attention on her senior season for the Bulldogs.

“I’m really excited for what the future holds for our team this season,” she said.

Sanders said she has some lofty goals for herself, as well as her team, this season. She said she wants the Bulldogs to improve on their third place finish at the state tournament from a year ago and noted that it would require more effort and dedication than past years.

“I’m hoping to get all the way to state,” she said. “I want to win state. That’s my goal for our team. I know that we can do that if we work hard and play together as a team.”

The Bulldogs start practice Monday, and they open the season against Lewiston Dec. 7 at home.

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