When she was six years old, Ashlie Bruner’s mom made her play basketball to get rid of excess energy.
Now Bruner is the starting point guard for the Lady Rams, who at 15-10 and 7-7 in the Sooner Athletic Conference are doing much better than in the last three years.
Bruner, a junior early childhood major, is averaging 11 points and six rebounds and six assists per game and is first in steals with 63, according to ramsports.net.
She wrote in a text message that she actually always preferred gymnastics and ballet to basketball.
“I had no interest in basketball when I started playing,” Bruner wrote. “As I continued to play, I just fell in love with the competitiveness of the game, and now I’m here.”
Bruner wrote that she hopes that by mid-2018, she will be on a team that has won two national titles and will be graduating from Wesleyan with her bachelor’s degree.
“I would like to try to play a few years overseas,” Bruner wrote of her post-graduation plans. “That would happen before I pursued a career in teaching, preferably third grade.”
Bruner wrote that of all the people she has encountered in her basketball career, her high school coach Torino Johnson has impacted her career the most. She played for Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles.
“With my father being deceased, he was a great father figure to me,” Bruner wrote. “He believed in me, never gave up on me, and helped groom me into the great point guard that I am today.”
Bruner wrote that basketball has taught her that hard work and determination lead to success, and because of that she does not fear what her future holds.
“Make sure you work hard in school and make good grades,” Bruner wrote when asked about advice she would give to young athletes. “Having a high skill level, along with good grades will play a major part if they want to play at the collegiate level.”
Women’s basketball head coach Bill Franey wrote in an email that his goal for Bruner is to lead the team and be the “coach on the floor.”
“By nature, Ashlie is a bit quiet and reserved,” Franey wrote. “She has to become more dynamic on the floor, and this is something that she has done well.”
Franey thinks that Bruner’s natural leadership will help her most in the workforce.
“Bruner’s ability to lead and take charge, even in very stressful situations, will transfer well to the workplace,” Franey wrote.
Courtney Chargois, a senior business management major and Lady Rams guard wrote in a text message that her favorite thing about playing with Bruner is her contagious work ethic, and her everlasting energy.
“Her willingness to never give up is what makes her a leader,” Chargois wrote. “Right now she is playing hurt and not once has she complained. She puts on her game face and plays through the pain. She’s the engine that makes our team run, a true definition of a point guard.”