Interview: Abi Ramsey

After practice Friday afternoon, VandyMania stopped by Memorial Gym to visit with sophomore guard Abi Ramsey. The Monteagle native talked about her hometown, and how the team is spending the time while waiting to find out who and where they'll play in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

VM: First, Abi, when I was In Little Rock, I was talking to some old friends of your family, and one of them said that I should always refer to you as "Abi Ramsey, Monteagle native", so I thought I better check with you about that before I did it.

Abi: Yeah, I've had a lot of things said from people around my hometown because I'm really not from Shelbyville, but that's how I'm recognized from high school. So really, I think I'm probably going to talk to the media people and be like, it probably should be Monteagle. It's my home town. It's where I grew up. It's more important to me because nobody from Monteagle has really ever made it anywhere, especially in the SEC, and it's special for me to represent Monteagle instead of Shelbyville, which has players coming out every year.

VM: I couldn't tell for sure if he was joking or not.

Abi: No, it's not a joke.

VM: It's obvious they're really very proud of you.

Abi: Oh yeah, they're like family to us, and he's always been a big, big UT Vols fan. He has a room in his house decorated with UT wallpaper, and since the day I've been at Vanderbilt, he has completely supported me and wanted to be a part of it and has completely converted and been a true VU fan.

So, yeah, they're really proud to have a girl from Monteagle, from their hometown, a small town, going somewhere. I should be a little bit more respectful to where I came from. I think just went along with the whole Shelbyville thing because it's easy to say, "I'm from Shelbyville," and everybody knows where it is, usually, if they're from the south.

VM: This time of year, if you're a basketball fan, you're talking about seeds, brackets, where you're going to go, watching games. So I know what fans do. What about for the athletes? What is this time of year like for you?

Abi: The waiting period right now? You know, really, for this team it's been one of the calmest parts of our year. I think it'd be a lot different if we were playing like we had started out earlier in the season, kind of win two, lose one, win two, lose one. But we left the tournament and finished our season comfortably. We lost to Tennessee-- what are they ranked? 2? And LSU, who's ranked 4 or 5. Those are great teams, and we're 17th, and we hung in there, the last 12 or 15 games with every team.

And I just think that right now is a time for us to just get healthy and just rest. These practices have been the shortest practices we've had all year. We work hard, but it's really more like mental preparation. Really right now is the funnest part. You've done all the hard work to get here. Now it's where it's gotta be fun. It's gotta be a game again. It's gotta be business, but you should know everything and have done everything enough to have the experience to where everything is natural at this point in the season.

VM: So at this point, what are practices like now? What kinds of things are you working on?

Abi: Well, like you saw us scrimmaging the guys, things just to keep us active and in game situations. Things like we'll do little four-on-four things, something where we're having to work together, like go outside of the offense, like get other things-- and try to bend the rules a little bit and see where we can go and make the game more natural instead of so structured. So, yeah, it's about staying fresh, trying to keep us fresh, but mostly just to stay comfortable with where we're at. You don't want to get all mental about it, even though it is important. This is where you've got to relax.

VM: Do you have any time to watch other games? Like did you watch the men's game against Alabama last night?

Abi: Yes. Yes, I watched the men's game.

VM: Besides being athletes yourselves, are you also fans of the men's teams, too?

Abi: Yeah, you always want to support your-- that's like our other family. We root for them just as much as they do for us. It was great to see them play. It's exciting for me to watch them play Alabama because I feel like they're the ones that started their fall, and it was a great game. Like Mario Moore, who's from Nashville, that's fun. One of the things that I like watching them play is he can change the lineup anytime. With us, we only have 7 or 8 players that play, and we have players playing 40 minutes. Like everybody has a chance to play, everybody hustles when they get out there. It's really fun to be part of a team like that, where you know that you have so many contributors.

VM: Do you try to minimize talk about where you might be seeded, where you might be playing, what brackext you might be in, things like that?

Abi: We've pretty much ignored it. It's not talked about in the locker room. At all. Everybody's pretty much been shut-mouthed about it. We feel like we're just now peaking. We started peaking five or six games ago, and now each game is getting a little bit better. The thing that's so tough about us is that every night it's a different person. It isn't like Chantelle every night like some teams. With some other teams, you feel like they peaked kind of early, so it's hard to maintain that momentum that we have going for us right now.

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