You’ve taken on a bigger role on court in your third year, what has the process been like to find that increased role?
“Of course, it was challenging, it was kind of like a forced role with Fe out and a post player down. Everyone had to step up, I had to step up and it took us some time to figure everything out. It’s much more playing time on the court. Physically it has been more exhausting, mentally the same thing, so you just make sure that you keep a positive mindset all the time and keep working harder and harder to step into that role and lead the way the team needs you to.”
Was there a point this season where rebounding “clicked” for you as part of your expanding role?
“I wouldn’t say that there was a ‘clicking’ moment, because I’ve always been a fighter on the boards. It was maybe less noticeable in the past, but I think it was just when I realized that even with playing 35 minutes a game I could still get those rebounds and not exhaust my body too much. In order to play at that level for 35 minutes, that really changed my mind. I know I can go in and go all out to help my teammates. You need every possession you can get so I’ve just focused on really helping in that aspect.”
What about rebounding seems to come naturally for you?
“I think my box-out game has really been helping me. On the other hand, I see rebounding as a challenge. For me it’s a game – a mini-game within the game – of trying to snag as many rebounds as possible, trying to trick my defender out and get around them to grab a rebound. It’s an exciting moment for myself and I know when I get a hard defensive rebound or when I’ve been fighting for it, it makes me want to keep going. It makes me happy to get those rebounds.”
Have you taken on a bigger leadership role this season?
“Yes, I think in general we are a big group of third years. We all have grown into our roles of being the leaders now because our last group of seniors was full of big players and now it’s us who need to step up. We knew coming into the season that we all needed to step up in a certain way and be leaders. I think it’s just a growing process, you learn from your seniors and juniors before you on how to step into those roles.”
What’s been the most challenging part of your increased role and a short bench?
“I think the hardest part is mentally. It’s a mental challenge. Every game you know that if you don’t bring your absolute best, no one else is there to do it for you. Having this mindset of giving 100-percent for the next 10 games, you have to give 100-percent. There’s no way of taking any rest. As a team, we depend on each other so much that I think it’s really hard to balance out the responsibility and taking on leadership and on the other hand remaining mentally tough. You get in those late games and other teams are just rotating through while we trying to perform the same as we did at the beginning of the game. It’s mentally challenging.”
What has it been like learning from Coach Thompson?
“I think it’s just a great person to look up to. She has been a role model for all of us with what she has done and how she learned to be a post but also play a little bit more outside, how she reads the game, how she wants us to become intelligent players and not just have one position or move. She wants us to read the game, explore different positions like she has done from the inside and outside. I think she’s really brought a lot to our post development.”
What do you miss the most about Luxembourg?
“I think it’s the Luxembourgish food – we don’t really have Luxembourg food, but the European food in general. Of course, I miss my friends and family who don’t get to visit that often.”
What’s your favorite food you miss?
“I love cheese. There’s a lot of cheese in America, but it’s first of all way more expensive so I don’t really treat myself often. I also miss a good mozzarella – I love mozzarella. In America, cheese can be artificial a lot of times, so that’s really what I miss.”