DURHAM, N.C.— Over the summer, the Blue Devils will be catching up with Duke women's basketball alumnae to see what they have been up to since leaving Durham. Up next is 2014 graduate and All-America selection Tricia Liston, who is a product of River Forest, Ill.
Liston, Duke's top three-point shooter in school history, tallied a school-record 252 made three-pointers over her four years and was a Third Team Associated Press All-America in 2014 as a senior. She held a 45.9 three-point field goal percentage over her four years, including an astonishing 48.1 percentage as a senior. In her final year, Liston averaged 17.2 points and 5.2 rebounds.
After graduation, you were able to play professionally in the WNBA and overseas. How was that experience?
The overseas experience is very unique. I was lucky enough to travel all over the world to Italy, Turkey, South Korea, Spain, Russia - just to name a few. It definitely was a growing experience because you are in a foreign place all alone, with a language barrier, and you learn a lot about yourself. But it was something I am very grateful that I was able to do and have some of the coolest memories from my time overseas. When you combine the overseas season with the WNBA back to back, it becomes difficult, both on your mind and body. You have very little time off in between either season and I don't think people realize how draining it can be. (I only did it for two years so I can only imagine the Diana Taurasi's and Seimone Augustus'). But with both the WNBA and overseas experiences, I was able to experience so many things at such a young age and had a lot of fun while doing it.
You were able to win a WNBA Championship with the Minnesota Lynx. What was that like?
That entire experience was crazy. It was an amazing experience. All year long and we made it clear that a championship was the end goal and worked endlessly for that. Being able to go from setting a goal to achieving that goal at the highest level of basketball was something I always dreamed of. From the champagne showers in the locker room to the endless preparation throughout the season, it was a year I will not forget. Plus, we got a private concert at Prince's estate in Minnesota so I would say it was a surreal experience all in all!
Did you have a favorite place you were able to travel that you really enjoyed and why?
I really enjoyed playing my first year in Italy because we traveled all over Italy. I met friends there that I still stay in touch with today. The culture there, the food, wine, people, and scenery were all amazing. But I also surprisingly really thought South Korea was remarkable. It was so different from anything that I had ever seen or imagined but it was great. A totally foreign culture, obviously a language I could not pick up on, and very unique food. But I think that was one the coolest places I have ever been.
What have you been up to since your hoops career has come to an end?
Well, I headed back to Chicago and took a little bit of time off at first. Then I started working for a NYC based company called Drum Associates, it is an executive search firm. But within the recruiting business, I am working to help former athletes make the transition from the playing field to the office, both with the mental aspect as well as trying to make the connections/find opportunities for the athletes at companies as well. I moved into the city with one of my best friends into a great apartment and have been enjoying being back in Chicago and cannot wait for the summer weather to finally arrive.
Have you been able to keep in touch with many former teammates/coaches?
Of course!! I still talk/facetime/snapchat and visit many of my teammates regularly. They will always be some of my best friends. I have stayed in touch with a lot of my coaches as well, I just recently ran into Sarah Smoak in NYC which was awesome. I formed so many great relationships at Duke that will never go away.
You were able to come back to Durham last season. What is it like sitting in the stands and watching and not being out on the court playing?
It is depressing! Playing at Duke was something I wish never ended. My first time back was so weird being in the stands because that was a view I never took on before. I felt sad and jealous of the girls on the team because those were some of the greatest memories and they flew by! I honestly felt like I wanted to grab a jersey and sub myself into the game. Then all of the pictures that are still around Cameron of me and my former teammates made me think about all of our good memories and how much fun we had. If I could go back and play there again…I would in a heartbeat.
Do you get a chance to play basketball any these days?
Honestly, I have only REALLY played once since I stopped. It was when my cousin Danny was home from college (he plays hoops at UPenn) and we played on Christmas Eve. I've shot around and goofed around but that's about it. I still love basketball, but my body and mind just needed to step away for a little. I am sure it is just a matter of time before I start playing more often.
When looking back on your days at Duke, what are some of your favorite memories?
Most of my favorite memories were basketball related. My senior year when we beat Kentucky in a sold out arena, my junior year winning the ACC Tournament, my freshman year when I had my first start in a game and it was against UNC, the Thanksgiving tournament in the Virgin Islands, and of course the champions test all four years. And those are just a few! Also, all the visitors I had throughout the years made my experience really special, both family and friends. But more importantly, all of the memories with my teammates at 6:00 am, or on chartered flights, or on the road during the tournament and all the obstacles we went through together were what made for some amazing memories. Aside from basketball were great memories as well, and I have made incredible friends at Duke that I will have forever.
How has a Duke degree helped you?
I think the Duke degree has helped me in many ways. It is a platform to connect with other alumni who can provide great advice and knowledge. Obviously a Duke degree stands out on a resume as well. But more importantly the education, experience, and culture at Duke prepares you for whatever chapter comes next in your life and is truly invaluable.