Q and A With Jaimie McFarlin and Stacey Niese
By Vincent Novicki
Assistant Sports Information Director
Washington University in St. Louis
Your sister also played basketball with you in high school and is now in grad school at SLU. How was that sibling rivalry in high school, and how is your relationship now?
STACEY NIESE: I think our sibling rivalry is one of the main reasons for my extreme competitiveness now. We pushed each other every day in practice and many times ended up frustrated and angry, but when it came to games we played well together and had a shared drive to win. Now I consider my sister my best friend. I look to her for advice and look up to her. Family is great because you can count on them to be brutally honest – they push you on the court without caring about getting angry, which ultimately pushes you to be a better athlete and person.
You are known as a hard-nosed defensive stopper. What’s your mentality on defense?
SN: I love everything about defense! I love making people frustrated when they cannot make a pass, diving for loose balls, swiping the ball from the posts after a rebound. My goal is to out-work my competitor every game and every possession.
What do you think is the single biggest momentum changing play in a basketball game?
SN: A charge – especially on a made basket. It doesn’t happen frequently, it stops the game, and a player.
What is your favorite Washington U. basketball tradition?
SN: Theme pick-up . It is always exciting to see what crazy outfits the team will come up with.
What are the most memorable moments during your career?
SN: My most memorable and happy moments are during team potlucks and get-togethers; just enjoying the awesome and diverse personalities of my teammates.
If you weren’t playing basketball, what other sport or hobby would you be pursuing?
SN: Actually, I still find time to play a lot of intramural sports I enjoy. I play soccer, flag football, and kickball to name a few. I also really enjoy water sports and sand volleyball.
What is your favorite restaurant and place in St. Louis?
SN: Wasabi in Clayton…I love sushi. And I really like Forest Park. So many things you can do there. You can run, bike, ice skate, go to the zoo, hang with friends. It is great!
If you had to be stranded on a deserted island for one month, which one of your teammates would you want to bring with you and why?
SN: Jenny and her guitar; so she could play some tunes during the nightly campfires. Who knows, maybe I would pick up a new talent.
How have you seen the Washington U. program advance over the past four years?
SN: I think the program has a solid foundation and not much has changed while I have been here. It has been fun to watch my teammates go through the program and take on the different roles and responsibilities each year brings.
You will graduate in May with a degree in biomedical engineering. What are your post-graduate plans?
SN: I will work at L’Oreal in North Little Rock, Ark., as a project engineer in their rotational operations management training program.
Division III…. Love the game
Coach Fahey…. Passionate
WU Fieldhouse… Second home
What makes this year’s Washington U. team different from the past four you have been on?
JAIMIE MCFARLIN: Each team has some unique characteristics, but the best part is the similarities we have with the previous high-caliber teams. I think this year, we are a pretty seasoned group of players. One difference in this year is that we have been able to play some pretty solid defense in the non-conference games, which puts less pressure on our offensive production early in the season.
What other women’s basketball programs do you have high regard for?
JM: I really think the program they have at Hope College in Michigan plays high quality basketball. I have followed them pretty closely over the past few years, and it’s great how the entire town of Holland really supports women’s basketball up there. Also, Depauw University, because in our games with them over the previous three seasons, each game has been a defensive battle. The competitiveness between our teams is consistent year after year.
What attribute or skill do you feel you bring to the squad?
JM: Two big things. First, leadership. One of the things that I learned when I was injured was that each possession is very valuable. I try to bring leadership on the court through emphasizing quality possessions and caring for the ball. Secondly, in Division III women’s basketball, the team that owns the vertical space near the rim or is able to win the rebounding battle has such an advantage. I think my rebounding knack has helped us out in tough situations.
Growing up, which player was your idol?
JM: My dad was probably the best 6’6” ball handler I had seen in person when I was young. He also has a pretty smooth jumper, but mostly just out-muscled me in the post. Our battles on our backyard hoop were epic.
Any pre-game rituals?
JM: Quite a few because I’m pretty superstitious. For home games, I eat Noodles and Company on the Delmar Loop, read the scouting report on the bench before warming up, and wear my headband on my wrist before I get warmed up. For away games, I don’t drink water at pre-game meals (instead watered down juice or lemonade), wear or bring the same shorts under my travel sweats, wear the same travel socks, and call my parents after the game.
What is the best comeback victory you have been a part of so far?
JM: Fortunately, we haven’t had to come from behind in too many games since I have been at Washington U. And, I try not to take any hard fought victory for granted. On my list of favorite close victories would be winning at Illinois Wesleyan in the Elite Eight last year, winning against Luther on their court in the Sweet Sixteen in 2007, and the double overtime victory in the 2007 McWilliams Tournament over Kenyon for Coach Fahey’s 500th win.
Off the court, what is your favorite activity?
JM: I really like a lot of activities surrounding food: going out to eat, grocery shopping, cooking. Also, I enjoy work in graphic and Web design, playing video games, and reading. I’m kind of a dork when I get home.
Do you have any plans for after graduating with your MBA?
JM: I am going to take a year off before going to law school. I hope to bike to San Francisco with (fellow captain) Zoe Unruh and a couple of friends. And, I’m looking into playing overseas or coaching for a year.