Q&A with Junior Guard Emily Osga


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Courtesy: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios

UC San Diego's junior guard Emily Osga has picked up right where she left off after starting every game and averaging 11.6 pts., 5.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a sophomore. The San Diego native and former Patrick Henry High standout has been instrumental in  the fifth-ranked Tritons 9-0 start this season. "Emily leads our fast break and absolutely sets the tone for our pressure defense," says fifth-year Head Coach Charity Elliott. "We've always had high expectations for her and her development from freshman year to now in terms of confidence and leadership has been phenomenal." The third-leading scorer so far this year, posting 10.8 points per game, Osga has had her best performances against the biggest opponents, knocking down 22 in a road win at Western Washington and pouring in 15 vs. No. 4 Fort Lewis. With the bulk of the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. (CCAA) schedule fast approaching, Osga took time to talk about her team's great start, her teammates and some of her off-court interests.

Q-The UCSD Women have busted out of the gate with nine consecutive victories. What have been the keys to the great start?

OSGA-Our success thus far is due to our team's competitive drive to consistently compete with each other in practice in order to improve.  We want to be a better than average team, therefore we have been putting forth the necessary effort needed to accomplish greatness.

Q-The team won its first 14 games your freshman season. Does anything feel different this time?

OSGA-Yes!  Our current team is completely irreplaceable. Each and every one of my teammates plays a crucial role in holding this team together.  Compared to my freshman year, I feel so much closer to my teammates and absolutely love the team chemistry.

Q-A large portion of your game is based on athleticism and conditioning. What type of off-season program do you follow to make sure you're ready for the rigors of a nearly 30-game regular season plus what might follow?

OSGA-First of all, Rudy Thomas (our strength and conditioning coach) provided us all with a conditioning and weightlifting program for the summer. Overall, I tried to stay pretty consistent with the type of training I was doing in order to see improvements in the fall.  For instance, every week I would try to do the same hill repeats (adding more reps each week) and time myself in order to compare to the previous week.

Q-Speaking of off-season training, what part of your game did you focus most on improving this year?

OSGA-Aside from staying well-conditioned and fit, I focused on getting countless reps of pull-up jumpers and ball-handling moves (using trashcans or cones as defenders).

Q-Your first two seasons were very successful in that the team posted a combined record of 45-16 but in 2010-11, UCSD had its two-year reign atop the CCAA ended and missed out on the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in six years. Has that been a motivator for you and your teammates?

OSGA-The upset of our short season last year definitely sticks with the returners as a behind-the-scenes motivator. However, it is not the main driving force that keeps us going.  Our team has six new freshmen who didn't experience that upset last season so they are unable to experience the same motivation as the rest of us.   Therefore, we have moved on to finding a motivation that drives us all collectively - the desire to compete and be the best we can possibly be with the endless talent this team possesses.

Q-There are three senior starters on this year's squad-Chelsea Carlisle, Lauren Freidenberg and Daisy Feder. If you could take one skill from each of them, what would it be and why?

OSGA-I would definitely take Daisy's three-point shooting ability because when she is on, she is absolutely unstoppable.  I would take Chelsea's amazing ball-handling skills and ability to get to the basket by weaving through all five defenders.  Lastly, I would take Lauren's ability to catch any pass thrown into her on the block and her strength in finishing the shot, despite being double or triple teamed.

Q-Which of this year's underclassmen do you think has the greatest upside?

OSGA-Every single one of this year's underclassmen has something significant to offer to this team, whether in practice or in games.  It is certainly a challenge to simply choose one as having the greatest upside. 

Q-How is Coach Charity Elliott different from any coach you've ever had? What made you want to come to UCSD and play for her?

OSGA-Coach Charity is such a great coach because she genuinely cares about each and every one of her players.  She values everyone's contribution to this team and recognizes the effort that each individual puts forth.  She also pushes you to be the best that you can be.  There's no settling for mediocrity, which is what I love!  I am constantly looking to improve my game and she helps me do that by not only instructing me, but challenging me.

Q-You're a human biology major at UCSD. Talk about what attracted you to that field of study and what you hope to do with the degree when you graduate.

OSGA-I am considering going into physical therapy, but at this point I am still rather unsure as to what I would like to do for certain.

Q-In your bio, you list ceramics and clay sculpting among your hobbies. How did you get started and what type of "masterpieces" do you make?

OSGA-I don't remember how I got into it, but I love making cartoon characters, such as the Toy Story characters, Homer Simpson, Fred Flintstone, Golum from Lord of the Rings, Doby from Harry Potter, R2-D2 from Star Wars,  etc...

Q-You also consider yourself a big fan of classic rock. What are your top three classic rock musicians/groups? Why do you like it better than other genres?

OSGA-I love Classic Rock because my dad introduced it to me at such a young age and I've grown up with it over the years.  We have an old home video from my early childhood where my dad is painting in the backyard and the radio is playing some oldies rock song while my sister and I are busting out crazy dance moves.  We were clearly soaking in these rock songs and loving every minute of our little dance party.  My top three artists would probably be Foreigner, AC/DC, and Boston.

Q-What's playing in the i-Pod when you want to get pumped up before a game?

OSGA-I have to admit that I leave this one up to my teammates.  We love our music and whatever they decide to play on the amplifier in the locker room is fine with me.  I believe my i-pod is banned from being plugged in and put on shuffle due to the wide range of music that might come up.  I don't think everyone feels the same way about classic rock as meJ

Q-You were CIF Player of the Year at nearby Patrick Henry High School. What have been the benefits of playing college ball close to home?

OSGA-Since I'm so close to home my family is able to come to all of my home games, including my No. 1 fan: Grandma Lorraine.  She wouldn't have been able to travel to far away games, but as it is now, she is able to come to all the home games with her UCSD Grandma hat and foam finger.  My family has always been so supportive of my basketball endeavors, which has certainly been such a help throughout my high school and college careers.

Q-If you could have three things happen between now and the end of the 2011-12 UCSD Women's Basketball season, what would they be?

OSGA-Win the conference tournament; win Regionals; be National Champions!!

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