Gail Goestenkors' game preview media availability: UTSA
Nov. 11, 2009
On the how the start of the season feels: It feels great. We are so excited. A lot of teams have had exhibition games and we chose not have an exhibition game this year, so it makes us even more anxious to get on the court, play in front of our fans and show everyone what we are made of.
On closed scrimmages vs. exhibition games: In exhibition games, you are only allowed to play Division II teams, and we are not allowed to play Division I teams. We feel like if we play a Division I team, which we did in a closed scrimmage against SMU, you can spend the whole day scrimmaging and working on specifics that need improvements. You want to get as much as you can out of a scrimmage or an exhibition, and this year, the best thing for us to do was to scrimmage a DI team.
On what to expect from this year's team: We are going to continue to run and continue to press. We love the fast-paced style. It's going to be an exciting team to watch. I think this year we are going to have a better post game than we have had in the past. We have been very perimeter oriented. This year, I feel like we have some very good post players as well, so we are definitely going to see more balance both inside and outside.
On what the team improved on from last year: Last year we started the season really well, and then we dipped and lost our confidence. One thing we have really been trying to focus on is that every team goes through tough times, but we have to stay strong through those tough times and that when we get on a winning streak, we have got to maintain our confidence. It's an easy thing to say, but it's a hard thing to do.
On the experience of the sophomores: We have two sophomores now that are probably going to start for us. Ashleigh Fontenette is at the point and Ashley Gayle is in the post. Last year they started periodically for us, but they gained so much valuable experience for us, they are both great leaders, and they work so hard. We are hoping that all the experiences they had as freshman will really pay off now that they are sophomores.
On what she expects to see in the first game: I don't know if we will see much crispness, but I do want to see the players take care of the basketball. One of the things that was kind of an achilles heel for us last year is that we turned the ball over too much. So our focus throughout the entire pre-season has been to do a better job taking care of the basketball. I would say we want to maintain our aggressiveness but have some poise under pressure situations, which we just didn't see last year.
On last year's start compared to this year: We talked about how much you can learn through yourself. The entire nonconference is about learning who you and making yourselves better. I fell like this year's schedule is the most difficult that I have had in 17 years. We will be tested on a daily basis and we are determined to find out who we are. We are going to build on whatever weaknesses we have so that we can turn them around and make them strengths.
On looking ahead to playing UConn: I think we have been preparing for the last few weeks in understanding what Connecticut presents to us and what UT San Antonio presents to us. We already knew who our first opponents would be. UTSA did a great job last year taking Baylor into overtime in the NCAA tournament. They have a lot of confidence and they have a great team as well. We've been preparing for both of these teams awhile now during practice and we certainly won't overlook them.