WNBA Training Camp can feel a lot like the first day of school – a chance to see old friends in person, form new relationships, get back into a routine – but Myisha Hines-Allen, Jazmine Jones and Emily Engstler may be getting that back-to-school feeling for other reasons. All three Mystics players spent time at the University of Louisville and have reunited in DC ahead of the season.
We caught up with all three former Cardinals to reminisce about their time in Louisville, and how they felt playing for Coach Walz and his staff prepared them for a professional basketball career.
Myisha Hines-Allen was one of the most decorated players in Louisville history by the time she was drafted by the Mystics in 2018. She was ACC Player of the Year in 2016, a three-time All-ACC selection, and was just the second player in Cardinals history to finish their career with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Jazmine Jones collected plenty of hardware during a Louisville career in which she and her classmates won a program record 125 games. As a senior, Jones was named to the All-ACC First Team, All-ACC Defensive Team, All-ACC Academic Team and the All-ACC Tournament Team.
Emily Engstler spent a graduate senior year at Louisville after a decorated career at Syracuse. She made quite an impact in one season, helping lead the team to the 2022 Final Four and being named an AP All-America Honorable Mention.
What is your favorite memory from playing at Louisville?
MHA: “Making it to the (2018) Final Four. That’s what you dream about doing in college.”
JJ: “Going to the Final Four my sophomore year – crazy experience!”
EE: “Definitely going to the (2022) Final Four with that group of teammates and being able to experience such an accomplishment with close friends.”
What was your favorite way to spend an off day while in school?
MHA: “Watching other University of Louisville sports teams compete.”
JJ: “Going to support other teams.”
EE: “Hanging out with teammates. Either playing video games or going out to dinner.”
How do you feel Coach Walz prepared you for a career in the WNBA?
MHA: “He wanted the best for me. Knowing what my goals were and pushing me to get there. Not letting me settle.”
JJ: “He’s coached a lot of pros. And he knows his stuff. He’s one of the best to ever do it.”
EE: “For me, and for other players who strive to get to the WNBA, he prepares you so well for the defensive side of the ball. And the plays he requires in his offense really helped me become the player I am now.”
What is your favorite memory of coach Walz?
MHA: “The day of my commitment, I was so nervous. But he was so excited for me that he put me at ease. The rest is history!”
JJ: “Every day in practice, he wanted us to get better. Even when he would be on me about something, I knew it came from the heart. So every practice with Coach Walz is a good memory.”
EE: “We had a game against Boston College… he’ll know what I’m talking about! We got into it a little bit, but that’s when we realized we really loved each other.”
A lil bday surprise 🎉
Happy Birthday, @em__baller‼️
Backstage from Media Day presented by @Ticketmaster! pic.twitter.com/ix1UoAXTgN
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) May 1, 2023