Matador Minute with Women's Basketball Head Coach Staci Schulz

Oct. 8, 2009

Q: What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
A: "I am excited to get started, with our first activity being Matador Madness on Oct. 16. Our returning players are much improved and our newcomers are ready to come in and make an immediate impact. We will be a fun team to watch."

Q: Can you talk about the front court players Northridge will feature in the upcoming season?
A: "With all the experience we have returning up front, this should be a strength of our team. Jasmine Erving and Neeta SreeKanth have both improved tremendously from their freshmen year. Jasmine has worked hard on improving her speed and defensive quickness, while Neeta has improved her mobility. Both will also display an increased offensive arsenal to their games."

"In addition to those two, we have Katrina Thompson returning for what should be an outstanding senior season. She is the heart of the team and has added more range to her jump shot and adds a unique element of versatility as our not-so-big big. Also returning is Bianca Davies, who has improved her footwork and outside shooting and will be a factor as a high-post, flashing player."

"Among the newcomers, I think Violet Alama is going to be very good. She is a quick, slashing power forward who is good in transition and adds a defensive presence with her ability to block shots. Felicia Walker is another player I am excited about. She has come in ready to play and contribute immediately."

Q: And what are your thoughts on the backcourt for the 09-10 season?
A: "I think Analee Viena-Lota and Bridgette Conejo had great summers. Analee has taken more pride in her defense and will be a much bigger presence for us on the offensive end due to her scoring ability. Bridgette is the poster child of this program; she is extremely hard working and took this past offseason very seriously."

"We have a lot of newcomers stepping into roles as our guards. Janelle Nomura has a chance to have the biggest impact of all our newcomers because of her role as a point guard. Amanda Thomson is as pure a shooter as we have on the roster this season and she is very good in transition."

"We also are excited about the development of China Smith. She has been a sponge in our practices, soaking up everything we throw at her. She has forward height with guard quickness that will help us play faster. Finally, Anna Simmons is an effective point guard who has college experience that I think will help this team transition into their new roles."

Q: What does your new assistant coach, Pat Charity, bring to the staff?
A: "Coach Charity has already done a fantastic job settling into our recruiting coordinator. She is also very good at working with zone defenses and brings a wealth of experience and a strong knowledge of what running a successful program takes."

Q: What are your thoughts on the 09-10 schedule?
A: "It is great to be able to open at home, to have two home games on the opening weekend that will hopefully get us going on the right foot. I am also excited about hosting a tournament during the holiday season. It will be nice to be home for the holidays and to allow some teams to come out and enjoy the California winters. I expect this tournament to continue to expand in later years. All our road trips will be challenging and a good experience for the team."

Q: How do you think the Big West might unfold in 2009-10?
A: "Well, I still believe UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside will continue to be the favorites. That said, I think there is a lot of parity and all the coaches in the league are working hard to jockey for position."

Q: How have you changed and matured as a coach as you enter your fifth season?
A: "I have definitely experienced the ebb and flow of working with young women. I have definitely enjoyed every season and think I have walked the fine line of both the players making me better and me making the players better."

Q: What are your thoughts on the team's only senior, Katrina Thompson?
A: "Katrina is a very special person who dedicated four years of complete loyalty to her teammates, the coaching staff and this program. I think it would be fair to say that she'd go through a wall for the team. On the court, she brings versatility and her high basketball IQ makes her a very effective, hard-working player."

Q: How excited are you for Matador Madness, which will be on Oct. 16 in The Matadome?
A: "I think Matador Madness represents an excellent opportunity for fans to come out and meet all the new players and catch up with all the returnees on the roster. I think it will be a fun, exciting opportunity for fans to see us scrimmage."

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