Q and A with Women’s Basketball Seniors

Q and A with Women’s Basketball Seniors

By Kevin Stiner

Assistant Sports Information Director

The Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team will honor its four seniors prior to Sunday's contest against Carnegie Mellon University – Hannah Koenig, Shelby Mann, Natalie Orr and Amani Patterson.

The senior class has helped the Bears to an overall record of 90-18, including a 42-11 mark in the UAA. They've also totaled three UAA Championships and three NCAA Tournament berths.

The quartet of seniors reflected on the past four years at WashU with Assistant Sports Information Director Kevin Stiner.

A decade from now, what will be the memory that lasts from your WashU women's basketball days?

Koenig: On the court, I could never forget the feeling when we came back against Chicago in the UAA championship last year (a big shout out to Ereka Hunt!). Off the court, I'll always remember our team's inability to, but vibrant enthusiasm for, karaoke.

Mann: I'll always remember the Chicago and Thomas More type games, but I think my most lasting memories will be the ones I shared with my teammates off the court. I will never forget Hannah's relentless commitment and enthusiasm, Natalie's insatiable passion, and Amani's kindness. Likewise, I will also never forget Hannah's cyclone dance, Natalie's witty remarks, and Amani's snapchat stories.  My teammates are the best examples in life and have inspired me to make each day better and brighter.

Orr: The lasting memory from my WASHU women's basketball days will be all the great relationships and lasting friendships that have made my experience in this program one of the best experiences of my life. 

Patterson: The things that I will forever cherish are the relationships that I've acquired in my time being here. I've gained an amazing family. I have a bond with each one of my teammates, past and present. Their support and friendship have made my Wash U experience, on and off the court, so special.

What is one thing you learned from both coach Fahey and coach Henderson that you would like to implement into your life?

Koenig: There is so much that my coaches have taught me that can be taken off the court. The biggest one is that when the going gets tough, the people you choose to surround yourself with are who are going to get you through it (so choose them right!). 

Mann: I think the lesson that I will always remember will be the importance of selflessness. A selfless individual can inspire and motivate others, stimulate and foster open communication, and provide a voice and support system for others. This year's coaching staff has consistently led by example, and I want to implement their passion and commitment in my everyday life.

Orr: From Coach Fahey, I learned that consistent and thorough preparation is essential to success. From Coach Henderson, I learned that challenges and failures are not final, but are an opportunity for growth. 

Patterson: From the Wash U coaching staff, I've learned how to handle adversity with more fight, poise and I discovered a level of resilience that I didn't know I possessed. I'm leaving WashU as a much stronger individual and I couldn't be more grateful to have learned fundamental life lessons through the game of basketball.

How did being on a nationally competitive basketball team enhance your time at WashU?

Koenig: Both the coaches and my teammates kept me accountable during my four years--whether it was in the classroom or on the court, I was pushed to be my best and stay focused on what was important. 

Mann: The intense academic curriculum and competitive environment, combined with the rigor of play and the demand of a collegiate athlete's schedule, required me to be decisive, confident, and organized. Studying at WashU and participating in basketball also allowed me to have a new perspective about differing backgrounds and ideologies. This experience shaped my ability to connect with others, to communicate effectively in times of success and hardship, and to be more aware of a range of issues. Ultimately, my experiences as a WashU basketball player have helped me to become a better teammate, friend, and leader.

Orr: It has allowed me to meet many phenomenal people in the program that have impacted me greatly, in addition to allowing me to compete daily at a very high level in the sport I love. Combining this with with a challenging yet rewarding degree has made for a phenomenal college experience. 

Patterson: Being a part of such an amazing academic institution and competitive athletics program has been fantastic. As a member of one of the most nationally competitive women's basketball programs, WashU women's basketball taught me how to manage my time, allowed me to travel, surrounded me with like-minded people and instilled a strong sense of pride in myself and for WashU.

What is your major and why did you choose to study it?

Koenig: I really chose chemical engineering because I like math and chemistry; but I ended up enjoying it, too (for the most part).

Mann: I'll be graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish and a minor in Legal Studies in May. My decision to study Anthropology and Spanish as an undergrad was initially inspired from my experiences in diversity in high school and college. Through internships and service missions, I met children and adults who shared testimony of struggle, inequality, and brokenness. I wanted to help resolve their disparities, and I believed the coursework for each degree would allow me the opportunity to explore new perspectives and ideologies and broaden my comprehension of human culture and conflict. Ultimately, I chose anthropology and Spanish because I believed the curriculum would enable me to help others and also prepare me for a future in the legal profession.

Orr: I chose biomedical engineering because of my passion in bettering the lives of those with physical ailments. 

Patterson: My majors are anthropology and biology. The traditional pre-med student usually majors in one of the natural sciences. In conjunction with biology, I chose to study anthropology to gain a more holistic perspective of mankind while exploring my interests in medicine. Yes, I need to have extensive knowledge of the systems of the body, what their components do and how they're effected by different medicines. However, it's important for physicians to be cognizant of different cultures and beliefs when treating patients to aid in building rapport, making the environment more comfortable for all parties and making treatments relatively smooth in the clinical setting.

What are your plans upon graduation?

Koenig: I'll be moving to Baton Rouge, La. to work for ExxonMobil as a contact engineer. 

Mann: Next year I will attend law school (still undecided where).

Orr: Following graduation, I will be working at Cook Medical Incorporated as a medical device engineer. 

Patterson: Upon graduation, I will be in the process of applying to medical school. During my gap year, I will be back home in Austin, Texas, scribing for physicians and engaging in volunteer work at the local children's hospital.