After seeing just 54 minutes of action in an injury-plagued redshirt freshman season, UCSD guard Daisy Feder saw her minutes climb and her role increase steadily in each of her next two seasons. Then, as a junior in 2011-12, Feder exploded into prominence, starting all 33 games next to All-American Chelsea Carlisle in the Triton backcourt, averaging 15.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while dishing out 83 assists. Her number were even more impressive down the stretch as she led UCSD in scoring five of the last six games, averaging 22.7 points per contest with five of those outings coming in the CCAA and NCAA Tournaments. Feder has simply continued to get better in her senior season, leading the Tritons in scoring (20.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 pg). First-year Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer has been impressed. "Daisy is very talented offensively. She's unique in that she has deep range as a shooter, combined with the ability to put the ball on the floor and create opportunities for herself and her teammates," said VanDerveer. "But her best attribute is that she is simply a competitor. Some people work hard, some play hard but she really competes, which I think is the ultimate compliment for a player." Feder spent time recently talking about her progression, this year's Triton team and the transition to a new coach.
Q-For the first time in your UC San Diego career, you have not had former backcourt running mate and All-American Chelsea Carlisle on the floor with you. How has her departure changed your game?
FEDER-Chelsea is an incredible basketball player and I have had so much fun playing with her here. She was able to create really well and get everyone a lot of open shots. I think her departure has forced me to be more aggressive offensively, as well as trying to create more for myself and my teammates. We also lost a lot of leadership, so we are collectively trying to fill that void and I am trying to take on more of that role.
Q-Every season of your collegiate career, you've seemed to take clear steps forward. This year, you're on your way to doing that again averaging career bests in points, rebounds, shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage. From your perspective, what have you done and what are you doing to make that improvement happen?
FEDER-I think the biggest factor for me is being healthy. I redshirted my freshman year due to stress fractures in my shins, and I struggled my sophomore and junior years unknowingly from severe iron deficient anemia. Once my health was under control my game began improving.
Aside from being healthy, my work in the offseason is what has led to that improvement. This past summer consisted of beach workouts three times a week, and skill basketball workouts six days a week including some two-a-days. We also played in a very competitive LA summer league as a team every Saturday. I think the offseason is critical to anyone's improvement during season, so that is where I would credit most of my success.
Q-After going 75-19 over the past three seasons, this year's squad started 1-5. It's now over the .500 mark and is 6-2 in conference play. What were your feelings during that opening six-game stretch and what has allowed the team to rebound and improve its record?
FEDER-It was really hard on all of us initially, especially coming off the year we had last year. Although the start to the season was frustrating, we were playing against really good teams and playing them well for most games but just couldn't take care of business in the last few minutes. It was a good learning experience for all of us and a good way to gain experience and develop chemistry with a younger team and a new coaching staff. We have all stayed hungry and determined to win and get better every day. That has made the difference in our improved record.
Q-With the experience of three CCAA seasons behind you, what type of success do you see this year's team having in conference play?
FEDER-We are getting better and better every day. In previous seasons we have had a tendency to peak early and run and out of gas towards the end. Although we have not been as successful as early this year, I think we have unlimited potential to be successful in conference as we continue to improve and grow together every day. Our conference is very competitive this year and any team can beat another team on any given night. With this being said, we want and know we are capable of winning conference. We know what it takes based on the past, and are confident in the fact that if we come to play our standard of basketball every game we can achieve this goal.
Q-For the first time in your tenure at UCSD, you have a new head coach. For you, what, if any, adjustments have there been with Heidi VanDerveer and what are the most significant things you have seen her bring to the program?
FEDER-She has brought a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge of the game to our program. Her basketball IQ is limitless and it has been a great experience learning from her thus far. As with any new coach, there are always adjustments when it comes to offensive and defensive philosophies and learning and understanding a new offense.
Q-When did you know basketball was "your sport?"
FEDER-My parents say I was three years old when I would follow my older cousin to the backyard and try and throw my mini rubber ball in the hoop. The ball would never get closer than hitting my cousin in the back of the head, but I think that's when I knew it was my sport.
I did Tae Kwon Do and gymnastics for years when I was younger. In high school I did high jump for four years, but only because our track team didn't have any high jumpers and they figured basketball players would be the next best. I love the competitiveness and art of basketball. It's a beautiful sport and has been my passion and what I have worked for my entire life.
Q-If you were told you couldn't play basketball anymore, what sport would you most likely gravitate to? Why?
FEDER-I don't recommend me in another sport, I don't think it would be pretty. If I had to choose, I would want to play flag football. Flag because I don't think I would like being tackled, and football because it's fun to watch and I loved playing as a kid.
Q-What's your favorite pick-up hoops spot in San Diego?
FEDER-RIMAC, I haven't played pick-up anywhere else in San Diego. I sometimes play pick up at different high school gyms by my house in Santa Monica.
Q-What's the most high pressure situation you've ever found yourself in on the basketball court?
FEDER-We have had quite a few high pressure situations already this year especially in the beginning of the season. Five of our seven losses were eight points or less, including a double OT loss to Tampa, all of which were high pressure situations. When it comes down to it, I want the ball in my hands. I'd like to think that I respond well in pressure situations, but regardless, I know I'm going to give it everything I have and if it's enough then great, if not, I at least knew I did everything I could to win.
Q-Speaking of pressure, if your team was tied up in a championship game, no time left on the clock with one free throw to win it, which of your teammates would you want on the line?
FEDER-Erin Grady. She doesn't miss free throws.
Q-At home games in RIMAC Arena, it's pretty much a given that your parents will be found sitting in the front row directly across from the Triton bench. What kind of influence have they had on your basketball career? What is the best advice you've received from each of them?
FEDER-They have had a tremendous influence on my basketball career through their unconditional support. My dad got me into it at a very young age and was always opening my eyes to new possibilities in terms of different leagues to play in, club teams etc. He surrounded me with basketball, whether we were watching a game on TV or going to a UCLA Bruins game together, and I fell in love with it. I will always be grateful to my parents for the countless hours they spent driving me to practices, games, and tournaments, as well as the money they have invested in me to be able to play in middle school, high school, and now at UCSD.
MOM: "Life is too short"
DAD: "Air in, air out, bend your knees" (he yells that at me when I shoot free throws...listen for it at games!)
Q-Both of your parents work in the dentistry field. You're an ethnic studies major with a minor in psychology. Is it safe to say you won't be following their footsteps, career-wise?
FEDER-Haha. I most definitely will not. Unfortunately, dentistry was never very appealing to me. In terms of a long-term career, I have no idea what the future entails for me. Ideally, I would love to do something where I could still be involved with basketball. I think when I'm done with this year I would like to continue playing overseas for a year or so. I'm just not ready to give basketball up quite yet.
Q-What do you consider your two or three most dominant personality traits? Is there a misconception people often have about you?
FEDER-When it comes to basketball, I would say perseverant, determined, and hard working. Generally speaking, I'm very indecisive and tend to over analyze things. People aren't usually aware of my compulsive-like tendencies towards structure, schedules, and planning in my personal life.
Q-When you're not playing basketball or studying, what do you enjoy doing?
FEDER-I am a TV junkie. The past few months I have been watching Lost on Netflix which has kept me very entertained. I love spending time with my family and friends when I have the time and am able to go home. In the spring and summer, you can always find me laying out by the pool, working on my color, and most likely sipping on a boba.
Q-Favorite television show? Favorite dessert? Person you'd most like to meet?
FEDER-Hands down Grey's Anatomy. Best TV show ever. I love chocolate chip cookies, but almost anything with chocolate gets my sweet tooth going. I'd love to meet Kobe Bryant. He's the best basketball player of all time...sorry MJ.
Q-Last year ended on a disappointing note in the finals of the NCAA West Regional. Do you remember how you felt that night? What will make 2012-13 a successful season in your eyes?FEDER-Of course, that feeling is something that I will probably never forget until it can be replaced. That loss broke our hearts, but it is what has fueled our offseason work and our fight throughout this season. I think being competitive and consistent throughout the duration of season would translate to a successful year. This team has come a long way, but we still have a long ways to go which is a good thing. I think we will peak at the right time and success will follow.
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