First-year forward Julianna Okoniewski is already a key contributor for Women’s Basketball. As a starting post player, she leads the team in points and field goal percentage, and is second on the team in rebounds and blocks.
How did you get interested in basketball?
I got interested in basketball after my dad introduced it to me in third grade. I loved it so much that I decided to keep playing all through elementary, middle school, high school, and now college. My dad has always had a huge influence on me and on my game so basketball is something that we will always share the love for.
What do you enjoy most about basketball at UR?
I love my team more than anything. Being a first-year, I am so thrilled to be on a team where everyone is so close and gets along really well.
How has the transition from high school to college been?
Already being on a sports team and knowing most of the girls on the basketball team before coming to college made the transition from high school to college much easier.
What are your expectations for the remainder of the basketball season?
We are currently in a rough patch in our season, but I know that we are an extremely talented team that has the ability to beat anyone that comes our way. So in other words, I expect that we will be winning the remainder of our games.
How do you balance academics and athletics?
Trying to balance basketball and academics was the one thing I was really worried about coming to college. If I’m not in the gym, I spend as much time in the library as possible. During the season, I try and keep myself on a pretty tight schedule. I found it extremely helpful to always look ahead and make sure I save time for homework assignments and studying for exams.
Who has had the greatest impact on your athletic career, and why?
My dad has had the greatest impact on my athletic career. He’s always pushing me to improve and be a greater player every time I step on the floor. From talking to me after sixth grade club games to calling me on the phone after each collegiate game, he will always be there to talk about my game. He has always been supportive of my career and will always be my number one fan.
Who is your favorite professional athlete, and why?
Currently, Jayson Tatum is my favorite pro athlete because I love the Celtics and he is an amazing player who was robbed of Rookie of the Year last year. He is also only a few years older than me and is absolutely killing it at the NBA level.
If you could be any TV character, who would you choose to be and why?
I guess I would be Leslie Knope from “Parks and Rec” because I love that show.