By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Ohio State University women’s basketball team has jumped out to a record of 21-2 (8-2 in the Big Ten) and has cracked the top 10 in the national polls (as of Feb. 6).
A big part of this year’s success is the play of freshman post player – and former Westlake High School star – Kalpana Beach. Beach has started 21 of the 23 games played by the Buckeyes this year, only missing games against Canisius and Southern with concussionlike symptoms.
She had her best Big Ten game so far, with eight points, in the win over Illinois on Jan. 22. Her season-high 13 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes came in the win over then-No. 20 LSU. She is averaging 18.1 minutes, 4.9 rebounds, 40 percent from the field and greater than 80 percent from the foul line this season.
Beach averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and one assist in her senior year at Westlake. She was a four-time first-team All-Southwestern Conference and Division I All-District. She was also the SWC MVP her junior and senior seasons. She is the all-time scoring leader (1,582) and rebounding leader (789) at Westlake, and the 11-time varsity letter winner also holds the school records for high jump (5’11”) and blocks in a volleyball match (20).
Beach (KB) took some time out of her busy schedule to give West Life (WL) an update on how her freshman year is going …
WL: What have been (if any) the biggest difficulties adjusting to the college game?
KB: The game definitely got faster, but I’ve gotten used to it now for the most part.
WL: How easily did you adjust to campus life (especially as a student athlete)?
KB: I think I adjusted pretty well, although the time commitment is a lot busier with school and basketball.
WL: How did your experience playing at Westlake High School prepare you for playing at the next level?
KB: At Westlake I played all positions, and I think that really helped me with being prepared to play post at Ohio State.
WL: How does it feel to start as a freshman?
KB: I feel good about starting as a freshman, but I recognize I have to maintain a high standard of play like the rest of the girls.
WL: How do you feel about the team’s start?
KB: It’s exciting! I feel like we have some good opportunities ahead of us.
WL: What does the team have to do to stay on top of the Big Ten?
KB: We just have to keep working hard and improving.
WL: What part of your game are you working on improving?
KB: Right now I feel like I need to improve on all areas of the game.
WL: What are your personal goals for this season?
KB: My main goal is to help the team win the NCAA championship.
WL: How do you feel about your playing time and overall statistics?
KB: I’m happy with my playing time, and I always feel like there is room for improvement.