Longhorns spotlight: Senior Day
March 7, 2009
Greilan Oliver, Texas Media Relations
Many words can be used to describe the seniors on the Texas Women’s Basketball team – passionate, unique and talented are just a few of them.
Over the past four years, Aubry Cook, Carla Cortijo, Ashley Lindsey and Earnesia Williams have grown into dynamic athletes and leaders of the team. As they each approach graduation, Texas celebrates the dedication of each senior and reflects on the achievements and growth of each athlete.
The transition from high school to college has been regarded by many as one of the most difficult periods in a person’s life. Fortunately for this senior class, the transition turned out to be a very smooth process for all four women.
“Adjusting to college life was pretty easy for me, mainly because of the support that the women's athletic department has provided for me both academically and emotionally,” Cook said.
The UT athletics staff focuses on assisting the athletes, on the court and in the classroom, but also on forming bonds and building relationships with each one. This is one of the many reasons why they were able to come in and balance athletics with their schoolwork and other community-assistance projects.
“After I settled down and started to meet people it just felt like home,” Cortijo said. “I’ve grown so much these past four years, and I’ve really become a better person.”
Many have been able to witness the growth of this senior class. Each individual has had the opportunity to show Texas fans who she really is as a basketball player and as a woman.
Starting in the fall of 2005, Texas fans have witnessed Cook go from coming off the bench to being one of the key assets in the post game. Cortijo has gone from receiving a redshirt medical waiver to becoming a nationally-ranked assist leader for the Longhorns. Lindsey became the No. 2 all-time rookie for blocked shots in the UT freshman record books and has continued to better her game on the defensive and offensive side of the ball. Williams was also able to rise above a serious injury her freshman year and become a reliable starter, able to adapt and produce in various situations.
Aside from their great individual accomplishments, one of the great things about this senior class is the tight bond that they have built over the past four years. On and off the court, they have had an opportunity to spend a lot of time together, and through that time, they have grown close and refer to each other as sisters.
“The more we are together, the more we get comfortable with each other and start to understand each other,” Williams said.
One of the events responsible for bringing them even closer together was the arrival of head coach Gail Goestenkors. Because of her genuine care for the sport and the team, and her intense desire to make Texas champions once again, the players immediately accepted her.
“Coach G has given me the tools to think about basketball in a different light,” Williams said.
Goestenkors has also presented herself as more than just coach. She is a trustworthy mentor and role model as well. Taking lessons from the court, Goestenkors has been able to relate the sport of basketball to maturity, adulthood, and being a woman.
“As a woman she has told me to strive for the best in life,” Lindsey said.
For each senior there is something that they cherish about their years here at Texas and will always remember. From hanging around on campus to playing in the NCAA tournament, these women have built some great memories over the years.
Undoubtedly, the thing that each senior will miss the most is playing with each other.
“In the end we were always there for each other, to provide encouragement and anything else needed at the moment,” Cook said. “Our relationships are strong.”