Oct. 26, 2005
As just a freshman last year, Emily Florence started all but three games at point guard. With more experience under her belt, Florence figures to run the point again for the Huskies who look to build upon last season's strong finish. Florence sat down with GoHuskies.com reporter Jonathan Price at the team's preseason media day to talk about the upcoming season.
GoHuskies.com: What has the team been up to this summer?
Emily Florence: "We have actually been working really hard in the weight room lifting and running. We have been working a lot with the strength and conditioning coach. I worked a lot on my changes in speed, because I need to have a quick speed, a slow speed and a fast speed. I worked a lot on my footwork and shooting accuracy, I shot a ton this off-season. My shot has been looking better, but I was only able to head home for a couple of weeks. We have been playing open gym about four days a week, so that has been good for us."
GH: Did having the whole team stay on campus for the majority of the summer help?
EF: "Yeah, it was definitely a good thing for us. As a freshman I came in and did a little bit of summer school, but it was nothing like this year. This year I had a lot more experience under my belt and as a team we wanted to improve a lot. The conditioning, weight-lifting and training were a lot harder than it was last year."
GH: How was your experience of going home?
EF: "It was good and it was a lot of fun. I got to see a lot of family and friends that I hadn't seen in awhile and now I am back here in a house with a few girls from the team. I am living with Stefanie Clark, two gymnasts that go here and Jackie Hollands. I was pretty close with Jackie when she played here."
GH: How does it feel to have a full year of experience under your belt?
EF: "It feels really good and I am a lot more confident than I was as a freshman. When I came in as a freshman I was pretty nervous, but now I am much more confident out there and my teammates are much more familiar with me after a good summer of workouts."
GH: What did you learn from your freshman year?
EF: "Coming in here I learned that everything was so much different than high school. All of the little things matter and all of the little things count, so you realize that you are playing at so much of a higher level. You have to be running the court at all times and you have to be strong because there are a lot of big strong girls out there."
GH: How much tougher is it on you being one of those smaller girls?
EF: "I am one of those smaller girls out there, so it just pushes and drives me to be that much faster because I can use my speed to my advantage."
GH: How big is it to have all of last year's team returning with the exception of Jackie Hollands?
EF: "It is really exciting because we have great team chemistry and we are all great friends. I think that the one freshman that we gained is really going to help us out a lot."
GH: Is there a game on the schedule that you are really looking forward to playing?
EF: "I think that Baylor is going to be a really fun one just because they are the defending National Champions. We got a good look at them last year and it was fun because we were able to stick with them for awhile and I think that it will be an even better game this year."
GH: Do you think that having a tough schedule is something that is beneficial to the team?
EF: "Definitely. I think that with having a tough schedule every year it will make the Pac-10 and regular season that much easier because the Pac-10 is going to be really good this year. The preseason should help us a lot in preparation for Pac-10 play later in the season."
GH: What were your first thoughts when you found out that you were picked to finish seventh in the Pac-10 in the coaches' poll this year?
EF: "It is kind of disappointing, but at the same time it really makes us work that much harder. We want to prove everyone that they are wrong and that we can compete with the better teams in the Pac-10. With the experience that we have this year, I think that we have a really good shot."
GH: What are the team's goals for this season?
EF: "We would like to finish in the top-three of the Pac-10 and make the NCAA tournament. We need to have a good pre-season and regular season in order for us to achieve these goals."
GH: Contrast your disappointment from last year with your expectations for this year.
EF: "Last year was a good learning experience for the team because we had a lot to learn with being such a young team. This year, like I said we have that experience now and we learned a lot from all of those tough games that we played and kept so close. With that experience we now know what to expect and we can use that to create success this year."