Q+A: Natalie Novosel
The Fighting Irish guard chops it up with SLAMonline and Fullcourt.com.
Full Court writer Acacia O’Connor will be catching up with a handful of athletes throughout the remainder of the women’s NCAA tournament, and first up is Notre Dame’s gritty defensive stopper and shooting guard Natalie Novosel. The senior was recently named on the All-Big East First Team, and next to Skylar Diggins, is the team’s leading scorer at 15 points per game. Natalie has agreed to check in with us for the remainder of her trip through the Tournament.
by Acacia O’Connor / @acaciaO
Acacia O’Connor: How are you feeling going into the games in Raleigh? Are you starting to feel a little bit nervous?
Natalie Novosel: You know I really don’t get nervous too much going into the games anymore. As a senior I’ve seen it all. It’s more exciting, you know, I only have four games left in my career and I try to take it all and enjoy it while it happens.
AC: How do you get into the zone before the games? What’s your pregame routine?
NN: Pretty routine, standard, I guess you could say. It’s nice to watch games before going onto the court. We’ll get to watch Texas A&M and Maryland play, I don’t know, it kind of gets me in the mood, kind of excites me, gets me ready. Everything else is really nothing out of the ordinary.
NN: No, I do my hair the exact same way every game. I straighten it and then I put it up right away. I’ve been doing it the same way since I was an eighth grader.
AC: Your nickname in high school was “Nasty”…
NN: It was, my AAU teammates gave it to me and its just stuck ever since, I guess from the way I play on the court.
AC: Do you have a different nickname now or has it stuck with you at Notre Dame?
NN: Yeah it’s stuck with me, they asked me and I said, “Oh, my AAU teammates called me Nasty” and they just went with it.
AC: Is there anybody on the team you’re particularly close with or who you room with all the time?
NN: My best friend on the team is definitely Kayla Turner, she’s just one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet, just easy-going and one of the hardest workers. And she just makes everybody laugh on the team. We’ve grown really close over the years and I know she’s really sad that these seniors are leaving her, she wants to come with us.
AC: Are your parents and your twin brother Nate and sister Shannon going to be in the stands?
NN: My parents are definitely and my brother actually is going to make it, he’s going to be able to come. He took a flight in last night and is here today so I get to hang out with him a little bit but my sister is hoping we’ll make it to Denver because she lives in Denver, so that’s where she comes in.
AC: You’re trying to win a trip to see her too.
NN: Exactly, it’s extra motivation.
AC: Has there been any trash talking going on between you and Nate [who plays for the men's team at the University of Rochester]?
NN: Oh man, no never. Nathan and I have never trash-talked against each other. Maybe if he were a female, it would be a little different. But we more have supported each other. I went to one of his last games of the season and that was great for me, seeing him play.
AC: I’ve seen you both play and it’s funny because you do both play very similarly for being different positions and being different genders.
NN: Oh yeah, for being completely opposites as far as with height and everything, I guess it’s just we’re both able to hustle and just work hard.
AC: You both kind of have the same calm intensity when you know you gotta get on something or you gotta motivate your team.
NN: Oh yeah. We’re both passionate, we’re both consistent.
AC: Every player has their pump-up jam. Is there a particular song that really gets your heart beating that you’ve been listening to this tournament?
NN: Oh man, actually. (Kanye West’s) “All of the Lights.” It was kind of last year’s tournament theme, it just reminds me of Indianapolis last year in where I want to be. It’s just reminds me of going to the final four last year and it’s the same way I want it to go this year, so that’s probably the last thing I listen to before I turn off my music.
AC: Have you been thinking ahead to the Final Four, ahead to the idea of lifting that trophy in Denver?
NN: Oh absolutely. It’s been in the back of my mind since last year. It’s just really exciting now, because every day we’re working towards it, we’re working towards the ultimate goal.
AC: What is your most memorable interaction you’ve had with fans? Skylar has talked about her Tweeting—do you get any of that?
NN: Deveraux (Peters) and I we kind of have a little pact—if I ever get a Twitter she has to get a Twitter, but both of us will never get one. It’s just a little pact we’re running against it…After the games there’s always all these little girls that are just so tiny and they always they’ll come up to me and be like, “You’re my favorite player. Can I have a picture?” and all that stuff and I think that’s really the most meaningful thing. Knowing that I’m making an impact on their lives and they’re going to work hard and do things that I do now and I’ll eventually watch them play. That’s kind of cool to see.