Coach Annette Watts – Women’s Basketball Coach

Excitement has been building for our women’s basketball team throughout the year. More and more people are talking about this team because when watching them play, it’s easy to see that we are getting better and better. Earlier this week, Gamecockillustated had the chance to talk with women’s head basketball coach, Annette Watts about her team.

Q: Coach Watts, what improvement do you see since the beginning of the season?

A: The biggest improvement I see is the entire mindset has changed. Our players come to practice every day and give everything they’ve got. The see the direction we are headed in. It’s exciting to see that process taking place.

Q: Who are the key players?

A: Brittany Wiley is a force to be reckoned with. Danielle Vaughn is right there with her. Danielle Beneby and Brittany Manning are doing great. When my Danielle’s and my Brittany’s are on, we’re really good. Destiny Lane, Zenobia Pitts, and Candice Carmine support the team very well. I can count on their support and contributions every day. Those 7 players are producing for us.
One of our freshmen, Lakeria Crowder, has an injured ACL. She’ll be able to come back from that next year. JaDechia Hill is another freshman that is getting a little playing time. Amanda McCarthy gets a little playing time. Amanda is focused and dedicated. She was voted a team captain. That speaks a lot for what she brings to the team.

Q: What are the toughest things for a freshman as they transition from high school to college?

A: It can be tough. The demands of the game are much greater. The speed of the game is increased, you have classes to attend, and you are away from home. It can be tough.

Q: Tell us about playing in the OVC.

A: The OVC is a tough, competitive conference. Right now, (this was on Tuesday) we’re 6th in the league, but we are sitting 1 game out of 4th. We’re shooting to move up in the standings. We’re getting into the second round of OVC games now. We’ve played everyone once. I’m trying to keep things fresh for our players. We’re adding new drills, shortening practice when I can…just trying to keep the players mentally prepared. We’re called the Road Warriors. I attribute that to our focus. When you’re on the road, it may be easier to focus on the task at hand. You don’t have the every-day distractions.

Q: What are the duties of your assistant coaches?

A: My assistant coaches are invaluable to our program. Dee Bell is our recruiting coordinator. He also works with our post players. Dee is a great recruiter. He came to us from Tenn. Tech. They are in first place right now with players he recruited there.

Matt Couvillion is our guard coach. He also does all of our travel. He’s doing a great job – we’ve had no travel glitches. He takes care of buses, meals, hotel, all of that, and we haven’t had any problems.

Shaneka Bates works with our post players along with Dee. In addition, Shaneka is in charge of film exchange and scouting.

Q: What do you expect to improve on the team?

A: Team chemistry is not where I want it to be, but it’s come a long, long way this season. Great teams have great chemistry. We are getting there.

I’m not sure the team sees that they are better than they were. From the beginning, I’ve told them you have to be able to go hard for 2 hours. When we started, they couldn’t do it. We’re getting there. Part of it is mental. Some of our players just need a little more confidence. Brittany Manning is good on the court. She just needs the confidence and she should have it. She’s good enough. We’re going to get there.

Q: How is recruiting going?

A: Right now, we’ve got 5 freshmen coming in next season. We also have offers out for a couple of junior college players.

Q: Any last today for the JSU fans?

A: My husband, Mike, and I appreciate the open arms that have welcomed us here. Thank you all for your patience and belief. I love being here and coaching these girls.

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