Women’s basketball Q & A with Aleah Grundahl


Sam Strash, Sports Journalist

Aleah Grundahl is putting the UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team in the national spotlight.

Now 15-1 with a 6-0 conference record on the season, the Warhawks can attribute much of their success to the junior forward from Deforest, Wisconsin. Her 17.3 points per game and 53.5% shooting percentage have helped lead the way for the Warhawks this season.

But Grundahl thinks that the team’s offensive gameplay and playstyle stems from a suffocating defensive attack involving multiple switches on screens, zone and man defensive scheming and a full-court trap that is tough to get around.

“Our defense is one thing that coach (Keri Carollo) absolutely loves,” Grundahl said. “She says that we would not get offensive buckets if we didn’t get stops on defense, and if our offensive game is off, we always start it up with defensive stops. That’s one thing our program has always carried is our defense. That’s how we’re winning games.”

Gruhdahl, who’s played basketball since the age of four and played AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) club basketball since fourth grade, said the team stepped up their practice schedule over winter break compared to their normal schedule during the fall semester.

“During winter break, we did two-a-days, so we did shooting in the morning, lifting in the morning and practice at night,” Grundahl explained. “It’s nice because we have to work and really focus on our shooting for when we get into conference play. That’s when we get into scouting opponents instead of entirely shooting.” 

“When school is in session, I have class every day, we have lifting on days that aren’t before games, film on days before games, and practice every single night. It’s more or less five to six days a week in the gym.”

That level of commitment from Grundahl and the team has instilled a goal of winning the national championship, a game that hasn’t taken place in two seasons due to the ongoing pandemic. 

“Our goal is definitely a national championship,” Grundahl said. “This team that we have right now is going to be the team that makes a run. We’ve worked hard since last postseason, and that’s just where we want to be.”

Guided by her love and passion for the game, Grundahl is a team-first athlete who understands the pressures the team faces year in and year out. She helps lead her team in multiple statistical categories, but also helps lead from the sidelines, getting loud and excited on each possession.

“Everyone knows our bench: they’re loud. That’s exactly how our practices are. We’re expected to keep the energy high,” Grundahl said.

The team often has multiple chants and cheers they use for each game to maintain a high-energy atmosphere.

To Grundahl, basketball is who she is. She grew up with it, her teammates have become friends and she enjoys the encouragement of coaches and teammates to be the best she can be.

“It’s a love and passion for it, individually, but it’s really just the people around you that makes it so fun,” she said. “It’s the coaches that push you every single day. It’s my teammates. This team is definitely the reason why I play basketball.”

Grundahl and the Warhawks have a lengthy conference schedule ahead of them, making the trips to La Crosse and Eau Claire for their next two games, followed by three games in a row at home.