MILWAUKEE — Rufus King's Sydnee Roby is a force in basketball.
"I get demonized as a mean player," Roby admitted.
Her toughness comes directly from her mom.
"To see your kid go farther is what you want as a mother, and get that gold ball," Essie Washington said.
Washington, formerly known as Essie Haney, was a pro basketball player with the Virginia Wave in the early 1980s.
"In the early days, you'd ride the bus. Fans would wait for us," Washington said.
"My mom was a trailblazer. Now my mom's friends come up to me and want pictures and autographs," Roby said.
"The WABA was the forerunner of the WNBA. Remember the Milwaukee Does?" Washington said.
One nationally televised game had a hilarious memory for Washington.
"Having your name called and then I turned my back to the camera and waved and they got the back of my back," Washington said, laughing.
Her daughter realizes the hard work and sacrifice her mother made.
"They had to bus everywhere. Her first two checks bounced," Roby said.
Late into her middle school years, Roby's hoop dream almost didn't happen.
"I was in pink and blue. I played tennis. I thought I'd be the next Serena Williams," Roby said, chuckling.
"One day, I was very stoic. She said, 'I want to play basketball.' Inside, I was jumping up and down. I was so happy," Washington said.
Since then, it's carried through Rufus King High School and into a scholarship with the Miami Hurricanes.
Roby knows, from her mom's lessons, that there's more work ahead.
"When people hear we're from Wisconsin, they think cornfields and cheese. Nobody expects anything from the Dairy State," Roby said.
The Rufus King star also said there must be more work done when it comes to fairly paying female athletes.
"When people hear we're from Wisconsin, they think cornfields and cheese. Nobody expects anything from the Dairy State." —Rufus King standout Sydnee Roby, who earned a scholarship to the University of Miami
"A lot of people don't come to games, but we need fair pay," Roby said.
"Year-round, your body breaks down, and you only get paid $50,000 per year," Washington said.
At the end of the day, trailblazing is in her blood.
"I definitely want to play in the WNBA and be a trailblazer," Roby said.
"Just to see a kid go beyond what you've done, you cherish that," her mother said.