Feb. 7, 2011
Notre Dame women's basketball senior Becca Bruszewski is in her third season as a starting forward for the Fighting Irish women's basketball team. A co-captain of the 2010-11 squad, Bruszewski provides the team with veteran leadership on and off the court. A key contributor to this year's 20-4 start, the Valparaiso, Ind., native is currently fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.3 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds per contest. Bruszewski averages 24.5 minutes per game and is shooting 54.0% from the floor. In the midst of a seven-game winning streak, Bruszewski and her teammates have a pair of home games this week at the Purcell Pavillion at the Joyce Center. On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Irish play host to Seton Hall at 7:00 p.m. Then, at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, the Notre Dame women's team will battle Rutgers. Prior to last weekend's game at South Florida, und.com's Maura Jones had a chance to talk to Becca about basketball and her time at Notre Dame.
What is your earliest basketball memory? My earliest memory was playing in kindergarten, scoring for the opposing team.
Did anyone close to you play basketball? Did you have anyone who inspired you to play? My dad inspired me the most. He was my coach up until high school, and my brothers and sisters all played.
Did you always dream of continuing on with basketball? Where did you always hope to go with the game? I used to always watch Notre Dame growing up. Ruth Riley was a big inspiration for me. I remember watching the national championship game, and when I came here she would actually come to practices. It was crazy, you know I grew watching this girl who I'm now playing against in practice. It was so exciting.
What is your favorite aspect of the game? I think my favorite part is how physical it is. It's all about being mentally and physically tough.
Why do you wear number 32?
In high school I wanted 23 like Michael Jordan, but my high school team actually already had it, so I wanted to wear it reversed. It kind of stuck with me, and that was always my number.
How do you keep a competitive mindset throughout the entire game? It is probably just the will to win. I never want to lose, whether it is to lose a play, lose a point, or lose a game.
How do you get yourself in the zone for a game? I usually shoot around, but I actually get really pumped for a game with vulgar music, and my brother sends me mean text messages. Say we're playing UConn, he'll say, "you're going to let UConn walk all over you? You better come ready to play." It's really a reality check for me that I can play with anyone and compete with anyone. It just means don't hold yourself back.
How did you come to play at Notre Dame? In high school I actually played against a girl who was on the team last year, Melissa Lechlitner, and her coach saw me play and said, "Hey, you can play at the next level." After that, I went to all types of exposure events, and that's what really got my name out there. With AAU, I was coming up to South Bend for practice a couple of times a week, so that's what really got me noticed.
What is it like to be co-captain at Notre Dame? I love being a co-captain at Notre Dame. I like to take responsibility for how our team comes out. I like to set the tone. I like the fact that people are looking to me just as much as I looked up to other people when I wasn't a captain. I'm filling in the shoes of people that I used to look up to.
What team has presented you with the most challenging game? I would probably say Kentucky presented us the most challenging game because they were fast, athletic, crashed the boards. I think they were a team that we played early in the season and were not fully prepared for. We were really young at that point and were relying on young talent that didn't really have much experience yet.
How would you describe the atmosphere at a Notre Dame basketball game? The atmosphere at Notre Dame games is amazing. It's electric. Our fans are what make us go, so playing in front of them is great. They're always going crazy, yelling and cheering for us. They always have something to say before, during or after the game. It's just loud, and it's fun.
How would you describe your team? I would say we are aggressive and tenacious. We're young, but we're learning the game and getting better every single day.
You recently scored your 1,000th career point, what does that mean to you as a player, and how does it feel? Scoring my 1,000th career point is a great accomplishment, but it's not something that I was counting the numbers down to. It's great though, and my teammates all knew about it and they were looking for me. I love the fact that after I got it, every single one of my teammates came up and congratulated me at the media time out when we went to the bench. It just goes to show you what great team ball we have. It's not like every night I'm putting up twenty points or something like that. We're equally distributed, and any given night it can be anyone. It feels great to know that I get to contribute like that on team that is so versatile.
What is the most exciting place that you traveled to with basketball? After my sophomore year we went over seas to Europe for about twelve or fourteen days. We were in Rome, Niece, Como, and Paris. I would have never ever been over there and seen what I saw or done what I did without basketball.
Do you have any definite plans to continue playing after graduation? I am looking to play overseas, but it is kind of up in the air right now. I'm just focusing on this team right now.
What do you study at Notre Dame, and why? I study marketing. I'm an energetic and flashy type of person. I feel like I could sell you anything. I could sell you a rock. I'm very persuasive.
What is your favorite thing about being a student at Notre Dame? I think it's just the tradition, and the type of support base that follows you. Every road game that we are on, we have almost an equal or a greater amount of fans there as the home team. A lot of times when we go we will do an alumni dinner and meet up with people. Just talking with people about their Notre Dame experience and what dorm they lived in and all of that is just great to hear. It's a lot of fun.
What dorm did you live in? I lived in Pasquerilla West. It was fun. Our rector at the time was Sister Sue, and it was funny because if seemed like she pulled in the basketball players. There was always a good amount of girls from the team in that dorm.
What was your best day at Notre Dame? My most memorable day that I really liked was the last home football game against Utah. It was absolutely freezing and horrible weather, but I knew it was my last time that I would be there as a student. I took the whole game in at slow motion. My whole family was there, and they were with me. At the end we waited for the rush and then we all went and took pictures on the field. I think at that moment I was just really taking everything in.
What was your most awkward Frosh-O moment? I think it was when we had to go outside and do singing and dancing with Siegfried. I just thought to myself "this is so weird." The one guy got on his knee and held my hand and was singing to me. I think that was the most awkward moment.
Do you have any funny habits? I can elaborate a story and make it thirty times better than what it originally could have been. I think that's because I love to make people laugh.
What is something that always makes you laugh? I always laugh at people falling or getting hurt, but not to the point where it is an emergency situation. With my roommate and teammate, Brittany, anything could happen to her and I would die laughing. It's just funny to me.
What is one thing you want to do before you graduate? The one thing I want to do before I graduate is win a national championship. It's now or never.
You said you would like to play overseas after you graduate, but do you have any other plans? I would like to get into sports marketing. I've talked to some people about trying to play overseas and do some team marketing for the team that I would be on. That way I would have some work experience related to my field.