Q and A With Senior Captains Janice Evans and Zoë Unruh
By Jaimie McFarlin
Sports Information Student Assistant
Washington University in St. Louis
Has your team given you a nickname?
Janice Evans: Yes, a lot of people call me JJ on the team because of the confusion between me and Jaimie McFarlin’s names. It’s interesting that that came along because my dad has always called me that.
Any pre-grame rituals?
JE: Hannah Cusworth and I always have a mini dance-off when we are in the Green room for home games or the visiting locker room.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career?
JE: My younger brother. He is an excellent player and I get so inspired to play well after seeing him play and hearing about how well he is doing in school and on the court.
What’s your favorite saying or phrase uttered by anyone on the coaching staff?
JE: Coach Morse’s “YOU GOTTA GET UP IN ‘ER!!!” If she says that, that means I need to get it going on defense and get in their “hot stove,” another favorite “Morse-ism”.
Most memorable moment in Washington U. basketball during your career?
JE: Both Final Four appearances and all the toppings that go with playing for the big pie.
What is the most challenging thing about playing multiple positions (guard and power forward)?
JE: Knowing plays. The myriad of plays that Coach Fahey’s system boasts calls for extra attention to detail with movements of multiple positions.
What professional athlete would you compare yourself to and why?
JE: I have a giant crush on Dwight Howard and he is an excellent defender, so I wish I could say him. However, I am an undersized forward and he is an oversized human being. I’d say the current LA Laker Ron Artest when he isn’t crazy. Because now that he isn’t a hothead, he is a great defender and can still knock down shots from all over the floor.
You are usually called on to guard the other teams best player regardless of position. What is the mindset you use going in to a game?
JE: My mindset is usually “Don’t let her score!!!” That’s typically unrealistic especially when guarding a good player, but my main focus is to make her work for every shot she takes and/or makes.
The word on the street is that you love to sleep. Where is the craziest or most awkward place you have taken a nap?
JE: That is a tough one, I feel that I have left my mark all across Washington University’s campus, but the most awkward place would have to be Whisper’s. It’s loud and not very secluded, yet I somehow manage to get great cat-naps in.
Your younger brother Dwayne Evans is playing basketball for St. Louis University next summer. When was he able to beat you one-on-one and how has that relationship been growing up?
JE: When he started getting taller than me he started to beat me, therefore I just stopped playing him, my chances for success diminished quickly. As he has gotten older we have grown closer; he’s actually a cool and funny dude and we always have each other laughing. I tease him all the time about following me down here and my parents love the easy transition. I try to tell him the bits of perceived wisdom I have picked up over the past four years about basketball and college life. I like to think that he listens...at least most of the time.
You studied abroad in Ecuador this past summer. How was that experience?
JE: Absolutely extraordinary. I saw and experienced some absolutely crazy and beautiful things and I really hope to go back soon.
Complete the following statements:
The song I can’t stop listening to right now is... “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon
TV show I can’t stop watching right now is… ”Glee”
My favorite all-time movie is... ”Crash”
Funniest team moment this year is... The unveiling of our pre-game song
The words I try to live by are... “No regrets”
You have been a consistent scorer since you stepped on the Danforth Campus averaging over eight points a game for the last three seasons. What do you attribute to that?
Zoë Unruh: I think being on a team that has a balanced attack has made it a lot easier for me to score. It has never been like, “Zoë we absolutely need you to score 20 points a game,” and this has always made me more comfortable. It’s great if I score 20, but there is no added pressure on every shot. Scoring also has a lot to do with confidence, and I have worked hard, through repetition, to gain confidence in my shot.
How have you seen your role on the team evolve over your four years?
ZU: The most obvious transition is my evolution from guard to post back to guard. Looking back, when I transitioned back to guard my junior year my role was much more of a shooting guard than the slashing and posting role I had my freshman year. However, I think it is very useful having experience playing multiple positions.
What is the difference from being a junior to a senior captain so far this season?
ZU: Every game and every practice is way more intense. As much as I believe that everyone has an impact on the team, there is something different that is attributed to seniors -- the atmosphere, the excitement, and the intensity. I know that I always looked to my seniors for inspiration and encouragement, and even if no one actually looks to me for that, I imagine that they do. Everyone remembers you by your senior year. Most seniors remember their senior year the most vividly. There’s no “there’s always next year.”
What is your most memorable moment on the court at Washington University?
ZU: My first Final Four as a freshman was definitely my most memorable moment on the court. Going from the worst defeat in Coach Fahey’s career (at NYU in conference play) to defeating NYU in the National Semifinal was such a rush.
Your Grandma Rose Eisenbeis is very consistent in attending all home games since you have been at WUSTL? Is she superstitious at all? Has she given you any advice?
ZU: You always know who Grandma Rose is by her Rally Cap that she wears to (almost) every game. She even wears it when she watches us on her computer. When she forgets to wear it, she blames everything we did wrong on the lack of the Rally Cap. As big of a Bears fan as she is, she is an even bigger Cardinals fan. When I was younger we were watching the Giants/Cardinals game on TV in San Francisco and the announcers say, “Look at this crazy fan!” as the camera points at my Grandma, head to toe in Cardinals gear. Although she has never specifically given me any advice, she always comments on any mistakes I make, so I guess this is a backwards way of advising me to stop making dumb mistakes.
How are you going to gauge how successful the season is?
ZU: National championship. As lofty as that goal is, we have come too close to settle for anything less. UAA championship included.
You have done extremely well academically at Washington U., being named to the UAA All-Academic Team in 2008 and 2009 and being a UAA Presidents Scholar Athlete in 2009. How have you balanced academics and athletics?
ZU: I’ve actually found that basketball has focused me more academically. When I know that I have three hours of practice in the afternoon during which I can’t do schoolwork, I am more creative with my time and tend to procrastinate less.
You live with the other seniors on the team and a retired player (two-time letter winner), Laura Lane-Steele. How is the dynamic of the house?
ZU: I’ve always lived with at least one other basketball player, so I don’t even know what it would be like without that dynamic. My best friends have always been on the basketball team, simply because I know my teammates the best and we spend the most time together. And while you may think we’d get sick of each other, I haven’t (although I can’t speak for how they feel about me).
Home Game… Green room (and a nearby bathroom)
NYU… crazy crowd
Coach Morse… motivation
Division III… fame and glory
Final Four… hammer time