With 93 games played for the Mustangs, senior point guard Dye Stahley is the most experienced player on the Cal Poly women’s basketball team. The Mustangs’ assist leader talks about growing as a leader, her reaction to the blackface incident and her love for crazy socks.
Mustang News: Coming into this season as a majorly new team, when did you realize you were a leader of this team?
Dye Stahley: As a point guard, it is natural for me to have a leadership role and people coming in and asking me questions about plays, defenses and the opponents. So I kind of got started on that last year. This year we’re a completely new team with people who’ve never played college basketball before, so I had to be on my A-game all the time and just be ready for them to lean on me.
MN: How have you changed from freshman year to now?
DS: When I was a freshman I had a different role. I wasn’t “the leader.” As a freshman point guard, you just distribute the ball, not say too much and don’t turn the ball over and you’re good. As the years have gone on, I’ve gotten more comfortable speaking my mind and being able to speak up and help the girls with whatever they need.
MN: The team recently broke a six-game losing streak, the worst losing streak of your Cal Poly career. What was going through that like?
DS: As a competitor, it was horrible. I’m the worst loser. It wasn’t frustration of ‘What are we doing? We need to win,’ it was more like, ‘What do we need to do to get better?’ So I think we got together and said, ‘We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to take the step and take the step quick. Or else we’re going to keep losing.’
MN: You are originally from Mesa, [Arizona]. As an out-of-state athlete, what was it like coming to Cal Poly?
DS: Coming to Cal Poly was definitely a culture shock to me because I’m not used to nice amenities, like the [residence halls] and [Recreation] Center that are super nice. It was exciting in the sense that I was a kid from not a well-known area, just being able to get out and break the cycle. Just motivating that next generation to get out and break the cycle was really my main motivation for that.
MN: Why do you think it was important for you to speak out about last year’s blackface incident?
DS: I grew up in a very diverse area. It was really surprising that that stuff still goes on. I don’t necessarily think I was surprised that it happened here at Cal Poly, which I’m kinda sad to say, but at the time it was like, we need to have the conversation. Even though [student athletes] don’t want to have to be the ones to educate [others] on what’s wrong and right and what’s insensitive and what’s not insensitive, we’re going to have to. I think we have done a pretty good job of being that example of being inclusive and just accepting everybody for who they are.
MN: What have you learned from your time at Cal Poly?
DS: In real life, how [head coach Faith Mimnaugh] is just so loving and caring and she actually cares about all of us. If I do end up coaching, probably sometime in the distant future after I do all my engineering stuff, I definitely want to be like her and just let my athletes know that I care for them.
“If I do end up coaching, probably sometime in the distant future after I do all my engineering stuff, I definitely want to be like her and just let my athletes know that I care for them.”
MN: We have noticed you wear some unique socks during games, what’s up with those?
DS: I have more socks than I have clothes. I have two whole drawers in my room dedicated to socks. In high school, I had to have crazy colored shoes, but in college, [Mimnaugh] said we have to have green, white, grey [shoes] … so I just wear cool socks.
MN: We have also heard that you have a complicated Starbucks order. What is it exactly?
DS: Recently I’ve been getting an iced caramel brulée latte with cold foam in a venti cup with extra cold foam, add caramel drizzle and two extra pumps of caramel. But usually, if it’s cold outside, I’ll just get a hot white mocha with blonde shots. Extra whip.
MN: Since this is your senior year, do you have any special message you want to give to the Cal Poly or San Luis Obispo community?
DS: I just really feel like the people in the stands, my coaches, and my teammates have really had my back 100 percent of the way. Even when I’m not necessarily doing well … they keep giving me confidence and I know that when we’re playing in [Mott Athletics Center], that they’re always there cheering for me and rooting me on.