Insights during a day off in Fresno

By Lara Boyko - March 25, 2007

An ‘Off’ Day

After playing in and winning their Sweet Sixteen games last night, the LSU and UConn teams enjoyed an off day here in Fresno to rest, regroup and re-evaluate each other for tomorrow night’s game.

Yet with practices and grilling from the media that’s left here in Fresno, it seemed more like a normal business day than anything else for these two teams who are preparing to face each other for the second time this season.

The last time they met up was Feb. 11. UConn’s Charde Houston was not playing at 100 percent due to having a stomach flu and LSU still had a permanent head coach with Pokey Chatmen at the helm. It’s amazing the difference that six weeks can make.

Now, Houston is back to 100 percent and with her teammates who also seem to be firing on all cylinders these days, UConn is aware that at this stage of the season, anything is possible no matter what happened the last time they saw a team during the regular season.

The tournament is totally different and you have to expect that every team here has improved,” said Houston. “If you get comfortable, they can beat you.”

Just as the UConn team is different, so is the LSU team as they are playing under the guidance of acting coach Bob Starkey., but trying to keep everything in perspective.

“We didn’t do anything different,” said Starkey. “We didn’t put in any new plays or have any special team meetings, we have just kept on running the team how it had been ran as we thought it was important for the kids to have some normalcy to it. So far it has worked.”

One of the ways coach Starkey is helping his players maintain their perspective is by going back to one of the basics of basketball and taking care of the rock.

“About five or six years ago we started doing the 68 idea and called it the dedication game,” said Starkey. “This is where at a different point each season we would pick a game or road trip where we would get our kids together and they would have to dedicate a portion of that season to someone that is very important to them. It could be a family member or a friend and everyone would write that person’s name on a basketball and we would carry around that basketball around with us to keep us focused and centered.”

“We hadn’t done it this year so we chose to do it right before the NCAA Tournament. We all put our names on one basketball and take turns carrying that basketball around. It’s been kind of comical because Katie (Antony) has lost the ball a couple of times and gotten teased about it. I can’t tell you what each individual person put on the ball, but I don’t mind telling you mine as I picked this year’s team.”

Quote of the day
When everything happened, I got a call from a friend of mine in coaching named Don Meyer and he has this quote that goes “Be what you is because if you is what you ain’t, you ain’t what you is.” It’s a funny way of saying just be yourself.

Which begs the question that I have, Do you know what you is?

My English teachers are probably all pulling their hair out right now or turning over in their graves.

Posted by Lara Boyko at 07:24 PM on March 25, 2007

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