Q & A With Kristen O'Neill

Oct. 22, 2004

Junior guard Kristen O'Neill sat down with GoHuskies.com correspondent Jesse Hulsing at the team's media day on Oct. 21. O'Neill talked about how it feels to be back on the court, what it will be like to take on the role of team leader and how the freshmen are fitting into the program.

GoHuskies.com: How does it feel to be back after redshirting last year due to injury?

Kristen O'Neill: 'Its an amazing feeling, I love to play and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to play again. Its been a long process but I'm excited to get out there and push it as hard as I can.'

GH: Coach Daugherty seems to be organizing her game plan around running the floor. Is that your style of play?

O'Neill: 'It is definitely my style of play. In high school we played a lot of man-to-man, pressing, trapping that sort of stuff. This year we have a really athletic group that will be able to handle an uptempo style of play.'

GH: How do you feel about being a captain?

O'Neill: 'I'm very excited, and I feel honored that the coaches and teammates chose me to be the leader of the team. Kayla and I are really great friends and our leadership philosophy is very much the same. We are both vocal leaders, and we definitely want to lead by example. We'll be working as hard as we can everyday and not taking a second of it for granted. We need to make sure that our team work ethic stays in the right place. The most important thing is that we have fun, and when we get the new system down it will be a lot of fun. I'm really excited to be a leader for a program like this.'

GH: How are you going to make up for the loss of Giuliana Mendiola?

O'Neill: 'Giuliana was a fantastic player, but our team is not getting caught up on that. No one is looking around the locker room wondering what are we going to do. We're moving on and very excited to see what the team can do as a whole, not relying on one person as much. I think that in some ways we are going to be a lot better, everyone wants to contribute and five are a lot harder to stop than one. More than anything we just need to learn and improve everyday, we need to continue to grow as a team if we want to make it to the postseason, and make an impact on the national level.'

GH: What do you think of the freshmen. Are you impressed with them so far?

O'Neill: 'I am, they are great. Sometimes when you get a new group of people its always interesting to see how they will fit in with the chemistry of the team. But this is great they are great people and great basketball players. They are willing to work hard, and that more than anything is what you want from a freshman. They will make mistakes, but they are learning just like we all are. We are all really excited and happy to have them on the team.'

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