Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Samarie Walker: "I am happy now"

With all due respect to Penn State's Maggie Lucas, Alex Bentley or any of the other non-UConn players taking part in the games in Kingston, R.I. tomorrow and Tuesday, no player drew more attention from the Connecticut media than Kentucky forward Samarie Walker who played 17 games for UConn last season before transferring.

"I came here on a few visits in the early part of my recruiting process my freshman and sophomore years and I loved it," Walker said. "I knew a few players Amber Smith, I knew (Jen O'Neil) playing with her in the McDonald's All-American game and WBCA (games). I had conversations about how much they love it and I knew Coach (Matthew) Mitchell. Once I got on campus, once I transferred I knew it was the place for me. I could have left again because I wasn't playing yet bu I was excited to be here and still excited. I am happy now"

Due to NCAA transfer rules, Walker was able to take part in practice but had to sit out the first 10 games of the season before being eligible to play. That time gave her time to clear her head and was ready to restart her basketball career.

"For me it was a good break," Walker said. "It gave me time to realize that I did still love basketball. It did give me time to get the focus solely on academics and what I wanted to major in. It has been a good transition

Kentucky likely would not be playing Gonzaga tomorrow if not for Walker's double-double in a second-round win over Green Bay. She has started nine of the 23 games she was played in and leads the Wildcats in rebounding with an average of 7 per game and her 8.2 scoring average is fourth on the team.

""I thought she had a tough time early on jumping in," Mitchell said, "I think it was a difficult position for her to be in. I think she has done a good job. She gives us a real physical presence inside, she can rebound the basketball. She finally shot the basketball the way, around the rim (against Green Bay). She is a real talented player and gives us some strength inside, has some athleticism, her rebounding is important for us. She has been a great teammate so it gave us an added dimension of some strength and power."

Things could be interesting if both Kentucky and UConn win tomorrow to set up a matchup in the regional final Tuesday night.

"I thought it was kind of funny (being in UConn's region) but I am not too worried about them, I am more worried about this game (against Gonzaga)," Walker said. "If we meet up on Tuesday, I will be worried about that."

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