SLU is off to the WNIT tomorrow and a major part of their success this year has been the play of Junior Center, Sadie Stipanovich. This year, the Lady Billikens went 24-7 overall and were co-champions of the A-10. Stipanovich this season started all 31 games, shot 51.7% from the field, was Second on the team in blocks, Rebounds (5.7/game), and Second on the team in Points Per Game (11.8).
I had a chance to catch up with Sadie Stipanovich before Tournament play begins tomorrow. Check it out below:
You have had a career year this year. What or who do you attribute your success to this year so far?
I would attribute my success to my coaches for sure. One of the assistants, Mike Geary, from day 1 at SLU has always believed in me and always thought I could be a great player. He never stopped believing in me, through all the ups and downs of my career. I remember last season, one particular moment, I had just played a great game and he pulled me aside at practice and said “Do you finally believe your a great player?” And I think that kind of attitude pushed me to have the season I did last year and this year.
Regular season A-10 champs. How does that feel and what does that do for your team moving into post-season play?
It feels amazing, it was a team goal of ours at the beginning of the season and it’s amazing to see that dream come true. We came up short and didn’t win the tournament, which was disappointing to us, but I think it motivates us to go far in the WNIT tournament.
24-7, that’s a heck of a record. What has this season been like for you? Seeing as how this is your third year, what growth have you seen as a team? And individually?
The team has grown immensely since my freshman year. We started as a bunch of individuals playing basketball and have grown into a team, playing together. Our team chemistry is the best it’s ever been and that has attributed a lot to our success this season. Individually, I would just say my confidence has grown. The more I played, the more I learned and the more my confidence grew. I still need to learn more and have a good offseason this year.
3 seed in the WNIT, with a game at SLU on Thursday. What can you tell us about how you go about preparing for a game?
Well we had a little time off after the A10 tournament, so getting back into the swing of things and getting into shape was what we have been doing. Then on top of that we are just perfecting our offense, adding some plays, and just trying to get better. Now that we finally know who our opponent is, we can start the scout and work on defending this team. We are 12-1 at home, so that is comforting knowing that we play better protecting our home court. We also average 1,719 fans (second in the A10) so we are hoping for a nice crowd!
Were you upset that you did not get the NCAA bid? How do you handle that moving forward?
I mean, obviously NCAA is the dream, but we didn’t do what was required to get there this year, so next year I think having that in mind will motivate us to work harder to achieve that goal. It’s in the past, so we just have to “focus on the next 40 minutes” as our coach always says and beat Little Rock.
Last two questions:
What’s your pregame ritual? Any superstitions?
I’m not big on superstitions. But, getting pumped for every game is important and our team does a good job of that by just playing loud music, being loud, and encouraging each other every step of the way!
Last question, will we see you all in the Big Dance next year?
You can see the Lady Billikens at home tomorrow against Little Rock @ 7PM and you can follow the team @SaintLouisWBB.
For all of your sporting updates and interesting takes, follow (@MizHill_) on Twitter and feel free to reach out whenever you would like to talk sports.