Ashley Lindsey: Fun-loving freshman post force
For freshman Ashley Lindsey, the trip to The University of Texas is just a short drive down interstate I-35 from her home in north Austin. Yet, after a stellar high school career at Pflugerville Connally High School that included All-State honors and a trip to the Class 4A State final four her junior and senior years, coming to the Forty Acres has been a new learning experience in terms of the game of basketball – even if it has not been a major change of scenery for the 6-4 post.
“Going to UT is really great because I’m away - but not too far away - from home,” said Lindsey. “Living on campus has broken me out of my comfort zone, but I can easily go back home to my parents and younger brother whenever I need to. Plus, its going to be so convenient for my family and friends to come to all of our home games!”
Though she has been playing basketball since elementary school, the college game demands so more from her physically and mentally than what she is accustomed to.
“The upperclassmen have been teaching me things I’ve never known before about the game. This is especially true about Nina [Norman]. She’s been there. She struggled to adjust as a freshman, and she tells me to keep up my intensity, to keep going and never stop. I appreciate that a lot,” noted Lindsey.
The final of the seven freshmen to sign a National Letter of Intent for this season (signing in the spring), Ashley has quickly found her niche on the team while catching the attention of the coaches and players because of her defense and speed.
“Ashley’s been one of the most pleasant surprises on the team so far,” said UT associate head coach Karen Aston. “She’s learning the physical side of the game well, and she can really run the floor. Ashley’s defensive game is beginning to thrive. The big adjustments we’ve had to make are in her offensive game, and we’re taking that on a day-to-day basis.”
Norman, who will run the team from the point for the fourth season, concurs with Aston.
“Ashley’s really fast,” noted Norman. “In fact, she can beat me up the court, which is kind of embarrassing! But she has long legs and she’s a good shot blocker. During the summer time, we worked on Ashley’s post moves a lot. Right now, she is really thin. In order to play the type of schedule we do, she needs to put on some weight in order to match up against stronger players. She is doing well in the weight room.”
As part of Coach Jody Conradt’s largest freshmen class ever, Lindsey and her six fellow rookies have become fast friends despite hailing from different areas of the country.
“We [the freshman class] are really close; it’s as if we’re joined at the hip sometimes!”, Lindsey said. “Our incoming class is really talented, and I hope that injuries won’t prevent any of us from showing our fans what we have to give to this team.”
The informal summer practices not only helped Lindsey learn more moves on both sides of the court, but also helped her build strong relationships with her upperclass teammates.
“I really like her a lot,” noted Norman. “We’ve formed a close friendship because she’s talks a lot about being a freshman and how difficult it is. I listen and care because I’ve been in that situation before.”
Though her focus is basketball on the court, Lindsey is also one to quickly lighten up her teammates and coaches.
“Ashley’s personality is very contagious to her teammates. Both her personality and her height [6’4”] have helped her collect the nicknames she now has, like Big Bird, Stickman, and Big Ash,” said Aston.
In fact, during the Texas Basketball Media Day in October, Lindsey, after sitting down for yet another interview, jokingly stuck out her tongue and laughed at Aston to play on Aston’s lack of interviews (four) and rub in Lindsey’s popularity with the media (11 interviews).
“That was pure Ashley right there, and I just had to start laughing,” Aston said, recalling the moment. “She is just so spontaneous and honest, and really has a tremendous fun-loving personality.”
As the season begins, Lindsey is eager to experience her first minutes of collegiate playing time. Like the rest of her teammates, she has high expectations for the season, but Lindsey knows it won’t come easy.
“I’m very eager, if not a little nervous, for the season to start since it is my first year,” Lindsey stated. “We are going to play some really tough teams right at the start, but I know that we have the skills to go far. Now its about effectively utilizing practice and team time to improve on a weekly basis.”
You can be sure Ashley Lindsey will be doing her part – seriously and non-seriously – to help build camaraderie and UT’s skill level as the year continues.