SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Ashley Armstrong (AA), who has started as both a guard and forward, has been one of the most productive young rebounders in the West Coast Conference over the past two seasons. She has helped the Santa Clara University women's basketball program emerge as a top-tier team in the league, as the Broncos finished tied for fourth in the WCC last season. The junior from Reno, Nev., who is also a near 4.0 student-athlete, took the time to answer a few questions from SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB), allowing fans an inside perspective on SCU women's hoops.
SCB: What has your summer been like? Did you split time
between working out with the team and spending time with your
AA: So far, my summer has been truly wonderful. I was able to go to Europe with my family in the beginning of summer while I was recovering from my surgery, but after that, most of my hours have been spent predominantly at the gym or in the weight room.
AA: Every year summer dorm life is madness! With four new freshmen on the team, we have spent most of the time getting to know each other. There are constant dance parties and people going in and out of rooms. Also, there are a lot of people working this year whether it is with conference services, the post office, Earthquake games, camps, or lifeguarding. Although we haven't made any videos yet, we are definitely planning on making at least two Dorm episodes before summer school ends.
SCB: Have you been watching any WBNA games this summer or did you follow the NBA playoffs? Are there players you enjoying watching more than others? Will you be disappointed this fall if the NBA remains locked out?
AA: I have been watching a few WNBA games this summer when I have access to TV. I particularly like watching Courtney Vandersloot play for the Chicago Sky since we played against her when she was at Gonzaga. I also really like Sue Bird and Lindsay Whalen. As for the NBA, I did watch the playoffs although I was disappointed the Celtics lost but really happy for the Dallas Mavericks. If the lockout continues, I will be really disappointed. I can't stand it when the only highlights are from the NHL on SportsCenter!
SCB: As an WCC All-Academic honoree and near 4.0 student, what motivates you to succeed academically and what are some of the most interesting and influential courses you have taken thus far at SCU?
AA: I am just as competitive in the classroom as I am on the court, and I tend to be a huge perfectionist, but I also think my natural love for learning has contributed to my academic success. Lucky for me, SCU offers great classes taught by excellent professors. So far, the most interesting and influential courses I have taken are Existentialism, Savages and Barbarians, Geography taught through Environmental Studies, and Forensic Anthropology. Quite honestly, it is hard to narrow my interesting classes.
SCB: With two full seasons under your belt, including starting 15 games and playing nearly 20 minutes per night, how has that experience allowed your game to grow? What are some particular parts of your game that you have developed so far, which you are proud of?
AA: Every year I feel like I get sharper and have a better understanding of the game. I think in the last two years I have become increasingly more versatile and can play a little post as well as guard. I am particularly proud of my shooting percentage and rebounding. I strive to be the solid player who makes hustle plays and smart decisions. Right now, I'm focusing on working on my defense.
SCB: The team really surged ahead down the stretch last season, posting a winning WCC record at home and winning again at the WCC postseason tournament. In your opinion, what are the most important factors that contribute to winning?
AA: I think the most important part to winning is playing together as a team. I think last season we did so well down the stretch is because we started playing together better. We communicated on defense and worked the ball around offensively. Everyone did their best to fulfill their role. There would be some games where there were four players in double figures.