Player Spotlight: Kate Alemann

In 2010, the Auckland, New Zealand native, Kate Alemann, decided to take her basketball career out of her home country and into the United States. For her freshman and sophomore year of college, Alemann played basketball at Mineral Area College, a two-year public community college located in Park Hills, Missouri. After completing two years at MAC, she now attends Mercer and has been a great addition to the women’s basketball program. Standing at 6’3”, Alemann’s height and aggressiveness has helped bring the team to a 9-7 overall record, already exceeding their win record last year at 6-23. Taking time out of her busy schedule, Alemann sat down with the Cluster and discussed more of her basketball career.

Cluster: Where are you from?

Alemann: I’m from Auckland, New Zealand

C: Is it different playing in the United States than at home?

A: It is quite different playing here than playing in New Zealand because there are so many more players, so it’s a lot more competitive. Also, basketball isn’t a hugely popular sport in New Zealand because most athletic girls play netball and boys [play] rugby, so all of the money goes into those sports. Basically, there are no real competitive teams for basketball in New Zealand after high school, so if you want to keep playing competitively you have to either get a scholarship in the U.S. or move to Australia to play professionally.

C: How old were you when you started playing sports?
A: I started playing netball when I was 11 and got asked to join the basketball team at 12 because I was already 6’1”. At first I didn’t want to play but I’m glad I tried it out even though I wasn’t the most coordinated child. Oh yea and netball’s basically like a girly basketball with a whole lot less contact, no dribbling, and you are restricted to certain areas of the court as you either play defense, shooter or midcourt. You have to be quite fast and explosive, and have really good passing and catching skills and timing to get intercepts.

C: What is your greatest memory in basketball?

A: My best basketball memory was beating our rival team in the semi-final at under 19 [years old] nationals in New Zealand. I had originally tried out for this team because they were expected to win the title with ease, but after not making it I moved to a smaller team, and we ended up in the national final over them. I think that was probably one of the best games I had ever played at the time, too.

C: And the worst?

A: My worst memory is losing to a team we had beaten in regular season, in the regional tournament last year at junior college. It was horrible because I played terrible, so I feel completely responsible for knocking my team out in my last year there.

C: Once you’ve graduated and are done playing Division I basketball, do you still see yourself being involved with basketball or sports in any way?

A: I don’t know where I’ll be after graduating. I want to go to medical school, so I don’t see myself playing and practicing a whole lot while I’m there, but I have always wanted to go to the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, and coming from such a small country makes it a bit easier to make the team and potentially have that opportunity.

C: To wrap it up, how do you plan on finishing out this season?

A: The team is pretty happy with our success so far, but the job’s far from done! Coach [Susie Gardner] keeps reinforcing that we can beat any team in our conference but we have to take it one game at a time, and our goal going into the A-Sun Tournament is to be the team that no one wants to draw in playoffs because they know that we can beat them. With that in mind, our goal for the end of the season is to win the A-Sun Tournament and go to the NCAA tournament.
Alemann and the Bears return to action on Jan. 26 when they take on the Bison of Lipscomb University.