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Collected Wisdom: Andrea Riley, former Oklahoma State basketball standout

Andrea Riley played overseas and bounced around the WNBA. She's now a mother and engaged to be married. And she's currently a free agent looking for a new pro team to play for this summer.
BY GINA MIZELL Modified: February 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm •  Published: February 23, 2013

I was in Turkey and Ally (Clardy) and Taylor (Hardeman) were writing me on Facebook. I ended up calling Ally and I was like, ‘What's wrong?' and she was like, ‘There's been a plane crash.' And I was like, ‘Well who was in the plane crash?' And she was like, ‘Coach Budke and Coach (Miranda) Serna and two other people.' And I was like, ‘Oh, they're OK, right? They're on their way to the hospital?' And she said they didn't make it.

It was just one of those things that was so surreal and you wouldn't think it was true. It was a really, really hard time for me. I cried for 30 minutes and I was on my way to practice. I think that's what made me come back home, because somebody needed me.

When I first came back, I saw Shelley (Budke) and I couldn't do anything but cry. And I saw Coach Serna's mother and sister and her little nephew and niece. It was just a hard thing. It's still hard to this day, because you want to see them and you want to talk to them. The good thing is I feel like they're always with me. I see them in my dreams sometimes.

(My daughter will) be 2 at the end of March. Her words are starting to be clear. What makes me laugh about her is her personality. It's a lot like mine, and it's so funny because I catch her doing things like her facial expressions and I know I did it. Sometimes I just look at her and say, ‘Wow, I have a baby.'

Getting cut (in the pros) was a big thing for me, because I had never been cut in my life from anything. Oh, man. After going through that, it really was like a light clicked on for me. It hurt for a few weeks, but it made me want to go and get after it.

I don't want Oklahoma State to be my legacy. I want wherever I go to play to be my legacy. I want to keep building and keep building. I think that's what my dad has instilled in me is that I'm never satisfied.

I want to train. I want to get better. I want my body to feel like my body again, because it was a tough time (after having a baby). I think that now it's starting to feel good again. I just want to keep going. I don't want this to be the end of Andrea Riley. I want it to be that this is just the beginning of a pro career.