DSU Athlete Profile: Janessa “Cheetah” Bassett, Softball
By DSU Athletics Staff
Dixie State returns 13 starters from the 2017 softball squad, led by senior outfielder Janessa Bassett (Stansbury Park, Utah/Stansbury HS). A three-time first team All-PacWest honoree and three-time All-American, Bassett led Dixie State in batting average for the third consecutive season in 2017, hitting .406 with 43 runs scored, 19 RBI, and conference-best marks in on-base percentage (.519), stolen bases (42), and triples (5). She also set the new DSU career stolen bases record, stealing 42 bases on 45 attempts for a career total of 118 stolen bases. Additionally, Bassett, was named PacWest Defender of the Year, and was near-perfect defensively, logging a .983 fielding percentage with 59 putouts in 60 chances. She was, once again, named the PacWest Pre-season Player of the Year, as well as the inaugural NFCA freshman of the year.
Janessa “Cheetah” Bassett grew up Tooele, Utah. She earned her nickname for speed while running with a friend in 3rd grade, and it has stayed with her. She actually started playing soccer first at age 7, but with her sisters playing softball, she eventually started playing as well. When she made the competition teams for both soccer and softball, she had to decide which one to pursue. She chose softball, which has proven to be a good choice for her.
When asked about her natural skill vs. learned skill, she had some wise comments. She said that in middle school she was a mediocre player. She and a friend made a decision that they wanted to do whatever it took to play softball in college. They started daily hitting practices on their own, and that’s when she really started to see herself improve. It was all about how badly she wanted it, and being willing to put in the extra time and effort to practice harder to reach her goal. This paid off… she went on to win two state softball championships for Stansbury High School before starting as a freshman at DSU.
Bassett first became interested in St. George when she came here for a tournament in high school. She recalls telling her dad how much she loved it here. A couple of years later, she was living in Dixie. “Everything happens for a reason, and it just felt right for me to come to Dixie State.” She has loved being here, with a great team and coaches. She also fell in love with Zion and the outdoors. Janessa is studying biology and, after graduation she plans to take a year off, take her PCAT, and prepare for pharmacy school.
Bassett talks a lot about her team, their unity, and the importance it has played in her personal life, and the team’s ability to do well. That is very evident at practice. They do drill exercises and work hard, but also have good unity and chemistry. They even wear team bracelets that appropriately say, “Hustle and Heart Will Set You Apart”.
Bassett had this advice, “When you play as a selfish player, you can be decent; but when you become a team player…that’s when you become really good.” When asked about any regrets, she says she wishes she had allowed herself to just have fun sooner, enjoy it more, and not be so scared and timid.
What an inspiring role model she is, with her genuine and down-to-earth personality, on and off the field. It’s clear that she cares about her teammates and is a kind-hearted and humble person. We are honored that she chose DSU as her college home. Her example will impact the lives of those around her.