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West Virginia Student-Athlete Spotlight: Asya Bussie
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By Sara Wells
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

A student-athlete’s senior year can be bittersweet.  However, having a winning season and a clear focus of where you’re headed after life as an athlete can make it a little sweeter. That’s what West Virginia University senior women’s basketball player Asya Bussie has to look forward to as she wraps up her last season as a Mountaineer.

“I’m sad that it’s coming to an end, and that I have to leave behind my West Virginia team,” Bussie said. “However, I’m excited with how the team is playing, and how I’m playing and our record so far.”

The Mountaineers are on the cusp of a school-record five consecutive NCAA appearances in as many seasons and their 10th postseason appearance. They recently established their eighth 20-win season in 11 years.

WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey undoubtedly knows that Bussie is a huge part of the team’s success.

“She is given so much respect, because she’s one of the harder-working players,” Carey said. “She doesn’t only do it by talking, she shows it. When you have a leader that leads by action, it’s always the player that’s in here extra and doing the little things to get better. She does that and pushes the team to the next level.”

Prior to her senior year, Bussie was named Preseason All-Big 12 without ever having stepped on the court as a Big 12 athlete.

She ranks second all-time in blocked shots in WVU history, and led the Mountaineers in her sophomore (54) and junior (71) seasons. She’s also the 15th player in school history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in her career, and did so in just three seasons.

For Bussie, the future is bright, as she hopes to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) or overseas after college. However, if she doesn’t, she is fully prepared to continue to star in the athletic world by fulfilling a different role.

“I plan on playing until my body can’t anymore,” Bussie explained. “I know that my injury has a time limit, which is why I needed to find something that I loved to do after.”

When Bussie decided to major in communications with a minor in sport communications, she turned to her family for guidance. Concentrating on her love of sports, she soon realized that she wanted to stay in the industry.

“My brother told me to stay in sports because it’s what I know,” Bussie explained. “I have a lot of knowledge about it and I feel like me being an athlete will give me an advantage when I get out there.”

That’s not the only thing that will boost Bussie. Due to her injury last year, which Bussie called a “blessing”, she was able to intern at the WVU Sports Communications office under women’s basketball sports information director Katie Kane. She was given an extra year to get better physically, and also focus on school and her future career.

“I feel like I was able to inspire her,” Kane said. “I was able to help her to do something that she was really interested in.”

During her internship, Bussie was virtually Kane’s assistant, and helped with game programs, features, gameday operations and more. She was given the opportunity to experience every aspect of sports information, and also co-hosted a segment of WVUSportsBuzz, an online weekly segment in the studio, with anchor Amanda Mazey.

“I really enjoyed the time that Asya spent with me here,” Kane said. “It was great for her to see behind the scenes, and I feel like it helped guide her toward what she wants to do. It was exciting to see her on camera with Amanda and with SportsBuzz, too.”

Bussie also acknowledged the advantage her time with WVU Sports Communications gave her.

“I think the internship helped me on and off the court,” Bussie said. “I had a lot of fun in the sports communications office and I had a lot of fun with Katie. I saw a lot of things that I would have never seen on the court.”

Now as a sports management graduate student, she’s putting the finishing touches on her education before her time as a Mountaineer comes to an end.

This semester, Bussie is out of the office and back in action, and coach Carey said she is on top of her game after sitting out last season.

“It’s tough to sit out a year, but I think that she came back better than ever,” Carey explained. “Mentally, she’s on top of her game. She has her life in order. She knows exactly what she wants out of this.

Confident for the future, Bussie knows she’ll love her job – whether it’s being an athlete or working with them.

Adding to that confidence, her coach is also sure of Bussie’s forthcoming success.

“I see her going on in basketball for a while,” Carey said. “She can have very successful professional careers in both basketball and communications. She’s extremely great with the public, with speaking, and she’s well respected because of the way she presents herself.”

Although she recognizes there’s a time limit on her basketball career, her passion won’t run out. She puts her heart into every second of her life, on and off the court, and says that won’t change after WVU.

“I’m a very passionate person,” said Bussie. “Whatever I do, I put my heart into it. It will be hard to leave my team of sisters, but I’m confident I’ll be just as happy in the future, and I’ll always be a Mountaineer and appreciate everything about this experience.”

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