From Louisville to Texas to Pullman: Karly Basham, the perfect Coug

A transfer libero, a dominant vocal leader for strong WSU volleyball 



The WSU volleyball team celebrates after a point during an NCAA volleyball game against Oregon, Oct. 7.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

Karly Basham transferred to WSU for the opportunity to be better able to embrace the person and volleyball player that she wanted to be, an outgoing and vocal leader.

Karly is a senior psychology major and the starting libero for the WSU Cougars volleyball team.

Karly grew up in Louisville, Kentucky in a household of athletes and grew up playing sports. She had a natural talent for volleyball as well as the work ethic to get better.

In high school, she ended her career on a 57-match win-streak as well as winning both state and national championships. She was an all-district and all-league player and was one of the better liberos in the nation.

Originally, Karly had committed to Texas A&M, a school where she played a year and a half. However, it was not the right fit for her, as she felt she was unable to express herself properly and truly be herself.

Then, Jen and Burdette Greeny came into the picture and began recruiting her to come to WSU. Deciding to transfer, her first season as a Coug was the 2021 season.

“I will forever be grateful for Jen and Burdette for giving me the opportunity to play here,” she said.

She ended her first season with 375 digs for 3.44 digs/set as well as tallying 97 assists over the course of 109 sets. Her impact on the court goes beyond the stat sheet, as she began to come into her own as the leader and hype-woman of the team.

It was the reason she was unable to find herself at A&M, but it’s the reason that she is so good as a Coug. Being able to express herself is something that she attributes to the success and passion of her teammates.

“I would describe myself as outgoing and passionate. I’m that loud hype person, seeing my teammates succeed makes me want to recognize that they are putting in the work. My teammates make it easy for me to step into that hype woman role,” she said.

Karly thrives off having energy and being able to improve. Her expectations for herself for this current season are to get better and to grab a couple of defensive players of the week in the Pac-12 for herself.

But, she cares less about her own accolades and accomplishments and would rather see the team do well for each other.

“The team is striving for huge success. Winning a Pac-12 Championship and making the sweet 16. This team dreams big and we believe in our goals,” she said.

So far, they have started 12-5 and have played most of their games on the road. However, it has not been the perfect season as many players have been dealing with injuries and having to play outside their native positions.

“I think that this season has not necessarily been how we thought it would go. We have already faced a lot of adversity this season. [Adversity] has paved the way for the team to learn our strengths and what each person can do to step up,” Karly said.

With the team finally coming back to Bohler for the first time in over a month, the Cougs took down the then No. 12 ranked Oregon Ducks in a spectacular come-from-behind five set match.

The fans were loud and the team fed off that energy, something that Karly attributed to the team’s home success over the past two seasons.

“Being able to play at Bohler is huge for us. These fans bring us so much energy on the court, they help us stay motivated and work so hard,” she said.

Alongside the fans and her ability to feed off that energy to hype up the team, the Cougs are a tight-knit family and play for one another.

“This is by far the closest team I’ve ever been on. Having this team dynamic has set such a good culture and atmosphere for this team,” she said.

Being able to be such a tight team helps Karly be more comfortable with herself and her role on the team, as well as having everyone striving for the same goal and pushing deep into the postseason tournament.

For Karly, her success in Pullman is based on her comfortability in her role on the team as well as her preparation. As a self-described superstitious person, she has the same pre-game routine including visualization and self-talk.

She looks to lead the Cougs on and off the court and can be the team’s key to success and keeping the mentality over the season.