Grace Mashore: Happy Camper

Grace Mashore, a freshman guard out of Washington, D.C., is one of four new faces looking to contribute to a Cardinal team that came oh so close to winning a National Championship in 2008.

Of the four stellar recruits signed in November 2007 by Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, Washington, D.C. guard Grace Mashore was the one least familiar to women's basketball recruitniks and therefore perhaps the most intriguing. Mashore's high school awards include multiple Independent School League MVP and first-team All-ISL selections, All-City Team honors, and All-Met D.C. Area honors. TheBootleg.com sat down with Grace to get the inside scoop on her decision to sample life and basketball on the left coast.

TheBootleg.com had heard that Mashore's experience at Tara VanDerveer's basketball camp last summer was pivotal in her recruitment to The Farm. Mashore explained her camp connection.

"I went to a really small all-girls school in D.C. (National Cathedral HS). I played for a pretty prominent AAU team (the Fairfax Stars) that had a lot of great players, so it's not hard to get overlooked. I played point guard, a pass-first guard. My dad went to Duke so I was always told Stanford was if not better, the equivalent…I've already realized better…but sort of the Duke of the West Coast, so I always wanted to come out here and look at it. In 1996 Tara led her (Olympic) team to the 60-0 finish and that Sports Illustrated cover has always been on my wall in my room since I was little. I knew I wanted to come out and play for her. My AAU coach contacted Amy (Tucker) and she said they'd love to have me out here at camp. I came and played. I fell in love with the school immediately. I was fortunate enough that they wanted me too. It was like a dream experience. I came out to camp, which I think started on a Tuesday, and they told me they wanted to give me an application on Thursday.

It certainly sounds like Mashore impressed the coaches very quickly. We asked about her strengths as a player.

"I probably feel most natural at the point position but I played the "1" through the "3" throughout my career. In college I'm sure I'll pretty much be a "1" and a "2," seeing that 5'9½" is not a ridiculously tall height. I think most coaches would describe me as someone who picks up the slack whenever needed. Winning is extremely important to me so I like to get down and get rebounds, passing…there's nothing better to me than making a great pass for an easy basket. But I think I just do whatever it takes. I'm on the floor a lot. I get a lot of floor burns. I like to play defense. It's the little things to me that are the most important. Obviously you can't play for Tara unless you put the ball in the basket to some degree so it's really important, but I just like to make sure everything is running smoothly and get the ball where it needs to be."

Mashore is spending the summer at Stanford, taking classes and working out.

"I'm taking CASA 1, which is an intro to anthropology class, and I'm taking a sociology class called Race in America. Those are things I could be interested in, in the long run. I was sort of anxious to get away from the basic math and English, just because we just graduated in June. I wanted to really feel like I was in college and take some different kinds of classes, so it's been really interesting for me."

"There have been lots of girls from my high school that have come here and a couple of them are here right now. The biggest thing that they said to me was that there are some amazing things that Stanford offers, just in terms of majors, little things you never think about, and that you should really come in with an open mind. I'm really interested in doing a business thing after college, but Stanford doesn't have a business major, so I actually think it's a really great opportunity to focus on something else and see where that takes me. I'm pretty open-minded right now."

Several returning players and Mashore's freshman classmate, guard Lindy La Rocque, have been on campus this summer, taking classes or coming to help out at VanDerveer's basketball camps. The other two incoming freshmen were off playing for USA basketball and did not attend summer school.

"I haven't met Nneka (Ogwumike) or Sarah (Boothe) yet. Obviously they just won the gold for the eighteen-and-under US team. But I've met everyone else on the team when I was out here on my official [visit] and last year at camp. Everyone just seems awesome. I couldn't have had a better weekend than when I was out here on my official. Since I've been here [this summer], Mel (Murphy), Michelle (Harrison), and Morgan (Clyburn) have been great. Jayne (Appel), Kayla (Pedersen), Jeanette (Pohlen), and Hannah (Donaghe) were all just in town [for basketball camp]. So I've pretty much met everyone, got to hang out a little bit with everyone. I think the consensus is that everyone is just so excited for next season. We are stacked at so many positions. It's going to be extremely competitive. Who knows what roles people are going to be filling? I can't wait to really get into it and start playing."

We asked Mashore to tell us a bit about her family.

"I have an older brother. He's at Wake Forest. He played basketball through high school. He played football as well. My mom was a journalist for NBC for about 20 years. She stopped right when my brother and I were getting really intense about our sports and scheduling got crazy. She wanted to spend time with us. My dad went to Duke. He played football there and then went to Columbia Law School. He's in commercial real estate now. He does a lot of his work out of New York but [my parents] are both really into my basketball life and scheduling so I really expect them to be at a lot of games. I was worried because obviously it's a long way to go. But when they first gave me a [Stanford] application and again when I got in, my dad especially said, ‘We'll be at every game we possibly can.' My mom really didn't want me to go this far away but when she came out here and when I came back from camp, she realized how happy I was and how I really felt this was the best place for me. How can you turn it down? I mean it's amazing!"

So was it Stanford all the way for Mashore? What other schools did she consider?

"I was being recruited by some smaller schools back on the east coast, closer to my house. I was getting some attention from ACC and Big East schools. But I kind of started the process, for better or worse, with a pretty narrow mind. I had a pretty good idea of the things I wanted. I really wanted to go to the best academic institution possible and I really wanted to try to win a national championship. I came out here and everything came into one. I got really lucky that they decided that they wanted me to come too."

What might Mashore choose to do with all the copious free time she will surely have as a college athlete?

"I love to watch movies. I'm a big movie fan. We're actually going to go see The Dark Knight today. I'm the only one out of all of us who hasn't seen it yet. Basketball practice takes up a lot of time. I love to hang out with my friends. That's been a big adjustment. They're all back in D.C. I love all aspects of basketball, watching it on TV. The WNBA is on hiatus right now but it was fun watching them. The US [Olympic] team was here last week. We got to sneak into their practice on Monday and it was incredible. The respect they all have for Tara when we were on the court with them was amazing."

Last, we asked Mashore what she considered to be the highlights of her high school and AAU careers.

"As I said, I went to a really small all-girls high school, and athletics was probably the least important aspect. We hadn't won a basketball championship in many years. My junior year we went 19-0 and won a championship. I was captain of that team since my sophomore year so I was really proud that we were able to come together and do that. Club-wise, it's kind of the same thing. I played for the Fairfax Stars and they always had the age groups ahead of us really strong. Some had won national championships on the AAU level. Over six years we built just as strong a team. We finished fourth, I think, in the country, won at all the exposure tournaments, and won our region two years in a row. I like to help build up teams and try to make them better. Obviously Stanford is a powerhouse school and team, so if I can come in and help in any way possible, I'm really looking forward to that."

Card fans are certainly looking forward to watching Grace Mashore do all the "little things" that help build champions. If Mashore makes the most of her opportunities with the Cardinal, as she did at basketball camp a summer ago, her future is bright. And to think, a t-shirt and a little poison oak were all most of us got out of summer camp.

To view a slide show of Don Anderson's photos taken during this interview with Grace, click HERE.

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