The northwestern portion of the country boasts the two best shot blockers. Portland’s Lucy Cochrane leads all players with 4.36 blocks per contest. Right behind her is Boise State senior forward Abby Muse at 3.5 rejections per game.
Muse has registered 210 career blocks over 96 games. She tallied 93 last season and became the Broncos’ all-time leading blocker with six in a win at Nevada back on Feb. 2.
The reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year has recorded at least one block in every game this season. She rejected six shots in three straight games last month.
The 6-foot-3-inch forward stressed the importance of her stature as a star women’s basketball player.
“It means everything to me to be a woman in sports,” she said. “There’s a responsibility to uphold the standards, not only of yourself, but of your school and the name that you wear across your chest. And to show the younger generations what you stand for as a person, as a player.”
The Broncos are 8-3 on the season and have a three-point win over Rutgers on their resume.
Muse recently spoke with Mid-Major Madness’ Carrie Berk. Below is their conversation in which she described how she became such a strong defensive player and expanded on the responsibility that comes with being a woman in sports.
Carrie Berk: When did you first develop your passion for basketball?
Abby Muse: I started playing during first or second grade. Being a part of the same club team in elementary and middle school was where I found my passion. I not only learned how to play the game, but I gained an appreciation of it.
CB: What about basketball was so appealing to you?
AM: There are a lot of life lessons intertwined in basketball. It relates to a lot of things in life. You work with other people and learn how to communicate when things don’t go well. You’re able to pick yourself up and have other people encourage you, or you encourage other people. It’s very team-based and people-oriented.
CB: What does it mean to you to be a woman in sports?
AM: It means everything to me. I’m from the Bay Area, so my parents would take us to basketball games at St. Mary’s, Stanford, all these colleges while I was growing up. I would see female players at the college level. I remember being little and thinking, “Oh, I want to do that. They’re so cool.” Now, I hope to be that [role model] for someone who’s younger.
CB: You’re known for your strong blocks. What do you think is the key to being a strong defensive player?
AM: Timing and discipline. That’s something I’ve really worked on over the years. It’s about staying straight up and not fouling. I played volleyball for a brief stint back in the day. Being a middle blocker definitely helped me stay up straight. It also takes discipline to not try to hack somebody to add the chance of getting a really good block.
CB: You’ve played basketball for a long time. How do you keep yourself continually interested in the sport and not get burnt out?
AM: Burnout is a big problem, not just for basketball but for all sports. It’s important to take mental breaks, find the joy in the little things, and remember that you really do love basketball, even when it sucks, even when you’re losing or if you have to do a running drill or whatnot.
Something that I do that really helps me is keep a gratitude journal. In the morning and at night, I write down what I’m grateful for and what would make it a good day. It’s as simple as we traveled safely to where we were going to play, or that I got to eat dinner with all my teammates because we had to eat separately in our rooms during freshman year.
The little things that make a difference are what I look for. That has really helped me, especially through COVID and all of those really tough years. It helps me remember the bigger picture and keep perspective that, yes, it’s just a game, but it’s also something that shouldn’t be tiresome.
CB: Is it difficult juggling your business major with basketball practice? How do you balance it all?
AM: I use a planner. I’ve always been an organized person, so it’s just a matter of if everything is going to get done. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t happen. People will say there’s not enough time in the day to get things done. If it’s important to you, you’ll make time. I’ve learned to prioritize what’s important and in what order, and that’s what I make time for.
CB: What made you stick with the Broncos throughout your entire college career?
AM: I spent my freshman year [at Boise State] during COVID, and that was really hard. But that year made me realize that I really do love it here. The sense of community and support from our program and athletic director has always been great. It feels like home. It wasn’t really a question of staying for my fifth year.
[My teammates are] my sisters. We’ve been through lots of ups and downs. A lot of teams wouldn’t be able to go through what we’ve gone through. You hear a lot of horror stories with teams and all the drama, but the past few years, we have not had that, which has been great.
CB: What are your pre- and post-game routines?
AM: Before the game, I listen to a playlist. Got to have some Nicki [Minaj] on there. My favorite is the “Plain Jane” remix with her and A$AP Ferg. I used to be superstitious about my hair. It was always in a braid of some sort. And I need to have food after the game. We get teriyaki a lot, which I love.
CB: Any post-college basketball plans?
AM: I’m graduating early, and I’ve already started my MBA. I think I want to play basketball professionally. My parents played overseas for quite a few years, actually. I was born in Portugal while my parents were over there, and my dad was playing. They talk about how awesome it was living over there, experiencing different cultures and a slower lifestyle. If the opportunity presents itself, I would love to go overseas.