Editor's Note: Coming off the program's first Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, there is a lot of anticipation for the 2011-12 women's basketball season as well as the expectations it holds. Every Tuesday throughout the summer, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Jill Wunrow will sit down with one player to talk about the expectations they have for themselves for the upcoming season and what fans can expect to see from them individually.
Junior, Adrian Ritchie (De Pere, Wis.), 5'11", F
Last season you broke into the starting lineup and were named MVP of the Best Buy Classic. How much confidence did that give you heading into your sophomore season and what does it tell you about your abilities heading into your junior campaign?
"I had a ton of fun in the Best Buy Classic and it was a definite boost to my confidence. Combined with making the starting lineup, that tournament was the beginning of showing Green Bay fans the player I want to be for this program."
What did you learn about yourself, if anything, after going through your injuries last season?
"I learned how to enjoy the little things. It doesn't take long after being injured to realize how fortunate we are to play in a Green Bay uniform. When the ability to compete is taken away, you can't help but feel empty. So for me it was about learning how to soak up every second and know that I can still make a significant impact whether I'm on the floor or not."
You improved your defensive game throughout last summer and it showed on the court this past season. What do you plan to work on throughout the summer to help this team and improve your game?
"I want to be more than just a 'shooter'. My focus has been on having a consistent 'bring it on' mentality and that has helped me become more aggressive. I also want to be someone my teammates see as a leader. Whether that means they need me to step up vocally or get a stop on defense, I want to be someone the girl next to me knows she can count on."
What do you attribute your solid three-point shooting to and is there anything you'd like to change about it?
"I like what Hannah said about shooting being 80% mental. It is so true. After my freshman season Coach Divilbiss nicely told me that my shot was, hmm what was the word he used? I think it was ugly. Thanks Coach! But his point was that it didn't matter because I believed the ball was going in. Since then he has put a lot of time into working with me and improving my shot pocket and my consistency.
As far as change, I think if I want to get better and see a significant difference I have to be constantly open for it. I am still tweaking a couple things because my shot isn't quite where I want it to be yet. Overall, the technique I have learned combined with my mentality is why I feel I have become a three-point threat for our team."
This team graduated two of the best team leaders in Kayla and Celeste. As seniors, how do you think Julie and Hannah will lead this team? What have you learned from them (Julie and Hannah) since your time here at Green Bay and what potential do you see in them?
"Although Julie and Hannah were not seniors last year, they were still leaders. They played such a huge role in our success and as a team we looked up to them. It is a new year and it is exciting to see the way they (Julie and Hannah) are grasping their senior roles. Our team has become even closer this summer and it is a huge tribute to those two. Last summer we didn't lose any players and gained one so it is a little new for us but Julie and Hannah have made it fun and rewarding. Together they make a great combination, each having their own style yet complimenting each other well. Our team knows that all we need is for them to be the best Julie and the best Hannah they can be and that will get us to where we want to be at the end of the season."
What are you most looking forward to during the 2011-12 season?
"I am looking forward to showing the world who we are. We know that we might look a little different without Kayla, Celeste, and Heather but that doesn't change how hard we have worked so far and where we want to go. It's going to be a new year, with new girls stepping up and I am excited to see the things this team will be able to accomplish."
What can Phoenix fans expect from Adrian Ritchie during her junior campaign?
"Fans can expect a more aggressive and focused Adrian Ritchie. I feel that I have learned so much from last year, the post season especially. I am as confident as I have ever been and I think that it will show when the end October finally rolls around in 122 days."
It's no secret and no surprise your parents are at every possible game no matter what the distance. Your dad made that nationally talked about trip to see the game against Michigan State in last year's NCAA Tournament. This season your younger sister Jillian will be playing college ball at Michigan Tech, how do and will your parents decide which games to attend for both of you when they fall on the same days?
"My parents are about to take their dedication to a whole new level. It may seem like it will be harder for them, but we are all so excited and happy for Jille. They will definitely coordinate and make sure that we each have one of them there to watch us play. They have always been so good about that. My senior year might be a little different. They will say they'll come to more of my games because it's my last year but I can't help but think it's because I'm there favorite, (Ritchie said laughing). Either way, my parents are the best and I am so thankful for everything they have done for me and my sisters. This experience wouldn't be the same without them."
Other than basketball, what are you looking forward to doing in your spare time during the summer or what have you been doing to keep busy this summer?
"I am the business and marketing intern at the Aurora Sports Medicine Center so that consumes most of my time during the week along with online classes and summer workouts, of course. The rest of my time and weekends have been spent with family and enjoying my teammates, I have been having a blast."