Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A few minutes with Liberty's Avery Warley

It started out as just another day for Liberty star Avery Warley, redshirt senior, voracious rebounder and reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year. Then she got this phone call. Something about playing in the Pan Am Games....

Tell us about how you found out about making the national team.

I got a call from Coach (Carey) Green and he was like, 'What are you doing?' And I go, 'Doing homework.' And he goes, 'I just got a call from USA Basketball, and you've been selected.... And I'm like, 'hold on, Coach.' And then I screamed and yelled, started crying.

Pretty big deal, huh?

It means a whole lot. But I know what got me there and I know what will keep me in line and that's being the player I am. So I've just been working hard, getting ready and staying humble.

We were almost as excited as you were because, frankly, up until last week we weren't sure USA Basketball even knew you existed.

"I know! I'm like, little ol' me? I'm not at a UConn or one of the big D-I schools. So the fact they knew about me, wow. That's very flattering."

You're from Washington D.C., right?


So how in the world can you be a Dallas Cowboys fan?

I know, but I love the Cowboys! Well, you know it's like the Redskins never win, so that's probably a big part of the reason. When I was little, I probably rooted for them just to be different. But yeah, I've always loved the Cowboys.

With that in mind, we're going to tweak you a little bit. Here's a riddle - What do Tony Romo and the 2010-11 Liberty women's basketball team have in common? Answer - both commit way too many turnovers.

That's not funny. But it's true.

Seriously, what are you guys going to do about that turnover problem? Because when the Lady Flames took care of the ball, you guys were virtually unbeatable.

Coach Green tells us the same thing! Now I can't make any promises, because you never know what's going to happen in a game. But I can say that (minimizing turnovers) has been emphasized more this preseason than in any of my five years here. In practice, (turnovers) simply are not allowed. We've run a whole lot for turnovers.

One thing that's never been a problem for you personally is rebounding. What the biggest secret to hauling down so many boards?

It sounds crazy, but I don't really have a secret. I just do what I do. A key is just knowing where the ball's going to come off. Yeah, anticipation, and just knowing where the ball is at all times. But I don't really have a secret.

What's your best memory of going up against Baylor star Brittney Griner?

Just jumping with her. Usually when I jump in the air, I feel like I'm the only one up there. With her, her arms were there before I even got there.

Do you remember scoring on her?

Yeah, I scored over her, after she blocked my shot twice. So I also got a taste of my own medicine. But yeah, I scored on her, got a couple of rebounds on her, boxed her out a few times, so it was good.

What did you think of her game?

She's an awesome player, with really good touch around the basket. But you know I'd heard that she did all this dunking, and I was kind of expecting her to do like LeBron and drop-step and just dunk on me. And be real physical, like me. She's not really physical at all. But yeah, she's really good.

Who's the funniest player on your team?

LaKendra Washington
The funniest? I'd have to say LaKendra Washington, because of her jokes, her outlook on things and the way she always knows just what to say to make people laugh. So LaKendra would be No. 1, but you know we all have good senses of humor. We're a funny team.

Now for something not funny at all, complete the following sentence - I was so upset about the 67-66 loss to Gardner-Webb in the Big South championship game I ----

Wow. I can't really recall what I did, but I remember the feeling. It was like we'd just lost the national championship. Just watching them celebrate, it was a real reality check on how every possession counts. When you're on the court, everything is going so fast. But when you look at the film, just to know that if we had done one thing better, if I had just done this or that, it wouldn't have been a one-point game. But I know it was God's plan. That's the only thing that's kept me sane.

It's like you and Gardner-Webb have played that same game so many times, and we're so used to seeing you guys find a way at the end. We were shocked when it went the other way.

I think it shocked them, too. And mentally I was so used to us pull through. But this time we didn't, and you can't change any of it. I've watched it over and over. But that only makes me better. I'm over it now.

What one word best describe the Lady Flames' incoming freshmen?

Intelligence. Their IQ is more dominant that any freshman class I've seen. I'm so amazed at how quickly they pick things up and how well they adjust to change. They're so willing to listen and learn.

You're an old hand at this, a highly decorated redshirt senior. What responsibilities come with being the veteran?

Well, grad school comes with that, and all of my classes are online so I'm in the gym a lot. But mostly it's leadership. That's not something that's forced upon me, but it definitely a big part. These last three years, I've mostly led through actions. But this year I need to be more vocal, and that's not really natural for me.

Finally, what can fans expect from the 2011-12 Lady Flames?

We're going to come out this year with a lot of heart. That's the main thing. Being mentally tough and having that extra something. I just think we're going to really bring it.

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