Meet Kat Cooper From The Women's Basketball Team
June 11, 2014
Chestnut Hill, Mass. -
Kat Cooper is a small forward and off-guard for the Boston College women's basketball team. A native of Washington, Cooper played in 30 games and started 25 while averaging 8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds this past season. The red-shirt junior sat down during her first summer session to talk about the basketball team, questions about her game, the team and Boston College.
Describe your game. Can you assess your strengths and areas to work on?
I would describe my style as a smart finesse player. I think my main strengths are that I'm athletic, strong and smart. I have a nice jump shot and can also drive to the basket. One of my biggest strengths is a high basketball IQ and I love to use that against opponents. It is also a weakness because I get caught up in my thoughts rather than just play. Defense is my favorite part of the game because I enjoying making the other team feel confused.
This summer, I decided to work on my ball handling and using my left hand more when I drive to the basket.
This will be your third season working with Coach Johnson and his staff. What has been the biggest improvement in your game over that period?
The biggest improvement on the court has been my confidence and how to work hard 100% of the time. I do my best to put it all out there during every because I know in the game it will come easy. Off the court, the biggest improvement I've made is to understand things I can't control and work on things I can control.
They (the coaching staff) have helped me with becoming a better person on and off the court. I have had some struggles which they have helped me through and have never given up on me.
How does a girl from Seattle, Washington make the adjustment to Boston?
It was very hard moving to Boston after being born and raised in Washington. At the beginning it was rough because I was used to talking to my family at night about the day. I feel I have found another home at Boston College. The school is amazing and the city life reminds me a little of Seattle. The most important thing was my team. I fell in love with them and I knew I could call them my family.
However it is obviously very difficult for me to be away from home year around only returning for Christmas and a month in August. I still find myself having trouble adapting at times because the east coast is just so different. I try to talk to my parents and my twin sister every day. I Skype them and try to stay connected to their lives as much as I can. When I do go home I usually don't leave the house because I miss it so much.
I know coming to BC was the right decision. I have developed through my experience and get to play a game I love in a place I call my second home. That's what helps me - having the team and coaching staff as my second family.
Do you have a favorite place to visit in the city?
My favorite place in the city is Newbury Street. I love to go shopping and there are so many stores on Newbury that I still haven't even been into after three years. I love the scenery and the architecture downtown because it reminds me of a movie. When I go to Newbury with my teammates it's almost like I leave all my issues and troubles behind and have this beautiful city I get to walk around and just take in everything around me. That's going to be the number one place I take my family when they come to Boston.
What do you love about Boston College? Where is your favorite hangout on campus between class and practice and why?
What I love about Boston College is the diversity of the people, the school and of course, my team. The community at Boston College is remarkable. The school is beautiful and is full of smart, well-rounded people that are all looking to improve their lives. The academics are amazing and were one of the reasons I came to BC. My teammates make up a big part of why I love Boston College. I spend every day with this group of girls. They can be weird, funny, outgoing, and crazy. They all have their own personalities and we all care about one other. They're all my sisters and I can't imagine spending my four years in college without them by my side.
My favorite place to hangout on campus between classes has to be either the quad or the locker room. The quad is very cool because it's so pretty and a big open space where I people watch and hangout with my friends. It's right in the middle of campus so it also makes it convenient to go to class after I relax for a bit. I also love the locker room because if I'm tired or need to rest I go there and put my feet up and watch TV. It's more like a "woman-cave".
What other interests or hobbies do you have?
Some other hobbies that I have outside of basketball have always being drawing and writing poetry. I also like to skateboard, bike, yo-yo and hike. I used to be terrible at drawing when I was little, but at some point I just got really good at it. I also love to write poetry and even keep a journal because I like to tell stories.
As for another interest, I have always been an outside kind of girl. I love camping and anything that has to do with getting dirty. I'm 100 percent sure I will always be a kid at heart; there's no other way to live life except in laughter and doing the things you love to do.
Superstitions are different for every player, what are some of yours prior to a game?
I would consider myself the No. 1 superstitious player on the team. My superstitions don't just come on game day; they start the day before. I have to shower and wash my hair and make it perfect for game day. Then I have to go to bed at 10:30 p.m. and listen to my meditation music. On game day, I have to get to the locker room early for warm-ups and after shoot around I sit down and watch Nicole and Coach Faulkner shoot half court shots.Once someone makes the first one I head up to pre-game meal.
After pre-game meal I take a short nap, then go in the hot tub and get ready. If we're on the road, I take a shower before pre-game meal then nap. To start getting ready for the game I have to put my spandex on and my sports bra, then I put my shorts on.
Next I pick out four pairs of socks (two for each foot) that I think feel right to play in that night. I then put my ankle braces and shoes on starting with my right foot first then my left foot. Next I go and do my hair which takes a little time because I pick out five rubber bands I want to wear in the game. When I have my uniform on, I leave it untucked until after the national anthem. When Kristen (Doherty) was here I would go and shoot around with her for a little before we had our team warm-ups. I guess I will have to find a new shooting partner for this season. Then I go back to the lockerroom for a little while and meditate before game time. I don't know why I am very superstitious but I've always been this way.
Even with other things like lying in the same spot on the couch before games, using the same side of the mirror and making sure I'm on time with everything I do. I might be over the top a little but it helps me get in my own zone for the game and I love that. What music do you listen to on game day? When I was in high school I had a play list I would listen to before games. When I came to college it became a little different. The only music I listen to is meditation relaxing music which helps me focus and stay calm. I run through plays and the scouting report in my mind before the game.
What advice would give to high school students looking to play athletics in college?
My biggest piece of advice to high school athletes is to go for it. The key is to prepare yourself for the next level because it's harder than you think. Train hard and work on your skills each day ... stay in shape and lift weights.
One of the biggest transitions for most everyone is the work you do to get stronger. So start early and make sure you keep the love of the game in your heart because that will help drive you.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a member of the WBB team?
I think the most rewarding part of being a member of the WBB team is the adventures we go through together and the life lessons we experience. I love every day I have with my teammates and being part of a team that matters and cares for each other.
After I leave BC the most rewarding part will be that I am able to say I did it. I played Division 1 women's basketball in the best conference in the country. Not only did I compete against the best athletes every night on the court; I competed in the classroom against the most intelligent people in the world. Being a member of the BC WBB team means more than just playing in games and going to practice. It gives me life experiences and lessons I can take with me after graduation. The people around me have helped shaped me into the person I am today and continue to push me. I am so grateful to play basketball at Boston College and to call these young ladies my family for life.