Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interview with Wildcat Forward Brittany Orban

Brittany Orban is a 6-0 Senior forward for the ‘Cats who has made a name for herself through her elite rebounding (especially on the offensive end of the court, where she was 5th in the conference last year as a small forward), strong 3-point shooting, and overall toughness and hustle. She is one of two returning starters on a 2011-2012 ‘Cats team that will be very different from last year’s but that nevertheless looks like it can do some damage in the Big Ten. Brittany is a Mechanical Engineering major from North Canton, Ohio. She kindly agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for the readers of Welsh-Ryan Ramblings.

Q: First things first: the new court. It looks awesome, right? I can’t wait to see it in person.

A: It is definitely a fresh change and I love the new look! I have a feeling wildcat fans are going to like the new look of more purple on the court!

Q: Besides the new court, what are you looking forward to most this year, your senior year?

A: I look forward to playing with a new team and playing hard each and every day. It’s crazy how fast time flies as I enter my senior year. I know I have to give all that I can as it will be my last chance to experience a lot of things as a collegiate athlete.

Q: I know that the team started doing full practices earlier this month. How have these early practices been going so far?

A: Practices have been going well so far. It definitely takes some adjusting to get used to the rigorous schedule but I feel our team has responded well. With the addition of some new players and returning redshirt players, we are learning each other’s tendencies and gaining comfort in playing alongside of one another.

Q: You guys lost three senior starters to graduation – point guard Beth Marshall, guard Meshia Reed and center Amy Jaeschke. The loss of these players will obviously change the look of the team quite a bit, particularly the departure of Jaeschke, who was the face of the team and the first NU player to be drafted into the WNBA. What are you doing as a team to adjust to these changes?

A: The three seniors in Beth, Meshia and Amy were definitely a huge impact on last year’s team. As it’s a new year, we know that different players will have to step up on any given night to fill those gaps.

Q: There’s a lot of new faces on the team this year, and a lot of new players who seem like they can be huge contributors for the ‘Cats – McDonald’s All-American Morgan Jones (who is the sister of Junior guard Tailor Jones) comes to mind. What are you expecting from these new players, and what, if anything, will change to accommodate new playing styles and skill sets?

A: With the loss of the fore-mentioned seniors, we needed freshmen to come in and help make an impact on the team. The freshmen seem to be gaining confidence each and everyday as they adjust to a faster-paced style collegiate game. I see that these freshmen will help make a large impact on the team as they continue to grow as players.

Q: Has anyone really surprised you in practice? Does anyone strike you as someone who will have a breakout season?

A: Everyone seems to have worked on their game this summer and I am happy with where we stand as a team at this point. I think on any given night a new player could have a breakout game which will make our team hard to scout.

Q: As I mentioned, you and Junior Kendall Hackney will be the only returning starters this year. Can you talk about how you approach being a leader of this team?

A: As a senior, I feel my position of leadership is one of experience. Having done this for the past three years, I can advise new and returning players on any questions they might have. I would like to think my leadership will come with the hard work mentality I try to bring each and everyday.

Q: What are your personal goals for the season? Are you hoping to improve on what you’ve done for three seasons here, or do you think you might be doing some things on the court you haven’t done as a ‘Cat?

A: My personal goal is to complete my last season at Northwestern with no regrets. I want to know that I put everything I had into helping with the success of the team. I always believe that the success one has is a direct result of the effort he/she puts in.

Q: What are the team’s goals for this season? What is Coach McKeown really emphasizing in practice and at meetings?

A: As we are still early in the season, our initial goal is to develop as a team and to gain comfort in playing alongside of one another and to gain great team chemistry. As we have been able to make some runs in the WNIT, I know our team is hungry for more and our ultimate goal is always to make it to the NCAA tournament.

You’ve definitely been an impressive player for the ‘Cats as well as an incredible representative for the team and the school these last few years. Thanks again for your time – good luck this season and go ‘Cats!

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