Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dribbles and bits with Old Dominion coach Karen Barefoot

ODU Coach Karen Barefoot (left) and the Lady Monarchs are ready to roll. 
Old Dominion fans relish memories, and the last official game Karen Barefoot was a part of as a Lady Monarch was March 25, 2008. ODU vs. Virginia, second round NCAA Tournament and yep, that was the one where Jazzmin Walters added to the LM annals by draining a 3 to send ODU to the Sweet 16.

Barefoot was an assistant coach on that team and after a successful three-year stint as head coach at Elon, she returns to ODU as the head coach. Opening night for the Barefoot era is 7 pm Friday at the Constant Center against state foe Virginia Tech.

Barefoot's feelings stepping out onto that floor again?

"For me, I can't get caught up in it. It's going to be all business. We're going to give the best we can and be competitive. We have unbelievable fan support on our side, and hopefully that's going to give us an energy boost."

What's up with Tia Lewis? We hear she's out of the boot.

"She's had a couple of great workouts and I expect it to be 100 percent by (Monday)."

Sophomore point guard Michelle Brandao did not play in ODU's exhibition game last week. As with many foreign athletes, Brandao has to be cleared, as according to ODU,  "Her amateurism status has to be approved."

"She came in late and she is not cleared. It's typical with a lot of European kids. We've gotten all the paperwork in.""

As far as a timetable:

"I really don't know when. We're hoping to get an answer soon."

So if Brandao doesn't play, that leaves point guard in the hands of?

"Ashley (Betz-White) is doing an unbelievable job right now. They really are two different point guards, and that's fun. Michelle has a lot of experience and Ashley is a ball of energy -- so coachable. Michelle is really versatile and can play the two."

As the days wind down on preseason, who has made the biggest impression on you?

"Everybody has improved a ton. Jackie (Cook) played really well in our closed scrimmage against Norfolk State. Tiffany Minor played unbelievable in our exhibition game. ... Nothing rattles her. She handles pressure extremely well. She's just so smooth."

Virginia Tech also begins a new era with coach Dennis Wolff. What stands out about the Hokies?

"They have a lot of size. Another thing is they have experience -- something we don't have. The key for us is tempo. We want to control it."

You experimented with the 10-second rule during preseason. Your thoughts?
"We did pretty good with that. I definitely am for it because of the pressure. It's fun because it brings more emotions in the game. I really think the fans would enjoy it."

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