DURHAM, N.C.— Sofia Roma transferred to Duke University in the summer of 2016 and after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign due to NCAA rules, finally made her collegiate debut this past season. The 6-2 post player dealt with knee issues that limited her time on the court for the majority of her first year and a half with the Blue Devils.
Wagner made her Duke debut Jan. 25, 2018 against Boston College and sank her first shot as she sparked the Blue Devils with four rebounds and two points in eight minutes of action. She went on to see action in 12 games last season and is looking forward to her final collegiate campaign in 2018-19.
Roma graduated in May of 2018 from Duke with a degree in political science and is currently attending the FUQUA Business School. She also spent some time this summer training with the Puerto Rico national team as the squad prepares for the World Cup in Spain in the month of September.
A native of Richmond Hill, N.Y., Roma took some time recently to talk with GoDuke.com about her busy last year and the excitement of her final year in a Duke uniform.
GoDuke.com: Looking back at this past year, how much fun did you have being able to contribute and be a part of the team?
Sofia Roma: I think it was a journey that was pretty never ending—I think all athletes can agree that the journey never ends. Being able to be with my team on the court was such a great feeling. I know that not only for me, but for my teammates as well, it was great to see me work so hard, get on the court, and even get into the rotation.
GD: You made a big impact in your first game to help the team win. How exciting was that to be able to impact the team and help out?
SR: It was a dream for me really. The first shot I took in Cameron, I made. It was almost unreal. I’ve always been a basketball player, so to just be out on the court playing basketball was what I had always hoped for.
GD: You went on to graduate in May. How nice was it to be able to walk and have that degree in hand after four years in two different schools?
SR: I majored in Political Science and walking was a great feeling. My family came to support me but it was almost 100 degrees outside so that was not so exciting. To be able to go from a school like Wagner College to Duke University was a special accomplishment.
GD: For the summer, you got invited to train with the Puerto Rican National Team. What was that experience like?
SR: I was home for a little bit and then I went to Puerto Rico. I loved being in Puerto Rico—no classes and just basketball is really every athlete’s dream! To be able to compete every day, I really got better. We had a former WNBA player on my team so we were going back-and-forth a lot and really competing. The experience definitely helped me for this summer session.
GD: What kind of things did you learn during that experience to help you going forward?
SR: I feel more comfortable around basket now with finishing and around contact. I was competing with girls taller than me every day—which is good because all of the post players here are taller than me! Just being able to work around the basket and finish was great because it was what I wanted to focus on.
GD: Going forward with the Puerto Rican National Team, what happens now?
SR: So this is the first time the team has qualified for the World Cup in the history of Puerto Rico. It is a big deal for everyone on the island, especially right after the hurricane. Being able to represent Puerto Rico would be an honor. Yes, I am in graduate school and the classes move quickly, but I am hoping I can work out something with my teachers to compete in that tournament.
GD: How has your experience in Puerto Rico impacted you, especially since they just experienced a natural disaster?
SR: Puerto Rico itself is building and it should be better. The area I was in metropolitan so we still had electricity and water. I am now more cautious of the way I use water and how I leave lights on. I don’t leave water running anymore and I know that a lot of people on the island still don’t have water and electricity. To be cautious and aware that people are still struggling is important.
GD: How do you feel health-wise?
SR: I feel good. I was training for a whole month in extreme heat conditions! To be here in the air -conditioning feels great! I feel good and my coaches say that I look good.
GD: You started at the FUQUA Business School this summer. How has that experience been so far?
SR: I have always been a team player, but this is a different type of team play. I am so used to being a team player on the court, that off the court I have to get used to figuring out my role. For example, I know that I am not as vocal in math as I am in basketball, so I have to keep up my characteristics in a different setting.
GD: Has it been nice to have a couple former teammates (Lexie Brown, Rebecca Greenwell and Bego Faz Davalos) who were in FUQUA to get advice from?
SR: Oh yes! I ask of them all the time. They are my little blanket behind me and they give me assurance that I will be fine.
GD: How hard has the time-management been, juggling both business school and basketball?
SR: I used to be a big napper but now I don’t have time for naps. We have early mornings and work late nights because my group members have things to do during the day.
GD: How excited are you for this upcoming season? It will be a much different but very talented team.
SR: I am excited. I can already see the improvements every day that we make as a whole. I am also excited to see how the two new players contribute and adjust to the system.