The term “gym rat” is a perfect description for Bethel Park star guard Liv Westphal.
Since she was in kindergarten, Westphal has had a basketball in her hand, going to gyms or the playgrounds shooting and working on her game with the hopes and dreams of playing Division-I basketball.
All the hard has paid off because Westphal’s dream came true on Friday, when she committed to playing for Dan Burt and the Duquesne Dukes.
“I’m just so excited because I feel like all my hard work and time that I’ve put in has finally paid off,” Westphal told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I’ve been playing basketball since kindergarten and my dad always pushed me to try and become the absolute best player that I could be so today was very exciting.
“My brother and sister both played basketball in high school and my brother went on to play Division III. My mom wanted us to work hard so that we could possibly earn a scholarship and receive a free education either athletically or academically. My parents are so proud of me right now which makes me so happy. My parents have been such a big influence in my life. They’ve pushed me to work and practice and when I did, they’d come out and work with me and rebounded for me when I was shooting. They’ve just always pushed me to try and be my best.”
That push and influence from her parents paid off because Westphal currently has a 4.1 GPA and received over 14 D-I offers. In the end, the loyalty that Burt and his staff showed her was a big reason she decided to stay home.
“I made my decision on Wednesday night. I saw all these other girls committing and I thought to myself that if I lost this offer and opportunity, how upset would I be,” said Westphal. “I was supposed to have a Zoom call with the entire Duquesne staff this Sunday but I texted and asked if we could move it up until (Thursday). We did and while we were talking on the call yesterday, coach asked why I wanted to move the call up and I said that I want to commit to you right now. They were so excited and so happy.
“They were my first college offer when I was in eighth grade. Some coaches would offer me and then lose connection but since they’ve offered, Duquesne has recruited me so well all the way till today. It’s been crazy. I have such a good connection with the coaching staff. One thing I really like about the way Duquesne recruited me is that I didn’t get to know just one coach. I talked with every since coach at least once, every other week. We were able to build such a good connection because of that.”
Aside from having the opportunity to play in front of her friends and family, Westphal will also be able to play on a team with a few WPIAL stars like incoming freshmen Meg McConnell (Chartiers Valley) and Tess Myers (North Catholic).
“Meg McConnell and I have been playing AAU basketball since the fifth grade,” Westphal said. I actually called her last night to tell her and she literally crying because of happiness. She was so excited.”
— Liv Westphal (@Liv_westphal) March 19, 2020
Westphal has been described to PSN as someone that can shoot the ball well, is skilled at handling the ball, drives well and has a really high motor. She could play either guard position but she’ll probably be a shooting guard at Duquesne.
Westphal becomes the third member of Duquesne’s Class of 2021 joining forward Eszti Madar from Hungary and guard Natalija Sekulovska from Macadenia.