ndie Anastos has a lot of time on her hands.
She graduated last year, finishing up her bachelor’s in applied psychology and human development. Now she takes three classes in the Woods College of Advancing Studies, where she will receive her M.S. in leadership and administration this summer. The classes are at night, leaving the mornings free. Sometimes she’ll run errands or go shopping, or just relax at her apartment. All she has to do is go to basketball practice.
Oh yeah, basketball practice. The change from dominating Kelley Rink to becoming a newbie again won’t be easy for the former captain of Boston College women’s hockey, but she hasn’t given up her real estate in Conte Forum yet. She just took off her skates.
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ears ago, Anastos was pretty busy.
Since high school, Anastos wanted to be a college athlete—she just wasn’t correct about which sport she’d play. Her alma mater, Ladywood High School, had freshman, junior varsity, and varsity basketball teams. By the time she was a freshman, she was talented enough to skip the freshman team entirely and start with JV. Her coach, Anthony Coratti, moved up with her when she joined varsity the following year. She put in work with her father on her AAU team. But even that amount of activity wasn’t enough for her. She played hockey for Ladywood and her travel team, Honeybaked. For a time, the Ladywood athletic world revolved around Anastos.
“To be brutally honest, we arranged our practice schedule around Andie’s hockey schedule in a lot of instances,” Coratti said. “We wanted her to do both.”
Before Anastos attended Ladywood, the Blazers had suffered a bit of a dry spell. They had had poor seasons in the two years prior to her joining the varsity team. Once she was added to the mix—in her sophomore year she played with her sister, Alyssa, then a senior, on varsity—the Blazers started to click. They won the state district championships each year Anastos was on the team. When she was a senior, Anastos helped lead them to a victory in the state regional championship, something the school hadn’t accomplished in more than 20 years. She wasn’t just a good player who helped out the team in little ways. According to Coratti, she was the “centerpiece”—Ladywood’s star player.
During the state tournament her senior year, Anastos’ travel hockey team, Honeybaked, had a tournament as well. That Thursday, she helped the Blazers win 48-34 in the regional final to advance to the state quarterfinal. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Anastos had to play hockey. Practices were changed around, and her teammates came to watch her on the ice for two of the three days.
“Every single kid was willing to do so [rearrange practice] because we were better for having Andie around and vice versa,” Coratti said.
Thanks to her basketball talent, Anastos drew quite a bit of attention in the state of Michigan—she was given honors for her play junior year and named to the All-State Second Team in her senior year. Small schools in her area sought her out for basketball, but Anastos wanted stronger academics over getting to play basketball. With hockey, she could have the educational rigor and a spot on the roster, so she chose BC.
Anastos never imagined she would get to play both sports in college. It wasn’t until she was a senior that she had even entertained the idea of coming back to BC to use up her final year of eligibility. Her academic counselor through women’s hockey, Patrice Bouzan, was the first to bring it up as a real option after Anastos was unsure about her post-grad plans. It intrigued Anastos, but she didn’t see it as a possibility. She mentioned it to women’s hockey head coach Katie Crowley, who encouraged her to at least talk to women’s basketball head coach Erik Johnson about it. Anastos sent him an email.
Truthfully, Johnson was not crazy about the idea. He was apprehensive that Anastos didn’t know what she was signing up for—her basketball experience in college was limited to playing H-O-R-S-E with her friends when they had time. In fact, when she emailed him, it was the first time Johnson had even heard of Anastos ever playing basketball. After glowing recommendations from Crowley and women’s hockey associate head coach Courtney Kennedy about Anastos’ work ethic, Johnson was convinced. She may be on a learning curve when it comes to playing, but he was sold on her character.
Down a scholarship after Mariella Fasoula transferred to Vanderbilt University at the end of last season, he was looking for more than just talent and experience. He needed someone who could replace the spirit of an upperclassman, and someone who could create a different kind of “culture,” in Anastos’ words. Coming from another BC team, Anastos offered a unique opportunity for Johnson to bring in a winning mentality and mindset.
“Andie, having been to the Frozen Four with the hockey team, having been such a leader on a team that went 40-0-0 all the way to the national championship game, she had instant competitive credibility, and I really believed and hoped that she could bring some of those lessons to our team and help lead us in the right direction,” Johnson said.
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he transition back from hockey to basketball hasn’t been easy for Anastos. It’s harder to run after spending so much time on skates, using different muscles in her legs. Handling the ball has become less familiar over the five years since she’s picked one up for more than a pickup game. The biggest adjustment has been from altering the free-flowing, reactionary nature of hockey to a game that is mostly comprised of set plays. In basketball, much of the movement is orchestrated prior—screen this player, pass to this player, make a drive to the net here. Hockey can be more aimless.
But one thing has come more naturally to Anastos—her position as a leader. It’s something that has followed her wherever she goes. She was a captain her junior and senior years at Ladywood for basketball, and is the only two-time captain of BC women’s hockey. Though she won’t be adding a letter to her jersey this season, her role as a graduate student has given her another responsibility to her new team. This means not only making sure her teammates are getting what they need from the team, but also helping them mingle. Though she knew her teammate Martina Mosetti before she joined basketball, she wasn’t familiar with the rest of the team. Now, she makes an effort to introduce her former hockey teammates to her basketball ones.
“Her leadership can help any team she’s on,” Crowley said.
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It’s a big jump to go from BC women’s hockey to BC women’s basketball. During Anastos’ hockey tenure, the team won at least 27 games a season and went to the NCAA Tournament every year. The Eagles went to the National Championship in her final two years, with the final game of their 2015-16 season their only loss. Contrast that with women’s basketball, which has had losing seasons in the same time period, culminating in a 21-loss season in 2016-17. The team is rebuilding, and though women’s hockey went through a similar rough patch before she had arrived, Anastos will have to face it as a new challenge.
“I’m just trying to be where they need me, what I need to do to help out the team, that’s pretty much what I’m thinking right now,” Anastos said.
Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Staff
Photos by Keith Carroll / Heights Staff