2017 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day: Pinelopi Pavlopoulou catches more Z's, shines in postseason run
SAN FRANCISCO – Heading into the final stretch of the 2016-17 season, Washington State guard Pinelopi Pavlopoulou knew she had to step it up. In a season filled with injuries – the Cougars lost three starters to season-ending injuries at different points of the season – the Cougs had managed to make it to the postseason, earning a berth to the WNIT.
Pavlopoulou was one of a number of players who had to take on an expanded role, filling in for starting Pac-12 All-Freshman point guard Chanelle Molina, who went down with an ACL injury mid-season. So how did the Athens, Greece, native prepare for the impending postseason run with an expanded role?
By sleeping, at least eight hours per night.
It might seem like a small thing, but it worked. Pavlopoulou averaged 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds during the season, but upped those totals to 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in the WNIT, helping lead the Cougs all the way to the semifinals despite having to play four of the five WNIT games on the road.
“I knew it was very important to get rested and recover from game after game. I knew I was getting more minutes on the floor, so I needed to balance my academics more than I did in the past,” Pavlopoulou said at 2017 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. “That was a good observation from my strength coach. He said, ‘What changed? You’re getting eight hours or more of sleep, and look how good you’re playing.’”
In addition to hitting the hay, head coach June Daugherty noted that her team’s depth allowed players like Pavlopoulou to shine with the extra minutes when the slew of injuries hit the Cougs.
“One of the things that happened with the injuries is we played 10, 11 players deep… They’re used to being in the leadership roles that they’re in. So I think that really helped us, the fact that we’ve played a lot of players,” Daugherty said. “They’ve had significant minutes on the floor. They just had to up them quite a bit.”
Finally at full strength, the Cougars enter the 2017-18 campaign with high expectations as they try to push for a winning season and potential NCAA Tournament bid. With hopefully a lot more than 30 games on the slate, Pavlopoulou is going to have to start resting up; don’t want to accrue any sleep debt.