Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Kenzie Powell

The former Penn-Trafford basketball player is a junior at Westminster

Thu Feb 02, 2023 - 4:44PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Thu Feb 02, 2023 - 5:02PM

Achieving success in two different sports at the collegiate level is a rare feat. However, Kenzie Powell has thrived on both the hardwood and the pitch at Westminster College, continuing upon her success at Penn-Trafford. Powell, who is currently a fixture in the lineup for the Titans basketball team, is featured in the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

During her time at Penn-Trafford High School, Powell made the varsity basketball roster as a freshman in 2017-18. She played in every contest, averaging 4.7 points and 1.3 rebounds, while adding 36 assists and 17 steals. That season, however, the Warriors went just 7-15 overall, including 3-7 in section play, and failed to reach the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs.

The following campaign, Powell again played in every game, registering 7.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest, while also compiling 70 assists and 28 steals. The Warriors improved drastically, posting a record of 13-10, including 9-5 in section play. As a result, PT qualified for the WPIAL Class 5A postseason, but fell to Trinity in the first round.

As a junior, Powell appeared in every game, notching averages of 9.7 points and 3.6 boards per game, while contributing 47 assists and 34 steals. Penn-Trafford went 15-8, including 8-6 in the section. Returning to the WPIAL 5A bracket, the Warriors came up short against Gateway in the first round.

In her senior campaign of 2020-21, Powell played in all 17 tilts, averaging 6.8 points and 3.0 rebounds, also notching 32 assists and 21 steals. Penn-Trafford went 10-7, including 9-5 in section action, and qualified for the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs. However, the Warriors lost to Baldwin in the first round.

Throughout her career with the Warriors, Powell was named an All-Section performer three times.

Meanwhile, she was also a four-year letterwinner on the soccer team, twice earning All-Section accolades, and helping the Warriors capture the WPIAL Class 4A Championship in 2017.

Instead of focusing on just one sport at the college level, Powell opted to continue both at Westminster College. As a freshman guard on the Titans basketball team in 2021-22, Powell played in 25 contests, making 19 starts. In that action, she posted 5.0 points and 2.3 rebounds, while adding 38 assists and 10 steals. Westminster went 18-10, including 13-5 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC). In the conference tournament, the Titans ousted Geneva College and Grove City College to reach the championship. With gold on the line, however, the Titans lost to Washington & Jefferson College. Westminster qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament, but came up short against Penn State Behrend in the semifinals to conclude the campaign.

This season, Powell has played in 14 contests, including nine starts, compiling 3.0 points and 1.5 boards per game, also registering 15 assists and eight steals. To this point, the Titans are 11-8, including 7-7 in the PAC.

In the fall, Powell has made a big impact for the soccer team, as the midfielder has played in 36 matches, including 31 starts, over the past two seasons. During that action, she’s netted five goals and two assists, helping the Titans capture the PAC Championship this campaign.

Kenzie dedicated her time to answer questions about underrated aspects of her game on the court, her feelings after winning the PAC soccer crown, and her fondest memories at Penn-Trafford.

Q: What have been your biggest areas of improvement from your freshman basketball season to this year?

A: One of my biggest areas of improvement from my freshman basketball season to this year is the defensive end of the floor. I have learned how to rotate in help side, defend in the gaps, communicate directly to my teammates, etc. I have also improved my pull up game, as well as learning when it is best to attack the rim.

Q: What is an underrated aspect of your game?

A: An underrated aspect of my game is my ability to create for others and act as the quarterback of my team. Most spectators are focused the most on who is scoring the ball, rather than who is creating the play. I feel like I am an underrated player overall because I do a lot of little things that go unnoticed in games.

Q: Your team has been very successful, both last year and thus far this season. What have been the most important factors in that?

A: The most important factors in our team’s success these past two years are having a good blend of defense and offense, as well as team play and togetherness.

Q: What team and individual goals did you establish for this season?

A: The team goals that we established for this season include winning the PAC Championship, as well as making an appearance and competing in the NCAA tournament. My individual goals included coming into the season trying to average as many points, assists, rebounds, and steals as possible. I also wanted to use my athleticism to the best of my ability on the floor.

Q: You also play on the soccer team. What are the most notable challenges of competing in two college sports?

A: The most notable challenge competing in two college sports is the offseason preparation work and not being able to do as much offseason work and skill building.

Q: What was the feeling like when the Titans won the PAC Soccer Championship in the fall?

A: When we won the PAC Soccer Championship this fall, I felt relieved after losing two PAC Championships last year. Winning this third one was a big feeling of relief and euphoria! I also was very happy, thankful, and excited to win a ring with my best friends!

Q: What led to your decision to attend Westminster?

A: The main reason that I chose Westminster was because it felt like home away from home for me since day one. My senior year was my favorite year at Penn Trafford, and I wanted my college experience to mirror my senior year of high school as much as possible. Also, I chose Westminster because I was recruited by both the soccer and basketball coaches who made me feel very comfortable.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: My major at Westminster is finance and my ideal future profession is being a personal financial advisor!

Q: Aside from sports, what has been the most enjoyable part of your college experience?

A: The most enjoyable part of my college experience outside of sports is being around all the awesome people at Westminster and developing close connections with them!

Q: You attended Penn-Trafford High School. What was your fondest memory there?

A: This is a tough question because of how many incredible memories I have at Penn Trafford High School. However, if I had to choose one, I would say that my fondest memory at PT is when I went to the food pantry that I was involved with through our Community Action Program. I absolutely loved helping those in need with my school nurse, Mrs. Popovich, and all my friends. It was such a rewarding and uplifting experience to see the look of desperation on their faces turn into a smile of relief as soon as they saw us bringing them food.

Q: You played for longtime girls basketball coach John Giannikas. What impact did he have on you?

A: Yes, I loved playing for Coach G. He believed in me as soon as he knew about me, which enabled me to play with confidence and swagger once I played for him in high school. He always encouraged his players to play free flow and with confidence. That enabled me to play without thinking and use my athleticism to my advantage on the floor.

Q: If you could play one-on-one basketball against anyone, past or present, who would you choose? What would be the outcome of a game to 11?

A: If I could play one-on-one basketball with anyone, past or present, it would be my dad because he has always been my biggest fan and supporter. He has watched me compete in every sport ever since the day I started and he knows my game in both sports better than anyone. Therefore, he would push me to be creative and work on exactly what I need to improve my game. He used to beat me when I was younger, but let’s say I’d beat him 11-8 now!

Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals before, during, or after a game?

A: The only ritual/superstition that I have is chewing gum during any physical activity.

Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?

A: The movie to which I can recite nearly every line is The Notebook.

Q: If you woke up tomorrow with $1 million, what is the first thing you'd do with it?

A: This one is easy - I’d invest it!