Coach Fanning and Players Excited about the Season

Coach Sharon Fanning and three senior players, Tan White, Tiania Burns, and Rebecca Kates, discussed the upcoming season during the annual MSU basketball media day.

Head Coach Sharon Fanning
Opening Comments:
"We are very excited to get started this year. The leadership is really good on this team and they are stepping it up. The endurance of the leadership this year should help us out a lot. We have made a lot of progress already and it is good to see the seniors teaching the younger players during each practice. The first few weeks of practice are really tough on the players. The practices are mentally tough and we are working hard every day to get through that. The top six players (Tan, Tiania, Rebecca, Doceide, Blessing and Mamie) have a good understanding of what we want to do. Now we need to get everyone else to understand what we are trying to do so that we can fill in all of the gaps. We have brought in a scout team to play against our girls. Those guys really challenge our girls not only physically but also mentally. To compete in this league, that is something we have to do."

On the Schedule:
"Last year we suffered some injuries and we had a tough schedule to go along with that. However the key was, we showed a lot of character and we finished the season strong. I think that will carry over to this year. We play eight teams that finished in the top 25 last season. We are not a very big team so we are going to use our quickness to be successful this year. Baylor comes in to play and we need a big turnout to that one. That is a doubleheader and people should come early and support our girls. We bring in a lot of quality teams to the Hump this year and have the most home games than we have had in a long time. Again we need people at the games this year to support us and help us in any way they can."

On the Southeastern Conference:
"Well the SEC is a very good conference this season. Tennessee and LSU are very solid teams. Georgia and Florida are better this year and return some girls from last year. You can go down the list and name the quality teams that we have this year. I feel that the league is stronger, deeper, and more competitive than it has been in a while. Hopefully we will be in that mix. We are working hard to do that."

On Seniors:
"One thing you can't do is replace experience. These three girls (Rebecca, Tan and Tiania) bring experience to the team. They communicate and cover for each other really well and they are very valuable to this team."

On Last Year's Run:
"The biggest thing about last year's run was health and experience. Blessing and Doceide provided a lot of depth and that made a difference. Early last season there was an adjustment period for us trying to replace LaToya. It took us a while to adjust to that and as the season progressed we were able to show some character and fight through the season."

On Status of Blessing Chekwa and Doceide Warren:
"They are both warriors and are back on the floor practicing. Blessing is going to play through injuries and is going to do whatever it takes to be out there. Doceide is coming back from hip surgery and is gaining more endurance every day."

Player Quotes

#15 Tan White, senior guard
On Her Leadership Role:
"My leadership role has changed a lot since I was a freshman. Now I think I can help the younger players to step up and play better."

On Team's Expectations:
"The team's expectations are much wiser this year. We know what it feels like to get to the postseason. It is very important for us to get there again. Our demeanor is much better."

#12 Tiania Burns, senior guard
On Postseason Experience:
"I have experienced the postseason on the junior college level. I just like to keep playing. We have the talent that can get us there."

On Knowledge Gained from First Year in SEC: "I have learned a lot in the past year. Patience and communication are two big things I have learned. I have to be very vocal this year because of the position I am in now."

#33 Rebecca Kates, senior forward
On Team Chemistry:
"The team this year is much more positive. We are much closer as a team than we have been in the past. Leadership has helped that a lot. The experience from last year has carried over."

On Jumbotron:
"We are very excited about the jumbotron. It seems we were the last team in the SEC to get one."

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