Family: sister, Ciera; mom, Carrie; dad, Pat.
Athletes you admire: I’d say Breanna Stewart from UConn, Candace Parker, Elena Delle Donne.
What is it about those athletes that you like so much? All of them have versatility, so they play inside, but they can also shoot from the perimeter.
Three people you’d like to have dinner with: My great-grandpa, Gene Gianoni; Pat Summitt and probably Beyonce.
It seems like women’s basketball really has an impact on you. How much of it do you get to watch? Yeah, especially right now with all the college basketball going on. My favorite level to watch is probably college. But, yeah, we definitely follow the WNBA. It’s on during the summer, so it’s kind of hard to catch a lot of the games, but whenever we can watch it, we do.
You’re going to Rider, so is it exciting that you’re going to become part of that? Definitely. And we’ve also been watching their games, too. A lot of them are on ESPN3 and stuff. … We’ve been following them. It seems like such a cool environment at the school. Their team is, like, they’re family. So, I’m excited to be a part of it.
Have you noticed the sport growing? Definitely. Even just coverage and ads, more of the big women’s basketball stars are getting more press and stuff like that. I think also with the WNBA, obviously it’s not very even with the NBA, but I feel like there’s been a lot more about it recently. Also just in our area, boys and girls and both big, but I feel like girls basketball is starting to catch up with that.
Locally, Dunmore is obviously carving out quite an era right now. It’s awesome to be a part of. It’s so cool to see with our home games, how many more people come now. Even just students; it’s hard to get a student section at a game. Your friends obviously come, but the amount of people from the community that come, too, it’s cool to see. When we have a big game, a lot of people show up.
Did you follow the program when you were growing up? Yeah, definitely.
Who’s the first team that you remember watching most? I remember Ashley Murray, that year that they went to the state championship. That’s probably the first memory that I have of it. We watched the game at my house. A bunch of people came over. I just remember going to the games when I was younger, obviously, and just thinking like I can’t wait till I’m able to play. I hope I can make an impact,” and stuff like that. And with my mom, she was a big part of the program, too. Going into the gym, her name is up on the 1,000-point banner. Seeing that, it made me more excited. And also, I always say this, but people kind of were like, “Oh, are you going to be as good as your mom?” Stuff like that. That was another big motivator, because I hear it a lot.
Do you think you are as good as your mom? Yeah.
Better? I don’t know. I can’t say that. She’s listening (in the next room). But I think also the game’s changed. I feel like she’s obviously a better rebounder than me. … I think we play similar, but also, I don’t know, a little bit of a different game.
Do you guys play one-on-one? We used to. I used to get so annoyed. We never really kept score, but her just playing defense on me, she’d be tipping the ball — I just wanted to win so badly.
Your sister plays basketball, too, right? Yeah.
Is it a two-on-two situation when the family’s playing? So, my dad did not play basketball. Farthest he went was probably Green Ridge biddy, when he was in like fifth grade. The teams aren’t very even. We have a basketball hoop at my grandma’s house. My cousin, Jared, he goes to Dunmore, he plays for the boys team, too. So it’s usually mostly the cousins that play two on two. But if we were to play two on two, I don’t know what the teams would be. I’m trying to think of how we’d split it. Either way it wouldn’t be fair.
So, dad’s the weak link? Dad is the weak link. He tries his best. He’s definitely come a long way. He knows the game and everything, it’s just he’s never played it. He played in leagues and stuff, but never high school or anything. He was a swimmer.
You started the championship game, what was it 4 for 4 from the field? Or was it more? I think 6 for 6.
Can you tell that when you’re out there? No. … I came off the court — it was in the first half, one of the timeouts — my one friend on the bench was like, “What are you at?” I’m like, “I have no clue.” During the games, I don’t even keep track. I just don’t even think about it. But I was like, “Wow, I’ve taken a lot of shots already.” And it was quick, too. My teammates were doing an awesome job of finding me. It just was working.
You were saying how much you admired the versatility of Breanna and Candace and Elena. Since it’s still high school, I’m guessing you’re still mostly a post player, because you’re tall. Yeah, definitely. I like to play with my back to the basket, mostly. But facing up is obviously something I’ve been working on. I like to play on the perimeter, too. I like to be able to do all of those things, because especially with the whole recruiting process and AAU, you want to make yourself as versatile as possible so coaches can’t say she’s weak in this one area. High school, it’s kind of nice because I have a height advantage. Over the years, when I was younger, I hated playing post. I did not like it at all. I wasn’t good at it either. But over the years, I love playing in the post now. I love posting up, back to the basket. It’s just something I’ve gotten used to.
So, I guess you rely on your teammates to be able to put you in positions where you can do something. Yeah, definitely. I think also the chemistry we have, not just the starting five, the whole team, you just kind of know where each other is. My teammates know, you can tell when someone’s about to cut or someone’s about to post up. So, my teammates do a really great job of finding me. Obviously, I wouldn’t score without them getting me the ball. It’s huge to play with people who have that trust in you to take those shots and find you when you’re open. So, I’m thankful for that.
What’s it like to play on that Lynett championship day when the place is pretty packed? It’s a crazy environment. There’s so much adrenaline. For me, I don’t get nervous. I get antsy. It’s more anxious for the game to start. I would say the nerves get the worst when you’re sitting there waiting for lineups to get called, and then as soon as the jumpball happens, I just kind of forget about the nerves. You definitely have to mentally prepare yourself. I can’t sit around on days like that.
You sort of went through it a little bit, but do you have any superstitions or rituals? Or what’s a pregame routine look like for you? Superstitions, I have to drink red Gatorade, so I always have red Gatorade.
Do you like red Gatorade? Yeah, I do like it. I thought I was going to get sick of it, because since literally freshman year, I’ve been drinking red Gatorade. But I usually limit it to just during the season. For practices and stuff, I can drink other stuff, but games I have to have red Gatorade. I have these key chains that I keep, they’re my mom’s from high school; one’s a little high top and the other one’s a basketball. I keep those in my bag. And then I use the same hair tie for every game. So, I lost it before the one game, and I’m like “Mom, have you seen it?” We were running all over the place trying to find it. Rituals, I would say the main thing is after lineups, when we all start to go out on the court, we all go on the slip not to make sure we have traction. And then me and Lisa Tallo, she always high fives my hands. We do it as hard as possible just to wake our hands up. I have to do that. We do that all the time. It’s these little things that you wouldn’t think matter, but just for my head, just for my mental state, I have to do them.
What’s in the headphones before a game? I switch it up. On the bus, we have a speaker that we play stuff out loud sometimes. For longer trips, I like Travis Scott. I like a lot of Drake, too. There’s some good pump up songs. … I like Kendrick Lamar. I have a bus playlist, but it’s all kinds of stuff on there. But anything basically that has an upbeat tempo and can get me pumped up, yeah, I’ll listen to that.
So, that’s part of the ritual, too, is music. Oh my God, yeah. Even just getting ready to leave my house before the game, I just have to have music on. I don’t know, it just keeps me calm, I guess. Even if it’s not calm, I guess.
Is your sister older or younger? She’s younger. She is 14. … We miss each other in high school by one year. She’s in eighth grade right now. It’s sad. I wish we got to go through high school together.
She pretty good at basketball? Yeah, she is pretty good.
She better than you? No. I mean, she plays point guard. She’s like 6-foot already. … She plays a guard spot, it doesn’t have to be point guard. But I’m not going to lie, she’s really good. She’s better with drives to the basket, ball handling, obviously — she’s on the perimeter more. But we played one on one and I beat her. Fair and square. 21-15, I remember the score. She made a little comeback, but I still beat her. When we were younger, Ciera, she just was really good. She just has natural ability. For me, I did not have natural ability at all whatsoever. It was nice. It just pushed me to work harder, I guess. Not that we ever compared each other, because we’re different players. But she pushed me to want to beat her.