Abi: Probably for me it was becoming more than just than a shooter, and that meant becoming a leader on defense. We've been a strong team all year with our high low with Ashley. Basically we can score from any position, so probably just being more vocal on defense and becoming a more well-rounded player. I'd always kind of talked a little bit and had been more vocal than Ashley. I know that was her big key, but for me, it was to become a more rounded player.
VM: Was there anything that turned out to be easier than you thought it would be?
Abi: Maybe just the whole role of being a captain. When you first start out, in April when our season was over, we were the new captains. I think you immediately feel this load on your shoulders, and you have to be responsible for everyone. But the truth is, going into the season, Dee and Carla's experience from last year made it so much easier, and me and Ashley didn't have to be the mommas of the group which we thought we were going to have to be.
Abi: That was definitely a disappointment for us, but I think last year, we had like a four or five game losing streak, so it was like, "Okay, the end of the road." If we wanted to go on with our season and make anything out of it there had to be a change.
I don't really think that we put ourselves in a position this year where we had to do something like that. Pretty much, we've gone on streaks of like winning six games, then losing to Tennessee, winning six games, losing to Tennessee. This year it's been a lot more about proving that, yeah, we are a good program even though we lost our all-American Jenni [Benningfield] the year before. Everyone doubted us, and as of like ten games ago, we weren't even expected to make the tournament. Finishing third in one of the biggest conferences in the nation has been one of the biggest points of our season so far.
VM: Looking ahead, you've said a couple of times that the Vanderbilt uniform is going to be the last one you wear. Do you still feel that way?
Abi: Y'know, I know I'm going to miss it so much, but I just don't know if there would be any situation-- If there were the perfect situation, like if the money was right and I could be in the right kind of place-- I never really had aspirations to go further than college. I don't know if I could ever feel the team chemistry and connection I've had until this point, and that's probably been the most enjoyable thing that's really kept me in it. So, yeah, it's sad. Maybe a week after the season, I'll be like totally depressed and think I need to get back out there, but as of right now, I think this is probably going to be it for me.
VM: What are your post-graduation plans?
Abi: I'm going to do grad school next year, pretty much for sure. I haven't really focused into any field because of basketball. I've been totally consumed with that, so I would just like the opportunity next year to just be a student.
VM: In what program of studies?
Abi: It would be over in Peabody, the HOD, Human and Organizational Development.
VM: Last summer you said that the work you had done for your internship might continue on into the school year. Did it work out that way?
Abi: Yes. I went through Christmas, the whole first semester and then it just go so intense I wasn't able to stick with it.
VM: What were you doing?
Abi: It was with a non-profit organization, COPC -- Community Outreach Partnership Center - over at Peabody. In the summer I created a youth action council with some of the kids in north Nashville, and once I'd done all the work in getting it started and gotten a grant for it -
VM: You got a grant for it?
Abi: Hm-hmm. I wrote my first grant and got a grant for it.
VM: You did!? That's great.
Abi: Yeah, it was awesome. It was exciting. So once I did all the work for it, met the kids and selected them, I really didn't want to leave it high and dry, so I worked with them throughout the fall semester, met with them twice a month.
VM: High school kids?
Abi: High school students, like 13 to 17. We did community service and a bunch of different activities.
VM: Is this a field that you might be interested in going into?
Abi: Parts of it were enjoyable, and I enjoyed the people I worked with, but at the same time it was extremely frustrating because of the lack of funding. I don't think it's something I could stay with because of being an athlete, you're always with people that are always on schedule, and that was driving me crazy, so probably the ideal for me would be to get into some kind of business, but who knows what opportunities will arise.
VM: So over the next year, you hope to sort things out.
Abi: Yes, I hope to find out.
Photo copyright 2005 by WhitneyD for VandyMania.com.