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October 16, 2007

Latoya Gulley

Shalee Lehning

Jackie McFarland

Erin Myrick

Danielle Page

Andrea Riley


DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Let's start with Shalee in the middle. Shalee, you are at 6.9 rebound a game, you have got to be the returning top rebounding point guard in the entire country. Why are you such a good rebounder from the point guard position?
SHALEE LEHNING: I don't know. It's an interesting question. I like to go for the ball. That's something I've always been taught when I was younger. My dad said go get it, and he didn't care where I was at. I do go after it. A lot of guards, they are starting to become better rebounders, and you're going to find that evolving in women's sports. It's going to be more difficult for me to get the rebounds. Whenever I see the ball I try to follow the line of it and see where it's going to bounce.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Jackie, what were you doing last night?
ANDREA RILEY: Last night I was at the Colorado Rockies game. They swept the Diamondbacks, and are going to the World Series. It was exciting, the entire town, city, state, really excited about that.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: When you experience that kind of environment when there's that kind of celebration, can you take that and carry it over to your day-to-day basketball life?
ANDREA RILEY: I definitely think so. The thrill of sports is something everyone can relate to. And especially being an athlete and knowing all the hard work and how excited the men were after the game, and hopefully we can do that one day if we're going to the Big 12 Championship Tournament or the NCAA.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Erin, you are the youngest of six girls. No boys, no brothers?
ERIN MYRICK: No brothers.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: How does that help you manage being a part of the team?
ERIN MYRICK: Well, growing up we all slept in like the same bed for a while. So I was always the youngest, and people were always sheltering me. But coming and having to be a leader on the team, you have to learn to shelter other people sometimes. It's been a learning experience for me, but I think I'm getting better at it.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Danielle, you had a fun summer. I know you had a Red Sox game. But how about your trip to Mexico? Sometimes we forget you are kids and that you have fun. You're not always playing basketball.
DANIELLE PAGE: The trip to Mexico was a lot of fun. I went with my mom and my little brother. And I basically just hung out by the pool and eight quesadillas, and it was amazing. The best vacation I've had.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Andrea, your dad is a former Harlem Globetrotter, and he's not the dunking guys, he's a ball handler. How did he help you become a better basketball player?
ANDREA RILEY: He always had me in the gym like at 6:00 in the morning. So I was a little early bird back in the day. But he helped me develop my skills. He helped me get better at handling the simple cross over, and dribble to the baseline. He helped me out a lot.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Danielle, talk about the 30 3's that coach makes you run. What is that? And after you say what it is, I want to get some reaction from everybody else on whether they think they could do it.
DANIELLE PAGE: 30 3's are our conditioning test that we have to run every year before we start practice. Basically what it is, it's five and three fourths of a court length. You stop on the other free throw line.
DANIELLE PAGE: I don't know the reason.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Is that something Coach came up with?
DANIELLE PAGE: It was our previous strength coach. He brought it in. And I think Coach liked it. It helps determine where we are conditioning-wise. You have to run 12 of them. You get a minute and a half between each. Guards running at 36 seconds.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: 38 seconds to go five lengths and three-quarters, Latoya, what do you think of that?
LATOYA GULLEY: So you start at the baseline and you're running to the other half court and you have five trips?
DANIELLE PAGE: It's down, back, down, back, down and then to the other free throw line.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: That's grueling. Can everybody make it?
DANIELLE PAGE: It takes a couple of people a couple of tries. But everyone made it this year.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Jackie, this story cannot be played enough for Colorado basketball, but you're actually going to have Britney Spears and Whitney Houston in the back court. That has got to be the all-named teams of all-named basketball.
ANDREA RILEY: Superstars without stepping on the court.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Are you in rhythm or is it taking time?
ANDREA RILEY: Definitely. We come in, I remember recruiting them, coming on the recruiting trips. I think Whitney Houston came in first, and we were making a couple of jokes about it. The coach said don't worry we have Britney Spears coming in. And we thought they were joking. But we've got them both. We tease them, because with the life they've been leading in the media recently.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Latoya, how is Spanish your first language, how is that?
LATOYA GULLEY: My father played in the NBA and he decided to stay over and play overseas. So I lived my first eight years over there and Spanish is my first language. And I came here, back to Houston, and started going to school and I'm like, okay, what are these kids speaking? So I had a translator for a while. And as you can see, I still -- it's hard. My R's, I still roll them. My teammates make fun of me. I say "sat," and they say, "What are you saying?" And I say, "Please, don't play with me." It's something that I've had the experience to live over there, and it's a wonderful experience and I hope I can go back.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Shalee, sometimes student athletes don't have time to get involved in the community. But you pay forward by getting involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters, how does that work?
SHALEE LEHNING: Just like you said, it is an opportunity to give back. I think oftentimes we overlook the many blessings we have in our life as athletes. I got involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, I would go and spend time, maybe a couple of times this summer, and play with the kids and do pretty much whatever they want to do. They always usually wanted to play basketball. I tried to do out of the ordinary things they might not get to do every day. They are not as fortunate as us. It was a humbling experience and I hope I can continue to give back to those kids.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Besides your dad being a former Harlem Globetrotter, he is a bodyguard for Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, have you participated in anything there?
ANDREA RILEY: I actually get to stay in Jerry Jones's suite.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: What's the food like in there?
ANDREA RILEY: It's awesome (laughter). They have everything you can dream of that you want to eat, fruit, nachos, everything.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: On another note, there is a point guard at St. John's. Her name is Carla Cortijo. Her father is a bodyguard for Hootie and the Blowfish, or Darius Rucker, I should say.
Danielle, your father is in the Air Force and his ability to listen to your games last year, can you explain how that happened?
DANIELLE PAGE: He's actually recently retired from the Air Force. He now works for Montgomery Contracting, kind of. He was over in Afghanistan during part of our season last year. And he listened to our games through our Internet, Huskers.com. And it was really weird, because it was like weird times, like 3 a.m. he had to listen to it. It was nice that I know as far away as he was he was still watching me and listening to me play.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Erin, you like to cook, and now you have all these new players, are you going to put a menu together to make sure everybody is satisfied?
ERIN MYRICK: They've been to my house a few times because they know there's free food. It's fun that somebody can cook so we can get together like that and have a team male without anybody else but the team around. It's a fun time.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: In Lubbock I imagine that you would get mobbed for autographs. I'm sure that happens a lot of places. What's your specialty?
ERIN MYRICK: Macaroni and cheese. They love my macaroni and cheese. My mom is a caterer and food service manager, and she's an awesome cook.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Do all your sisters cook?
ERIN MYRICK: Some of them not so much because it's not very good. But a few of us are pretty good at it.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Latoya, the Jones Cup experience, I know you and Jackie were sharing a couple of experiences already. Talk about that and your relationship and how you've been able to make new friends in the Big 12.
LATOYA GULLEY: We had to play with Athletes in Action, and they represent God in Sports. And that's something that -- when I'm on the court it's frustrating, and you're what, okay, Coach, I understand, but the teammates are yelling at you and we played six games in seven days, I don't know how we did it, with only a week of practice. But we lost our first two games. We came together as a team and said we're going to go 0-6 or will we go 4-2. Once we came together as a team, Coach Schaefer said it was the best transition team he'd ever seen. It was crazy how the ball would shoot to the wing, and I saw Jackie going, and I was following. I said can we bring this to Texas A&M, please? But it was a great experience. I got to be with Jackie and Leah Rush, who is at Oklahoma. Jhasmine Player and Rachel Allison. And normally you're like we're laughing at each other, how we did bios of each other. I saw Jackie and it was hi, and I know who she is. Now we have a little friendship. When we play against here it's going to be tough.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Jackie, expand on that.
ANDREA RILEY: It's playing against the competition, not knowing these girls without their jersey on, and without -- this is like what we need to do to stop them, and being our enemy. And putting a friendly face and personality was a lot of fun. It was a humbling experience to go to Taiwan. The people over there were so hospitable, they loved the Americans that came over. You'd be walking on the street and people want your autograph and asking to take your picture without really knowing who you are. The culture was amazing. To play at a different level of basketball even higher than what you are now, the Big 12 in the league, and Division 1 basketball is amazing. It was an amazing experience.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Erin, you already have your undergrad degree. Talk about your degrees and what you're pursuing now.
ERIN MYRICK: I graduated in May with a degree in broadcast journalism, because basketball summer school has allowed me to do that. I had a minor in English and Spanish. And then I'm going -- I'm already doing it now -- a second degree in public relations and a minor in business.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Where does basketball fit in?
ERIN MYRICK: It fits in there. It hasn't really -- I won't say it's been hard, it's what you do. They all can speak to this, it's what you do. You go to school, you go to class, you go to practice, you do what you have to do to get it done.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: What are your aspirations after you're done playing?
ERIN MYRICK: Anybody who is needing somebody to work for them, I'm available. I would like to be an account coordinator or media relations specialist. Broadcast journalism is what I really want to do. But I've got to save up some money until I take the vow of poverty for that first.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Jackie, academically you've got a bunch of things going on, too, what's your story?
ANDREA RILEY: As of now I'm in the five-year program at the University of Colorado. They have a great business school there where in four years this coming May I'll be able to graduate with my masters in accounting taxation and my bachelor's as well in accounting. I think that was an amazing opportunity. I came in with a few hours out of high school. Kind of a sophomore starting my freshman year. Colorado gave me a chance to graduate in four years with a masters, as opposed to graduating last year with my bachelors, and taking a few more hours for my secondary degree without actually completing it.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: How about you, Shalee? You're a broadcast journalism major. Put it out there.
SHALEE LEHNING: I think as an athlete obviously we've been interviewed many times and we know what we go through, and stuff like this. It's a great opportunity to get experience and be exposed to different situations. I hope definitely some day to be working in television to be doing something broadcast-wise.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Your leadership class you took, how does that carry over to being a point guard? How does that work?
SHALEE LEHNING: Definitely this past summer I had an opportunity to take a leadership class, and it was great. It showed different aspects of the values and beliefs and the things that you need to focus on to expound what you have as a leader. There's a lot of things that go into it. It's not only just natural ability, just being able to read different people and put a lot of different personalities on the team and get them to go, and be understanding that this person can handle this and they can't handle that. The leadership class exposed me to that. And made me realize that there's a lot of great things that each individual can bring to the table. I have to know the character of each person and be sensitive to that.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Danielle, you took an interviewing class. We've got four post players and two guards up here. You're going to see Erin and Latoya and Jackie in the post. Ask them any question you want to know about the way they workout, the way they post. Anything you want to take away, ask away.
DANIELLE PAGE: What's your guys's favorite move?
ERIN MYRICK: Whichever one scores the best.
LATOYA GULLEY: I must say it has to be fade to the right and go low up the middle.
ANDREA RILEY: Up and under always gets them.
DANIELLE PAGE: I'll put that in my memory banks, thanks.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Andrea, you have a big family, five brothers and four sisters, so there's ten of you at some point because of the age, and then there's 12 on a team. What do you learn from coming from a big family that helps you manage as a point guard all the personalities you have to manage on a team?
ANDREA RILEY: Well, it's kind of different comparing it to a team, because I was one of the oldest in my family, and I'm one of the youngest on my team. It's like I have to -- I'm bringing myself to a different environment. And for it to pass over to the team thing it's like I have to grow faster, and not always be the grown up person in the group, you have to grow to everybody.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: I'm sure you're dying to ask some of the players. Go ahead and hit them.
SHALEE LEHNING: What do you like to do in your free time with your teammates? What's something funny you do? What do you like to do that maybe these people would like to know about?
LATOYA GULLEY: I can speak on behalf of Texas A&M. Me and A'Quonesia and Patrice, we do have a dance group. And YouTube is probably our favorite. We do the Soulja Boy. We had him down for Maroon Madness, the Sponge Bob, whatever the latest dance is, we feel we have to do it. We have this quote, unquote, sorority thing we do. But it's funny because we actually make our teammates pledge in order to be on it. And in order to pledge we're going out, for instance --
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Not hazing them, are you?
LATOYA GULLEY: No, it's really funny. Two of our freshmen wanted to be a part. And we're like, okay, when Maroon Madness, and Soulja Boy came to perform, we said you have to go out there and dance with them and do it in front of everybody. And it was -- it filled the whole arena. We just had fun and be a part of the dance group or you can be a part of our little sorority.
ANDREA RILEY: My team, well, we've got a lot of jokers on our team. I like making everybody laugh. We all just sit around and joke in the locker room, we turn on music and we'll make fun of how we act in practice or how we look when we're tired or stuff like that.
ERIN MYRICK: We have like movie nights where we watch old DVD's of old television shows, and of course they come to my house to eat. And that is just basically what we do. We have a lot of fun together.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Danielle, you guys have a good group, too.
DANIELLE PAGE: We do a lot of dancing on our team, too. Soulja Boy has made an appearance once or twice, just having fun, throwing the Nerf football around.
ANDREA RILEY: Also, we have the movie route, but we have the largest selection of Disney movies in the Big 12.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Probably because your coach has three young children.
ANDREA RILEY: But we know most every song Disney has come up with. We have them not only on the DVD's, but our iPods, as well. We like to sing them: Under the Sea. I think the Magic Carpet Ride, the Aladdin one, back to childhood.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: One other question for you, Jackie, your numbers are unbelievable. A double-double in the league, you know how difficult that is to accomplish. When you look at the numbers in the Big 12 you're always right underneath Courtney Paris. You could say that she's casting a shadow on your numbers in some ways, she's a dominant national player. Make a play for yourself, why you should be considered for all those awards, because you shoot 60 percent from the floor.
ANDREA RILEY: I think it's just the work ethic and the great team I have around me, we kind of get passed under the radar, because Courtney Paris is such a great player. But I think averaging as many minutes and having such a young team I've tried to lead the team as well as I can, and go out and do what I can every night.
DEBBIE ANTONELLI: Ladies, thank you very much for your time and for your effort. Hope you all found some things that will be helpful in your writing and your work through the season.

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