Sarah Boothe: Powering Up

While many high school posts plan an escape to the perimeter upon entering college, frosh Sarah Boothe professes a love of contact and competition down low. And she has a hook shot…

Freshman C/F Sarah Boothe hails from Gurnee, Illinois, where she racked up honors at Warren Township HS. Boothe was selected as the 2008 Gatorade State Player of the Year in Illinois, was named Miss Illinois Basketball for 2008, and was named to the 2008 Parade Magazine All-America third team. Click HERE for a 2007 Bootleg story detailing Boothe's recruitment and commitment to Stanford.

How did Boothe get started playing basketball?

"My dad's side has always been athletic. All my uncles were in sports. I have two brothers. I have an older brother and a younger brother and we all did sports. My older brother, he's a sophomore at Hope College in Michigan. My younger brother is a freshman at Warren Township HS in Illinois in my hometown. David plays football at Hope College, a DIII school. David is 6'1". My little brother Nathan, he's just made the golf team for our high school and he plays basketball. He might do lacrosse in the spring. He's my height now, about 6'5". I tried every sport. Basketball just came naturally and I had the most fun with it. I love basketball. Even at an early age, that was my favorite."

What does she like best about the sport?

"I think the competitiveness of it, being physical, and that it is a team sport, so everyone is in it together. It's the greatest sport in the world!"

Did she play other sports in high school?

"No, not in high school. I played volleyball through seventh grade and I didn't really like it. It was too slow for me. I stuck with basketball because it's more of a year-round sport now and that was my passion."

What are her strengths as a basketball player?

"I think my power game inside. I like to bang around, rebound, and my hook shot is my go to move."

How does Boothe hope to contribute in her first season?

"I'm excited. I just expect myself to work hard and hopefully get some playing time. We have great post players like Kayla Pedersen and Jayne Appel. They both did very well last year, and I'd like to give them a spark off the bench whenever they need me. Whenever they put me in I'll just do my best and give 110%."

What would be the ideal first moment of her college basketball career on the court?

"Either a really knarly block, just like off the backboard where everyone would say, ‘Oh!' Or if I could go against an experienced post player and be taking it to the basket and showing her that I'm right to be there."

What aspects of her game is Boothe working to improve?

"I want to get quicker on the floor and improve my defense, just all-around improving my post game, and my outside shooting-being able to step out and hit the three. Maybe be more dominant on the glass. Rebounding will be a lot harder. All the post players are bigger and stronger. I'm used to being the tallest and now I'm going to be the average height. Also gaining confidence so I can go out there and play to the best of my abilities."

How has she been adjusting during her first days of college?

"I've really enjoyed it. This is such a new experience. It's so different from where I'm from. Everyone is nice. The team is great. They've been a lot of fun and a lot of help. At my dorm, everyone there is really nice and really easy to get along with. I just chose my classes, so I've got that and kind of getting into the whole Stanford experience. It's exciting."

What has been the most different from home?

"Oh, the weather. Home, it's nice now, but in the winter… When I came to Stanford for my first visit, when we left Illinois it was 25 degrees and when we got here it was 70 degrees. That was a big difference. Every college is different. I think the whole college experience is so different from what you are used to. I can't really pinpoint it. Just being in a dorm and sharing a room. I have two brothers so I never really shared a room. Now I have a roommate. It's like being in a house with all these people from different backgrounds. It's a lot of fun. I like it!"

What will Boothe study at Stanford?

"I'm leaning toward business, maybe major in International Business. I'm undecided, just seeing what I really want to pursue. This first year I'm getting my general education classes and then I'll take some more classes to figure out what major, what particular major I want."

Over the summer Boothe and teammmate Nneka Ogwumike won gold medals with the USA U18 National team at the FIBA Americas Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"That was a lot of fun. It was a lot of hard work. We were training in Colorado Springs and then in Washington, D.C. When we got to Argentina they put us in the games. It's completely different in Argentina. It was totally different than we were used to in the US. It was a good eye-opener. The competition in practice helped me a lot to get ready for college because you're playing against the best players in the country. I got along with all of them. We really bonded as a team down there. Nneka (Ogwumike) was on it too so we really got to bond. It was a great experience and winning the gold was amazing, kind of getting that taste of what our Olympic team felt in Beijing-the whole USA Olympic experience. Just being part of the USA Basketball organization was a privilege. It was an honor."

Stealing a question posed by previous interviewee Nneka Ogwumike, we asked Boothe to tell us something nobody else knows about her.

"I'm a chocoholic! My comfort food is cranberry sauce in the can. It makes me feel better."

Cranberry sauce? Does that mean she is looking forward to Thanksgiving?

"I love it! Stuffing, sweet potatoes…"

Now that we're all hungry, the interview comes to a quick close with one last question. Did Boothe follow Stanford's Final Four run last spring?

"I was so excited! I wanted them to win! Then I was like, wow that could be me next year. We have a great team now so hopefully we'll get back there and win this time around."

Sarah Boothe, we most sincerely hope you do just that and that you don't need too much comforting cranberry sauce along the way. What stands out when talking basketball with Boothe is her love of the game. Her eyes light up when she envisions clashes in the paint. It might be easy to overlook Boothe with Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen, and now Nneka Ogwumike roaming the paint, but snap open those roving eyes and pay attention. Boothe had to beat out an impressive array of post talent to make that U18 USA team. She has the size and the skills. She has the passion. Did we mention she has a hook shot? That is one powerful package.

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

The Bootleg Top Stories