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Q&A with women’s basketball head coach Darcie Vincent

Darcie Vincent. Aneisy Cardo | The AppalachianThe Appalachian: What are your expectations for the season?
Darcie Vincent: “Obviously they are pretty high. I think no matter what, when you walk into it, just by our nature, competitively, we say ‘hey we’re gonna win the whole thing.’ I think it’s just important, especially with this year’s team, with these seniors who have had such a tremendous amount of success during their time here, that we just take one day at a time and one week at a time. Our theme for the season is ‘one more.’ We want one more win when it’s a tight game, one more chance in that title/championship game. These seniors have big goals and great expectations, so I really just think the sky is the limit for us.”


TA:
Is there anything that’s different from last season?
DV:“Five new faces. I mean, there is times when the freshness is really nice, especially [with] around 13-15 women, there is a lot of just things going on that we as women all understand. So I think at times, five new faces brings freshness and kind of like an excitement. At the same time, five new people catching on to the system is a headache at times, so I think that’s the biggest difference. It’s just been interesting so far with these five new kids at times. They’re all different, believe me – their personalities are so different – but it kind of makes it special.”

 

TA: Are you expecting anything from the five new faces?
DV: “Absolutely. We’ve had freshmen play for us every year since we’ve been here. So absolutely, we want 13 players that are going to push each other every second of every day on the court. KeKe Cooper and Khadejah Wilkerson… our post players of the future… [have] got to get the minutes and step up and do some things, and they are. They’re long and a little bit taller than what’s there, and then you have the guards with LaShawna Gatewood, Bria Huffman and Farrahn Wood as the shooter. I just think it’s the freshman thing right now, but as soon as we get them balanced out, I think you’re going to see some really good things out of them.”

TA: This team has a chance to win back-to-back league titles for a third time. How does that feel?
DV: “I think it’s all pressurized. I think that any time you’ve had some success, the monkey gets on your back. The big X, the big bulls eye gets on there, and I think our conference is very well built this year…. I think it’s going to be anybody’s game at any given time. I don’t think anyone’s favorite or anyone’s there. There is no less or more experienced team out there, so I think that our expectations are to be the team at the end of it, but it’s going to be a very interesting and fun season. The program and the team that shows up every day ready to play, that doesn’t take a hit, take a loss when they shouldn’t have, will be the one standing there at the end. Pressure is pressure, you know… I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

TA: On the sidelines, what are you most proud of as a coach?
DV: “Just how hard they play. I think the biggest compliment we get is just that we brought fun to women’s basketball. [Fans] love to watch us play, and I think when I first got down here four years ago, I think I shocked so many people that women play by diving on the floor, and they want floor burns and scabs. That’s not what they were used to. I don’t know if that’s a Southern thing or it’s an Appalachian thing or what it was. It never gets old; going into our fifth year we’re still hearing that.”

TA
: What should fans expect this season?
DV: “The same kind of excitement, hopefully. Hopefully even one more, one step up because this is Anna, Kelsey, Raven and Courtney’s last year. Three of those kids, when I signed them, that was our first recruiting class, we only won nine games the year before and I’m asking them, almost begging, come and be a part of this. I’m here to rebuild a program and you kids are that staple. I think in their senior year they aren’t going to accept anything less. They have a little chip on their shoulder, a little bit of attitude sometimes. I think when you know that this is it, this is your last go around, you always want to give everything that you have. Believe it or not, as hard as we play, I’m thinking you’re going to see a little bit more.”

Story: KAITLYN THURSTON, Senior Sports Reporter

Photo: ANEISY CARDO, Intern Photographer

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