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.
Senior, Julie Wojta (Mishicot, Wis.), 6'0", G/F
It's no secret you and Hannah will have big shoes to fill, losing Kayla and Celeste to graduation, what have you learned from Kayla and Celeste that you feel will help you lead this team?
"Kayla and Celeste took this team on their shoulders two years ago and have helped this program reach new heights. The fight and determination to never back down and keep pushing for more is something we'll take with us and strive for again this upcoming year. It will be exciting to see how the dynamics of this team changes and who all steps up to fill the voids of such great leadership like Kayla and Celeste."
What have the coaches told you about their expectations for you in being a vocal leader on this team?
"I know that I haven't always been the most vocal person but I also think I've grown in a lot of different areas over the past few years. As a captain, I understand that I will need to do a lot more talking than I have in the past and step outside of my comfort zone to help this team be successful. I also realize that I'm not Celeste, Kayla, or Hannah and that I need to be confident leading in my own way."
Do you feel a lot of pressure to fill the void of Kayla and Celeste?
"The things Kayla and Celeste have done for this team and program in terms of both performance and leadership are something that was very special but we know we can find success leading in our own way by what they have taught us. To lose them on the floor will change us a little bit and has already, but what makes us special is the work we put in together during the off season. The harder we work and the sooner we can create our identity for the upcoming season I think at that point any pressure will start to fade."
You're a consistent player who doesn't show much emotion on the court, you just go out and play and never get too excited or show much frustration. Did you always have that mindset when you play? Explain. How is it that you're able to do that?
"I guess I'm just not that emotional of a person in general, I just like to go out there and play, I've always been like that. It's funny because I think Hannah and I are opposites in that regard so we complement each other well. If you're lucky and it's a close or exciting game you'll see, or at least hear some emotions come out from me. In the UALR and Michigan State games I think I spaced out a few times and screamed some things I usually don't, Good things. I will say that it is fun to get excited for your teammates when they do something well or we get a stop playing great team defense. The only downside of my lack of verbal leadership is that I usually get made fun of after the fact if some of the girls hear whatever I yelled."
What are you most looking forward to during the 2011-12 season after such an exciting Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament?
"I'm just excited to see the new identity of this team. We have a lot of experience and good things going for us. We want more and to get to that next level. There is no better feeling than seeing all the hard work we've put in come back to reward us at the end of the season."
You were a Second Team All-League selection last season. Many "critics" felt you should have been a First Team selection, do you feel you were snubbed and deserving of a First team nod? Will you use that as motivation?
"The girls selected to the first team were very deserving of the honor; they were the leaders of their respective teams. Second Team All-League is not what I'm going to remember about this past season or my career at Green Bay. I'll remember all the other little things like the memories we've made in the NCAA tournament and the bond that this team has."
What do you think you need to work on in the off-season to improve your game?
"One of the biggest things I feel I need to work on is being more of a take-on player. Sometimes I get in the habit of passing too much or just not being as aggressive as I should be."
You are just six points away from 1,000 for your career. Will that milestone mean anything to you, if so what?
"Getting 1,000 points for your career is something to be proud of. But again, it's just not one of those things that will stick out in my mind once my career here is over. There are too many other positives that go along with being part of this program that are more fun to focus on."
What can fans expect from Julie Wojta during her senior year with the Phoenix?
"Well, I may try giving the whole 'playing with more emotion' thing a shot. Either that, or I might start wearing a white t under my jersey, but I haven't decided on that yet either. Fans will just have to come watch and see," said Wojta laughing.
Other than basketball, what are you looking forward to doing in your spare time during the summer?
"Spare time huh? .... Where can I get
some of that? Well I guess on the weekends when I don't have basketball or my
internship I just like spending time outside or with my family. My brother just
had their second little girl June 4th so I'm sure I'll be at their place visiting quite a bit this summer."