Discussion with Amherst's
Last season, Shannon Russell led Amherst with 16 points per
game, and was named Second-Team All NESCAC. Next season, Shannon has
a chance to become the schools all-time leading scorer. She was kind
enough to answer a few of our questions:
1) You guys started 9-0 last season before ending 12-12. What do
you think accounted for the hot start and then the tail-off. Is the
talent in the conference that much stronger?
No, I think that we
just dealt with a lot of adversity towards the middle of the season.
We got off track and unfortunately, we never recovered.
2) Last season, you were solid statistically across the board. You
led the team in scoring, were 2nd in both steals and blocks, and
finished 3rd on the team in assists. With this in mind, is there any
one specific area of your game that youíd like to improve on for next
Taking the ball to the
hoop. I would definitely like to get to the foul line more
consistently and I know I'm not going to draw fouls standing at the
three point line.
3) Last season, you attempted 195 thee-pointers. Simply getting
off eight per game is quite a challenge in itself. How hard do you
have to work to get open enough to shoot so many shots from downtown,
not to mention hitting at a 33% clip?
When my teammates set
good screens it is pretty easy to get the shots off. Having the green
light to shoot also helps, I donít have to hesitate, I can just shoot
when Iím open.
4) Your team will lose 3 seniors, two of whom were major
contributors, but should still return enough experience to be
successful. Do you think the team will be primed to improve on last
seasonís .500 record? (12-12)
Yes. We have a talented
group of freshman coming in, a group of rising sophomores with a year
of experience under their belt, and 5 veterans all looking to
contribute. Of course the competition will still be a challenge, but
I think after last yearís disappointments, everyone is going to be a
little bit hungrier for the wins.
5) Your male counterparts made a nice run to last seasonís DIII
Elite Eight. Does it give you any extra impetus to succeed after
seeing their run? Do you guys get along well with the menís team?
Yes we get along pretty
well with the menís team. Unfortunately our schedules overlap, but
we look to support them whenever we can. I hope to think seeing any of
our sports teams make an NCAA run would give us a little more drive,
but it all starts with us.
6) Do you consider yourself the team leader? If not, who else
picks up this role?
I donít really consider
myself ďtheĒ team leader. We have four senior captains returning next
year, so I think itíd be hard to single any one person out. I think
the mentality is that we are all leaders and odds are that at least
one leader will be on the floor at all times, something that I think
was missing from last years team.
7) What do you feel has been the most satisfying aspect of playing
college basketball so far?
My teammates. I have been lucky enough to play with an awesome group
of girls. They are smart, they work hard, and are fun to be around.