Jan. 22, 2009
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
It would be fair to say basketball and Eastern Washington University belong together when it comes to freshman guard Brianne Ryan.
Ryan's mother, Neil Ann Massie, played for Eastern from 1978-79 to 1981-82 and holds Eagle records in field-goal percentage in a game (91.7, 11-of-12 versus North Dakota State on Dec. 28, 1978) and rebounds in a contest (27 versus Montana State on Feb. 15, 1980). She is also third in career games played (119) and rebounds (1,008) and fifth in single-season points scored (464), field goals made (188) and rebounds (346), all of those in 1978-79.
Family legacy beside, Ryan is quickly making a name for herself. The true freshman from Lynden, Wash., has started all but two games this season and, since the start of Big Sky Conference play, has been filling up the stats sheet. Through the first five BSC games, Ryan is averaging 9.2 points per game, shooting 66.7 percent from the floor and 80.0 percent from the three-point arc, tops in the league. She is also averaging 5.6 rebounds per game.
The Eagles take on first place Portland State this Saturday (Jan. 24) at Reese Court. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m.
Q: Your mom has quite a few records at EWU - do you feel any pressure to succeed because of that?
A: "For some reason, no. I don't really think about it. We always joke about it though because she has the foul record here at Eastern. I always tell her I'm not going to be that kind of player. As long as I go out there and try my hardest, there isn't any pressure."
Q: Many of your family members have attended EWU - what are some of the reasons behind that?
A: "My sister came here a year before me and we are really close, so that was a big reason why I came to Eastern. My parents both went to EWU but they didn't really give me much input; it was just a go-where-you-want-to-go sort of thing. But they both liked the school and encouraged it as an option."
Q: You started to heat up this season when Big Sky play began - what do you think the reasons are behind that?
A: "Before conference play started I was rushing my shot and wasn't slowing down and taking my time. It finally clicked, and I did a lot of extra shooting to get my shot down. I was just in a shooting slump, and it was driving me crazy. I never really had one before. I just slowed down and stopped thinking about my shot."
Q: How was the transition from playing basketball in high school to playing Division I basketball?
A: "The biggest thing is the tempo of the game. You have to get used to shooting in fast situations, where as in high school you have all day to shoot. Also, it is more of a team game. In high school, the focus is more on individual players where as at this level just about everyone was that high school star player."
Q: What is your favorite basketball memory?
A: "Last year in the state championships, it was a quarterfinal game and we were playing Colfax. They were ranked number one in the state, and we beat them, so it was a huge upset."
Q: What part of basketball do you like best?
A: "Defense. I love to be put on the best player and be able to shut them down."
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your playing career?
A: "My dad. He taught me how to shoot and we were always outside playing basketball. He has been to a lot of my games and is always there supporting me. After the game, he'll tell me what I need to work on but at the same time tell me what I did right, encouraging me."
Q: You have started every game but two, which not all true freshman get to do. How would you describe this opportunity?
A: "It's been a really good opportunity. I don't like coming off the bench, and I've started every game since my sophomore year in high school. I knew I needed to earn my spot when I came on campus. I went out every practice doing my best so I could get the opportunity. Once I got the spot, I've just gone all out."
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could have one teammate with you, who would it be and why?
A: "I'd probably say Cameryn Calhoun. Everytime I am around her she makes me laugh, and I'm sure we'd find a way to survive and have a good time."