Kate Endress is living her dream.
As the only freshman on the women's basketball team Endress, who has already played several minutes for Ball State in exhibition games, is coming on strong in the Ball State women's basketball scene.
Growing up in Evansville, Endress dreamed of playing collegiate basketball. Averaging 25.9 points and 8.4 rebounds as a senior after being named a 2001 Indiana All-Star, All-State, All-Conference First team player, Endress didn't have to worry too much about fulfilling her dream, but rather where to fulfill it.
According to the freshman, her decision was between Indiana University and Ball State. Endress said that her final choice was to come to Ball State because the program had recruited her all four years of her high school career.
And as it stands, Endress couldn't be having a better time with her decision.
"In high school, I was never used to everyone loving the game," Endress said. " I was always the one who did and everyone else just tagged along.
"It's just awesome to be a part of something everyone is so excited about. When you go to practice and there is a lot of enthusiasm and energy every day, it definitetly elevates your game to the next level."
As Endress has practiced with the team and worked on elevating her level of play, first year head coach Tracy Roller began taking note.
"Kate is really coming on as a freshman," Roller said. "She brings an intensity that we haven't had from very many freshman in the past."
Roller not only appreciates Endress has a player with a growing skill level, but as a player with a good personality.
"(She is) outgoing and very funny," Roller said. "When she's in the gym, she works hard, and when she's out, she has fun. She's just a really good player."
Endress hopes that fans will see her in the same light as Roller has in their first months together.
"As a person I just hope people think I am really hard working," Endress said. "There is no question that I love the sport and I love the team and that I go out everyday and try really hard."
One aspect of the season that will fulfill more of Endress' dream will be when her team travels to the University of Connecticut Nov. 30.
"The UConn game is huge in everyone's mind," Endress said. "I'm so excited about it. It's something you sit and dream about as a little kid. I get to actually fly out there on a plane and have 18,000 people root against me," Endress said with a smile.
Coming into the season, Endress expected that collegiate play was going to be more difficult she also knew that there would be the added pressure of being a freshman. But, according to the six foot guard and sometimes forward, her teammates rarely make her feel like the freshman that she is.
"Last year it was different," Endress said. "There were five (freshmen). Five of them didn't knows the plays, five of them didn't really understand what they were doing, but this year it's just me.
"This team is really close knit, and they never make me feel like a freshman."
Even though Endress is fulfilling her dream as a collegiate basketball player, she still takes time to think about life and have fun.
Endress is majoring in business in the entrepreneurial program, and hopes to open her own downtown business in a big city someday. She mentioned that living in a big city is her goal, and said that she loves both Boston and Chicago.
But for now, as she enters regulation play in her first season for the Ball State women's basketball team, Endress realizes she will have to continue to make improvements.
"I have to get a lot better," Endress said. "I have to get a lot stronger. I have to improve my game."
Along the way however, she says she will just continue love the game and live the dream.
"I don't see how anyone could be playing at this level if they don't enjoy it. It's a lot of hours and a lot of mental preparation that goes with it. If you don't love it there is no way you can play. But right now I'm still living a dream."