Athlete of the week: Audra Woodside ʼ19

Audra Woodside ʼ19, a forward from Woodstown, NJ. has had a standout season so far for the Garnet women’s basketball team. Although the team has struggled to put up points, Woodside has been a bright spot, averaging 9.3 points per game — a team and personal high. She has had standout games against Washington College and Ursinus, scoring a personal high of 16 points in the former and securing 11 rebounds in the latter. The Garnet hope to finish their season strong, and take on Bryn Mawr College tonight at the Tarble Pavilion.

Ping Promrat: What is your major, and what are your plans following graduation at Swarthmore?

Audra Woodside: I am a double major in chemistry and religion. After I graduate from Swarthmore next year I plan to find a job in some part of the chemical industry. Right now I am interested in cosmetic chemistry, but I am looking forward to exploring various options.

PP: What got you into basketball as a kid?

AW: Playing basketball runs in my family. Two of my grandparents played when they were younger, both of my parents played in high school, and a few of my cousins also played. I grew up going to the high school games of my older cousins and I remember watching them, thinking that one day I was going to be just like them. I loved playing in high school and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to continuing playing in college.

PP: What have been some of the highlights from this season?

AW: I think one of the main highlights for the team this season was the Haverford game. Even though we ended up losing, we played a great three quarters of basketball. It was one time where everyone was in the flow of the game and we were able to come together and play a great game. We were also missing five of our players at that game, which I think made even more impressive that we performed how we did.

PP: Describe what it is like being the leading scorer for the team so far.

AW: My teammates have a lot to do with me being the leading scorer right now. As a post player, some of my points rely on the contribution from my guards. One of my teammates has the ability to know when I’m open even before I do. Also, my fellow post players are amazing. Not only can I trust them to rebound my miss shots, or make an amazing move when I pass the ball to them, but also they are an outstanding support system. They help me with things I need to improve on throughout the games and always help me keep my head together. Basketball is a game of five people working towards one goal and I am really lucky to have teammates who trust me.

PP: What are the greatest challenges in being a student athlete?

AW: Being a student athlete comes with its trials, but also its rewards. Playing a sport is like taking an additional double credit seminar at Swarthmore, and I do not think many people realize the dedication and time commitment it takes. Coach DeVarney states that in addition to our academic classes we also take “basketball class,” and basketball class takes not only physical effort but also a significant amount of mental focus and concentration. Although it sounds cliché I honestly think that the biggest challenges are time management and communication. As a student athlete you have to plan out your schedule weeks ahead and be able to communicate not only to your professors, lab instructors, and leaders of your other commitments but also your coaches and teammates; it requires a lot of planning and a decent amount of give and take.

PP: The team has struggled record wise. What are the coaches/players doing to try and finish the season strong?

AW: We are trying to approach each game one at a time and leave it all out on the court. Our goal for the next six games is to come together as a team and play with as much heart and intensity as possible.  

PP: If you could change one thing about Swarthmore, what would it be and why?

AW: If I could change one thing about Swarthmore it would be the pass/fail policy. I think it is great that we have the option to pass/fail four classes after our first year, but I think it would be better if we could uncover the grade after we decide to pass/fail if we choose. Sometimes we think we have to pass/fail a class because we performed badly on one test, but then are able to work it out by the end of the semester. I would like the opportunity to display that grade if I was happy with it.  

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