Nov. 3, 2011
HOUSTON - In a seven-part series, UHCougars.com will catch up with each of the seven newcomers of the University of Houston women's basketball squad prior to the start of the 2011-12 season.
UHCougars.com met with freshman guard Tahlia Pope on Thursday to discuss the upcoming season. Pope was a three-year starter at Heights High School in Wichita, Kan., leading the Falcons to an undefeated season and the 6A state title en route to all-state second-team honors as a senior.
Houston kicks off the 2011-12 campaign with an exhibition contest against St. Thomas on Nov. 7 and opens the regular season on Nov. 11 against New Mexico State at Hofheinz Pavilion.
UHCougars.com: What has been the biggest difference in preseason workouts at the Division I level?
Tahlia Pope: "Learning everything as quickly as you need to learn it, picking up on plays in drills and going as hard as they want you to go has probably been the hardest adjustment."
UH: Is there anything in your game that you've specifically worked on in the offseason to improve?
TP: "My decision making and shooting. I'm pretty good on defense, so I've been trying to focus on those two things the most."
UH: How has the team chemistry been coming along with seven newcomers?
TP: "Our team chemistry is pretty good right now. We hang out a lot off the court. We eat together at least twice a week, so I think it's building pretty good."
UH: What's it like playing for Coach Buchanan?
TP: "I love Coach B. He's such a character. When you first meet him he's so nice, and even on the court he's still nice. He's just a sweetheart all-around, on the court and off, he's just the best."
UH: How has the senior leadership of Porsche Landry, Roxana Button and Michelle White been so far for the young players?
TP: "I honestly believe they're the best leaders ever. In the summer they showed great leadership on how we need to work out. Porsche would tell me that I couldn't have a bad day or take days off. Rox would just show us by example; she wouldn't even have to say anything because she's always going to do it all. Swizzy (Michelle White) is the quiet one that will come up to you and tell you it's ok and to keep pushing through. They are all great leaders."
UH: What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming season?
TP: "The competition. Everybody grows up watching college basketball and they have their favorite player. Now I'm actually part of the NCAA, so I'm just excited to play the games at the level of competition I've always looked up to."
UH: What made you choose to play at the University of Houston?
TP: "It's hot, and it's always cold at home. Coach Buchanan also really made me feel like I was at home."
Women's basketball season tickets can be purchased starting at only $75. These general admission season tickets are part of a Flex Plan. Fans can use one ticket per game, invite 15 friends to come out to a single game or any combination in between.
Fans can also get closer to the action by purchasing season floor seats for only $200.
Fans have several options when ordering their basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center near the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.