Wednesday, October 19, 2011

25 things about...ODU's Michelle Brandao

First of all, we like to offer a sincere apology to Old Dominion's Michelle Brandao, who was gracious enough to grant us an interview nearly three weeks ago after the Lady Monarchs' first practice. It's not her fault we lost the notes.

Fortunately, we never actually throw stuff out here at LadySwish Central, so we figured those notes would turn up one of these days. Today is that day. So without further adieu, our much-delayed introduction to the Lady Monarchs' freshest face begins in...




- Brandao hails from Freixo Ponte de Lima, Portgual, which is one beautifully-sounding mouthful if we've ever heard one.

- Prior to the interview, she cautioned us that she wasn't that great with the English language.

- We understood every word she said - easily - and absolutely loved her charming accent. Reminded us of one of those European women's pro tennis players.

- Brandao is picking up slang expressions from, among others, freshman teammate Queen Tiye Jackson.

- An example:"When you do a good thing, Queen said, just say, "Sweat," Brandao explained.

- Our first instinct was to ask Jackson what the heck she was talking about. But we decided against it - we don't believe it's a good idea to question royalty.

- Asked about her favorite place to visit in Norfolk, Brandao smiled and thrust out her arms at the expanse of the Constant Center. "This," she said. "I can't wait to see it when the (fans) get here."

- Lady Monarchs coach Karen Barefoot said Brandao is such a gym rat she sometimes has to throw her out of the building.

- We didn't know Barefoot was that strong.

- The day we visited practice, Brandao stayed behind after the workout and launched roughly 100 3-pointers.

- Made about 80 of 'em.

- So did Jackie Cook, who incidentally was sporting one of the most incredible tans we've ever seen.

- Despite Brandao's shooting exhibition, she didn't hesitate when asked about her favorite part of basketball. "I like to pass," she said.

- Not surprisingly, Brandao's favorite players are Ticha Penicheiro, Sue Bird and Rajon Rondo - point guards all.

- Brandao said she was 14 when she first head about Ticha. "Lots of people talk about her," Brandao said. "She big in Portugal."

- Ticha's pretty big in Norfolk, too. And Sacramento. And Los Angeles....

- Brandao turns 21 on Jan. 4, the same day the Lady Monarchs host Georgia State.

- Now we know what her teammates can get her for her birthday.

- Although she's no longer a teenager, the fact that Brandao has a mouthful of braces gives her the youthful visage of a 16-year-old.

- The braces come off in one year.

- One look at Brandao's slender arms and it seems clear that Portugal's practice regimen does not include a lot of weightlifting. Paul Helsel, she's all yours.

- Then again, Old Dominion did not sign her for its bodybuilding team.

- If you have Brandao over for dinner and want to make sure she enjoys the meal, whip up a batch of Massa รก Bolonhesa. We're not exactly sure what that means, but Brandao sure does - it's her favorite dish.

- Brandao acknowledged she sometimes misses the Portuguese food, as well as her family, friends and coaches back home.

- "But it's OK," she said. "I'm fine here."

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