Aug. 16, 2012
The University of Michigan women's basketball team will usher in a new era in 2012-13 as Kim Barnes Arico takes over as the ninth head coach in program history. The entire team is now on campus for summer classes, and MGoBlue.com talked with senior forward Rachel Sheffer, who gave her thoughts on becoming a vocal leader, summer workouts and helping the freshmen adjust to college.
On the summer ... "This summer went by really fast, but we got a lot accomplished. It was a lot of change but as they say, change is good. We had four freshmen coming in, so we really made sure that we took them under our wings. I think we really came together as a team towards the end. I think we are in a good spot heading into the school year."
On the biggest change ... "Other than the coaching change, I think it was the strength-and-conditioning aspect. We changed the way we were running and lifting. We started working out four times a week, which was pretty new for us. I think everyone feels like we got a lot stronger, faster and quicker this summer."
On the coaching change ... "I think it has been really good for all of us. We meet with the coaches just about every day. It feels like we have known them forever. I think it is a really good change for the program, and hopefully that will show this season."
On how the seniors have helped the freshmen ... "I think we just wanted to make sure that they felt the family atmosphere that we have created here. We want them to know that they can count on us for anything. If anything went wrong or they had a problem, we made sure they knew we were there for them. If they need a ride anywhere, we can take them to the grocery store, to workouts or wherever they need to be. We wanted to make sure they would never hesitate to ask us for anything they need."
On her role as a senior leader ... "I think being a vocal leader is really important, especially for the freshmen and sophomores on the team. As a group, we want to let everyone know who we are, the experience we have and the fact we know what it takes."
On what she worked on this summer ... "I think just being more of a senior leader. I needed to come out of my comfort zone a little bit. I don't normally say a lot, or at least I haven't in the past. That is one thing that I really worked on, being more vocal. We lost Courtney (Boylan) and Carmen (Reynolds), who were two huge leaders for us the past few years. I wanted to step up into a role like they had, and that was really what I focused on during workouts this summer."
On what this team can accomplish this year ... "I think we can compete more than we ever have, at least since my class has been here. I think we can go further than any team in history has. I think we have the talent and potential to go far this season. As long we as we keep working hard and stay together as a team, we can do anything."
On what she will do following her senior season ... "That is still up in the air. I have talked about using a fifth year and playing volleyball. I have thought about going overseas to keep playing basketball. It is all still up in the air, but I have a few different options that I am considering."
Senior forward Rachel Sheffer started all 32 games last season, leading Michigan in scoring at 12.8 points per game en route to an All-Big Ten honorable mention. Sheffer scored in double figures in 22 games, including five games with at least 20 points. She recorded two double-doubles on the season, going for 20 points and 10 rebounds at Wisconsin and scoring 18 points with a career-high 13 rebounds at Indiana. Sheffer set a program record for free throws made in a game when she went 15-for-18 at the line against Indiana (Feb. 16, 2011) as a sophomore. She currently ranks 36th on Michigan's career scoring list with 781 points.
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