Oct. 12, 2011
Photo Gallery | Video Report | Carmen Reynolds Interview
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With a little more than a week after the first official team practice, the University of Michigan women's basketball program held its annual media day on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11) inside the recently renovated Crisler Arena.
The Maize and Blue will open the season on the road when it faces Florida on Nov. 11. The Wolverines will play their home opener against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 14 before matching up against Utah on Nov. 17 at Crisler Arena.
Michigan Head Coach Kevin Borseth
On competing in the Big Ten ... "I think the players feel a sense of expectation this year. Getting third in the Big Ten last year was a pretty good accomplishment, it is a good conference. You can see at practice that these kids have really matured. Their sense of urgency is greater than it has been in the last couple of years. They have a better understanding of what to expect for the first day of practice and know what to expect from the competition in general.
"We try to get better every day. Last year we won the same games that we shouldn't have and lost some games that we shouldn't have. It is what it is. Hopefully we can learn from that and this year, we can press forward, and we are going to do everything that we can to make that push to becoming a better team."
On Rachel Sheffer ... "I really think that coming out of high school she was so gifted that she didn't have to work as hard as she could have. I think that having been thrown into the fire last year, having to compete and being relied on so heavily, she recognized that she had to be ready to play. Does she have another level? I think that she does. I think she prepared well in the summertime, getting herself ready so that she has a chance to make another jump in the future."
On returning players ... "Nya didn't play last year because of an injury, which took some athleticism away from us but it will be injected back into the team this year. We really are a team without a superstar and that is a discussion we had as a group when the year started. I told the players that they have to take it upon themselves to be the best players that they can be because everyone makes a difference. When I first became a teacher, someone gave me a pin which said that I make the difference, which is a pretty scary concept. I passed that onto the players. Basketball is a one player game in some respect. Look at Michael Jordan and other players who have single handedly elevated their programs because they are so good at not only getting what they want, but helping other players improve their games as well. I told my players that they can't spend all of their energy getting what they want individually; they need to make their teammates get better. So I think that we are a team in every sense of the word, without a superstar, waiting for someone to emerge. Scheffer is one of those kids who stepped up last year, but we need a lot more players to step up this year."
On freshman players ... "In my opinion, Cyesha Goree is going to be a great player. If you need a tight end or some hands to catch the ball, go to Cyesha. What a phenomenal set of hands! At this point she needs to get in shape and keep running up and down the court. She is a great worker, and she is strong, but I think she could be a year or two away from being a superstar. Brenae Harris is a player that has the athleticism to compete at this level right now it's just the matter of her getting confidence as a college player. It's hard for freshmen, because returning players already know how to run the drills and they know the plays. Freshmen just seem to get overwhelmed with studies, with basketball and with all the plays. Harris has the ability to compete at this level. She is an intelligent player and really understands the game. Aquashia has a blown out knee, so she probably won't play a lot this year. Kendra Seto didn't play last year. She transferred in from Vermont. She is a very good athlete and will play quite a bit."
U-M Senior Courtney Boylan
On how last season affects the season going forward ... "Over the summer, it only motivated us more. I truly believe that because we have all worked so hard, especially this week, I think it has been a huge motivating factor for us."
On what the coaches have told her to work on ... "The coaches continually say I need to work on speed and quickness, becoming a better defender. They know I have the ability to score. Where I really need to work is on the defensive end."
On the goals ... "I definitely think we can win the Big Ten this year. We came in third last year and we return a lot of players, four starters, so that's definitely an achievable goal for us and in doing that, getting to the NCAA tournament. We have to get to that level. Being Michigan, being a Big Ten school, we definitely want to get to the tournament."
U-M Junior Jenny Ryan
On overcoming the mental hurdles going into this season ... "The mental hurdles are always there and I think it's kind of personal with our team, you just have to stay confident all the time and that is the biggest thing with any sporting atmosphere, especially playing in the Big Ten when every game is down to the last five minutes. Now that we are older, we know how to handle those mental obstacles and just know that they are all in our head and just be confident in ourselves."
On the expectation level ... "I think that we try to raise it every year. Now that we've finished third in the Big Ten, our eyes are on the NCAA tournament and that is where our expectations have always laid, and now it's all or nothing for us."
On the team's strengths and weaknesses ... "Our strength is definitely that we are older, wiser, we have great energy from our freshmen and practices just flow so nicely because people know what they are doing, people pick up things fast and we are able to progress. As far as our weakness, I can't see anything that is glaring, just as long as, one of those weaknesses, we do approach as those games come and we see where our faults lie. We work through them quickly and adjust on the fly. We are older so we will be able to handle that."
U-M Senior Carmen Reynolds
On looking forward to the season ... "Right now we are focusing on taking it one game at a time. Obviously I am looking forward to Paradise Jam and playing our big rivals and playing one game at a time."
On summer development ... "We all were here over the summer, a lot of us were both spring and summer semester. We all worked in the weight room, strength and conditioning and even got shots up on the court, so focus all around is just staying in shape and getting better."
On transitioning into senior leadership ... "I'm going to continue to lead by example. I've never been too vocal of a person, but always encouraging my teammates and working hard and everyone will follow."
U-M Junior Rachel Sheffer
On contributing significantly as a sophomore last season ... "Sophomore-year was all about confidence and I felt like halfway through the season, I felt a lot more confident and comfortable with the ball and showed it on the court more."
On making improvements in various areas on the court ... "For me it's more about moving off the posts and going more outside the point, working on driving, and shooting outside a little more."
On first view of the Player Development Center ... "The first time we saw it, we were definitely excited because all summer we were in the IM building and just going everywhere - wrestling - so once we got in here, it was a big amazement because we were excited. We're excited for the Player Development Center to get done and get in there in a few days."
U-M Senior Jamillya Hardley
On how last season will help motivate them this year ... "It's definitely been great motivation coming off of a great year last year. We move forward every year, getting better. This year we're definitely going off of everything that happened last year, using that as motivation. Keep working hard every day to get better. Keep making strides."
On preparation for the upcoming year ... "Just focusing on this year, being focused in practice, being a cohesive team, coming in and working hard every day. That's definitely been a big factor that's been stressed."
On personal and team goals ... "Well, we obviously have the goal of being Big Ten champs and making it to the dance. March madness. That's definitely a big motivation. We just want to work hard and come in every day with the effort and getting better every day."
On what the coaches would like to improve ... "Just working together, working hard and being one. Being able to focus and listen both on and off the court has definitely been stressed."
U-M Redshirt Sophomore Kendra Seto
On how to contribute after missing last year due to NCAA transfer rule ... "For me it's about getting comfortable with the offense because I didn't play last year. So I'm building confidence and getting more comfortable with the offense."
U-M Sophomore Val Driscoll
On this season's team ... "Definitely a big goal is to win the Big Ten. We're going to take it game-by-game and do the best we can. We have good posts, players that can do this, players that can do that, and we all just help each other out."
On season schedule ... "We just need to take this year game-by-game. The first game against Florida should be a good game; I think all of our games are going to be big in different ways."
U-M Junior Nya Jordan
On the areas of her game she worked on over the summer after sustaining an injury last year ... "Mainly I focused on shooting. I felt like the weakest aspect of my game was shooting. Coach wanted me to work on my shot so that's mostly what I worked on this summer."
On reaching the next level after almost reaching the NCAA Tournament last year ... "I just think we need to be more confident. I think confidence goes a long way. I think most of the teams that made it to the Final Four were really confident in themselves and their team."
On embracing the freshman class as an upperclassman ... "I try to teach them everything I know. I think the strongest help you can get from someone is from them teaching you what they know from experience. When I was a freshman, I wanted someone to teach me that and I had that, so that's what keeps me going."
U-M Freshman Cyesha Goree
On adjusting to the college game and college life ... "I wouldn't say it is difficult. We just had to come in with open eyes and ears ready to learn."
On fitting in with the team and Coach Borseth's philosophies ... "You just have to be teachable, and I'm willing to learn. I'm ready for them to teach me and help me take my game to the next level."
On the legacy she wants this freshman class to leave ... "Just working together and playing hard, that's what I'm looking forward to."
U-M Freshman Aquashia Anderson
On transitioning to college life and to the college game ... "There's plenty of learning and watching what goes on. Everything is a learning challenge and you just have to watch and learn and be able to execute right on point. Everything is at a faster pace so you just have to be able to execute and change even more."
On how the upperclassmen have embraced the freshmen ... "It's great. They're all helpful and they try to keep helping us and encouraging us. They give us aid and they're always trying to help."
U-M Freshman Brenae Harris
On being a freshman preparing for collegiate basketball its difficulties ... "Probably the individual stuff, it's mostly because I was out of shape so it definitely got me in shape quick."
On what the coaching staff has asked her to improve ... "They help everybody out, but I know there are certain areas of my game that I need to work on."
On where she'll fit in both this season and in the long run ... "I feel like we're all going to contribute to the team, so wherever the coach puts me is where I'm going to play."