Q&A with Yale forward Camilla Emsbo

Camilla Emsbo is averaging 15.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and an Ivy League-leading 2.6 blocks per contest through nine games. (Yale Athletics)

Hailing from Lakewood, Colo., Camilla Emsbo is a sophomore star for the 6-3 Bulldogs. She is the highest-rated high school player to ever commit to Yale, having been ranked No. 34 by ESPN. Her identical sister Kira plays at Princeton. Emsbo is Yale’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game (just behind senior guard Roxy Barahman’s 16.6) and also averages 9.4 rebounds per game.

Ivy Hoops Online: Why did you choose to play for Yale?
Camilla Emsbo: I chose Yale because I felt that it checked all of my boxes both athletically and academically. I felt that coach (Allison) Guth was in the beginning stages of growing a program with a lot of potential to compete with some of the established powers in the league and I wanted to be a part of the transition. On top of that, Yale offers something that the big, flashy, power-five programs just can’t compete with: a world-class education. Personally, that was all pretty hard to turn down.

IHO: How would you summarize your freshman season?
CE: I would summarize my freshman season as being in the right place at the right time. I was lucky enough to come into a program that had a lot of faith in me as a player and allowed me the freedom to go through all of the growing pains of a freshman campaign with the assumption that I would learn and adapt. My teammates also all immediately welcomed me into the family, and I think that was reflected on the court. Inherently with the position I play, I am dependent on my teammates to get me open, and for that reason I owe a lot of the success I had last season to the players around me. The season obviously ended on a somewhat bitter note both personally and as a team, which is giving us a lot of fuel going into this season.
IHO: What did you do during the summer to enhance your game?
CE: I definitely had a big focus on getting stronger this summer because that is something I think could have really helped me last season and will help my game move to the next level.
IHO: What are the biggest challenges in playing a league schedule which involves Friday-Saturday games?
CE: I definitely underestimated the mental and physical toll of a back-to-back league schedule. Being able to shift your mindset and essentially forget what happened the night before, whether it was a buzzer-beater win or a tough loss, is incredibly hard. On top of that, your body just gets really broken down competing with really strong and athletic competition, so honestly Saturday games are an equal testament to a team’s ability to play through a lot of adversity as it is a testament to their basketball ability.
IHO: How would you compare and contrast your team this season with last season?
CE: I think our team is in a really good place compared to last year. Not only did we return the majority of our offense and defense, but we are also so much deeper in every position than we were last year. We have players who have the potential to come off the bench and make a huge impact every night, which will be huge for us.

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