Riley Reflects on Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State alumni and current Shock point guard Andrea Riley spoke to the media for the first time since the horrific plane crash that took the lives of her college coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna. Riley is current playing overseas in Turkey during the WNBA's off-season. Below are her memories and reflections on her college coaches.

Andrea Rileyís Opening Statement: When I first heard about the news about my coaches, I couldnít believe it. I was devastated. Those two people had a unique impact not only on my career but my life. My heart is still heavy. I find myself crying any time Iím alone and when Iím talking to my mom. I just want to call him and try to wake up from this nightmare. Iím praying for everyoneís family. I just donít have a lot of words but Iím feeling disbelief right now.

How did he (Kurt Budke) change your life?
Andrea Riley: Somehow He never gave up on me. He had my back. He always shared positive energy with me. He really disciplined me. He really just kept me going forward. He brought me to a mature state especially my senior year.

How did you learn about the tragedy?
AR: I first heard about the news from a friend and a former classmate of mine. She kept messaging me on Facebook that I really needed to talk to her. She scared me. Thatís when I called her. I couldnít do anything but cry. I couldnít believe it was them. I didnít know what to say. Itís like a piece of my heart that gets left (behind).

Do you have any words of advice for the current players on the Oklahoma State University basketball team?
AR: I really want them to do what they would do if they were still here. I want them to go out and play as hard as they can in their favor. I think everyone should dedicate anything they do for them.

What three words would you use to describe Coach Budke Ė what would they be and why?
AR: I would say father-figure, I would say competitor and determined. And the reason I use those three words because I know I was away from home but I really wasnít away from home. He showed me from day one that he was there for me. He made sure I graduated, he made sure I was on my A-game all the time.

I would say competitor because he just never gave up. He wanted to win no matter what. He thought we could beat anybody. He didnít care if we went out there and played UConn, which was the number one team at the time, he made us believe we can beat anybody, anytime.

It goes back to the OU game. He made us believe that we could do anything. We felt like we were on top of the world after the game. I would say determined because he was determined to get all of you. He knew what to do to motivate you and each and every person.

How do you think you will deal with it as you go forward?
AR: Iím just going to dedicate every single thing that I do in their favor Ö My senior year I wanted to quit, I think I quit three times. He would be in my ear, telling me that I can conquer anything. He would make you believe that you could do anything. Even if you didnít have wings he would make you believe that you can fly.

Can you reflect back on how you ended up at Oklahoma State?
AR: He said we could change Oklahoma State but we need you but I didnít think little old me was going to be able to be a part of something like that. He made me believe that we both could bring something to the table that could help Oklahoma State grow. It wasnít just me and him but it was everybody. I just really know that in their favor and their legacy, we will live on because Oklahoma State has a winning attitude with everything.

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