Nash wishes to bring Women's Basketball career full circle
Nov. 3, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
Kat Nash’s dream always included a ball and always included a team. It just had nothing to do with basketball.
As a standout at Plano West High School, Nash was a prep All-American -- on the volleyball court. “And that’s what I saw myself doing,” Nash says. “I thought I would go some place fun and warm, like California, and play volleyball.”
But when Nash’s high school team won the Texas Class 5A basketball state championship, she started drawing notice in her other sport, and then Nash decided to follow her older sister, Kristen, to the Forty Acres. Even though her route wasn’t really planned, Nash obviously ended up in the place -- and in the sport -- that was right for her.
About to enter her senior season, Nash has played in all 101 games of her UT career, and was the only player to start all 33 games for the Longhorns last season.
“Ultimately, this was my best fit,” Nash says. “I just love Texas.”
Unexpected twists and turns dot Nash’s collegiate journey. She jokes that as a high school player, she never took one 3-pointer during a game, because in practice all she was good for were airballs. But she remained persistent in practice, and when first-year coach Gail Goestenkors watched her in the gym, the few 3-pointers Nash shot actually found the net.
“So, I think she just thought I was a good shooter,” Nash recalls. “The plays were designed for me to shoot. I had no choice but to make them.”
And she started making them -- consistently. Last season, Nash ranked No. 3 nationally with her .473 3-point shooting percentage, and that mark also set a new UT single-season record. She ranks fifth on UT’s all-time list with 164 made 3-pointers.
As Nash remained true from long distance, she also achieved another impressive career mark, becoming the fastest UT player, and just the second ever, to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 3-pointers made.
“I think it’s just a lesson about working hard,” Nash says. “I came to Texas with no real expectations. I was still transitioning from volleyball. I didn’t even know how much I would get to play. I think it just shows that if you work hard, you can pretty much achieve anything.”
Nash has applied that same philosophy to her academic pursuits, as well. She will graduate in May 2011 with a finance degree. She’s a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 6 selection, two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been named five times to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“I’ve always known the importance of academics, and put a lot of focus on that area,” says Nash, who achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA in the Spring 2008.
“I was like that in high school, so I understood how to devote time to basketball and studies. College was definitely a step up, though. It’s more of a challenge, but I think I figured that out pretty quickly.”
The new challenge this season for Nash will be accepting the role as senior leader. She’s always been the quiet, steady force for the Longhorns, rarely breaking a sweat or even breathing hard.
“But now it’s different, because I can see the younger players looking to me more for answers,” Nash says. “They want to see how I respond. They want to learn.”