Head coach Jen Hoover checks in from the Virgin Islands about the holiday trip and the state of her team.
Many of the loyal denizens of Blogger So Dear and the Twitterverse are familiar with the degrading acronym, "LOWF". Or, for the uninitiated, "Little Ol' Wake Forest". At any given time it is a derisive term ("Ain't no way we're losing to little ol' Wake Forest"), a crutch ("We never get any good players because we're just little ol' Wake Forest") and a rallying cry ("Hey, Seminoles! You just got beat by little ol' Wake Forest!"). Sometimes, it's all three during the span of one game.
First-year Lady Deac coach Jen Hoover does not strike me as the type of person who embraces the LOWF mentality in any way, shape or form. I knew that from the moment she told me that she wanted her team to be in the upper tier of the ACC in rebounding. She was nice enough to answer some questions from Blogger So Dear during a simply brutal stretch of schedule that included losses to Kansas, Connecticut, Purdue and Marist.
BSD: It looks to me like rebounding and free throws are the only things holding this team back. Is that up to the coaching staff to instill or is it a mindset and commitment that has to be made by each individual on the floor?
CJH: We take that as team focus. As a staff and as players, we all have to step up and take care of our determination on the boards. It's a constant focus. The coaching staff is constantly talking to them about it, and I think they (the team) now constantly talk about it as well. You know, the free throws... we've got to get a lot of extra shots up on our own, outside of practice time. That's just a matter of getting reps in and stepping up confidently and making shots.
BSD: How much better does this stretch make your team? Do you come back to Winston a different squad?
CJH: I think it definitely makes us better. If you want to beat the best, you've got to play the best and I think right off the bat you've got to be tested. It shows us where we are, how close we are, things we need to work on and get better at. It's preparing us for conference play.
BSD: Watching Chelsea Douglas run the offense made me wonder how good she is and can be. Does she have a chance to be a top-tier point guard?
CJH: I think Chelsea's growth and continuation of understanding what the point guard looks like for us, as far as really running the team...I think she's starting to understand how much exactly we want her to do that. KeeVee (Lakevia Boykin) being out there on the floor with her, and Asia (Williams),it gives her a lot of confidence to know that she's not on an island by herself. As a group, I think they do a great job with that and they're getting even better and better understanding exactly what we want as a new staff with a new system.
BSD: Is a trip like this an advantage for a first-year staff?
CJH: I definitely think so. The team bonding aspects of it is going to be an experience that's great for us as a staff. It's great for any team to experience, but definitely in your first year to have the experience to come down and learn a lot about each other outside of the court, and learn a lot about each other when our backs are against the wall against some of the top teams in the country.
Special thanks to coach Jen Hoover and Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Gary Petit for taking the time for us. Gary's staff at Wake does a great job and I hope they had a chance to enjoy the Virgin Islands. Complete game recaps can be found HERE.