A Matador Minute with Head Coach Staci Schulz
Fresh off the 2007 Big West Media Day, Cal State Northridge women's basketball coach Staci Schulz sat down with the media relations staff to talk about the start of the season and the status of early season practices.
Schulz enters her third year at the helm of the Matadors and knows this year will be decidedly different from the 2006-07 squad that finished 9-5 in the Big West Conference largely behind the play of seven seniors. Still, the addition of six newcomers, including four freshman, and two new assistant coaches has not deterred Schulz from possessing high hopes for the 2007-08 season.
1. How has the first week of practice gone so far?
"I really like the ability of our players. The tempo has been great so far and everyone is still relatively healthy. We are still going as hard as we were on the first day of practice and the team is getting great leadership from our upperclassmen, namely Katie Holloway, Crystal Hahs and Ashley Blake."
2. What were your thoughts concerning the Big West Preseason Polls?
"Before they were released, we were thinking that we would be placed near the bottom of the conference due to the losses we have had. I am definitely using it as motivation for the team this season. However, we know we have the talent to compete successfully in this conference and know all this left is that we have to prove it."
3. Who has impressed you and the coaching staff thus far in practice?
"I have been impressed with Crystal Hahs. Her development and improvement will allow us to bring a lot of "Twin Tower" looks to our opponents. Both of our junior college transfers, Tonicia Tademy and Whitney Ligon, have stepped right in and are also doing a great job. And I am seeing some good guard play from sophomores Shanice Howard and Katrina Thompson, especially on the wing."
4.How have the two new assistants, Abby Vaughan and Cory O'Dell, adapted to the program?
"They have both been great additions to our staff and the program. Abby is doing a great job with the guards and is very strong with the basic X's and O's of the program. Cory O'Dell has really jumped in head first and is learning by fire."
5. How reassuring is it to have Coach Carla Houser back for her sixth season?
"It is great to have Coach Houser with this program. She really brings a source of energy to the team that is defiantly crucial. Carla is full of life and can be a firecracker at practice."
6. Who are the biggest jokers on the team that help keep the mood light?
"I would have to say Crystal Hahs and Katrina Thompson do a good job of keeping things relaxed. Earlier this year, Katie Holloway got the team in a mud fight before practice one day, so I guess I should also include her."
7. What have you seen from the freshmen thus far?
"Things have been going very good with them thus far. I am seeing signs of greatness in them and the potential is definitely there. For them, it is just about maturing and loosening up so that they are able to play with the confidence that their abilities provide."
8. Generally, what are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
"Ultimately, the entire picture of the season relies on how we mesh as a group. We're learning a new offense as a group, so that adds to the team bonding. I know that we have a lot of new faces, but if they can learn to work together, I know the results will be excellent.
9. Who do you foresee as the defensive catalysts on the team?
"I would have to point at Whitney Ligon and Shanice Howard specifically. Shanice has the ability to pester opponents with her energy and pressure on the ball and Whitney is great at anticipating plays on the weakside."
10. What do you tell the community as to why they should come out to watch the women's basketball team at Cal State Northridge?
"We are going to be an exciting team to watch. We are going to press on defense, run up and down the court and make great plays. I am especially excited about the home-opener against UCLA. I think that will be a game that provides us with a good test as to where we stand on a larger scope."