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NCAA Q&A: Grace Mashore, Stanford

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High school: National Cathedral, 2008 graduate

College: Stanford

Vitals: 5-10, Sr., G

Season: A deep reserve her entire career, Mashore has appeared in 20 games for the Cardinal this season. Stanford has reached the Final Four in each of her first three seasons, losing to Texas A&M, 63-62, in the 2011 semifinals, to Connecticut, 53-47, in the 2010 final, and to Connecticut, 83-64, in the 2009 semifinals.

Fact: She attended Sidwell Friends from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Opening matchup: Stanford (31-1) vs. Hampton (26-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Norfolk. (Tournament bracket)

Best high school basketball memory: “My junior year winning the ISL championship and going 19-0. It was special to do that with that team. It’s such a great academic school and I had wanted to go there for high school to try to build a tradition basketball-wise. It was an important goal for me and by my junior year I think I had a great group of girls with me that were focused and ready to conquer as much as we could in our league.” Mashore scored 26 points in the 63-46 win over Georgetown Day in the league final.

Favorite high school gym other than National Cathedral’s: “I loved playing anywhere away. I think I thrived on other people’s fans and that energy. I really honestly liked playing in any gym where there was either a player or team that I felt was great competition.”

Most embarrassing high school basketball moment: “My freshman year there was a big adjustment to high school and I had pushed really hard and ended up having a great season. The ISL tournament is three games in three days, and I was very excited about how I had been playing. I had [27 points in the quarterfinals] against St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes and 28 [in the semis] against Madeira. We played Holy Child in the championship game [a 42-35 win] and I had [six] points. We won — my team was fantastic — but I laugh when I think back to it. As a 14-year-old, I was exhausted.”

Favorite high school victory: “Beating Georgetown Day on Fan Appreciation Day at NCS my junior year. I was working really hard to generate some good publicity for the team and my parents were, as well. We finally got [The Post] to come out to a game and our gym was packed. It was a Friday night game and we ended up playing really well and had a great night. You guys wrote a really nice article afterward and it finally felt like after three years of pretty hard work we’d finally done something people wanted to pay attention to. It was a turning point for us.”

Best player you faced in high school: “[Good Counsel’s] Shanel Harrison and I are really good friends and played against each other. When we played Good Counsel my senior year, I know I scored more points than she did that game. I had already committed to Stanford and she had already committed to Virginia Tech. It was a nice, fun game to get to play against her.” Mashore had 19 points and Harrison had 13 in Good Counsel’s 60-35 win.

Best piece of basketball advice that you got in high school: “My AAU coach, Keith Brown [now an assistant for the Georgetown women’s team], said be ferocious and be fearless. That’s something I definitely tried to take with me in high school. And as I’ve gone through my experience at Stanford, there have been a lot of long days, and that saying has really stuck with me.”

High school loss that stung the most: “We lost to Holy Child my sophomore year [44-33] and I think that took us out of contention for winning the championship that year.”

Piece of advice for high school players: “Anything I’ve gotten in my basketball career has come through hard work. For me, it’s just about persistence. There’s nothing like not giving in and not quitting and I think that’s given me the successes that I’ve had in high school and that’s what’s gotten me to Stanford and that’s what’s helped us be successful at Stanford. Not giving up and [having] the need to outwork people.”

What do you miss most about high school basketball: “We always heard that it goes fast and to not take it for granted and to not be too eager to get to the next step. I miss the AAU travel with teammates, all around the country, playing three games a day.”

Best thing about college basketball: “Just the fact that it’s everything to us. My whole life, I just wanted someone to want it as bad as I did in high school, and these women want it. It’s everything you work for. It’s our lives. We go to school and play basketball, and Stanford’s great because it’s such a beautiful place and so many people are so talented at so many things. Watching the selection show [Monday], this is what we work for all year long. This is what it’s all about. I’m in a special place.”

Worst thing about college basketball: “The same thing that makes it great can sometimes make it challenging. I chose to go to school far away from home and between September and April, I’m home two days at Christmas and that’s it.”

When you hear the words March Madness, what immediately springs to mind: “That national championship. We’ve been so close. Three Final Fours and one national championship game. When you get there, there’s so little that separates the winner from the loser. This being my last year, it’s all about getting the biggest trophy.”

More at AllMetSports.com

Chart: Locals in the NCAA tournament

Q&A: Olivia Applewhite, Dayton

Q&A: Alexis Campbell, Sacred Heart

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