Friday
, September 30, 2011


It's go time... we are back at it (finally)! After what seemed like a long, long, long summer, we are back in the gym, back on the track and back in the weight room getting ready for a new season!

Due to some new NCAA legislation, we were able to have our players return early this year (Sept. 7) and it's been an amazing few weeks. Prior to this year, we weren't able to do anything with the team until school started, which for us quarter schools is at the end of September, so we were always about a month behind our friends at semester schools.

This year they all arrived back to San Diego early and we've hit the ground running! Not only have we been able to do strength, conditioning and some individual basketball stuff, but we also used this time to do some really cool community service projects and have some good old-fashioned team bonding time!

During those couple of weeks before school started (Sept. 22), our players did a clinic for the Preuss School girl's basketball team. The Preuss School is the top-rated high school here on UCSD's campus. Our players spent a few hours with them and we heard nothing but praise from the players and the administration at Preuss. Anytime we can help out our friends at Preuss, we try to do it! They do an amazing job over there... check out this link to learn more about this unique high school.

We also spent an afternoon with our men's basketball team visiting the veterans at the VA Hospital located on our campus... it was a humbling and yet, amazing experience talking to these men and women who have served our country and returned with injuries... some may never walk again... yet, they all refuse to accept the "hero" status that we rightfully give them. I think our players learned a tremendous amount from their time visiting with the veterans and I hope we were able to give them some laughter, smiles and our heartfelt gratitude during that afternoon.

The other community event we did was a clinic for the Senior Women's Basketball Association here in San Diego. We had ladies from 50-80 years old come join us for a clinic one evening where our players taught stations (each with a different basketball skill) for these incredible professional women... most of these ladies did not receive much coaching as they were growing up so they were soaking up all the info they could! They compete in the senior women's basketball league here in San Diego and some even compete in the Senior Olympics (this year, four women's basketball teams from San Diego won the gold medal, including the team in the 80-85 year old category!). Anyway, I don't know who had more fun... these ladies or our team! Check out these pictures...

 

Ok, back to the here and now... we've got about two more weeks before official practice begins on October 15th... I'm so proud of our players and how they came back in shape... we do a conditioning test that we lovingly call "The Gauntlet" (the term came from Rachel Marty's dad, Alan, who apparently passed the test himself). While it may not be the most enjoyable conditioning test, it certainly gives us an idea of who did their work over the summer! I couldn't be more proud of how committed our team was over the break... because they came back in shape, we can now move on to the primarily basketball related conditioning stuff!

Check out these fun conditioning pics...

 

The players have about a week of classes under their belts and seem to be adjusting well to the rigors of school (especially here at UCSD) and basketball... I'm always concerned about the freshmen in particular, because they are dealing with so many new things all at once. A few years ago, we started a freshmen "Life Skills Seminar" with our sports psychologist who does a lot of work with our athletics department, particularly the Leadership Classes that she teaches for the athletes. The Life Skills Seminar is a five-part series dealing with such topics as stress, time management, confidence, sleep, etc.... and it's just for the freshmen. Hopefully, it's one more thing that we try to do to create an environment of success and excellence within our program and university!

Before I go...there are a few updates to give you...we have a new "UCSD Women's Basketball" page on Facebook... here is the link... please LIKE us! ☺

Also, as a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/#!/CoachCDE

Finally, here are the links to our 2011-12 roster and schedule!

 



Tuesday, July 26
, 2011

Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting... that pretty much sums up our July so far! The coaches have been scouring the West Coast (primarily California) looking for those "special" young ladies to come join us at UC San Diego and help us continue this winning tradition! I have to admit... it's not easy finding the kids that "fight" at UCSD both academically and athletically.

Our admission standards are extremely high and athletics gets no exceptions to those standards, which means the student-athletes that we are able to pursue must meet the same standard as all other UCSD students... so if a potential recruit does not have a GPA of about a 3.7-3.8, it will be very difficult for them to meet the standards with their test scores. With that said, the number of student-athletes that we look at is pretty small compared to most other universities! It makes our homework as coaches more difficult and time-consuming... but let me tell you something... once they meet those standards and get here as a UCSD student, they can be fully confident that they belong here and will walk out of here four years later with a degree that is truly going to mean something... especially in today's economy!

It's so amazing talking to other coaches in the "recruiting gyms" and hearing about their struggles with study hall or keeping kids eligible to play or their kids skipping classes or getting into trouble. Every time I hear those stories, I whisper a prayer of thankfulness for being here at UCSD. Our players here would not understand someone "skipping" class because as they told me, "We'd get so far behind if we missed a class." Just one more reason that I LOVE UCSD and believe I have one of the BEST jobs in the country... and that's without athletic scholarships and with very rigid admission requirements!

One of our biggest recruiting tools during the summer is our overnight individual camp. This year we held it from June 27-30 and had a tremendous week of skill development, position play, contests and games... plus, we threw in our annual talent show and added a pretty competitive dodge ball tournament! Our camp dates for June 2012 will be up soon and we are adding a TEAM CAMP as well!

I spend a lot of time in the summer reviewing the past season and making preparations for the new season approaching. I really take this as an opportunity to grow in at least one aspect of my coaching expertise... I'm a big believer in being a lifelong learner. Over the course of the year, when I find articles, motivational things or basketball technique or strategy ideas, I print it out and stick it in a file... now is the time that I take that file wherever I go and as I'm travelling across the country to recruit, I pull out my file and see what fun, new ideas I can come up with! It's truly one of my favorite things to do... and now that Twitter and blogs and Facebook are so popular and accessible, I find good stuff almost daily!

Back to my file reading... ☺




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wow... Spring is in the air... and once again, I'm apologizing for how long it's been since I've caught you up on UCSD women's basketball. This year has been extremely challenging and yet rewarding for our program! We started the season with six returners (only two players who averaged more than 20 min/game) and seven incoming freshmen... well, needless to say, it took us a while to get going! After starting school a month later than everyone else (which means we lost a month of conditioning and individual workouts) and starting out with a schedule intended for a very experienced veteran team, we took some early lumps (started 0-5)!

 

Honestly, at that point, I was worried that we could just crumble and limp to a .500 year... but, thanks to some outstanding leadership, primarily by Chelsea Carlisle and Lauren Freidenberg, we finished the season going 20-6... finished third in the tough CCAA... and only lost one game in the second round of the conference season! Unfortunately, we failed to make the NCAA Regional Tourney for the first time since I've been here... those early losses just killed us! But, I can honestly say that this team had as much fight, desire and passion than maybe any team I've coached. From day one to our last practice/game, this team continued a steady climb of improvement! We were truly playing our best basketball the last six weeks of the season and we all think it just ended too soon! How crazy is that??? Every one of us just wanted this season to go on and on and on... we were having so much fun seeing the transition of this team from a young, inexperienced team to a team that our opponents had better be ready for! I'm so proud of the maturity and development of not only our freshmen but also in our returners who each had to take on a new role and higher expectations... there was no more looking around for leaders... they had to be the one!

Huge congrats go out to Chelsea Carlisle for her postseason awards (First Team All-CCAA, First Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-American), to Emily Osga, who went from averaging 10 min/2 points as a freshmen to being our second leading scorer and a First Team All-CCAA selection, and finally to Lauren Freidenberg, who had an unbelievable second half of the season and finished on the Second Team All-CCAA! Those individual awards are nice and certainly deserving... but, I know that our team goals and dreams go way beyond those awards.

We have decided that this offseason is just halftime... and when we come back in the fall, it will be the start of the second half! I love that mentality! We are regrouping, refocusing and will be ready for the next 20 min!

Well, that kind of sums of how we finished... now, what have we been up to? Good question... we are back into our conditioning, weights and individual workouts (which I LOVE... and I'm SURE they do too!). We had a fun day doing a ropes course here on campus for some TEAM BONDING.. .check these pics out! These ladies have NO FEAR!

 

We just had our postseason awards banquet this past weekend where we celebrated the accomplishments and progress of this year... here were our award winners:

MVP- Chelsea Carlisle
Coaches Award- Lauren Freidenberg
Heart and Hustle - Stephanie Yano

Scholar-Athlete - Erin Grady (3.8 cumulative gpa, political science major)
Defensive Award - Megan Perry
Most- Improved - Emily Osga
Rookies of the Year - Megan Perry and Erin Dautremont (we couldn't decide)

  

The players made each of the coaches and our athletic trainers an individualized memory box and had written notes to each of us about their memories of the year and their thank yous... it was another reminder that I am the most blessed coach in the country. These ladies continue to blow me away with their sincerity and genuineness (is that a word??)... we all had tears in our eyes after reading their messages. THIS IS WHY I COACH!!!

So, for now, we are back to work... mid-terms are going on right now! I am very proud to announce that for the fall and winter quarters, our team GPA was a 3.3... not bad for one of the toughest universities in the country! Oh and did I mention that half of our players are majoring in biology or some science! Once again, I'm in awe of what they are able to!

I PROMISE I will do a better job of updating this blog... we are already planning other team building experiences as well as a community service project! I'll be posting pics...

Go Tritons!

Coach Elliott



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy November to everyone! Once again, I can't believe it's already here... It's been a crazy last five weeks since school started and now it's already game time! We have our first exhibition game tomorrow evening with our friends over at San Diego State and it is going to be interesting! First off, SDSU is coming off of their most successful season in school history (Sweet 16 appearance last year) and we've got seven freshmen on our team! Then we get the privilege of going back to play Stanford University in our final exhibition game next Tuesday! I decided to throw our team into the fire right away and see what happens! The way I look at it, there's no better way to see the areas where we need improvement most than to play two teams who will expose our weaknesses... We may not match up with their height/weight/speed/strength/etc, but there's no doubt we can match their intensity and effort and right now, that's I'm looking for. I'm looking for "fighters"... Those players on our team who are going to compete and fight... No matter who our opponent is. If we do that these next two games, I will be happy! I'll keep you posted on how we do...

We've had a couple of really exciting team activities this last month that I want to share with you...we started out with some team building with our men's crew team! We went down to the beautiful San Diego bay one Saturday morning and had a crash course in rowing (THE ultimate TEAM SPORT).

A HUGE thank you to Coach Zach Johnson and the men's crew team for giving us such great memories and lessons! We plan to be back next year!

The following weekend we had our annual team retreat. This year we went up to Lake Arrowbear and had a BLAST! We got up there on Saturday late morning and spent all day doing team activities, highlighted by the Scavenger Hunt, where each group had to deal with multiple issues (like a player who can't talk, a player who can't see, etc.) while still accomplishing tasks! It was awesome seeing players step out of their comfort zone and work together to get things done!

After we wore them out with our outside activities, we retired to the huge living room for some more fun games and a late night sing-a-long, as Chris pulled out his guitar and amplifier and Erin Grady put on a concert for us!

Finally, I wanted to tell you about our 2nd annual Trick or Triton that we did this last Sunday evening (Halloween)... It's our way to get out into the La Jolla community and meet people and invite them to our games! We dress up as the women's basketball team at UCSD (very creative!) and instead of asking for candy, we are handing out schedules and free game tickets! We've had tremendous response from this event, both last year and again this year! Our players do a great job of selling our program and inviting people to come out and see a game! Here's a couple of them at work...

Well, that's the latest update... We've got a busy couple of weeks in front of us, including the Disney Classic next week! We hope to see many of you join us in Anaheim as we open up against three very good opponents!

Til next time...

Coach Elliott

 




Monday, September 27, 2010

It’s about time! We’ve had to wait an extra month to get our individual workouts and conditioning going and it’s finally here! Most of our competitors start school the end of August and as soon as school starts, they can begin conditioning and individuals… We on the quarter system, have to wait til we start classes, which was just last week (end of Sept)… So we’ve got some catch up work to do! The good news about it (according to our players) is that we only have about 2 and a half weeks of conditioning (rather than 6 weeks for a semester school)… It really is good news IF (and I repeat, IF) they do their jobs and come back in shape!

So, I’m happy to report that we showed up last week in pretty darn good shape! Our new strength coach, Rudy Thomas, has done a great job giving them workouts to do on their own and our leaders have set the tone with the work ethic that is required to be a Triton! 

It was soooo fun last week to start our individual workouts and see how our freshmen are going to fit in with our returners! After 2 workouts apiece, I can tell you that I’m thrilled with what I’ve seen so far. Our freshmen are soaking everything up like sponges and working as hard as they know how to at this point and I’m so proud of them… They are each going to have fantastic careers here at UCSD! As for our returners, I’ve never had such commitment and camaraderie from a group of veterans as we have with these ladies. They did a great job over the summer and are now doing their best to take care of our freshmen and show them how things are done! It’s fun to see them being the leaders now instead of being content with being led by others!

Last weekend we had our parent picnic down at the La Jolla Shores Beach and our veteran parents gave some great wisdom and advice to the rookie parents about what to expect, particularly in the next month, when their daughters may have moments of difficulty or stress. As hard as we try, you can never really explain to a senior in high school how their life will change drastically during the first month of college… Not only are they moving away from home, but they are also being stretched to their limit in the classroom and on the court or track or field :) 

We had a special guest speaker at our picnic this year… A lady who’s become my new hero.  Her name is Marge Seybold and she is 71 years old… A former physician and UCSD professor and she plays in the senior women’s basketball 3-on-3 league! Her 70 and over team has won the gold medal at the senior olympics and I first met her when she was attending Point Guard College on our campus this summer (yes, the PGC that is for high school and college players!). She did a great job of telling our players a little history of her basketball career (which really started in her 50’s) and she shared about her philosophy on life… To never be afraid to try new things! BTW, I had the chance to join Marge for a little 3-on-3 and SHE CAN PLAY! She hit several 3’s and had a backdoor pass to me that was golden! I’ve put together a team for the 40 and over division and games start this week! But, I keep telling myself that if Marge can do it, so can I!!

So basically…we’ve got 2 weeks til practice starts and a month til our scrimmage against USD. Then, it gets crazy… We have an exhibition at San Diego State then an exhibition at Stanford and then we jump into the Disney Tipoff Classic. Click here for our full schedule.

And if there are any recruits out there who haven’t filled out our online questionnaire, we’d love to get more info on you. You can find the questionnaire here.

Finally, you can always stay up to date with UCSD women’s basketball by following me on twitter at twitter.com/coachcde

Til next time,
Coach Elliott

 



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another amazing day in San Diego...what can I say?  After May Gray and June Gloom, it's now officially summer time in SoCal!  Our beach (La Jolla Shores) is packed EVERY DAY and those looking for parking spots become like vultures circling around those poor folks walking to their cars..."are you leaving?"  No better time of the year in San Diego (except, of course, for basketball season)!  Usually we'd be out several days a week working on our tan and surfing, but it's been a rather crazy summer for us.  My husband had shoulder surgery (which ends all hopes of surfing this summer for him), then we had an amazing week of individual camp and of course, July is the major recruiting month for all in women's basketball.

Our individual camp the last week of June ended up being one of my favorite weeks of camp ever!  Our current players did an amazing job working the camp and we had almost 60 kids here for the week!  It was a very intense 3 and a half day camp and I really think we saw some improvements by the end of the week.  We did a lot of position work as well as team and defensive concepts!  Of course, we threw in an afternoon at the beach and a few "interesting" games at night...kudos goes out to Triton sophomore Erin Grady (pictured to the right) for being a great sport as she was pummeled with whipped cream one night!  We are hoping that some of those campers just might become future TRITONS!  We will see...

After camp finished, we celebrated the Independence of this great country of ours before we headed up to Oregon City, Oregon to kick off the recruiting month!  While it was absolutely beautiful up north, there is not a better feeling in the world than when that airplane touches down at our own Lindberg Field.  It certainly proved to be a productive week in Oregon, however, as we were able to narrow down our list of those kids that we are now pursuing to be Tritons. 

A couple of weeks ago was the San Diego Classic, the largest girls basketball high school tournament in the country...hosted by the Vickerys and headquartered right here at RIMAC Arena!  Again, 4 days of great high school basketball!  If any of you were here at RIMAC for games, our players were working the tables keeping score, fouls, etc!  I hope you were nice to them!  J

We had a bit of a personal tragedy in our inner circle...my husband's grandmother, who had a huge part of his upbringing, passed away on Saturday, July 10th.    As we were making our arrangements to go back to Missouri for her funeral, I got word that one of my dear friends lost her 3 year battle with colon cancer.  (for more insight into Stephanie's story, check out:  www.stephsgonnawin.blogspot.com)  So Chris and I headed off to Springfield, Missouri to celebrate the lives of two incredible women.  My mentor and coach, Cheryl Burnett, gave the eulogy for Steph and did a fantastic job of reminding us of her amazing story.  Both of them were so inspiring and full of life...even to the last day.  It was a great reminder to me to "Carpe Diem" or "Seize the Day."  We have no guarantees except for today...so please tell those around you how much you care about them! 

One of my mottos is to have NO REGRETS...and I can tell you the that deciding to come to UC San Diego is definitely something that I will never regret.  These players and this university continue to amaze me...in fact, read these articles to learn more about the people that make up UCSD....

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/thisweek/2010/06/14_OutstandingSenior.asp

And the latest Princeton Review Rankings:

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/general/08-03BestInWest.asp

Finally, we are having a 3 hour elite clinic on Saturday, August 21.  We are going to run it like we would run one of our practices...so if you consider yourself an ELITE player, then come out and join us...here are details on it:

http://www.ucsandiegowomensbasketballcamps.com/2010-camp-registration.cfm

The rest of the summer is going to fly by, I'm sure....which means that basketball season is right around the corner!  We've got a few Tritons in summer school and others that are doing fun jobs (one of our incoming players is in Colorado working at a Dude Ranch)...but one thing is for certain, they are all working out...in the gym, on the court and in the weight room.  We are all getting ready for another exciting season...they are doing their work and we are doing ours!   I know when the fall comes around, we are all going to be rejuvenated and ready! 

More later...





Thursday, April 2, 2010

Happy Passover Week and Happy Easter to everyone!  I wanted to give you a quick update about what we've been doing the last couple of weeks since my last entry was rather depressing!  J

After taking a couple of weeks off to regroup and recover, we started back in the weight room last week-so, we are a little sore right now!  The entire team is walking around campus like they are 85 years old and avoiding ALL stairs!  I kind of have to chuckle when I see them even though I remember VERY well feeling the same pain a few years ago! 

We also had our individual meetings this week where I met with each player and talked about this past year and the goals we have for the spring quarter.  I love those meetings...gives me a chance to communicate my view of their improvement and the areas that we are going to focus on in our individual workouts (which start next week)...it also gives the players the chance to share their thoughts and perceptions about this past year and their specific goals for the spring and next season!  After a week of meetings, I could not be more excited and fired up about the future!   It's always hard to say goodbye to seniors, but when I talk to the returners and sense their energy and excitement...there is no way that I can stay sad or down for long!

We've got an incredible group of returners who are ready to get back to work...in the weight room, on the court and on the track!  This is the time that our players become better individual players...which is what we need to remain one of the top Division II programs in the country!

Spring is also the time that we get out and do some community service, have a few beach parties and get out and support the other sports at UCSD...which reminds me...I'm headed out to watch our phenomenal softball team beat up on someone!  Go Tritons!

I'll keep you posted...

Coach Elliott





Thursday, March 18, 2010


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...that might be the best way to describe the last month of our women's basketball season.  We had some great moments and then we had some very forgettable moments...and while we would all like to turn the clock back a few weeks, we all know that isn't how life works.  After our NCAA first round loss to Humboldt State, I found myself doing what all coaches do after a season-ending loss...wondering, "how could we have prevented this?  What could we have done differently?  It's not fair...feeling so sorry for our seniors going out this way and trying to console myself and the underclassmen who could've helped prevent this..." 

Then, I think about life and my 35-year-old friend who has two small boys and is struggling with colon cancer and I am reminded that life is hard and there will always be something in our lives that doesn't seem fair or right and we will always try to figure out the "why" when many times, there is no "why."  The bottom line is that there are no guarantees in this life...there are going to be good times and bad times in life, and within a basketball season, and while having to go through the tough times really stinks...it also occurs to me that without going through difficulties, there is no way we can really appreciate the good times.  Therefore, I am choosing to feel this hurt and pain and I want our team to feel it too...so when the good times return, we can appreciate them to their fullest and not ever take them for granted again.

I forgot to mention that maybe this should blog should instead be titled "Deep Thoughts with Coach Elliott" J ...sorry to put a damper on your good day, but I set out to give you the inside scoop with this blog and for me to brush aside the truth of how we are feeling right now certainly doesn't seem like the right thing to do.  Truly, when we take this entire year into account, it was a great year...we finished 25-5, won our second consecutive CCAA regular season championship, had a perfect record on our RIMAC Arena home court...we won both of our tournaments, we had the CCAA Player of the Year (Chelsea Carlisle) and the CCAA Newcomer of the Year (Tiffany Hunter) on our team, and we made some incredible memories and relationships over the course of the last seven months....but all we see right now is how it ended and the sadness we feel from letting each other down when it mattered the most.

Yet, isn't the point of all of this to enjoy the process and the journey of every day?  Shouldn't that be what we base the success of the year on rather than dwelling on how it came to a shrieking halt??  I certainly don't have the answers to all these "deep thoughts" but I personally don't want to forget the joy and happiness that I experienced almost every day with this team...a team that came out to work hard every day...a team that laughed more freely than any I've been a part of...a team that has so many exceptional talents in so many different areas...a team that I was very proud to have coached and shared this one year with and a team of individuals that are going to go on and do amazing things in this world...having learned and experienced both great times and difficult times during this particular year as a UCSD women's basketball player.

These next few weeks we are going to lick our wounds for a while longer and get away from basketball and focus on other areas of our life that we have neglected...and then we are going to pick ourselves back up off the ground...the seniors will start planning for graduation and medical school applications, etc, while the returners and myself begin to look ahead to next year and get back out on the court in preparation.  My hope is that we all carry with us the reminder that there are no guarantees and we must never look past each and every day that we have together...because "this too shall pass" is true for the good, the bad and the ugly times in our lives.

Cherish today....

Coach Elliott



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I really can't believe it's February, 2010...and it's 75 degrees outside!  Could there be any other place in the world that would be a better place to live, work and coach basketball??  I don't think so....especially this women's basketball team.  I have the greatest honor in the world coaching this special group of ladies...we work hard, we laugh hard and we play hard!  (Not necessarily in that order!)

Since my last blog, we have had some very exciting games and moments on the floor...and one great reminder of how hard and smart we must play each and every night.  We lost a tough one up at Humboldt...a very good team that we did not defend well and they reminded us that it takes maximum effort night in and night out to be successful.  After that game, we regrouped and revisited our goals and what kind of team we wanted to be...it was a good lesson for us and really reminded us that it's our defense that will win games, not our offense.  Since that night, we have focused on "getting stops"  and I've liked how we've bought into the defensive intensity that it takes.

After rebounding with a road win at Sonoma State, we returned home to face Cal Poly Pomona, who was one game behind us in conference and a team that is very well coached and plays extremely hard.   After shooting practice, we had a little karaoke on the microphone that was (miraculously) turned on at the table...I don't wanna brag but I think my rendition of "I've Got a Feeling" might have won me a Grammy!  J

Anyway, with nine minutes to go in the game, we are down by 11 points.  Pomona is feisty and physical and we were having trouble getting stops...but during that next timeout, when I heard our team talking about getting stops, I had "a feeling" and we then proceeded to get stops and tie the game back up!  As expected, it went down to the wire and trailing by one with 25 seconds left, we ran an end line play that got Chelsea Carlisle (see photo on right) an open three at the top of the key...she knocked it down and we held on to get the win.  It was truly one of the craziest endings that I've been a part of and just capped off a great game by two great teams!

Saturday night was the annual "Spirit Night" where all the colleges compete for prizes based upon their attendance and fire during the game.  We had over 2,000 fans in the seats and broke the all-time attendance record for a women's basketball game by over 500 people ...we tried to give them a night to remember!  Our opponent was Cal State San Bernardino, who twice last year beat us on our home floor...and we knew they would be going for the upset again.  After an average defensive effort in the first half, I really challenged them to "get after it" and was so proud of our team defensive intensity and effort in the second half.  We held Krystal Urzua, one of the league's premier guards, to nine points on the night and thanks to a stellar performance by CCAA Player of the Week Tiffany Hunter, we ended up winning by 17!  Tiff led us in scoring and rebounding and just was a monster out there...it was also a breakout weekend for freshman Emily Osga, who gave our fans a glimpse of what the future holds! 

As we are heading into the last month of conference, I am very, very excited about this team and how we are progressing...we still have so many areas that we can improve on and as our bench continues to gain experience and confidence, the next few weeks will dictate how this season ends.  We still have a long road ahead...we've got some very tough trips coming up...but, as I've said many times, I love this team and I'm hoping that our best is yet to come!

Stay tuned for more updates....

Q and A with Tiffany Hunter

Q: How would you describe your first year at UCSD?

A:  Both on and off the court UCSD has been a completely new experience and it took some adjusting to get used to the demands from school and basketball. I had to adjust to the academic demands; I study almost three times the amount I did in junior college. And I also had to adjust to a new basketball team. There was a lot of the unexpected as I didn't quite know what my role on the team was, how the other girls were and if I would play in any of the games. I tried to stay positive and let myself out of my shell. I think UCSD has been one of the best experiences I have ever gone through and I went from not knowing anyone or anything about this school to feeling like I have been here since my freshman year. I think coming to UCSD was the best decision I could have ever made.

Q:  What do you love most about UCSD...the school and also the basketball program?

A:  For starters, the campus is beautiful and simply breathtaking! I also love the faculty - all my professors (so far :) ) have shown extreme intelligence and knowledge about their respective field. And they are very approachable and willing to help and accommodate you.

I love the basketball program at UCSD because of the team. I love knowing that my teammates are holding each other accountable and truly WANT to get better. They all work extremely hard which makes playing with them all the more fun and ultimately makes the team better.

Q:  Can you share with us your favorite moments from this year?

A:  My favorite moment from this year would be our double overtime win against Seattle Pacific. Building up to the game there was a lot of pressure and excitement as the program had never beaten Seattle Pacific. The game itself was exciting as both teams battled in double overtime; but what I really enjoyed the most was seeing the passion and fire from all of my teammates. We all wanted the win and everyone was supporting/cheering each other on. It was the moment that I knew our team was special and that we would go on to do great things.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!!  Hope you and your family had a fantastic holiday season...for the Triton family, it's been a good month!  We are currently 10-0 (WOW) and ranked 9th nationally in the latest WBCA Coaches' Poll...however, it has NOT been easy!  It's been a month of some crazy games...it started with two tournaments that we hosted here at UCSD.  The highlight from the tournaments was definitely our Holiday Classic with Seattle Pacific, Western Washington and Grand Canyon, held right after Christmas.  Each of the four teams are annually some of the best in the West Region and it was fantastic to see where we lined up with each of them so early in the season.  Monday night we hosted Seattle Pacific, the regional tournament host the last two years, and once again, it was a barn burner (for those who don't understand what that means, it was a nail biter)...we pulled it out in double OT and chances are we may see them again in the post-season.  The next night we played a very talented Western Washington team and played some great team defense to come out on top again and win the tournament.  Chelsea Carlisle, Annette Ilg and Tiffany Hunter were all named to the All-Tournament team, but I'm sure they would agree, both of those games were "team" wins!

Besides all the excitement on the floor, there has been lots of activity happening behind the scenes as well...we invented a new way to play the "roommate game" on our road trip to East Bay...normally, we take over the hotel lobby by the players screaming out who they think each person's roommate is going to be and then we proceed thru the rooming list.  At East Bay, however, the rooming list was completely messed up, so we invented a new way to play...the first name yelled out became their roommate.  Doesn't sound very funny when I'm typing it, but believe me, we about woke up the entire hotel with our laughter!  J

My parents graciously hosted our team holiday party and while everyone did a great job on the Secret Santa gifts, a special shout out to Erin Grady for winning the "best note writer" award.  Also, kudos to my seven-year-old niece, Mia, for beating everyone in Wii archery...pretty embarrassing if you ask me!

Three of our players have started a Leadership Training Workshop this week led by the world class sports psychologist on staff, Rhonda Hackshaw.  She leads a workshop every quarter for the student-athletes and many of our players have already participated in the seminar.  Rhonda does a great job of covering such topics as composure, communication, and being an example.  Plus, they have exercises to complete with their other teammates and get to hear feedback from the other student-athletes from other sports.    This quarter, Leilani Martin, Daisy Feder and Tiffany Hunter are the lucky participants!  Speaking of Rhonda Hackshaw, she also took our three freshmen thru a "Freshman Seminar" during the fall quarter, which I think was extremely helpful.  That first quarter in college can be tough and I was glad that we were able to offer a few helpful hints to our entering freshmen...they seemed to think it was beneficial, so I think it's something we will continue in the future.  I'm a big believer in PREVENTION...so anything that we can do to prevent issues from surfacing, I'm willing to give it a try and that's what our freshmen seminar is.

This last road trip we had a bit of a traumatic incidence...the "cool" van had to indoctrinate a new member....our new student trainer, Ryan.  We had to lay the law down, tell him our rules and expectations and while he is still on "probation", I think we would all agree that he did a great job of fitting in.  One of our main rules is:  Each member is required to participate fully in van activities...including, but not limited to, singing, count off and any and all dance parties!! 

Finally, I must tell you about "Triton Jam."  Tuesday night, Jan. 5, the students packed out RIMAC Arena for the annual Triton Jam.  It's basically a huge pep rally and midnight madness for all the students as they are back on campus and our conference season is just getting under way.  It was an awesome night of giveaways, team introductions, and the pep band rocking the house!  The highlight certainly is when both teams (men & women's basketball) introduce each of their teammates and share a hidden talent with the student body!  Our players did a great job of interacting with the students and inviting them to our games...plus, one lucky student won a mountain bike thanks to Chelsea Carlisle's shooting ability!!! 

Bottom line is that the conference season is under way and we've got to be ready to play night-in and night-out.  This is a tremendous conference where anybody can beat anybody on any given night!  We sure hope to see you out at RIMAC soon...we are home for the next two weeks!  Let us know if you can make it and come say "hi."

Til next time...

Coach Elliott

P.S.  You can follow our day to day activities via http://twitter.com/CoachCDE



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First of all…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  I can’t believe it’s December and I have not EVEN started Christmas shopping…ugh!!  I actually thought about going out on Black Friday (we had Thanksgiving off this year) but I was not about to get up at 4am and fight those psychotic crowds!  Anyway, so…as always, I’ll be shopping on Dec. 23-24.  Does that make me a bad person??  Part of the coaching lifestyle, I guess…

Anyway, I have so much to share…we are now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in conference!  WOOHOO!  After an exciting exhibition schedule (btw, playing Stanford was AWESOME!  You would have been so proud of our team…yes, we got drilled…BUT, we competed, never gave up and had some small successes…I would do it again in a heartbeat)…we hit the road to play at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.  Grand Canyon is a very good team and after getting down by 15 points, we fought our way back to a 71-70 victory!  WHEW…thank goodness our post players came to play!  Tiffany Hunter and Lauren Freidenberg both played outstanding and had some nice post moves and put backs! 

Then, it was CCAA Conference time…way too early…but, that’s the way the schedule fell.  We started at San Bernardino on Friday and actually played very well.  Of course, we did have a little motivation considering San Bern beat us twice last year…but, still…we played well, rebounded well and hit our easy shots.  Very nice win to start off the conference season!  Next up was Cal Poly Pomona, who we ALWAYS have knock down drag out games with and once again, it was a dog fight.  Both of us play very tough, physical defense and it came down to the wire!  We had great contributions from everyone over the course of the weekend…particularly on the boards!  For the weekend, Chelsea Carlisle was named the CCAA Player of the Week and while it was deserved, I choose to say our team was the Player of the Week because everyone stepped up and did something good!

 

Now we are in the middle of finals week which is always tough here at UCSD…I’ve tried to stress the importance of rest and sleep and nutrition (particularly this week), but I also know that as competitive as this team is on the floor, they are equally committed to succeeding in the classroom…which is what UCSD is all about.  We’ve cut practices short this week and given them a couple of days off as well…hopefully, we’ll have some Honor Roll Students come out of this term!

Then it’s up to Cal State East Bay for our fourth road game and our introduction to our newest CCAA member.  It’s next Tuesday (so any of your NorCal folks, we’d love to see you there!)…and then we host a tournament next weekend (Dec. 18-19).  We will finally be playing in the friendly confines of RIMAC Arena!  We are sure looking forward to all our friends and family being able to watch us play…should be some good games and will be a great way for us to close out the fall term before we break for the holiday!

We are having our own little holiday party next Wednesday evening over at my parent’s house and I’m sure I’ll have photos from that in my next edition!  I’m not sure what they’ve got planned but I do believe there are some skits and talents that will be revealed!  Can’t wait!

Considering the fact that it’s December and we are 3-0, I’m certainly very pleased.  However, we are still a work in progress and I can’t wait to see where we are as a team in the next month.  We have a great group of young ladies who seem to be truly more concerned with our team’s outcome rather than their individual success.  If we will continue that, it’s going to be a fabulous year and a “season to remember.”

I’ll leave you with the quote that I will be sharing with the team today… “There are only two types of pain. The pain of discipline, or the pain of regret.”  -- Don Meyer

I know which one I would choose…

Coach Elliott

Check out the latest Q and A with sophomore Chelsea Carlisle here.


 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow, I have so much to tell you...I'm not sure where to begin!  We've had three weeks of practice and are just about ready to take on our first opponent (more on that later!).  These three weeks have been so much fun with this team...we have such great leaders in our returning group...I'm amazed at how quickly we have been able to progress with things both offensively and defensively. 

We had our first scrimmage last Friday vs. Cal Baptist and were able to learn a lot about ourselves and what areas we need more immediate work on.  We've come a long way in three weeks, but we certainly have a ways to go!  But, it was good to finally go against somebody else and get a few nerves out of the way as well!  I sure hope those nerves stay away for our exciting trip up north this weekend.  We are thrilled to be heading up to play Stanford in an exhibition game...yes, THE Stanford (6'4, 6'4, 6'3)-currently ranked #2 in Division I!  Isn't that exciting??  We are very excited to play the BEST of the BEST and potentially the next Division I National Champions!

After that game, we will come home and take on University of San Diego in our final exhibition game...and then it's game time for REAL!  We open up at Grand Canyon in Phoenix...so if any of you Arizonans are reading, come on out!

Besides practice and game preparation, we've done a number of different exciting things in the last month!  We had our team retreat this last Friday night and had an absolute blast spending the night in four cabins at a KOA Campground!  We had an AMAZING talent show Friday night (where do I begin???)...let's just say this...Erin Grady can flat out dance, Emily (Osga) can sing in French, we've got some who are very talented in jazzercize and aerobics (with Betty Boop leading) and a group of the silliest Three Blind Mice!  Apparently, Kristen (Cabral) is a look-a-like for the "Can I have your number" skit on Youtube and the coaches pulled out a little skit (and song) from "The Hangover" movie!  Yes, I was Alan and I'm kind of a loner, but my wolfpack has now grown by two...J


After an amazing 24 hrs of bonding, goal-setting and lots of laughter, I think we would all agree that we returned a different team than when we left!  And, that is what team retreats are all about!   That evening was Halloween so we kicked off our first annual "Trick or Triton" event...we canvassed La Jolla Shores with free tickets, schedules and info and met some amazing locals!  Hopefully, we will see some of their smiling faces in the stands this year...no matter what, it was a great community interaction event and there will definitely be a second annual Trick or Triton!  Thank you to all the La Jolla Shores residents for making us feel so welcome!

A couple of weeks ago, we had an amazing visit to the Veterans Hospital here on our campus!  About 10 of our players and coaches went over to spend a couple of hours with the vets in the spinal cord injury section and had an amazing time serving them lunch, hearing stories and talking about all sorts of things!  We had the best tour guide ever (BBQ Bob) and were in awe of the patients' courage and heroism.  They truly are American Heroes and we were blessed and honored to spend time with you!  We will do our best to make you proud!

 

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to all the Alumni who made the trek back to RIMAC for Homecoming, which included the Alumni Game, an all-alumni athlete BBQ and the Women's Basketball alumni dinner!  It was such a fun time hearing stories of the OLD days and seeing you all reconnect with each other. 

Thank you to all the Triton family who made the effort...particularly those from up north and out of state!  Let's make this an annual tradition!  Great job Alexis Mezzetta for organizing all the events of the weekend!

In closing, I wanted to share with you some info on one of our most recent alums who was unable to attend alumni weekend due to the fact that she is overseas playing basketball in Austria!  Michelle Osier took some time out to answer some questions about her experience...you can also always follow Michelle on the internet at:

http://www.uk-flames.org/


Here is Michelle in her own words:

 

Q-So, what can you tell us about how you got connected to go play in Austria...?

I had been researching a few teams in different countries when I came across the opportunity to play with former enemy (haha...Chico St. alum), Audi Spencer. Ex-Chico assistant, George Libbon, had coached here with our head coach. The situation just felt right.


Q-What are some of the differences between playing at UCSD and playing in Austria?

To be honest, no experience (home or abroad) could replace my college years. I doubt I will ever come across players or coaches who are more invested and, therefore, more passionate about their program than those at UCSD. But when it comes down to the game itself, their rules (even though only slightly different than ours) seem to create a whole different player mentality. Offensively, in the States, refs reward you for body control.  Here, there is no such thing. Also, if you plan on driving right, you'd better catch with you're right foot as your pivot. Otherwise, if you don't take a negative step, TRAVEL! Audi and I call it the "American Travel" (haha). No, overall, the game is the same...work hard and you will succeed.


Q-Have you been able to do any fun things since you've been there?

As far as sightseeing goes...when we arrived in Austria, we went immediately to training camp out in the country (even more "country" than my hometown of Placerville). We stayed there for two weeks and were able to visit Salzburg, home of The Sound of Music. Since I'm sure this joke is coming...yes, the hills ARE alive. Also, Vienna's amazing public transportation has allowed us to explore most of the city. The architecture here is incredible! Oh, and we've seen the gyms of both a Czech and Hungarian team...lucky, I know (haha).

When it comes to activities, I've enjoyed coaching more than anything.  Audi and I run practices twice a week and coach our second division game on the weekends. It's definitely interesting to be on the other side of things. I almost feel more accomplished watching these girls improve every week than I do with my own game. It's a totally different type of pride.


Q-What have been some of the difficulties or surprises for you since being there?

Well, I'll admit to being a bit of a homebody. I am really close with my family and friends back in California, so I've had to learn to get by without them. I still definitely rely on Skype dates and my MagicJack, which really IS magical (google it). Also, the language barrier is frustrating at times. Assuming I was funny back at home, people HERE don't really get my jokes. For the first few months, my coaches and teammates had me pinned as the "quiet, shy one." If they only knew...huh, Coach? (haha).  But seriously, I feel like I am doing a lot of growing up out here. I see the importance in so much more. With age DOES come wisdom.  Come on, I'm almost 22!!

Just wanted to say to all the UCSD girls: F-E-U!!! (Coach, don't try to translate). Good luck, and I'll be watching! Love you guys



We are so proud of Michelle and how she is representing UCSD across the pond!  Keep up the good work!

 

Whew...I know I've had lots to say this month!  We've just had so many fun things going on, I couldn't leave anything out!  Hope you've enjoyed this edition and we will be back again next month!  Don't forget that you can always follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/coachcde.

Til Next Time,

Coach Elliott

PS...here is a photo of our team's laser tag outfits...they surprised me for my 40th birthday! 



Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Welcome Back...thanks for checking back in for the 2nd edition of Courtside with Coach Elliott.  A lot of exciting things have been happening this last month...school has started, which means conditioning, individual workouts, and wts have also begun!  The Tritons did a phenomenal job this summer working out and it has shown in our pre-season testing.  Records were broken in our Squat Test, our 3 Mile Test and our 300 Shuttle Test...hopefully, that work ethic will transfer on to the court as well!  One quick story from our squat test day...as each player is testing, the rest of the team huddles around and starts screaming at the tester to "stand up" or "drive it" or something of the sort...as I was walking back to my office after the test, one of our freshman, Erin Grady, told me that "that was my favorite memory so far."   That reminds me of one of our team goals from last year...it was "making memories."   It appears we've already started that for this year as well.

We've had a number of official campus visits by some potential future Tritons which has led to some crazy beach volleyball games...I hope we are as competitive and fired up for basketball as we get during those tight volleyball games.  It's a good thing we don't have any volleyball officials there because it would be easier to count the hits that are legal than those that would never be allowed in a real game (can you say "double hit?")

This last month we've also been doing our individual workouts.  We are allowed (per NCAA) to have 2 hours a week with up to 4 players at a time to work on individual skill development and it's one of my favorite times of the year.  We use this time to begin introducing some basic team concepts but primarily focus on the basics...ballhandling, footwork, individual 1 on 1 moves (both offensively and defensively) and screen reads.  Because we are a quarter school, we lose a lot of time at the beginning of the year but in the spring we get about 7 weeks of individual work.  We see major improvements during the spring workouts, but have to cram a lot into our fall individuals because we only get about two and a half weeks before we start practice, OCTOBER 15th!

That leads to me to what's coming up...we've got one more week til we start practice and only a month til we tip off our first exhibition game at Stanford...yes, Stanford!  We open up at one of the most successful programs in women's basketball history and clearly a pre-season favorite for a Final Four appearance.  So, was I crazy when I scheduled that game?  Possibly...but, we are choosing to look at this as an incredible opportunity for our team to play against one of the nation's best!  Sometimes you just can't turn down an opportunity that comes along...

As I leave you with a few thoughts from senior Erin Noonan, I want you all to know that every day I am grateful for the opportunity to coach at this amazing university and to work with these incredible young ladies who make my job so enjoyable, challenging and fun!  I hope you are able to catch us in action this year...here is a link to our 09-10 schedule:

Click Here for the 2009-10 Women's Basketball Schedule

 


 

Erin Noonan, Senior

Erin, What are you most excited about this coming year?

I am excited to see how things play out this year.  We are a completely new team this year, small and fast, and I've never been on a team like this.  It will be exciting to see how other teams adjust and react to our new game.

How have your new players impressed you?

The new players have impressed me because they came into this fall quarter in decent shape.  This is so good for us because the focus isn't on their conditioning, it's been on their learning.  Definitely gives us a head start on the year.

Describe your experience these past 3 years as a Triton and how have you been able to juggle the academics and athletics?

The past 3 years have been a total learning experience.  I have grown and matured much more than I ever thought I would.  I have learned to work hard, to get involved, and to get along with many different types of people regardless of if they are my best friend or not.  I've been able to juggle academics and athletics by being incredibly organized.  If I didn't have my calendar...I wouldn't know what to do (thanks Hanna)!






Thursday, September 9, 2009

Welcome to the first entry of Courtside, the newly established UCSD Women's Basketball blog...we hope to use this space to educate you about UCSD, share our inside stories with you and even brag a little bit (hopefully, there's stuff to brag about!  J ).  Most importantly, we want to give you, the reader, a connection to what is "really" going on with the women's basketball program...

Every month, we will try to update you on the latest info as well as have some guest writers to blog about their experience as a Triton or about the latest road trip antics!   It should be a fun experience both for us as the "writers" and for you, the "reader".  We will also be giving you an opportunity send us some questions and then we'll make sure and cover them in the next edition!  So, here we go...

We've had a tremendous summer...can you believe it's almost over????  For starters, recruiting has been amazing...trying to identify those unique individuals who are the best of the best, both in the classroom and on the court!  I love it when we pinpoint those individuals and then do all we can to get them to join the Triton family.  Being a part of such a prestigious university certainly helps as we start giving campus tours and talking about all that a UCSD experience brings...it's always encouraging and refreshing to me to meet families and young people...there are so many GREAT people out there and this profession allows me to get to know so many of them! 

Secondly, this summer has been full of preparation for the upcoming season...I love the time in the office (or sometimes overlooking the Pacific Ocean) when I can just shut everything else out and focus wholeheartedly on our team and begin to make plans and decisions about the direction we will go .  Debating strengths and weaknesses and how to accentuate the first and lessen the second is like a big puzzle to me...then running my ideas past our coaching staff and getting their insight and going back to the drawing board...it's really one of my favorite things to do in the summer.  The other thing I make a point to do in the off-season is pick one or two aspects of the game that I want to research or seek out wisdom and knowledge about...for instance, when I go home to Missouri for vacation, one of my favorite things to do is get all my coaching friends together and just ask them how they do this or how they teach that.   I always come away with a couple of new ideas!

Finally, the summer time gives us all a chance to "refresh" our bodies, our minds and our souls.  The season can be very emotionally and physically draining (all in a good way!) and the summer months are a great chance to recharge the batteries!  I've spent a lot of late afternoons and weekends trying to get the sport of "surfing" down...while I've crashed and burned A LOT, I've loved every minute of it...early in the summer, we took a week's vacation to visit my brother in Washington, D.C. and was reminded of why this country of ours is the greatest in the world and my husband and I even ran in a grueling 8-mile run (more like an 8-mile trot for me J).   Yes, the summer has been good...BUT, I'M READY FOR IT TO BE OVER!!!!!

To complete the first edition of our blog, I've asked senior Annette Ilg to give some takes on her experience as a Triton. Annette's been a phenomenal leader this past year and we are expecting amazing things from her as a senior.


 

Annette what are your thoughts for this upcoming year? 

We are going to have a great season!  We will be very different from our team last year with the core group transitioning from the posts to the guards.  We will have a lot of depth with many girls ready to come off the bench and contribute.  With depth, we will have diversity with each girl will bringing her particular strengths to the floor.  From our intense summer training, we are physically stronger than our team has been in the past.  We are focused, determined and excited about getting after our goals-going undefeated at home in conference, winning the CCAA, hosting regionals and winning a national championship!!!


Fondest memories of your time at UCSD?  

 
Playing basketball here at UCSD has probably been the greatest joy for me as a UCSD student.  Although it takes extremely hard work and dedication, it is worth every minute because I love it!  As a team, we always talk
about making memories, and we really do.  We traveled to Alaska last year and went dog sledding, to the North Pole, sledding, and had a snowball fight-definitely not things I ever thought I'd be doing.

Each season has been progressively more memorable for me.  One great part of this past '08-'09 season were the comebacks we made against Humboldt, Sonoma, and Dominguez Hills.  The games were just incredible, and this was definitely a season I will not forget.

There are so many memorable parts about basketball: intense conditioning, 6 am workouts, first day of practice, first scrimmage, home games, big games, conference tournament, playoffs and the list goes on.


 


Hope you've enjoyed the first installment...if you have questions you'd like answered, please email them to me at:  cdelliott@ucsd.edu

Until next month,

Coach Elliott