Athlete of the Week Interview: Athlete of the Week Intervew: Laura Bagwell-Katalinich
BRSN: Laura, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. What was your mindset going into the weekend?
Laura: This weekend, my mindset was to get two wins no matter what. Brown and Yale play two very different styles of basketball – Brown being a high-scoring transition team and Yale looking to score in the half-court – but I thought our team did a fantastic job of taking them out of their rhythm and making them earn every point.
What I loved about this weekend is that we found ways to win even when we were down. Instead of hanging out heads, we fought our way back into games by doing the things that don’t show up in the box score: taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls, setting a good screen to get a teammate open. I think that speaks a lot to the team culture and just how good this group can be.
BRSN: How did you first get started with basketball, and what kept you in the sport?
Laura: I started playing organized basketball in fifth grade. As a kid, I tried nearly every sport there was, but the reason I stuck with basketball was the way it made me feel. I was never nervous before games – I just remember being so excited to get out there and play.
That love for the game has definitely stayed with me. I transferred from the University of Pennsylvania after my freshman season and had to sit out my sophomore year (per NCAA rules). Not being able to play in games was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I think my time away from competition reminded me just how important basketball is to me and to never take it for granted.
BRSN: Why did you choose Cornell?
Laura: When I decided to transfer universities, I knew I wanted to stay on the East Coast and find a school with a great Communication department. Cornell provided both of those things, but what really sold me was the fact that my high school AAU teammate, Danielle Jorgenson, is the starting point guard here. Being back on the same team with Danielle is really special, and the rest of the team was incredibly welcoming from day one. Cornell has been so good to me and I haven’t regretted my decision to come here once.
BRSN: What is your greatest basketball memory?
Laura: My greatest basketball memory was winning a state championship my senior year of high school. We were considered an underdog throughout that entire post-season run, which made winning it so much sweeter.
BRSN: How do you like to prepare for games?
Laura: I’m not very superstitious, so every game day is a little different. Before most games I’ll get a “good luck” call or text from one of my parents, which means a lot since they watch the games from back home [in Minnesota]. It’s nice to be reminded that I’m playing not only for myself, but for this larger community that cares about our program and wants to see us succeed.
BRSN: What are you looking to accomplish before the end of the regular season?
Laura: With three weeks left in the regular season, the goal is the same as it’s been all year: make the Ivy League Tournament. This past weekend helped us out a lot in the conference standings, but in this league you can’t take anything for granted because anyone can beat anyone. I don’t think anyone should count us out just yet.