Athlete of the week: Brynn Liljander
Brynn Liljander, a senior from Isanti, Minn., led the Falcons with 16.5 points per game last week as the Falcons women’s basketball team suffered two tight losses. Liljander recently set the UWRF women’s record for three-pointers made, and she currently leads the team with 15 points per game, 2 assists per game and almost 2 steals per game.
The Student Voice sat down with Liljander to discuss her senior season and what the Falcons need to do to overcome their four-game losing streak.
Q: How difficult was it to rehab last season after tearing your ACL only a few games in?
A: That was really difficult, especially because I didn’t know for sure if I could play right away. After figuring out I could play (this season), I rehabbed even harder. I started (rehabbing) the day after my surgery, which was really tough for me because I was in a lot of pain. It went really well and I feel like I got back on track super well and super fast.
Q: How tough was it to watch from the bench as the young team went through their struggles?
A: It was definitely hard for me to watch, but I feel like I learned a lot from watching the game and seeing it more from a coach’s perspective. It was very difficult to watch, especially not being able to do anything to help.
Q: Which people in your life helped you get through that time?
A: I would definitely say my teammates and my coach. There were times when I couldn’t fully straighten my knee and I was getting really frustrated because I should have had it down by then. I talked to my teammates and coaches and they said to just keep doing my rehab and keep thinking positive. That helped because it was really frustrating.
Q: Did your dad’s health problems last season help put the injury in perspective for you?
A: He had a heart attack, so it was really hard not having him at those games (to start last year). It was almost a blessing that I got hurt because he recovered, and he can come to my games. If I wouldn’t have gotten hurt, he probably wouldn’t have been able to come to any of my games. He’s my biggest fan and it was really good to have him at all the games this year.
Q: What does breaking the three-point record at UWRF mean to you?
A: I had no idea (about it). I got a text from my dad at like 4 a.m. saying that I broke it. I was like, I don’t even know how you figure that stuff out, so that’s pretty cool. Ever since I was younger, that’s something that I’ve really worked on is my three-point shot.
Q: What’s the strongest part of your game?
A: My scoring and just getting everyone involved by passing at the point guard position. I feel like I contribute the most by scoring. If we need a quick bucket, just having that ability and getting to the free throw line when we need to. Also making the right passes when the game is on the line. As the point guard, you have to be more vocal, so it’s been really nice being a captain this year and having that role; they mesh really well.
Q: What was working well in the early stages of the year to start off 14-3?
A: We were all really playing well and no one was playing selfish. Everything was clicking and we were doing the right things. We were shooting really well and making the extra pass and doing everything that we needed to do to win games.
Q: What has been the biggest problem during this four-game losing streak?
A: Rebounding is the biggest thing and we got to start rebounding. I think last game our offense turned a corner, because the three games prior to that, we weren’t shooting well and just not syncing as well as we did in the beginning of the season. Definitely rebounding is the thing that needs to be concentrated on the rest of the season. It’s just effort that needs to be put in. It’s just a mindset; you’re either gonna do it or you’re not. It’s hustle and just wanting it.
Q: What do you do as a leader to keep this team motivated after a rough stretch?
A: Just staying positive in practice every day is super hard for a lot of people to do because going on four losses is tough. Coming in and staying positive and having that motivation we had at the beginning of the season. Also knowing our season could turn back around in a second.
Q: What can you still accomplish in the WIAC playoffs? Can this team take down anybody?
A: These last games we have to do really well. Even if we just get a turning point in rebounding or the little things, I think that will really help us. I hope we go far in playoffs. If we get these little things down, nobody can beat us. At the beginning of the season we had this personality that nobody can beat us. Now that we’ve lost four games in a row, we need to find that personality again.
Q: What will you remember the most about your time as a Falcon?
A: Definitely how I’ve grown as a person. Also the friendships I’ve made through my coaches and teammates is one of the best reasons I came here.