Kayla Standish Jumps At Second Opportunity
Oct. 17, 2011 • Houston, Texas
When Kayla Standish (Ellensburg, Wash.), a senior forward at Gonzaga University, got her first invitation from USA Basketball to attend the 2011 USA Women's World University Games Team Trials this past spring, she was excited and unsure of what to expect. When she missed the cut after three days of trials featuring 35 of the nation's top collegiate athletes, however, Standish said she was dissappointed but grateful for the opportunity. Little did she know, she'd get a second chance to represent her country just a few months later.
One of 12 players selected to the 2011 USA Women's Pan American Games Team, Standish is now in Houston, Texas, training with the USA before its first contest of the 2011 Pan American Games against Argentina on Friday, Oct. 21 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
"I wasn't expecting anything going into trials this past Spring," Standish said. "I was trying to take it all in and enjoy the experience. I learned a lot, and it was very humbling. I wasn't expecting to make the team, so I wasn't upset with myself when I didn't make it. It was an amazing experience, and the fact that I'm on a team now is even more amazing.
"The pressure here at training camp is a different kind of pressure than I felt at trials, because here we all knew that we had already made the team," Standish continued. "We are all here for a reason. This is my second time getting asked to be a part of USA Basketball, so obviously I have more to show than I did last time."
Standish is playing alongside 10 fellow NCAA student athletes, including her Gonzaga teammage Katelan Redmon (Spokane, Wash.), as well as high school senior Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.), who has verbally committed to attend the University of Connecticut in 2012-13. After arriving in Houston from all across the country on Oct. 15, the team has just six days to prepare for the 2011 Pan American Games.
"Training is going well," Standish said. "Everyone is getting to know each other, so I think we are building some chemistry and playing better together each practice."
And while the USA Women's Pan American Games Teams works on its chemistry here in Houston, the 11 college athletes each are missing out on their respective teams practice back home.
"There was absolutely no hesitation about playing for USA Basketball, even though we knew we'd be missing a lot, and our coach totally supports this," Standish said. "Our team is young, so it kind of hurts for them to be missing two seniors, but we've got great uperclassmen, so they still have plenty of good examples while we are gone."
It's not all bad news for the players missing team practices and meetings. Standish said she thinks this experience will help her team during the upcoming season.
"For Redmon and I to be here getting this experience before the season even starts will help our mentality, and we'll be able to share what we learned with our teammates. It's nice to get another outlook and especially to play against bigger players in practice. Our conference is not that big physically, so I think this experience will really help."