How does last year's success weigh on this team?
It's motivation to do better. If we got there last year, there's no doubt we can get there this year. We have more talent and we're more experienced and we have a better chance to accomplish more than we did last year.
What is the primary strength of this team?
Our chemistry. We played very well last year. We never quit. In order to be successful in the big east, you need that, heart and determination.
How will having 7 new players affect this team?
It's going to be a factor but that doesn't mean it's going to be a negative. People that have been here need to show them what it's like to play for Syracuse. We don't do things half assed, and we do things the right way. This group of people are very capable of coming in and not playing they're freshman. These are a special group of seven new people.
Have you playing shooting guard before?
When I play with other point guards it's a lot easier to take the ball and go. I'm just going to do whatever coach asks of me. If she wants me to play the 2, I'll play the 2. I've been in this spot before.
What defense do you like more? Zone or man?
I like them both. I think when we switch it up on teams, it's harder for them to react. I like them both. I think the zone helped us to get where we were last year. It was great learning it last year. Defense is about heart. You can stop anybody.
Describe the mood after your loss last year in the NCAA tournament.
It was emotional because we didn't want to stop playing with each other. We wanted to go to practice tomorrow and see each other. It was disappointing losing in the first round but it was good experience we'll take that and learn from that. It's going to be weird not playing with Jaime. Change is not always bad. There will be new people coming in. We were happy. Happy to be there, but that wasn't what we wanted to settle for. We knew there was a lot more ahead for us. That was just one step.
Why No. 50?
I've played No. 50 since high school. I love it.
What does your name mean?
My name dates back to African heritage. My parents are Nigerian and to shorten Chineze, they called me Chinee. There's a lot of other nicknames my teammates call me, you'll probably hear it during the game. Julie calls me Shaq. Mya calls me Hackmonster.
They call you Shaq?
It's because I miss a lot of free throws. I think it's because I dominate the post. Shaq doesn't make a lot of free throws and I'm not a really good free throw shooter. Hopefully this year it will turn out for the best. He's very powerful down low. I have a powerful game.
Talk about the new players.
Wow. This year we have a lot of new faces and I'm looking for a tough, strong knit team. I'm looking for us to come out every night and get done what we need to get done on the court and know that we've given it 100 percent every night. I can't wait until we start playing. Not to menion the coaching staff that we hav as well.
How's the knee?
The knee is doing well. I spent the whole summer rehabbing and focusing on my knee. I'm a little sore.
How will this team deal with success?
We have to take it all in stride. That's our main focus is not to stray off the path. We've got to want more. It's going to be a mental game for us. But we need to be prepated to play.
What went well?
A lot of things went well not only on the court but off the court. We got along well. In practice we always talked. We got positive feedback. We did all the things that a successful basketball team does.
Four keys to success:
Focus. Determination. Teamwork. Dedication.
No more underdog role. Describe that.
It's always good not to be the hunted. But a lot of teams aren't ready. Not having that role this year is going to be tough to stand up to that role. I don't think Syracuse has ever experienced that. There's a lot of stuff we haven't experienced.
You're taller. What does that mean?
We're such a tall team this year. A lot of teams are going to try to shoot over us and a lot of shots are going to be changed.
I'm going to be really physical in the game. Sometimes my teammates might get hurt or I might get hurt because I'm so physical. And yes, I do get fouls.
How will you adjust to the starting lineup?
Coming off the bench is something I got used to. Why change it if it's working? There were opportunities where I could've started but chose not to. I take pride in winning. I could score none and be fine with it.
Dealing with success?
We need to come out with the same mindset of playing and at the same time not being cocky with it.
This is a tough schedule. How will it affect this team?
That's motivation for everyone knowing that we have a top 10 team coming in. I think it'll help us a lot and that will be a great opportunity for us to get back to the post season.
What are the goals?
We want to do better than last year. 18 wins last year barely got us into the tournament. Why not 20, why not 25? And that's how we're looking at it this year.
Orangewomen are ready
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