Wolesensky brings Midwest toughness to Lady Panthers

Senior Danielle Wolesensky (#4) brings toughness and a workmanlike attitude to the Lady Panthers basketball team. (Photo by Kathy Canady)

By Joseph Garcia

What are some of the attributes associated with folks living in and from the Midwest region of the country? Toughness, hard-working and no-nonsense are just a few and Liberty Hill senior Danielle Wolesensky brings those characteristics and more to the Lady Panthers basketball team.

A hard-working, Midwest attitude and persona are what she embodies.

The Wolesensky family hails from a small town in Nebraska between Lincoln and Omaha called Ashland. When Danielle, or Dani as she prefers, and her brother Billy (a freshman) moved to Liberty Hill last year, they did not know what to expect.

Wolesensky’s former school consisted of about 60 students per grade, so unlike most students who transfer to Liberty Hill, it was a bit of a surprise to move to a “big” school.

But that is not the only difference she noticed between the Midwest and Texas.

“Changing from that small of a number to the size of Liberty Hill was a shock,” she said. “Also, there are certain things in Nebraska that we don’t do that people do in Liberty Hill. For example, saying ma’am and sir. In Nebraska it was considered sarcastic. Oh, and instead of saying soda we said pop.”

And while she may not start for Liberty Hill Coach Matt Kirschner, she does bring the “pop” when it comes to defense and rebounding.

Wolesensky is a glass eater when she is in the game. In district play, she is tied for third on the team in rebounds per game averaging nearly four (3.29) and is third in offensive rebounds with 1.29. Needless to say her presence is felt when she is on the floor and her teammates seem to notice.

She believes that her best asset on the court is her defense and her ability to lift up her teammates when they need words of encouragement.

“(Wolesensky’s) work ethic is the thing that stands out and is why she is looked up to,” said Kirschner. “She gives it everything each day. Danielle is a very hard-working player. She plays physical and is willing to give it all she has. She is a good defender, especially on the front end of our press. She also is a big presence underneath on defense.”

When Wolesensky is not focused on school or basketball, she is reading, writing or exceling at the other sport she plays – soccer. She used to play the sport while in Nebraska and now plays for the Lone Star SC in Austin on the U19 team, which she made immediately after moving to Texas.

So how big of a soccer enthusiast is she?

Well, her favorite athlete is women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm and her plans upon graduation are to attend Texas State University and walk on to the soccer team, while majoring in math.

But while soccer may be her best sport, she is always drawn back to the hard court and the game of basketball.

“I played basketball while in Nebraska, but in my junior year I focused on soccer,” she said. “And then I realized I missed basketball, so I went out for it my senior year (here). I (missed basketball) because it’s a fast-paced game. In soccer, you are constantly moving, but basketball there are hard sprints up and down the court and I like that.”

Wolesensky said she thinks she and the Lady Panthers have what it takes to make a deep playoff run and fully expects to still be playing two weeks from now. With just two games remaining on the district schedule, she and the rest of the team are playing their best at the right time.

“She and the rest of the team are starting to understand what I expect from them and from each other,” Kirschner said. “They are playing their hardest at the right time of the season.”

The playoffs will be challenging, though and unforgiving. Luckily, the Lady Panthers have the makeup of a gritty team and are seemingly up for the task with tough-minded, hard-working players such as Wolesensky to call upon.