Houston Women's Basketball Media Day Quotes

    <i>Senior center Yasmeen Thompson should provide a big lift for the Cougars this season</i>
    Senior center Yasmeen Thompson should provide a big lift for the Cougars this season
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    Oct. 30, 2013

    HOUSTON--- Head women’s basketball coach Todd Buchanan, sophomore forward Marche’ Amerson, senior forward Destini Texada, and senior center Yasmeen Thompson gathered to speak to the media Wednesday afternoon in the team’s annual preseason media day event.

     

    Quotes and video from the afternoon are displayed below.

     

    Head Women’s Basketball Coach- Todd Buchanan

     

    Opening Statement

    Hey, good afternoon everyone. Thank you for being here. Obviously it is basketball season and I’m very optimistic about the upcoming season. With a somewhat experienced basketball team, returning five seniors, obvious Destini Texada joining in to make that group well rounded will certainly be to our advantage in every way.

     

    “We have been at it now for almost 20 practices and the one thing that I am really pleased with is effort for the most part. We will go in and out of it at times, but at the end of the day, not just now but the entire season is going to predicated on our consistency or lack there of.

     

    “We are optimistic about a lot of things. We certainly have a very solid foundation, a lot of experience, a lot of scoring coming back with only the loss of Porsche Landry, and I say that tongue and cheek. Obviously, that is a huge piece of the puzzle to lose. I don’t know that you ever replace a Porsche Landry, but we are certainly going to do our best to do so. We may have to do it by committee so to speak from a point guard standpoint. But with all that being said again thanks for being here. I’ll open it up for any questions.”


     

     

     

    On opportunities to scrimmage at practice

    “That’s a great question. We have one scrimmage under our belt. I think it has certainly brought to light what we need to do and what we need to improve on in every way, from a basketball standpoint and from a sense of urgency standpoint.”

     

    “One thing I hope we have learned is that the officiating is going to be different this year. Our game has completely changed, as far as contact or lack of contact. We are not going to be able to alter anybody’s cuts. All the hand check, arm bar stuff is going to be called immediately, so we have a lot of work to do in the phase of changing and adjusting.”

     

    On the new conference and how it impacts the team

    “In order for us to grow, not just here at the University of Houston specifically for our program, but as a conference, a new conference, a new brand, is the best way to go about doing what we need to do to put a schedule together. We need that name recognition. Any time you have two teams that played for the national title a year ago and one that has eight championships under its belt, that’s going to be a positive thing for your program.”

     

    “Any time you can brand that with a conference and use them to catapult you and use those things to your advantage, from a media stand point and obviously from a recruiting stand point, that is certainly what we have to do.”

     

    On projected starting five

    “Obviously Demetria Foreman, you guys will get to know her, she’s a junior college transfer from Angelina Junior College right down the road from Lufkin. She’s a Dallas kid who won a state championship and was a teammate of Alexis Jones who is now at Duke. They were teammates in high school and like I said earlier they won a state championship there. Right now, that’s what we brought her here for, to run our basketball team. You’ll know her better as Pookie as time goes on, that’s her nickname. It’s kind of a double-edged sword with her. I love the kid to death, and her demeanor is kind of like ice. She’s got ice in her veins. I love that about her, because there’s always a sense of calmness and poise about her. Then there is another side of it where I’m still learning how to read her to be honest. At times I’d probably like her to show a little more facial expression or body language somehow or someway. At the end of the day, she’s got the two years of junior college experience under her belt.”

     

    “Obviously there are games we are going to play in and arenas we are going to be in where we’re going to need that experience. Obviously, Alecia Smith is a returner from a year ago. She had a great freshman campaign for the most part. She is part of that group that will try to replace Landry and she’s one that can obviously run the show at the point guard position.”

     

    “The other one I’m looking to would be Bianca Winslow. With that being said with those three, that’s kind of the point guard committee. Bianca had a huge game at Rice a year ago when we found ourselves having Porsche Landry in foul trouble and were down by 17 or 19. She came in and did a great job of helping us come back and weathering the storm to win that basketball game. That game gave her a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season and certainly going into her sophomore campaign as well.

     

    “From a forward standpoint, you’ve got Marche’ Amerson who was all-conference last year as a freshman. One good thing about Marche’, and we had a really good one-on-one conversation yesterday about this, is that there’s two things I’m really not going to compromise on with her with this year. That’s leadership and the consistency factor. We’ve talked about that a lot. If we can get more consistent individually, specifically talking to her as well as all the others, then I would say our basketball team becomes a better basketball team automatically.”

     

    “You’ve got Yasmeen Thompson who led the country in field goal percentage, and was one of the best in the country even at the end of the year and certainly for several months during the year she was leading the country in that category. Her and Te’onna Campbell were dominant on the boards. The one thing with YT is that we’ve got to get her more touches. The kid was shooting more than 50% from the field, so we have to find a way to get her more touches and give her more opportunities to score the basketball.”

     

    “Te’onna Campbell is another three/four combination player. She was very productive, as I said last year, from a defensive specialist standpoint. Her steal numbers and rebound numbers were phenomenal. As with Marche’ and really our whole basketball team, the one thing that she’s got to be better at is just being more consistant. She sometimes struggles with her shot, just being frank and honest, but it’s not because she’s not capable. It’s not because she doesn’t have the talent. She worked on it a tremendous amount through the summer and I feel like she is much improved in that area.”

     

    “The other person that will certainly be in the mix, as I’ve talked about is Destini Texada. She’s finally healthy, finally eligible, she’s back and she has her senior year to play. She played across the street at Houston Baptist. She’s a very high-energy player. She can put a lot of pressure on the basketball and that’s how we want to play. We’re really looking forward to her leadership.”

     

    On communication being a strong point this season

    “With everybody coming back, and we still have had tons to teach from a coaching basketball scenario, but I don’t feel like we’re as behind as I felt like we probably were at this time a year ago.  A lot of that is a direct result of this summer being the first summer we could work with our players during that summer school two-month period that we never had before. That and starting practices with all those pieces being put together, and obviously great resources to feel like ‘October 15th ok here we go we’re starting practice’ and then you’re going to play your first contest within three weeks. I do feel like the communication is much better and that we’re ahead of where we were a year ago.”

     

    On the challenges adjusting to the new conference switch 

    “I’m not going to sugar coat it, coach Dickey is going to have to fight the same fight. Louisville won the men’s national championship and the University of Connecticut won the women’s side. Louisville played Connecticut for the national title on the women’s side and that’s all well documented and everybody knows that. We’re in waters that we haven’t been in, quite frankly, as far as the territory that we’re going into. I fought some of those battles the first go around when I was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator when we played the Georgias and Louisiana Techs, away tournaments and played in the NIT national championship game against 10,000 or so people at Oregon for the title then. Those are the experiences you go back on and you try to draw strength from to help prepare you.”

     

    “At the end of the day I don’t know if there’s just one hurdle. Travel is going to be a huge part of it, and we’re going to do deal with it the best way that we know how and the smartest way we know how to do it. That’s definitely a huge hurdle, going to the campuses that we will be going to. The other part of it is we are going to have to be really smart as coaches from a practice standpoint, from not giving them too much too quick with certain turnarounds.”

     

    “The last piece to really answer that question from my mindset is, when you’re walking into arenas with 15 to 20 thousand people. That’s the other preparation that is going to be the most difficult, because you can’t simulate that. You can simulate a lot of things in practice but you can’t simulate that many people sitting in an arena when you walk in and there’s eight national championship banners or ‘x’ amount of final four banners or whatever it might be.”

     

    On making adjustments to the new rules

    “It’s going to be huge. The biggest rule change is with the 10 second backcourt now. That’s probably the biggest rule change since the three-point line was implemented. The way we want to play and the pressing and trapping style that we try to simulate on the court will hopefully be to our advantage. We’re already accustomed to that and there’s a lot of coaches in the county who are hesitant for lack of a better way to put it because we press, so we get to practice it every day in practice. A lot of people probably never work on a press but now they’re going to haveto because I believe certain people are underestimating how  big of a factor that’s going to be.”

     

    “You think if you do that, with the 10 second backcourt rule, you might put an extra five seconds on the shot clock and do what the guys do instead of it being 30 to be 35 seconds, but we haven’t done that. With the other part of the rule changes as I alluded to earlier, the hand checks, the arm bar, the physicality, they’re trying to take as much physicality out of our game as possible and make it more fluid and high scoring as we can make it. I’ve made the argument for the last couple of years, if you want the scoring to be higher, then why do we back up the three-point line? At the end of the day though, they haven’t directly called to ask my opinion.”

     

     

    Senior Forward Destini Texada

    On being back out on the court

    “Being back on the floor is going to be amazing. I haven’t touched the floor in almost two seasons. Just being on the court with Marche’ and Yasmeen is going to make it even better.”

     

    On challenges with preparing for the new conference

    “It’s been challenging because we have days that we have setbacks and then you look at other teams that are champions, but we try not to focus on that. We just focus on ourselves. We have days where we come in and work hard and develop some skills that we’ve been working on for weeks and we finally get them down and then next day we’ll have setbacks. It’s challenging to be consistent but we’re getting there.”

     

    On what she learned from watching the team from the sideline last season

    “What I learned most is that when you’re sitting out on the sideline, you really pick up on things that you don’t when you’re playing. Coach can tell you you’re doing something wrong and you might not understand but when you’re sitting on the bench you’re like ‘OK, yeah I did that completely wrong.’

     

     

    Sophomore Forward Marche’ Amerson

    On what the team has been focusing on in preseason

    “We like to work on our defense. We want to be a great defensive team this year. That’s been our main focus and being consistent like coach said.”

     

    On developing the newcomers

    “Like Destini said, we’ve had some setbacks, but our two newcomers, Taylor Gilbert and Alexia Sanders, and Pookie (Demetria Foreman), have come in and they’ve been a great addition to our team. We haven’t had any issues. Our chemistry is fine.”

     

    On improvements to make in her sophomore season

    “ I’m just trying to learn how to be a leader and having confidence. I feel like I lacked a lot of confidence last year and my teammates and coaches have helped me to understand what kind of player I can be. I can use that to fuel the fire going forward and help my teammates through difficult situations.”

     

     

    Senior Center Yasmeen Thompson

    On working towards success against tougher opponents 

    “Personally, I need to be better at communicating with my teammates. Sometimes I’d see things and not say much so I’m working on communicating. As a team I think we need to be consistent.”

     

    On getting more opportunities this year

    “I know that I’m going to get more touches, I just need to finish and put points on the board for my team. Since they’re contributing to me by handing me the ball I need to contribute on the other end by finishing.” 

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