Nov. 2, 2004
This week's featured athlete is women's basketball senior guard and co-captain Jessalyn Deveny. Deveny was named to the All-BIG EAST Preseason First Team last Thursday at BIG EAST women's basketball media day.
Q: What do you see in this year's team from the first few weeks of practice?
A: It's going really well. We've had great preseason workouts with conditioning and scrimmaging. We were really anxious to get started with practice. Our chemistry looks awesome. We're just flowing as a team already. It's exciting.
Q: What has Coach Inglese been emphasizing at the start of a new season of practice?
A: Definitely, our defensive intensity and pressure on the ball and off the ball. We're pretty energized already, but she wants to make sure that we are up for every practice. She emphasizes everything - execution on offense, setting screens, making sure to make that extra pass and get the shot that we want. We don't need to rush. We've got all-around, good depth on our team inside and out. It's not like we just have to focus on one thing. It's executing through our whole offense.
Q: What do you see out of the two freshmen--Shamika and Laura?
A: I think they are going to really help us out immediately this year. Shamika Jackson is from Connecticut and is doing a really good job for us. She learns very fast and is going to be a backup point guard. It's hard for a point guard to come in and learn the whole entire new system but she's doing a really good job. Laura is a great shooter. She's a great scorer. She always looks to score which is awesome, because moving up to the next level is much tougher with defense and a faster-paced game but she's already looking to score which is a strength on her part. I think they are definitely going to see some playing time throughout the season.
Q: Who do you feel has really improved over the offseason?
A: Brooke Queenan - she's a junior and a post player - looks amazing. She has always had that potential the past two years. She has potential and you could see it. She had a great summer working out, getting stronger, getting quicker and just becoming more fit. She looks awesome this year. She's such a versatile post player because she can step out and play the wing, also. We're just really excited that she's looking the way she does right now because it is just awesome.
Q: Any particular non-conference or Big East teams or players that you can't wait to face?
A: Our first games are at the Michigan State tournament. We don't play them first, but we might play them. We might face Michigan State and they are always a strong team. That's our first huge game. Other than that, we're going to out to play at Stanford, which is always a good game because we don't really ever play those west coast teams. They are always a good team. In the Big East, obviously [we look forward to playing] UConn. But the other one we are really looking forward to Notre Dame at Notre Dame. We never really seem to be able to win out there. I don't know if the gym is cursed or something like that. We really want that game. We play them twice this year - both at home and away.
Q: How do you stay at the top of your game and keep competitive over the summer?
A: Right after March, we have two weeks off and start with individual workouts and conditioning. But during the summer, we were here for the first session of summer school so that was pretty easy to keep up our intensity. We're playing together, working out together in the weight room and running together. So that's pretty easy to keep it up. When I go home, I work out pretty much everyday. I take a day off here and there. I didn't play in a summer league this year, but I played pick-up with some of my old teammates from around my area. They give out a big packet about what you need to do, and you know that if you don't do it you're going to suffer the consequences. You want to come back in really good shape, and I think our team did that this year.
Q: As one of two team captains, what do you see as your main responsibilities?
A: Just to be a leader on and off the court, obviously, more so off the court. On the court for the past couple of years, I have been a little bit of a leader but off the court you just have much more responsibility. This is your team. Clare and I, being the only two seniors, we've been through three years of this so we have a pretty good feeling of what to expect. We make sure that the team chemistry is good, the thinking is on the same page among all the teammates and the coaches, and to be a good communicator between the team and the coaches. It's going well, so far.
Q: What does it mean to you to be named an All-BIG EAST Preseason First Team selection?
A: It's a good accolade, but it doesn't mean anything much because it is preseason. You haven't done anything to prove yourself. It's going on what you've done the past couple of years. This year is a totally different year. There are different people in the conference and you've got to prove yourself again. It's a very nice award and, obviously, it's nice to be seen but you still have to prove yourself.
Q: Talk about some of the challenges you are going to face in the Big East.
A: We are playing the top three [Big East] teams twice - UConn, Rutgers, and Notre Dame. When we are playing the top teams at home and away, it is going to be a difficult battle for us. But, I think that is good because we want to go out on top in the Big East in our last year. We won a championship in the tournament last year and we want to come back and get another one this year. Going out with a bang this year is our main focus.
Q: In each of your three seasons, the Eagles have advanced to the NCAA Tournament; in each of the last two seasons, you've led BC to the Sweet 16. What's it going to take to get to the next level, past the Sweet 16?
A: We've gotten a taste of that success, and I think that we cannot expect anything less. Winning the Big East Championship was obviously a great feat for us. That shows that we can do that. BC has never really won before. Making it to the Sweet 16 two years in a row is just awesome. Only a few teams do that consecutively, but we're ready to step it up to the next level and make it to the Elite Eight. Our goal is set on the Final Four. It's about believing in yourself, and I think we're going to have a pretty successful year.
Q: What's been your biggest basketball thrill in three seasons at Boston College?
A: Obviously, last year beating UConn [in the BIG EAST Tournament]. When the buzzer went off, it was absolutely amazing. I was in disbelief that we had just beaten them. I had to do a little interview afterwards, so the rest of my team went in the locker room and I couldn't wait to get in the locker room with them. We just went crazy and I must have gotten 50 phone calls right afterwards.
Q: UConn has once again been picked to finish first, yet last season you defeated UConn on the road to a BIG EAST Tournament Championship. What does this BC-UConn women's basketball rivalry mean to you?
A: That probably is our biggest rival. Notre Dame vs. BC is obviously a huge rivalry throughout all sports. But in the women's basketball stage, UConn is the team that everyone wants to beat. This year, they are going to have a different team. They are obviously going to be strong because they have a lot of talent and experience. They'll be without Diana Taurasi. She was their main leader and held them all together. I think it's going to be different, but the rivalry will still be the same. I hope we can win at home this year to give our fans a little something.
Next week: The Athletics Department will feature ice hockey senior defenseman John Adams.