Aug. 27, 2008
With the 2008-09 school year underway and the official start of the season just down the road, Wildcat fans will have the chance to get to know each member of this season's team. Sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe leads things off in a candid interview about the team, her goals and other insights.
What is your proudest athletic memory?
"When I was in high school, we played against our rival high school and we beat them twice. They had some high ranked players and we had some high ranked players, but we didn't do any talking before the games. They kind of talked a lot, but we ended up beating them both times."
What was the initial reaction among you and your teammates when you found out Coach Butts was taking over the program?
"We were all pretty shocked by the intensity that Coach Butts brought to the workouts and her style, but we were very excited to have her here because we knew everything was going to change. Those of us returners, that's what we were looking for was a change."
How has the team blended together with several returning players along with the big number of newcomers?
"So far, things have been going well. Like all teams, there have been some ups and downs, but overall we're all sisters and we're all there for each other and we can all help each other out. The new players have come in and taught the returners some things and the returners have been able to do the same with the new players, but we've all balanced out."
What's your biggest dream or goal you want to accomplish here at U of A?
"There are so many things. I want to win the Pac-10. I want to make it to the NCAA Tournament. I want to go to the Final Four. I want my jersey to be retired. However, I also want whoever I play with to know that I'm there and that they can count on me. I want to build relationships with everybody because in the end it's not all about basketball."
What's the best part about being a Wildcat?
"The atmosphere here is great. People are really nice. Being away during my freshman year, I never felt like I wasn't wanted or that there was nobody here to help. It really is a family here and that's one thing that I am really big on."
What athletes inspire you?
"I watch Kevin Garnett. He keeps working, he never stops working. I like the fact that he interacts with his teammates and he's there. He gets hyped and he's just amazing. Of course I watch Candace Parker. She's just amazing. Also, when I watch my family play I get inspired and they encourage me. I also love Diana Taurasi."
What three songs on your iPod would come up recently as the most listened to?
"Miley Cyrus has a new song called 7 Things. I completely love that song. Also, the Jonas Brothers have a song called Burnin' Up. I also listen to this slow, soul song by Jazmine Sullivan."
If you could invite any three people to have dinner with, who would they be?
"Lil Wayne because he is so creative and different. I'd love to have a conversation with him. I was telling my sister a couple of days ago if I had the chance, I'd love to talk to him. I'd want Magic Johnson and my Mom because I would want her to meet them both."
It's your last game here at the McKale Center - What's the one thing you want people to say about Ify?
"I hope they would say that she was dedicated to her team and she was a good person and a good role model and leader. I want people to know me as a person and not just as a basketball player, but hopefully as a good leader and role model. And also that I was nice and that I always smile!"