Dec. 7, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Samantha Woods is showing how balanced life as a student-athlete can be.
The redshirt sophomore from Bolingbrook, Ill., has learned to balance the demands of playing sports and the challenges of schoolwork, and the lessons started in sixth grade when Woods picked up the sport of basketball.
She took it up because of her brother, Aaron, and her dad's recommendation. She said she played almost every sport throughout her life, but basketball was the sport that resonated with her the most.
And after winning a high school state championship in 2006, and placing second in the 2007 state championship to round out her high school career, she chose Purdue to continue her studies and her athletics.
"I always say it's the balance, the pieces of the pie that fit together," Woods said of what drew her to West Lafayette. "I didn't know I wanted to do engineering, but after I came here and saw the engineering side, I really liked it. It's a great school. And basketball, well, that speaks for itself. It's amazing." It also didn't hurt that her high school is the alma mater of another Purdue standout, Erin Lawless. Woods said before she chose Purdue, she wasn't necessarily a Boilermaker fan, but a Lawless fan. Woods played two years at Fenwick H.S. where Lawless played before transferring to the highly successful Bolingbrook H.S. Seven of her former teammates from Bolingbrook are playing Division I basketball as well.
Woods is currently majoring in chemical engineering, which is a four and half to five year program. She said the team and the coaching staff was supportive of her major and its demands from the start, something that Woods found lacking at other schools.
After playing in 26 games as a freshman, Woods made the decision to redshirt her sophomore year in order to concentrate on her challenging class load. The decision will allow her to stretch out her basketball career at Purdue, as well as her classes.
She said that by being able to get ahead last year, as well as additional summer classes, she has found this semester to be easier than the previous years.
"What I've learned is that when I get finished with practice, I can't just wait around too much," she said. "But every year it gets easier to balance."