Preparation and chemistry drive Pac-12 Networks broadcasters

It’s the day before the 2015 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, and Tammy Blackburn is ready to preview the tournament on-set at KING-TV in Seattle.

“The day before the first game, I’m usually 90 percent ready to go,” Blackburn said. “The last 10 percent would be helping the Pac-12 Network go around with media hits in Seattle, and making sure they are appropriately represented. It’s really important that this city, being a great host of women’s basketball, hears from the announcers to understand what are the potential happenings over next couple days as it relates to seedings and who can surprise who.”

That’s only the beginning for Pac-12 Networks broadcasters. Four games are set to take place over the first day of the Tournament, with Blackburn having the analyst call on the first two games of the day.

However, getting prepared for the games began well before Blackburn’s arrival in Seattle.

“The preparation for that would have been several days in advance - reading game notes and speaking with coaches,” Blackburn said. “But for me, it’s watching a lot of film. I will go back and actually watch the matchups that I have [on the first day].”

Before the first game of the day, Oregon vs. Washington State, Blackburn and her on-air partner, play-by-play announcer Anne Marie Anderson, prepare for the game together by talking about topics that they both feel are important to share with viewers.

For Anderson, the tournament’s been on her mind for quite some time.

“Third year in this tournament with Pac-12 Networks, it’s changed the way that we prep,” Anderson said. “You have your eye on it all the way since January. I’m keeping my notes knowing that at the end, it’s going to be tournament time. I arrange my notes differently and keep special notes on my board all year in terms of looking forward to the tournament.”

Blackburn also turns to the Pac-12 Networks production crew while preparing for a broadcast.

“When I leave the hotel and arrive at the production truck, it’s important for me to greet the crew and go through any last minute questions, concerns or comments,” Blackburn said. “I spend a lot of time looking at graphics to understand the elements that we will try to work into the show.”

Blackburn also points to the use of a telestrator, a device that allows the operator to draw over video, to enhance the viewing experience for fans.

“It is such an important tool for analysts to use. Mary [Murphy] and I are fortunate enough to have it here at the tournament. It allows us to break down plays. Producer Scott Ferrier and I were talking about some potential offensive and defensive sequences that I might be able to break down on tele.”

While Blackburn and Anderson are on the air, Pac-12 Networks women’s basketball analyst Mary Murphy watches their broadcast at the media hotel with on-air partner Krista Blunk. Murphy and Blunk will have the last two games of the day.

“Krista and I have worked together so much that we know where the other person is going to go and when they’ll pause,” Murphy said. “We have a great working dynamic.”

Much like Anderson and Blackburn, the on-air dynamic adds to the broadcast.

“We’ll meet up or do calls with the coaches together so we’re on the same board,” Blunk said. “That helps us to know the storylines that we’ve heard. I know that if I bring something up, mary will have that same info and can add to it, or vice versa.”

While numbers and stats are always helpful, Pac-12 Networks broadcasters like to give viewers another side of the game.

“I try to be as positive as I can and to know something about the actual student-athlete as a person and what this game and the season means to them,” Murphy said.

The March to the Championship is on. Pac-12 Networks is your home for exclusive Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament coverage. Visit Pac-12.com for more information.

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