Bria Hartley Hungry For More
July 13, 2011 ē Colorado Springs, Colo.
Connecticut sophomore Bria Hartley has already won a gold medal. Sheís been part of the most publicized team in womenís college basketball history, winning the Big East title, reaching the Final Four and being on the court for the final 12 wins of UConnís college basketball-record 90 consecutive wins. She has received countless awards and honors, ranging from NCAA Tournament All-Regional Team and Big East Freshman of the Year to New York Miss Basketball and a McDonaldís All-America nod. Yet, she still isnít satisfied.
ďI think Iím always hungry for more,Ē Hartley said. ďNo matter what, you can always do better. As long as you keep working to get better you can turn out to be great.Ē
Hartley, a North Babylon, New York, native, had a successful rookie season with the Huskies, proving she was deserving of all the hype coming out of high school. The 5-10 guard started in 34 of UConnís 38 games, averaging a team third-best 12.4 ppg., while adding 3.5 rpg. and 2.9 apg. She was awarded with six Big East Freshman of the Week honors, a Big East Freshman of the Year selection and a Big East All-Tournament Team nomination, just to name a few honors.
At North Babylon High School, she was a five-year varsity player and amassed 1,978 career points. During her senior season, she averaged 30 ppg., 8.3 rpg., 7.4 apg., 5.9 spg. and 5.0 bpg., earning Gatorade New York Player of the Year honors, in addition to countless regional and national first-team selections.
Currently, Hartley is training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., in hopes of winning a second gold medal next week at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Chile. Last summer, Hartley started all five games and averaged a team second-best 10.6 ppg., and a team-high 4.0 apg. in the USAís 5-0 gold-medal performance at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Hartley talked with USABasketball.com about her time with USA Basketball, her freshman season at UConn, her love for lacrosse and her obsession with sneakers.
What was your experience with USA Basketball like last summer?
Last summer was great, and I was definitely honored to make the team. It was a lot of fun. Weíre all here to work hard and make sure we get better in our little time together. To win a gold medal last year in the qualifiers was great, and now we get to go to Chile and hopefully win another gold medal is even better.
Youíve already won a gold medal. What made you want to come back to USA Basketball again this summer?
I just think itís a great experience, and not a lot of people get the opportunity to play for their country. If you come here and you have the opportunity to play on a team like this, you should definitely take it. I would never turn down this offer.
You had a very successful freshman season at UConn. What was your first year of college basketball like?
I definitely had a lot of fun. I improved a lot and learned a lot from my coaches. I think all of us freshmen got a lot better, so I think it was a great experience and a great year.
Was the hype overwhelming at all, going from high school to the media covering the sportís longest win streak?
Iíll just say it was different. It was a different experience. There are a lot of things you need to learn and get used to, but with the help of teammates and the upperclassmen, they always helped us out.
What are your expectations for your sophomore season?
Next year, I think we just want to improve, keep getting better. I know weíre all working a lot to get better, and weíll all just need to play our role.
Last yearís qualifier with USA Basketball was in Colorado Springs. Have you traveled internationally before?
I was out of the country my junior year, we went to Russia. I was able to play a couple games over there with my AAU team. Again, it takes adjusting to something new, but itís still the same game.
What was it like playing varsity basketball as an eighth grader?
I was definitely really young, and you could tell I had a lot to learn. I think it was definitely a good experience for me because I had those older girls to look up to. They were able to help me get better.
You also played lacrosse and soccer in high school. What made you stick with basketball?
Itís just something that, over the years I just started to slowly stop playing the other ones so I could focus on basketball more. Itís just what my passion was.
Could you play lacrosse collegiately if you werenít playing basketball?
I donít really know. I love lacrosse still. I miss it. I try to play it a little bit. If I wasnít playing basketball I would definitely try and play lacrosse, but basketball is what I need to focus on.
When you were younger you wanted to be a doctor. Now you say you want to coach after your playing career is finished. How have things changed over the years?
When I was younger I really concentrated on schoolwork. I would always watch the doctor shows; I still like those shows. I think thatís kind of what got me into the medical field. Now that I play basketball more, I know that I can work hard and have a future in the sport. After playing, I want to stay involved with basketball. If I could become a coach that would be great.
Whatís your favorite aspect of college outside of basketball?
I think I just met a lot of new people. Thatís one of the good thingsóI met a lot of good people, a lot of friends. Itís just a good experience to get away from home, being on your own; itís different from having your parents around all the time.
Your favorite type of clothing is your shoes. How many pairs do you think you own?
Oh man, Iím not exactly sure. I have a lot. I canít stop buying sneakers. Itís really hard to put a number, but itís in the hundreds. I donít even count them anymore.