Conversation with Coach Ladner Part I

Renee Ladner is busy with her first season as head coach coming up soon, but the new Lady Hoops leader found time to talk about how things are going. Here is part one of that conversation.

The first segment will talk about this season's schedule and a new assistant coach, while tomorrow will focus on the players themselves.

On the players this summer:

It's been fabulous, we have our kids up here in July to get all academic needs taken care of as well as some athletics. They are playing a lot of basketball on their own and taking part in voluntary conditioning. But the academic part, they are all doing well in school so that is what I am most proud of.

On next year's schedule:

Presently, we are two games short, but the schedule will be a daunting task to say the least. If all works out, we are going to open up the season on the road at Nebraska. And then also play some non-conference teams that have been in the NCAA Tournament. Along with Nebraska, Louisiana Lafayette and N.C. State are two of them, and then there are a couple tournaments that we will take part in and play Wisconsin, Montana, and UT-Arlington, a team we played last year. There are also road trips to Penn State and Miami. Those are always challenging every time that you go in someone else's gym. We were supposed to play Illinois, but that game has been moved back a year. So, that would have been fun, go play Miami, Penn State and Illinois before coming home to play N.C. State..

On playing tournaments over the two breaks

Our tournaments are in Malibu, Calif., over Thanksgiving, and we will be in Montana after Christmas. The tournaments are loaded with talent and will give us a chance to evaluate and be the best we can be when SEC play begins. We always play in competitive tournaments over the holidays, and travel takes a lot out of you. You're not where you need to be at those times because you are just getting into the thick of the schedule. The tournaments are a chance to fit the pieces in the puzzle and make chemistry work. Those two travel periods will be two very good challenges for us.

On finding a scheduling balance:

Scheduling period is always difficult to do because you are trying to pick up quality opponents and also make sure you can win at least 10 games before conference while being tested. At Ole Miss, everybody drives out during Thanksgiving and Christmas so it is best to play away. It gets the team adjusted and prepared.

On new assistant coach Marlene Stollings:

It is very exciting. Her name is Marlene Stollings. She has seven years of college coaching experience. The majority of the time, she was an assistant, but she has some interim head coaching (New Mexico State). As a player, she was Ms. Ohio Basketball and I think she has records in three-point shots and free throws, so that should help us some. A really good person that is hard working and organized. She has a degree in marketing and will be a tremendous asset to our program. She loves the game and loved Ole Miss. The last thing she said before she left was that "I want to be a Rebel." I told her about this being a small town and everything, but she stopped me and said, "Hey coach, I came from a town of 800. This is not a problem." She stayed here one day and fell in love with Ole Miss. Her interview was rough. I grilled her pretty well. I handed here a tape and said that I needed a scouting report, two player development drills, and an offense, and I would like it presented in about 30 minutes. She didn't blink, and I knew right then that she might be our girl.

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