Playing on a 12-20 Portland Pilots team that found themselves near the bottom of the West Coast Conference standings, 6'0" wing Natalie Day isn't exactly one of the hottest names around as the 2012 WNBA Draft approaches.
However, she finished second in the WCC in scoring (17.9 points per game), including a top-ten 3-point percentage (43.7) and fourth in rebounding (8.1 per game), ahead of WNBA draft green room invitee Kayla Standish (7.5). In our interview below, she describes herself as "versatile", something that might be a major reason why WNBA teams are showing interest in her.
Swish Appeal: What really stands out to you about your career at Portland?
Natalie Day: My Portland career has been unique. I guess you could say I got lucky as well. After transferring from Howard University my freshman year, I did not have to sit out my following year according to NCAA rules. But I think what stands out the most about my career is how big of an impact I've had in just my three years being there. I didn't begin to start in the majority of games until this year and I have been one of the two leading scorers and rebounders every year I've been there.
SA: For people who haven't had the chance to see you play, how might you describe the strengths of your game that might help you become a successful WNBA player?
ND: I'm very versatile and a very quick learner. Last year I played a guard and led the team while this year I played in the post and did the same. I'm still learning a lot about the game as I play and I feel at the next level my true strengths will be able to show. I can shoot the three very well and finish even better around the basket. And I run the floor like any guard.
SA: For people who are familiar with your game, they might wonder what you can do other than shoot the ball. What else have you worked on during your career at Portland?
ND: During my career at Portland I've begun to build my name as a great rebounder as well as a shooter. I love getting physical for a board and sometimes a simple rebound can change the game more than a three.
SA: Some people might look at your team's performance this season and suggest that a player from a sub-.500 team in the WCC can't make it in the WNBA. How might you respond to that?
ND: I can say that a lot of teams doubted us this year. Although our record may not show it, our team never backed down in any game. A lot of them were lost in the last minutes. But I feel to doubt my ability based on a record would be foolish. I've led my conference in numerous categories throughout the year and have claimed spots even those who had better records did not.
SA: Are there any WNBA players that you see yourself as similar to or model yourself after?
ND: I can't say that I can see myself similar to any WNBA players. I'm actually still learning a lot about the league and its players.
SA: Have any WNBA teams expressed interest in your or invited you to camps?
ND: As of right now I've gotten wind of a couple teams, but the names being thrown my way have been kept between my coach and agent.
For more on the 2012 WNBA Draft visit our "WNBA Draft 2012" section.