Ann Strother – University of Connecticut

After the University of Connecticut completed their improbable run to the 2003 NCAA Championship title, it took 19-year-old Ann Strother a trip home and a couple of hours in front of a television before it started to sink in. “Watching the [game] tape was definitely something that made it come a little more into reality,” said the 6’2″ guard with a laugh. “Seeing it from a different perspective made me realize what we did was real.”

This summer, Strother enjoyed more success playing for the US Pan-American Games team that won the silver medal. “It’s hard to compare the two,” reflected Strother. “Playing for the NCAA Championships, you’re together with the team all season and you know everybody better. With the USA team, they throw you together in two weeks.” Also, Strother observed, “overseas players are a lot stronger, older and more physically mature. You have to be quicker, to find a way around what they DON’T have. It forces you to get stronger and play stronger.”

A model of controlled, if somewhat conservative, steadiness last season, Strother was one of only two UConn players to start all 38 games and played the most minutes of anyone. The sophomore expects more of herself. “Last year there were a lot of up and downs for me,” she reflected. “There were games where I played well, and there were some games where I looked like a freshman – or even worse. Being consistent, mentally preparing for every game is the thing I’m going to try to do more this season.”

Winner of back-to-back state titles in high school, Strother understands the pitfalls of complacency and the pressure of expectations that face her team this season. “It’s easy to think you’ve reached the peak, and just sit back and stare at what you’ve got,” explained Strother. “The thing about our team,” she continued, “is that right after the season ended, we took two weeks off and then came back and started working. Everyone’s gotten stronger and faster. That’s the easiest way to deal with pressure,” added Strother. “Do whatever you can to make yourself better.”


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