Sunday, October 24, 2021

Interview with Coach Bonnie Henrickson

2021-2022 Preseason Interview with Women's Gaucho Hoops Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson on October 19, 2021.

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  Hi Coach, thanks for taking the interview.  Let's get started with the new players.

Bonnie Henrickson ("BH"):  There's Callie Cooper, a freshman from Richardson, Texas.  She's a good point guard and playmaker.  She's also a good on-ball defender, with speed and quickness, and she applies defensive pressure at the point.

Analillia Cabuena is long and lanky.  She's good on the glass and is a good athlete.  She's a freshman from Stockton, California.

Laurel Rockwood is a freshman from Henderson, Nevada.  She's a big physical 5.  She practices against Ila every day.  She's holding her own, but she needs a bit more confidence from playing against Ila.  She has improved because of her battles inside.

Kennedy Johnson is a freshman from Hayward, California, and right now is ahead of the other freshmen.  She plays the 3/4, is a big guard, and the game is starting to slow down for her.  She has a midrange game and can knock down the 3.  She can block shots, she's aggressive, is long, and springy.  She knows how to rotate on defense, and knows how to defend the passing lanes.  Her defense is good, while the other freshmen are mostly players who are good on offense (in high school, they didn't have to play as much defense).

We also have transfers.  Alexis Tucker transferred in from Texas Tech.  She will play more of a face up game at UCSB.  She had to play in the post with her back to the basket last year due to injuries.  She has a good midrange jumper, a turnaround jumper, and handles the ball on the perimeter.  She's learning to be ready to shoot the 3 without a dribble, learning how to handle the ball on the perimeter against pressure, and spacing the floor on offense (with Ila in the paint).  She can play the 2, 3, 4 positions, she's physical and defends the post.  She's improving her changing of hands against on-ball pressure.  She's originally from southern California.

Tatyana Modawar is a transfer from UTEP.  She's originally from northern California.  She's our back up at the 5.  She's 6'3", is long, rebounds and shoots the 3.  She's made tremendous strides with putting the ball on the floor.  In practice, Ila now has to guard the perimeter because Tatyana is a stretch 5.  And Tatyana has to guard Ila inside.  The match up is good for both players as they help each other improve.

It's a challenge for new players, because they all have to learn a new system.  We run a completely different motion offense.  It's a quick hit offense, with one or two  screens, a 4 out, 1 in offense.  The  continuous screening actions take advantage of mismatches on switches.  We will go through 8-12 seconds of screening action, and then if the shot is not there, we'll run flare screens.  And then everyone is in motion, while keep their eyes inside for Ila.  We'll move Ila around the floor; she'll be facing up more and dribbling this year.  We are a catch and shoot team, a flexible squad which will take advantage of mismatches.

GH:  What about the returning players?

BH:  Danae Miller gets an extra year due to covid.  She's a senior, and is really important for us to be better in early play.  She can shoot, is a playmaker, and has experience.  She understands how to play with Ila.

Johnni Gonzalez  opted out last year.  She's a playmaker, is quick, and pushes the pace.  She is a good onball defender, and understands defensive rotations in our system.  She came back last spring with Ila and Tatyana.
Of the 15 players on the roster, 6 were on the floor last year, and 3 the year before.

Kiana Vierra opted out due to injury.  She's a senior.

Lauren Lee will be a senior.  She had to play the post last year  She can play the 3 or 4 this year.  She covers up others' mistakes on defense, sets screens, and passes well.

Megan Anderson played 9 games, but really only 6 games due to injury.  She shoots the deep ball, is quick and athletic, and also rebounds.

Taylor Mole is Australian, made the honorable mention all-league team, and led the league in rebounding.  She has as great step and under move, makes good decisions off the dribble, and knows when to pull up or not.  She played a lot of motion offense over the summer, because it can get crowded underneath with Ila.

Alyssa Marin started at the 2 guard.  She gets to the free throw line, is a capable 3 point shooter, is strong, and pushes the pace.

Anya Choice had a good freshman year during covid.  The first year is tough on freshmen.  She was  dinged up in the fall, but she is back at full strength.  She has a good midrange game, and takes it to the rim.  She's physical, shoots the 3, and can drive and kick out the pass.

Ila Lane has great hands and feet.  She's physical and embraces being a post player.  She's very coachable and humble.  Out in transition, she finishes in traffic, rebounds like crazy, and pursues relentlessly.

GH:  Any comments on the team overall this year?

BH:  Overall, this team has the most depth and most competitive depth we've had since I've been here.  Players can multiple positions.  Laurel and Ila play the 5; everyone else plays 3 positions.  We can play big and long, or quick and fast.  Ila has to figure out:  what's my read?  Do I kick it out?  Others ask where do I space?  Where and when do I pass to Ila?  What happens when she gets double teamed?  This year we can be more aggressive defensively.  Last year we had to play fast and small.  We are bigger this year.  Last year, we didn't post up.

We've made a commitment to defense this year:  to protect the rim and rebound on defense.  Taylor led in defensive rebounding.  Ila led in rebounding the year before.  

GH:  What about the other teams in the Big West?

BH:  UCD is good.  UCI is good.  The Big West conference has a bunch of transfers.  There are also  significant returnees, so the conference is wide open.

GH:  Any other comments?

BH:  We're excited for the team.  We have a good culture, and we celebrate each other.  When we visit schools, the kids love our players.  The team is really good with children.

We only had 8 players last year.  This year we have a full and deep team.

GH:  Awesome, thanks for the interview Coach.  I'd love to get a midseason update, and perhaps even interview some of the players, if that's OK.

BH:  Sure, they enjoy the game, their teammates, the fans, and being Lady Gauchos!

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