After a run into the NIT to end the 2013-2014 campaign, the 'Cats return all five starters this year. However, only two of the 14 players on the roster are seniors. We chatted with center Alex Cohen and guard Karly Roser about their senior leadership and more.
Y’all are the only two seniors on the team. What’s that like?
Alex Cohen: It’s exciting. We’ve been through a lot these last three, three-and-a-half years. It’s exciting, I guess, for me to finally be a senior and have three years of experience behind me to show the younger girls on the team what I’ve learned the last couple of years.
Karly Roser: It’s come up really fast. I feel like I’ve been here forever, but I can’t remember everything that happened in the past three years. It’s crazy, but we’re just going to do our best to enjoy it as best as we can and have the best season since we’ve been here.
In your time here, how have you seen the team transform? What was it like when you were a freshman, and what is it like now?
AC: I think it’s changed a lot since we’ve been here, in many ways. We’re definitely a much faster-paced team this year, which is really exciting because we are able to push in transition and get down the floor.
KR: I think we were more post-oriented in the first year or two, and now we have a lot of quick guards and our posts can keep up with us as well, so that’s a big benefit in transition. We really wanna run teams out of our gym.
When y’all were freshmen, who did you look up to? What do you y’all wanna be in terms of leaders for the younger players?
AC: I guess for me, like Karly said, we had a lot of post players my freshman year. I had Kate [Popovec], Kendall [Hackney] and Danielle [Diamant] I could look up to as people on and off the court, and [as] players. [I want to be] able to be the same thing for the other girls.
KR: I came in, not clueless, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect, so looking up to everyone and seeing how they handle situations and deal with school and the pressures on the court. I think Kate was a really good mentor, and now she’s here, so she can continue doing that for the younger girls. In terms of us being leaders, I just think we need to bring our best every day and show them how hard you need to work in order to be at a high level.
How do y’all share the leadership role?
KR: I focus mostly on guard play, and I hear Alex talk to the posts a lot to tell them where to be. I don’t think we step on each other’s feet too much, but just be there for the girls that can look up to us, and be the best in our roles so they can see what it needs to be like.
What are your goals for the season?
AC: We have a lot of goals. Obviously, we want this to be our best year since we’ve been here. We’re really looking to make a big impact in the Big Ten and get to the NCAA tournament this year. We’re really looking to make it far in the Big Ten tournament, and, like I said, make it to the NCAA tournament, which we haven’t done since we’ve been here.
KR: Even with Maryland and Rutgers coming in, I think we still have a really good chance of being at the top of this conference. We just need to keep practicing really hard every day and develop our skills so we can get to that point. The NCAA tournament is a really big thing on our list.
Do y’all have any traditions or rituals pre or postgame, on the court or off the court?
KR: As a team, I don’t know what we’re going to do this year. We’ve changed it up form the past two or three years. So, we’ll see. We’ll see what we can come up with.
What has been a tradition in the past?
AC: We talk in the hallway right before we go out and do a little team chant.
KR: That’s fun. We have a GoPro there now, so maybe you’ll see it. But yeah, we’ll keep doing that.
What are you looking forward to most this year? What’s your favorite part of basketball season, in general?
AC: There’s so many. Just being with the team, both on and off the court. We get along so well. It’s really exciting that we can go into the season together and have such big goals and try to achieve them together.
KR: This is the last time that we’re going to be able to compete in the Big Ten and in the NCAA, so I just want to make the most of it and do the best we can, and hopefully we can come out with a successful season.