Some people call sophomore Mya Hollingshed (A&S’21) of CU Boulder women’s basketball the life of the party. She calls herself quiet and shy. Everyone calls her a three-point shooter.
At six-four, you’re tied for tallest player on the team…
I was pretty short growing up, but I hit a growth spurt one summer, right before high school. I always used to compare myself to my Nana.
How tall is she?
Five-eight. And I barely was getting there, so I was like, ‘Okay, I guess I’m going to be short.’ But I hit that growth spurt. I came into the house one day, and she was, like, ‘Oh, my God! You’re six-four!’
Did you feel pressure to play basketball because of your height?
No. I always played different sports growing up. I started off with tennis and soccer, and then basketball grew on me. My dad and my grandfather played. But they never pushed me.
Did you play a bunch with them growing up?
I didn’t. I moved a lot when I was a kid. But my mom always invested in me. She always got me the coaches I needed. I didn’t know I needed them, but she looked into it. She always invested her time to make sure I got better, and by her doing that, helped me to get here today.
Did she also play?
No. She played no type of sports. She was for sure book smart. She loves watching me play, and she always says I’m her favorite player, so that motivates me to be better.
I really didn’t start playing organized basketball until four or five years ago.
And now you’re in the Pac-12! … Last season, your first, you were the team’s most reliable three-point shooter. You made 43 percent of your long shots. Were you performing like that in high school?
No. Since I was the biggest person on the team, they always had me in the post. Last year, I got a few chances to shoot the three, and I took them. Made a few, missed a few. I came out of nowhere with it. ‘Okay, I’m open right here, so I’m gonna shoot it right here, get it over the rim, if it goes in, great. We get three points.’
How do you see your role on the team?
Last year, being a freshman, being shy, quiet — I’m really quiet and shy — my role was to do what I’m supposed to do when I get a sub. This year they’re looking for me to be a leader. They feel I can make others comfortable — use my personality to help us all take criticism the right way, and get better every day.
You described yourself as quiet and shy. But everybody else calls you the life of the party.
I can be an introvert but be social. And I like to dance. I really like to dance.
The Oregon State game was big for you last year: 22 points, including six three-pointers. You were CU’s third-leading scorer in Pac-12 play, with 6.8 points per game. What are your goals this season?
I’ve been working on my footwork, so watch out for that. I’m going to be more of an all-around player and use my skill set and my height to different advantages for the team.
What would you say the main challenge for the team is this year?
We just gotta work on our finish.
What’s the relationship between the women’s and men’s teams?
The freshmen, for all sports, they have this program. They have some meetings, and you’ll see football players and tennis players, soccer, golf. … You become close with the people in your class. That really helped me last year, because, being quiet and introverted — I don’t really talk to people unless they talk to me — it helped me open up.
Every time someone mentions your name, they mention dancing. Have you trained to dance?
No. Whatever’s on, and I feel it, I’m just gonna dance. If I feel the beat, I’m just gonna go to the beat.
Have you always been like this?
Honestly, I don’t think so. Coming here just changed my life.
Condensed and edited. Listen to the full interview here.