Nov. 9, 2006
Women's basketball's junior guard Laura Lokitis played in 25 games as a sophomore, shooting 51 percent from the field. Lokitis, a Norton, MA resident, had 11 points, two steals, and two assists in Tuesday's exhibition game against Athletes in Action. The Eagles will open the season at home on Sunday, November 12 at 2 p.m. against Sacred Heart.
Share your thoughts on Tuesday's exhibition game. What can the team take away from that game?
I think we did a very good job. We have a lot of young players who are very versatile and they stepped up. Ayla Brown played very well, the returning players - Sarah Marshall, Kindyll Dorsey, and Kathrin Ress - played well and then when I got in there I did what I could do to help the team. Overall, we know what we have to work on. We have a huge home game coming up on Sunday against Sacred Heart (2 p.m.), and I think Tuesday's game was a good one to play in front of the public and get all of the jitters out.
Talk about the freshmen that have joined the team this year. What are some of their strengths?
Ayla Brown is a very versatile guard, along with Elisabeth Egnell. Then we have Mickel Picco, who's a point guard. They can all shoot, handle the ball pretty well. It's good to have two freshmen who can actually play the three and the four positions because Ayla and Beth are interchangeable, which gives us a little more balance. I played against Ayla in high school, we were big rivals. We also have a transfer in Kaydia Kentish. She's one of our post players. They're all very athletic and very talented.
Has the play of any returning player surprised you?
I can't say anyone specifically. I think everyone did what they could over the summer and everyone has improved.
What skills did you work on most in the off-season?
I'm a shooting guard, but I took the chance to work on a lot of my one-on-one moves, things like going to the right, pull-up jump shot, three-pointer, handling the ball. Knowing that Kindyll and I are shooters, the other teams are going to pressure us and we have to be able to do more that just shoot the ball, you have to be versatile. When teams take away my shot, [it's good] knowing I can make a move and drive by them.
Has Coach Inglese emphasized something in particular in practice - to the team, to you?
For the team she has stressed spacing on offense, keeping the floor spread, communicating with one another, both on the defensive end and the offensive end. One of the things which she has been stressing to me is going to the right. When I come off a screen I love to just do one dribble and pull up. Coach just wants me to go to the right more and I've been working on that quite a bit, so come game time I can actually do it.
The Eagles open the season at home on Sunday against Sacred Heart. What has the team focused on in preparation for the season opener?
Spacing on offense, communicating, transition defense was definitely a key she has stressed. We got burned a couple of times in the exhibition on defending screens. Sacred Heart has a lot of good shooters, so we have to get a hand up on the approach step, and on offense, we need to remain poised.
After one season in the ACC, what can you tell us about the level of competition and how does the team feel heading into its second season in the conference?
We're definitely confident. We lost four really good seniors last year, but the newcomers and freshmen and returning players are all stepping in to fill those roles. The ACC is very athletic and everyone runs. Our coach has been conditioning us quite a bit to get ready to face the ACC. We've been doing sprints and it's definitely paying off, because come ACC time, we have to be able to keep up with them if we want to play a full 40 minute game. Last year, we did very well in the ACC (6th place), then making it to the Sweet 16. We're looking forward to the ACC games but really we all can't wait until the season starts.
Last year the Eagles posted a 21-12 record and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years. What are the team's goals heading into the '06-'07 campaign?
Last year in the ACC Tournament we got bumped out after the first game. We lost to University of Virginia. We definitely want to try to win the ACC Tournament and then definitely get an NCAA Tournament bid. If anything, we want to beat the 21 wins from last year. We've been working really hard and I think it showed last night, being a young team and a new team, we're all still getting used to playing with each other. The chemistry of the team has changed, and different roles have to be filled. I think everyone's doing a really good job with their new roles.
With a competitive conference schedule, are there any games that you especially look forward to?
Maryland is the reigning national champ right now. They have a young team and everyone returns so I can't wait to play them. Duke is another team I can't wait to play. UNC, we gave them a really good run last year, just those big teams, I can't wait. Every ACC game you have to come ready to play, that's what is so great about the conference.
On November 21, the Eagles will travel to Columbus, OH to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. How do you think last year's NCAA Tournament upset will add to the intensity of that game?
I think it will add a lot of intensity. We're all thrilled; we're so happy to see them on our schedule. I think we'll give them a good game. We definitely have to control the paint with Jessica Davenport, who is about 6-7 [actually 6-5]. We're thrilled to play them and I think they'll be ready to play us especially after what happened in the tournament. (BC knocked Ohio State out of the NCAA tournament in the second round last season).
How do you spend your free time when you're out of class and away from the court?
I like to write, as crazy as it sounds. I like writing poetry. A lot of my teammates don't know this but I love to play the piano. If I'm tired or I need a little break from work, I'll go over to Vanderslice to play the piano. I'm actually in the process of getting a keyboard in my room, so I can play. Even in high school, I was in the chorus, the only athlete in the chorus. Everyone would say, "You're in the chorus?" and I would say, "Yeah." It's good to be well-rounded. I like to dance too, but I can't really do too much of that with basketball right now.
Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann