Coaches Corner: Steve Curtis, Ladies Basketball
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Welcome back everyone!


Wednesday night I left trick or treating early and headed to our annual Halloween Hoopla in the Gold Dome.  There were several activities going on outside before everyone came in to check out the ’07 – ’08 version of the Ladies and Gents.  The guys had a “scrimmage” that was right out of the And 1 basketball tour (if you don’t know what that is consider yourself lucky - it’s basketball’s version of professional wrestling).  The barrage of dunks got the crowd going and we followed it with some shooting contests involving our players and a few Centenary students.  Then came the dunk contest, won by Nick Stallings.  The winning dunk featured Ladies basketball player Monique Jefferson sitting on a chair in the lane.  She tossed a pass into the air as Nick ran toward her.  He soared over her head, caught the ball and slammed it in.  I was a little nervous but it was a nice assist.


Thursday at noon we had a C-Club luncheon with the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams.  Most of the local media was there in addition to members of the C-Club, Centenary faculty, and administration.  Our players introduced themselves and did a great job, as always.  Watching them reminded me again how fortunate we are to have such a terrific group of young ladies representing our school.  Then Coach Flaska and I said a few words about the upcoming season.  Each of us will be very young but both programs are moving in the right direction. 


Thursday night was the first time we had an opportunity to play against outside competition.  We scrimmaged three halves against East Texas Baptist and for the most part things went pretty well.  I like to script playing time in these situations to make sure we see all the combinations we need to see and everyone plays enough to be evaluated.    One of the best things about Thursday’s scrimmage was seeing one of my former players for the first time in a couple of years.  Ebonie Ferguson played a key role on some NCAA and WNIT teams at Mississippi State and is now an assistant coach at ETBU.  She has always wanted to coach and is doing a good job for Coach Bowen over there.  We had a few laughs about old times, especially how much she ‘enjoyed’ one of my favorite drills as a player. 


While there were quite a few big football games this weekend there was one that stood out above the others.  LSU – Alabama?  Nope.  Colts – Patriots? No big deal. Saints on a roll against the Jaguars?  I’m one of the biggest Saints fans in the world but the biggest game for me was the Stallions thrilling playoff semifinal in the Bossier City seven and eight year old league.  It was close, but thanks to a late defensive stand the Stallions are on their way to the title game.  So Saturday, before we get on a bus to go to Starkville and open our season, I’ll be on the sidelines watching my son John and his teammates going for the championship.  Life is pretty good.


Tuesday we had an exhibition against LSU-Shreveport.  There were the usual first game jitters early on but we worked our way through them.  It was an opportunity to see different combinations in action and to see where we stand as we get ready for the season.  All 11 players saw action, and each of them contributed in their own way to our win.  The game showed us some areas that need a little more attention; you always find out more by playing someone else than you do scrimmaging with each other.  As I suspected our defense and rebounding need to get much better, and we have to cut back on the turnovers.  Individually, several players did well with five (Leslie, Cierra, Ashley, Bethany, and Sarah) having terrific grades for the night.  As a team we had one of the best grades we’ve had since I’ve been here, so all in all it was a decent effort for the first time out.  Needless to say we still have a long way to go to be where we want to be.


So just like that the season is here.  There are questions everywhere.  Can our players ever learn the correct angles on our screens?  Will we support each other when the adversity arrives?  Will we put what’s good for the team ahead of our individual wishes?  Can we guard anybody?  This will be a challenging week with games Sunday at Mississippi State and Tuesday at Louisiana-Monroe.  The State game will be especially interesting for me since I helped recruit and know almost their entire team.  I’m not sure we are ready, but at this point but that’s irrelevant; it’s time to play.  Come back next Wednesday and I’ll let you know how we did.  See you then.


Go Centenary!