Looking forward: Janae’ McKinney on her life and basketball

For redshirt senior Janae’ McKinney, basketball has been a part of her life from a young age.

Photo from WCU Athletics

She grew up playing pick-up games at the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club and the game stuck. McKinney said she faced a lot of challenges being a female basketball player.

“Basketball, for a female to want to come and play, wasn’t acceptable to an extent so I had to prove that I could play so that the boys would pick me for their team.”

Playing basketball at the colligate level not only proves she could play with the boys, but that she worked hard to become such a successful player.

Last season, McKinney lead the Catamounts with 25 rebounds, averaged four rebounds per game, and ended the season with 149 points.

McKinney recalls winning the Southern Conference her freshman year at WCU, and says it is something she will never forget. But her entire experience at WCU in itself has been extremely memorable.

“I’ve enjoyed it all,” said McKinney.

After years of playing the game, McKinney says she still gets excited before every game.

“I’m just silly. I’m still normal. I don’t go into a shell or anything. I’m just really excited.”

McKinney also has high hopes for her team this season.

“I think it’s looking really good. I know we say it every year, but it feels completely different [this year]. We’ve got a lot of newcomers with a lot of energy. There’s never a dull moment with our team. Nobody on our team gets complacent with how they’re playing or where they are; everyone wants to do better.”

Along with being a key player on the women’s basketball team, McKinney is also a member of Project C.A.R.E and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated where she served as both president and vice president. Managing her schoolwork, basketball, and extra curriculars has been a matter of trial and error for the student-athlete. She said she has learned what she can and cannot manage.

After college, McKinney hopes to work with children in the field of forensic psychology.