Feb. 14, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. -
GoStanford.com caught up with Huntington Beach native Bonnie Samuelson Thursday as No. 4/5 Stanford women's basketball heads down to Los Angeles today for games at USC and No. 15/16 UCLA.
After leading the team with 44 3-pointers last year, the sophomore from SoCal currently shares the team lead with 26. Over the last five games, Samuelson has heated up, averaging 10.2 points and shooting 40.6 percent (13-for-32) from behind the arc. In this past Sunday's 69-45 win over Arizona State, she scored a career-high 19 points while hitting a season-high five 3-pointers.
With GoStanford.com, Samuelson talked about her adjustment to sophomore year both on the court and in the classroom, her unique shooting form and basketball's role in her family.
Raised in a family of basketball players, as each of her parents played overseas, Samuelson will be joined on The Farm next year by sister Karlie, who signed a National Letter of Intent with the Cardinal back in November.
One of six members of Stanford's "Six-Pack" of Class of 2015 members, Samuelson talks about how the group has come together and the formation of "The News Team" of herself and fellow "Anchorman" fans Erica Payne and Taylor Greenfield.
Cardinal fans can watch this weekend's games on national TV, as Stanford's matchup at USC Friday will be shown live at 8 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks, while Sunday's 12:30 p.m. tip at UCLA will air on ESPNU.
GoStanford.com: How is your sophomore year going?
Bonnie Samuelson: So far it's going pretty good. Academics have been a little harder this year because I'm getting more towards my major. I've been taking human biology courses, that's been a little hard but I have much more practice balancing school and basketball. Basketball's been going great this year. Our team has the same chemistry that we've always had so that's pretty awesome, and the coaches are working us pretty hard and getting us to a good place.
So will human biology end up being what you decide to major in?
BS: Yeah. I think I'm going to declare in human biology and then maybe later double with communications.
On the court, you led the team in 3-pointers last year and this year you've heated up lately, hitting five this past Sunday. How have things been going on the court compared to last year?
BS: I've definitely felt more comfortable this year. I have one year under my belt so I know what's going on, I know that my teammates are going to look for me and that my coaches have confidence in me. I'm just trying to have confidence in myself and keep shooting every time I have the ball.
Last game you went 5-for-11 behind the arc, and twice last year you hit six in a game. When you hit a 3, or that first one, do you know right away that it's going to be a good shooting day?
BS: Actually Sunday I didn't hit my first one, so I was pretty pleased that I kept shooting and that it worked out well. But when you do hit your first shot it does give you that sense of confidence that `Alright, I'm feeling it this game!' and to keep shooting it.
You have a rather unique delivery and form to your shot. A little unorthodox,even. How did that develop growing up?
BS: My dad taught me how to shoot, he's been my coach. He was here last weekend and he told me that I should tell everyone to call him the `Shot Doctor' because he fixes up your shot! (laughs) He's been my mentor since I was a kid.
Speaking of family, you come from one rooted in basketball. Talk about your family's connection with hoops.
BS: Both of my parents played. My mom played overseas in England and my dad played in high school and college, he and his brothers all won a CIF title at Sonora. Basketball's been in the family. Growing up my sisters and I tried soccer, tennis a little bit, volleyball, random stuff but basketball was the one we liked best and the one we showed the most promise in.
Now your next-youngest sister, Karlie, is coming to Stanford next year. Are you excited to have her onboard?
BS: I'm SO excited, I cannot wait until she gets here. I've been looking forward to this summer for so long because she's coming in. It's going to be really fun. I'm excited because we played together in high school and it was a lot of fun.
How would you rate yours and Karlie's games?
BS: She's definitely an awesome shooter, too. We have some pretty close competitions, I'd like to say that I win most of them. She's probably more of a 2, while I'm more of a 3. She played point guard for us in high school. We definitely love to play together and try to get the sister telepathy going, I don't know.
Is there some sibling rivalry there on the court?
BS: When I go home it's scary because Karlie and [youngest sister] Katie Lou have grown so much and are such better players now that when we go one-on-one it's much closer now than it used to be, so I have to watch my back!
Who wins a 3-point contest between you and your sisters?
BS: I mean, I'm gonna say myself, I have to have confidence.
Last season you had the chance to get involved with Great Britain Basketball ahead of the 2012 Olympics. Tell us how that all came about.
BS: Since my mom is from Britain and my dad played there overseas - that's how they met - I have dual citizenship. They contacted us and I got invited to the pre-Olympic camp they were holding in May, but unfortunately I broke my finger at the end of last season and couldn't go as a result.
So would you still want to play for Great Britain in the future?
BS: Yeah, definitely. It's a great opportunity and I think it would be really fun. I've also never really been there, I mean, I went the England when I was a year old, that's it, so it would be awesome to go again.
On the travel note, this weekend Stanford is heading down to your home area, Southern California. As a Huntington Beach native, what was it like growing up in SoCal?
BS: (Sarcastically) Well, you know, I'm the typical SoCal girl - tan, pretty much an intense surfer (laughs), no not at all. But seriously, it was awesome being that close to the beach. My sisters and I always had a lot of fun. It was nice because a lot of our family is in SoCal so everybody's close and we get to see each other a lot.
So there will be a lot of family and friends at this weekend's games at USC and UCLA?
BS: I think so. I've been trying to get tickets early so I'm looking forward to seeing my family and friends.
Since the team stays so close to the beach on this trip, have you already planned a few trips there during the team's down time?
BS: I'm sure there will be a surprise trip or something, but I'm actually going to go see my sisters play Saturday night. I haven't really ever seen Katie Lou play in high school so I'm really excited, it's going to be awesome.
On the team, you're a big fan of the movie "Anchorman" and of the "Harry Potter" series. How does the rest of the team view your fandom of those franchises?
BS: Well Erica Payne shares my passion for Harry Potter. We're pretty intense with that. Taylor Greenfield definitely joins the Anchorman crew as well, and a lot of people on the team love quoting movies with us. Bridesmaids is a real big one, Pitch Perfect was huge, about half our team went to go see it when it played on campus. We're definitely a bunch of movie-quoters on this team.
You, Taylor and Erica, who have been dubbed "The News Team" have developed a solid friendship. How did that all come about as freshmen last year?
BS: When we came in during the summer, we had a good class, a big class, and everybody really meshed well. The three of us are very different people and it just works. The dynamic is strange but it just works, a SoCal girl, a NorCal girl (Erica) and an Iowa girl (Taylor), we have a lot of fun together. Different personalities but I think that's why our friendship is so great.