Boca Raton, Fla. -
The Florida Atlantic University women’s basketball team welcomes six freshmen for the 2016-17 season. These young players have already made a big impact on the team and will continue to be a driving force for the Owls this season.
The group consists of guards Jacey Bailey, Julia Jenike, Vashnie Perry, Tyana Robinson and Alexis Shannon and forward Katelyn O'Reilly. These six were fortunate enough to get a jump on training as they took part in the team’s foreign trip to Canada over the summer.
The Owls finished the trip 3-0 with multiple freshmen having breakout performances. In the 80-68 victory against University of British Columbia, Jenike started and had eight points along with O’Reilly who also drew a start and had seven points and seven boards. In her homecoming, British Columbia native Bailey had back-to-back layups in the opening period while also adding three rebounds and a team-best three steals. In the 90-77 win over Fraser Valley, Perry led FAU with 18 points and four steals. Jenike and O’Reilly joined Perry in double digits as each had 11. In the 109-51 rout of Camosun College, the Owls outrebounded their Charger opponents and of the Owls that saw the floor, all but one scored.
While the freshmen look to continue to make a statement on the court, there is a lot more to these players than meets the eye. Below you will get an inside look at who these women really are as we asked the questions that are on everyone’s mind.
Do you have any pregame traditions or superstitions?
Vashnie: I wear my lucky socks every game day on the same week. Twenty minutes before game time, I go to the corner and pray. I also meditate the night before.
Jacey: I put my left shoe on before my right shoe. I also listen to music, and I HAVE to chew gum when I play.
Katelyn: I always write the initials of who I play for on my left wrist to remind myself who I am playing for through the good and bad.
Who got you interested in basketball?
Katelyn: My grandpa got me interested in playing because he played in a senior league (50+). Ever since then I knew what I was born to do.
Julia: My dad. He has coached me my whole life.
Vashnie: My older sister got me interested in basketball.
Who are your role models on and off the court?
Jacey: I don’t have just one role model. I find inspiration and motivation in the things everyday people do, and in the way they live their lives.
Katelyn: Off the court my family is my role model because they stress the importance of being happy no matter what the circumstance. On the court it is Larry Bird because he was never afraid to dive into the stands, pass up a shot or take the winning shot.
Julia: On the court it is Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm, WNBA). Off the court it is my older sisters.
What are two words that describe you on the court? Off the court?
Alexis: On the court: Dennis Rodman, according to Coach Jay, and competitive. Off the court: silly and caring.
Vash: On the court: determined and fearless. Off the court: outgoing and happy.
Katelyn: On the court: selfless and passionate. Off the court: competitive and a dork!
If you weren’t playing basketball, what other sport would you like to play?
Julia: I’ve always played soccer. It’s really fun.
Alexis: Softball and zorbing.
What has been/would be your ultimate accomplishment?
Katelyn: My ultimate accomplishment is being an inspiration to the youth.
Julia: Receiving a full scholarship to play basketball in college!
Jacey: My ultimate accomplishment would be to make the Canadian National Team.
What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received in sports?
Tyana: Play hard every possession like it’s your last.
Vash: What you put into it is what you get out of it.
Jacey: The greatest piece of advice I received can apply to both sports and life. Someone once told me that “sunshine all the time makes a desert”.
If your teammates could describe you in one word, what would it be?
Vash: Crazy but in a good way.
If you could choose any professional athlete to play with, who would it be?
Vash: I would choose Elena Delle Donne because although she didn’t come from a major college program, she is still one of the best WNBA players. I love underdogs!
Julia: Lebron James because we would win every game!
Jacey: As cliché as it sounds, I would want to play with Michael Jordan or Shaq. He (Shaq) seems like a funny guy, and I’d really enjoy beating him in a free throw contest.
What has been your favorite experience so far as an Owl?
Alexis: My favorite experience was getting to go to Canada this summer with my team. It was beautiful and a good experience for me as an individual and for us as a team.
Jacey: My favorite was being able to go to Canada with the team. I also really enjoyed Red Hot Madness!
Vash: My favorite experience as an Owl was going to Canada with my team because our bond was stronger than ever on and off the court.
What’s something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Tyana: I am addicted to shoes.
Jacey: I love to read, and I can play the piano, ukulele and saxophone.
Julia: I have been on a dance team most of my life.
If you could be on any TV show, or in any movie, which would it be and why?
Vash: I would be on Empire because I can sing in every episode while acting!
Tyana: I would love to be in any Marvel movie because I would join the team with my special powers to save the world.
Katelyn: I would be in the movie Hoosiers because I stress fundamentals, much like Coach Norman Dale.
Who is your favorite singer/musical group?
Julia: Although I love many, I am a big fan of Eminem and country artists like Keith Urban.
Alexis: I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to narrow it down I would say Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Hillsong United.
Jacey: I am pretty much a music junkie, but some of my favorite singers are Russ, Chance the Rapper, Kanye West and Marc E. Bassy.
If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
Alexis: Flash; he can get anywhere he wants in seconds and can walk through things. No one could catch me on the court!
Jacey: I would be Wonder Woman because I’d like to be able to fly and it seems way more convenient than my bike.
Tyana: Antman because he can be either large or small. I would love to be small so I could hide from people.
Do you have any pets?
Julia: Yes, I used to have three horses and four dogs but now we are down to one dog named Sky!
Alexis: Yes, two dogs! I have a miniature Pinscher named Bella and a Dachshund named Molly. I also have a hamster named Milo.
Jacey: I have two cats named Jeff and Ditty. I have a German Shepherd Lab mix named Blaze!
What’s your favorite food/meal?
Julia: You can never go wrong with a good PB&J.
Vash: My favorite food is pasta. I love all pasta because it gives me energy!
If you could pick your dream travel destination, where would it be?
Vash: I would choose Italy because I love the scenery, and I would love to play overseas there.
Jacey: I have a massive list of places, but my top three would be Cape Town, Bali and Amsterdam.
Katelyn: My dream destination isn’t a place but a feeling. If I am experiencing it with people I love, it is destined to be a perfect vacation!
The Owls open their season this Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. as they play host to Florida Memorial. To purchase tickets for FAU women’s basketball, please call 1-866-FAU-Owls or visit fausports.com. You can also follow the team on Twitter and Instagram at FAU_WBB.