Q&A WITH HEAD COACH SHARON BALDWIN-TENER
First of all, talk about your general thoughts on the 2007-08 season, coming off such a successful campaign last year.
Last season was an exciting time for our basketball program. It had been 25 years since ECU had been to the NCAA tournament and that was our goal at the beginning of the season. We got off to a rocky start but I was extremely proud of the way our team came together down the stretch and played their best basketball in February and March. Our team was able to get a taste of what it is like to go to the NCAA tournament and understand what it takes every game to reach that goal. I am looking forward to this season and anticipating the returnees wanting to go back to the tournament again.
Do you think that since you have won a Conference USA Championship that teams will view you differently this season? Will you be the team to beat in C-USA?
Since we won the Conference USA Tournament, I don't think we will sneak up on anybody like we maybe have in the past couple of years, but I don't think we are the team to beat in Conference USA. There are about five or six teams this season that have many key returnees and have a shot at the title. All the teams in Conference USA should be tougher this season and it is an exciting time for our league. There are great coaches and players in our league and it should be an exciting season.
Talk about this seasons schedule. What do you think are the biggest challenges?
This season we will have many challenges before we start the rigors of Conference USA. We build our schedule every year to prepare us for the conference. We have some great teams coming to Minges Coliseum this season. With five teams on our non-conference schedule we will be challenged early and hope to build from that experience as we go into league play in January. I am very excited for our fans, as we have some local rivals coming to Minges in ODU and North Carolina State.
You return four starters from last years team. How much of an advantage is that?
I think the leadership the returning players can give is going to be a plus for our team this season. They have all gained some valuable experience in the last couple of years and hopefully can convey that to the newcomers. We should be a much deeper basketball team this season and our starters should be able to help the younger more inexperienced players come along.
What are your thoughts on the backcourt this season?
Jasmine Young, LaCoya Terry and Impris Manning have started most of their career and have gained some very valuable experience. In the fall, their leadership has already been apparent and they take a lot of pride in continuing to build this program. Jasmine and LaCoya are the leaders on this team and have become more mature and tougher mentally and physically. Impris has been our best defensive player and has worked on her shooting in the off season. With Gabriela Husarova, she has the size and shooting ability to compliment the other players well. Shana Franks is a sophomore who seems to be stronger and more mature this season and could give us some valuable minutes from either of the guard spots. Allison Spivey is a player who will fit in perfectly with our style of play.