Ashley Lindsey: Presence in the paint
In the preseason, new Texas Basketball coach Gail Goestenkors predicted that junior post Ashley Lindsey was going to fit well into Goestenkors' style of attacking, full-court pressure and that the reed-thin junior was on her way to developing a variety of offensive moves to complement her shot blocking abilities. And, with the loss of All-America post player Tiffany Jackson who took her game to the WNBA, there was a gaping hole in the UT frontcourt waiting to be filled...by the 6-4 Lindsey.
To date, Goestenkors has been proven correct. Lindsey has emerged as one of the most improved Longhorns -- if not one of the most improved players in the Big 12 Conference -- from a year ago. Goestenkors herself calls Lindsey "as good as anyone in the nation when she is focused and aggressive."
That is high praise for Ashley, who saw spot duty last year as she averaged 3.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 11 minutes per game.
Eighteen games into this season, the Austin native is UT's second-leading scorer with 11.1 points per game and top rebounder (7.3 rpg). Displaying a wingspan (fingertip to fingertip) of 6 feet, 7 3/4 inches, Ashley continues to be a threat to opposing shooters, rejecting 53 shots to rank 10th nationally in blocked shots average (2.94 bpg); she increases that to nearly four blocks a game in Big 12 action. Lindsey also stands sixth in Texas career blocks with 137 rejections in two-plus seasons.
"Ashley's come a long way, and I feel like she's only just beginning to blossom," Goestenkors added. "Her (statistical) numbers are up and she is only going to get stronger. Ashley shows amazing quickness for a post player. When I was at Duke and scouting Texas, I remember watching tape of Ashley and thinking that she runs the floor as good as any post player in the country. I know she will continue to grow to be a force to be reckoned with."
It's high praise for Lindsey that Coach G feels this way about the player everyone calls "Big Ash" or "Big Bird". The former Pflugerville Connally High School All-State standout has played a key role in Texas' 13-5 start because she is becoming more patient and aware on the floor.
"I credit most of my recent success from working really hard with our strength coach Logan (Schwartz) during the summer. And, Coach G and our post coach, Coach (Mickie) DeMoss, definitely have given me the confidence to shoot," noted Lindsey.
This year, Lindsey is showing a soft outside jumper while working hard on her low block offensive moves as well.
"Honestly, I'm still maturing every day and being much more serious about my game," admitted Lindsey, who is known for her funny antics and for wearing mismatched knee-high socks decorated with polka-dots or Tinkerbelle and Mickey and Minnie Mouse figures. "Working hard for all of them gave me the confidence, and that confidence has given me patience on the court. Because I have more patience and focus, my teammates now get me the ball more, and I feel like I'm actually being recognized for the first time as a threat in the post."
Ashley's work off the court also can be credited for her success. She has added 15 pounds on her lanky body, adding muscle and strength in the process.
"I drink these awfully thick protein shakes every day," said Lindsey, grimacing at the thought. "I am the only player on the team who doesn't get told what not to eat -- I can eat fast food and not get in trouble!"
In addition to a revamped dedication to her game, everyone who knows Lindsey knows that "Big Ash" knows how to have fun.
"I understand that practice is so serious, but I really struggle to be serious all the time," noted the education major, who lists drawing, shopping and listening to ‘80's music as her favorite hobbies. "I have to bring some kind of energy that makes people laugh and have fun. That's been me, ever since I was little. I might pinch people, make goofy faces, and give nicknames to my teammates. I have to keep things loose. I am a free spirit. It's hard to be mean, but I play intense in my own way."
Ashley has high hopes for herself and her team the rest of the way.
"My team goal is for us to become even more focused on the court than we already are," Lindsey finished. "I want us to come away with some big wins. Personally, I hope to just keep improving, stepping up my game, and having fun. We'll take it one game at a time, and I know we'll get there to where we want to be -- a championship team."