VandyMania: When did you first start thinking of yourselves as seniors?
Abi Ramsey: For me, it pretty much starts as soon as that last season is over because then Hillary and the others don't work out with us any more, and we have to put on that whole new face, responsibility and leadership. It didn't for me, personally, really hit until school started because it just kind of comes along with the package. You're looking forward not only to basketball season and leading your team but also to life, like - I'm an adult now! So I think it's more actually like when you get back in the flow and it's like, okay, now we're here again.
Ashley Earley: For me, I think I started thinking about senior year as soon as the Stanford game was over. We ended that game like we ended the year before, losing in the NCAA tournament on a last-second shot. I just saw the look in Jenni's and Hillary's and Venessa's and Jutta's face, after that game was over, and thought it was a terrible way to go out, and I was just thinking ahead to my senior year. I didn't want to go out like that. So I think immediately I started thinking about the next year and how we could get better so we wouldn't be in that same situation, so we could end on a good note, end on a win.
VandyMania: Tell me about your summers.
Abi: My summer was crazy. I had to do my internship, so I was on a completely different schedule than the team was. I wasn't able to do a lot of workouts with them. I played pickup with them at night but that was about it. I wasn't able to lift with them. I did conditioning by myself and did workouts with Lori by myself. So mine was like a really sad summer I felt like because I wasn't able to have that growth period with the girls because that's our biggest part of the season to mature.
Ashley: For me, it was a little bit easier than Abi. I had two independent studies, so I got to do a little research outside of class, didn't have to go to class. Worked a little bit. I was primarily with the team, trying to hold it down for the both of us. (Laughter.) The team worked really hard this summer. We got so much stronger, faster, quicker. We're going to be a lot better. We have, what? Like seven sophomores, including Liz, and they've improved so much. They've all worked on their individual weaknesses and gotten so much better. I think everybody will be able to see that when the season comes.
VandyMania: Abi, what was your internship?
Abi: It was with COPC - Community Outreach Partnership Center at Peabody in the VIPPS Building. I created a Youth Action Council with the north Nashville community with teenagers 14 to 18. I'm still doing throughout this year.
VandyMania: Two years ago into the season, a big issue was a new coach. Last year a big issue that anybody would see was all the new people coming in. What do you see as the big challenge for this year?
Ashley: I think this year there are really no excuses. I feel like this is our year. Coach Balcomb has been three years now, and I think everybody knows her system. We only have one new person - Liz can't play - so we only have one freshman, so we should be good. We should be really good. Everything that you saw last year just should be that much better this year.
Photos by WhitneyD, copyright 2004 for VandyMania.com