Getting To Know Abby Waner

In the second round of the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Liberty selected Abby Waner from Duke University with the 21st overall pick. The 5-10 guard will come to New York next month to begin Training Camp with the rest of the squad, packing not only a deadly three-pointer in her arsenal, but even some piano playing skills.

There's plenty more you need to know about this former Blue Devil. Get to know Waner better before she hits up the Big Apple as NYLiberty.com catches with her to get the skinny.

NYL: What will you miss most about playing for Duke?
AW
: My team-mates. Basketball is great because it creates relationships you wouldnít normally have. This year especially, our team was overcoming a lot, so my team-mates will be something I miss most from Duke.

NYL: Youíve played at MSG before, what was that experience like?
AW : At first it was really cool, just being there. Thereís so much history from its sports and events, itís majestic being able to walk through the player entrance. The game we played there was against Pitt. And we did not play well, the game itself not that good, so that is another memory I have from playing there. That being said, the game was a part of the Maggie Dixon Classic, I know a lot of people that knew Maggie well, so it was great to be a part of the tournament in her honor.

NYL: Do you feel like being at Duke for the last four years of your life will help you approach life at the professional level easier?
AW
: Being at Duke has been great because it could prepare me for anything. For example, I lived with my sister while she was going here, she just got accepted to Duke Med, and I got drafted to play professional basketball. All of the opportunities Iíve had here definitely would not have come had I been at another place. Iím a little bias, itís a special place that will prepare you on many levels. In terms of basketball, the program is incredibly competitive. To be in that elite of a program, whether youíre talking about men or women, to be surrounded by that stature was amazing.

NYL: What are you looking forward to most when Training Camp starts?
AW: Itís a tough question; itís more like whatís there not to look forward to? To be a rookie and play at the pro level is an honor in itself. To play with the caliber of players in WNBA is something to look forward, playing with them on a day in and day out basis will only help elevate my game. Also being in New York. Before the Draft, if I had to pick a place to play, I wanted to pick a big city like New York or LA, then as the Draft approached, I was hoping that any place would pick me. To be picked by New York, itís a win-win. And, just working with the coaching staff, they really excel at what they do. Iím looking forward to having a new perspective on my game, in terms of the technical parts and helping me to develop more as a player.

NYL: How old were you when the WNBA started?
AW:
I was nine years old.

NYL: Were you playing basketball at that point?
AW:
I was. Even before the WNBA, I watched the ABL. Living in Colorado, I would watch the Colorado Explosion. Sylvia Crawley played for them, and now sheís head coach at BC. I played against her in the ACC, so to have grown up watching her and to have played against her this year is amazing. I think this generation was young enough and grew up with WNBA. Youíre now going to be playing with the players you wanted to be when you were nine years old.

NYL: How long was being drafted a goal of yours?
AW: I think since I knew it was an option. Thatís one thing as a child that I was taught to do; to be over ambitious. Playing in NBA was a goal of mine for a while. I always tell young girls I speak to to make your ambition as high as you want to be. It doesnít matter how ridiculous it sounds, you never know what will happen between now and that goal. I think ever since I have been playing basketball competitively, itís [playing in the WNBA] been a goal.

NYL: How often have you been to New York?
I was there visiting over the summer when I was interning at ESPN, we would head down to the city every now and then to hang out. Also, I was at the NBA Draft, shadowing Jay Bilas and Doris Burke. Two summers ago, I sat at the broadcast table with the MSG announcers, and watched the Liberty play. I met a few of the coaches and players. Other than that, I was in New York once in high school and have a friend who lives in Long Island.

NYL: Did you do the tourist-y thing while you were here?
AW: The last time, I was by myself, because my mom is usually all about the tourist stuff. I saw Ground Zero and the museum they created down there, that was the one thing I saw. I need to finally get around to seeing everything. Iím looking forward to doing the things every American hates to do but needs to do.

NYL: What did you do as an intern at ESPN?
AW: I was a PA, production assistant. And worked in studio production, watching baseball games, for Baseball Tonight or SportsCenter. It was really cool to do it for a summer.

NYL: What did you think of living in a place like Bristol, Connecticut?
AW: I canít say that itís the most exciting place, but we lived in Hartford, in downtown. It was my first time living in a bigger city, which I know to New Yorkers doesnít sound like a big deal, but for me, I considered it to be a city. But it was nice, and Bristol was just fine.

NYL: Do you have a favorite ESPN anchor?
AW: Scott Van Pelt, even though heís a Maryland guy. It was good once we got the Duke-Maryland grudge out of the way.

NYL: He's the best. Let's get to know the off-court you, do you have any favorite TV shows?
AW: Yes. Flight of the Conchords, Lost, Greyís Anatomy and even though itís not on TV anymore, Arrested Development is a favorite of mine.
NYL: Do you have any special talents?
AW:I can say that I am working on one. I used to play the piano when I was younger - I was quite the 9 year old piano player, but I eventually quit. So as a 22 year old, I asked for a keyboard for my birthday. Hopefully I can pick it back up when school is over and everything.

NYL: Who is one celebrity youíd most like to meet?
AW: Definitely President Obama. Definitely. Or his daughters.

NYL: Who's an athlete youíd most like to meet?
AW: Derek Jeter. My dad played in the minors for the Yankees; so by default I am Yankees fan. I went with my dad and brother to one of their last games at the original stadium last year.

NYL: Do you have a favorite snack?
AW: I donít snack that much, does Chipotle count? I go to Starbucks a lot. It's a horrible habit that I need to stop immediately.

NYL: What would be the first thing youíd buy after winning the lotto?
AW: A plane, because I am from Colorado, so itís tough for my family to get out east. So Iíd definitely buy a plane.

NYL: What is the one sporting event youíd most like to attend as a fan?
AW: The Olympics.

NYL: Winter? Summer?
AW:Summer. Definitely, summer.

Additional photos courtesy of Duke Photography.


See Waner with the Liberty when New York opens the pre-season schedule on Thursday, May 21 at Madison Square Garden against Eastern Conference rival, the Washington Mystics, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Individual tickets are on sale now by clicking here, visiting The Garden Box Office or calling 877-WNBA-TIX.