Beth Burns and the Aztecs officially open practice for the 2006-07 season on Friday.
Oct. 10, 2006
Press Conference Archive
SAN DIEGO -
SDSU women's head basketball coach Beth Burns
Aztec Athletics Center
"It's that time again. It's an awesome and exciting time. It's exciting for us to come out there on Friday evening and get things started with the men's team. It was really exciting last year to be able to experience (the men's basketball team's) success. (The success of the men) is a big incentive and motivation for us this year. We'll have nine new faces to integrate with our six returning student-athletes. We are all committed to getting something done - elevating our success in the Mountain West Conference after a banner year by the Mountain West Conference. We had six teams (from the MWC) in the postseason last year and four teams make the NCAA tournament. It's a great league and we are looking forward to getting started."
On players she expects to make an immediate impact:
"This is what's going to make the season so much fun. We are going to have a competitive first six weeks. The people we brought here came because they want to win championships. The returning players have experience and have worked really hard, off the court and on the court, to improve their skill set to compete. It will be a fun practice environment for the next six weeks where our players will decide who will step to the forefront."
On any players stepping into a leadership role:
"As opposed to football with the numbers we deal with, nine newcomers is a big number. Two-thirds of our team has never been here before. I really think that will be hammered out on the floor. If I had to point out a player, I think Kate Eveland has started to separate herself a little bit. She got a chance to play a ton of minutes at a ton of spots last year. She's very bright, a scholar-athlete, and she's separated herself a little bit, as well as Desiree Johnson. Those two have shown me (their leadership skills) from an off-the-court and on-the-court perspective. But we have so many young players and they are going to play. I really think it will come down to who will be on the court."
On being apprehensive about the upcoming season:
"I'm not apprehensive at all ... Maybe this isn't the best way to phrase it, but it doesn't get bad over night and it doesn't get good over night. You can't be good instantaneously - you've got to work, you've got to grind, you've got to build and you've got to believe. You also can't get hurt or homesick. We have people who we think can compete. We are the sixth-best RPI league in the country. We don't know how they (the team) are going to react to that, but (are we) apprehensive? Not at all. It is a really nice thing to be able to build from the ground up. If you can live through it, it is a really good thing. We have really good people. Everybody who came here knew what they were coming to. They were coming to a fantastic opportunity - a beautiful place, a great league and an opportunity to play. So now, to me, it's let the competition begin. We are on our way."
On the non-conference schedule:
"We like our non-conference schedule. We think it gives us an opportunity for a lot of home games for such a young team. We have some returning teams who we played last year. Those games will enable us to somewhat monitor our progress. I think (the schedule) is laid out well. I think we have a lot of games before we get to our finals period. Because our league is so good, we have to start with the non-conference. With a team that has nine new people, I do think how we do early will dictate how we do (in the MWC).
"We're so fortunate to have the second annual San Diego Surf `N Slam this year. This year's headliner is the University of Georgia, which has been (preseason) ranked seventh in the country. If you want to be the best, you have to play the best. I think it will be a great opportunity for us heading into the conference season."
On Friday's Midnight Madness:
"We haven't done it here in many years. It's exciting for us. It's in Peterson Gym, so we would like to not only get our fans, donors and boosters, but get our students here to set the tone for a great season. I know we are going to have fun. It's going to be great. From our perspective, it's about people coming to see all of our new players. Come on out and see what we are all about. I know our team is excited."