Inspired by her mother, the senior has leaned into her Indian heritage on and off the court
Ashna Tambe started playing basketball when she was 5. But her breakthrough achievement didn’t come until about six years later: She beat her mom in one-on-one.
“I thought it was the biggest deal ever becausess I always looked up to my mom,” said Tambe, now a senior at Hockaday. “I figured maybe I was pretty good.”
Her parents have remained inspirations throughout Tambe’s basketball journey, especially her mother, Shruti, who grew up playing at an elite level in her native India.
That’s why Tambe has always worn No. 10 and remained connected to her heritage on and off the court. Mother and daughter still close most of their training sessions with a game of one-on-one after all these years.
“Growing up, I had no one to really look up to who looked like me and came from the same background,” Tambe said. “I want to work really hard to inspire younger girls.”
That work ethic has enabled Tambe to become perhaps the best player in program history for the Daisies. She broke the school scoring record during her junior year and has since surpassed the 1,500-point milestone for her career.
“Ever since I picked up the basketball, I never dropped it,” the 5-foot-7 point guard said. “Being the smallest guard, I had to work to find my advantage and excel at that.”
With help from her coaches on the year-round club circuit, she developed a quick first step, nonstop defensive tenacity, consistency with her outside shooting, and the court vision to distribute the ball.
“It was just my consistency in work ethic,” she said. “We were traveling every weekend to camps or tournaments and practicing every day for multiple hours. I didn’t let the failures get to my head and trusted the process.”
During her freshman year, Tambe began attracting attention from college programs. She chose the University of Pennsylvania, where she will enroll in the fall, for its balance of academics and athletics. She’s also a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
But Tambe also wants to give back to basketball at Hockaday and beyond. She has spearheaded a youth camp and donated equipment to Terlingua, Texas, students for the past two years.
Meanwhile, her leadership has also helped rally a young Hockaday squad seeking its first SPC championship since 2008.
“Ashna has already created a legacy. That leadership and that guidance goes a long way,” said first-year Hockaday coach Gaby Moss. “We’re better because of her and her commitment to the program.”