Aug. 23, 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 senior guard Kate Thompson talks about what changed this summer, expectations for the upcoming season and her plan following her final season in Ann Arbor.
On how summer has gone ... "It has been absolutely fantastic. In the four years I have been here, this was the best summer that I had. It has been the whole team's best summer. I think we have come together as a team."
On how this summer was different than previous summers ... "There was a different atmosphere with a lot of competition this summer. We know that we need to get ready for next season and that starts in the summer with pushing each other to get better. We made the NCAA Tournament last year and this year, we want to surpass that. We don't just want to get there again, we want to win. As seniors, we know what we want to accomplish this season. We want to put up a banner. There has just been a lot more focus this summer."
On the leadership style of the senior class ... "I think we have a good mix between the five of us. We have vocal leaders in Rachel (Sheffer) and Jenny (Ryan). Then we have Sam (Arnold), Nya (Jordan) and me, who are more of leaders by example. I think together we do a great job of making sure everyone is on the same page."
On how making the tournament last year affects this year ... "We learned a lot from just getting there and having that experience. It was great to play in front of that huge crowd. We got close in the last seven minutes of the game before it just slipped away. That was hard. We know that we need to do better this year."
On her goal for the summer ... "I wanted to come back faster, quicker and stronger. I realized at the NCAA Tournament what kind of athlete competes out there. I know that, as a team, we all need to reach that next level. Bo (Sandoval), our new strength and conditioning coach, has done a great job this summer of getting us ready for this upcoming season."
On what this team is capable of ... "I think we are capable of just about anything. We have a great returning group. We have some really talented freshmen coming in. Losing Courtney (Boylan), Carmen (Reynolds) and Jamillya (Hardley) will be tough because they were a big part of the team. But moving forward, I think we are going to be great."
On the coaching transition ... "I think it has been really smooth. They are always around the office. We have great relationships with all of them. They have done a really good job of getting to know all of us on a personal level. We are all excited about this season."
On her summer outside of basketball ... "This was the first summer that I got to go home and see my family. That was really fun for me. I was only there for a couple of days, but it was great to see them."
On her plans following the season ... "I have this grand scheme that I want to play out, but I have no idea if it will. As soon as I graduate, I want to take the MCAT. I would spend the summer studying, take the test and then go play overseas for two years. When I am done playing, I want to go to medical school. I want to go here so badly. I love the University of Michigan so much. If I can get into this medical school, it would be a dream come true. I would love to still be involved with the team in some way while I was going to medical school. When I am done with that, I want to be a pediatrician."
Senior guard Kate Thompson played in all 32 games as a reserve in 2011-12, averaging 8.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game. Thompson scored in double figures 11 times this past season, tying a career high with 18 points at Penn State on Jan. 12. She currently ranks 50th on Michigan's all-time scoring list with 529 career points. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Thompson is majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology and planning on attending medical school following graduation.
Catching Up With Val Driscoll (Aug. 21)
Catching Up With Rachel Sheffer (Aug. 16)
Catching Up With Kelsey Mitchell (Aug. 14)
Catching Up With Nya Jordan (Aug. 9)
Catching Up With Brenae Harris (Aug. 7)
Catching Up With Krista Phillips (Aug. 2)
Catching Up With Cyesha Goree (July 31)
Catching Up With Jenny Ryan (July 26)
Catching Up With Rebecca Lyttle (July 24)
Catching Up With Madison Ristovski (July 19)