Sept. 25, 2007
Q: Talk about your experience at the USA Basketball U19 Women’s Junior National Team tryout:
Jacinta Monroe: It was amazing. It was my first time, of course. I met a lot of great players. It was intense, I had to get used to the altitude in Colorado so the first day I was kind of gasping but after that I got used to it and I learned a lot from it. My experience there helped me with coming back over the summer here and my pre-season working outs. It was a much tougher atmosphere because it’s the best of the best, so it helped me to keep that in mind when practicing against the best all the time so I really enjoyed it.
Q: What were your days like out there?
Jacinta Monroe: Breakfast in the morning. Then we’d have like two practices – more like scrimmages, two scrimmages a day. We got to watch the older girls, the Under 21 Team, if we wanted to. After that it was dinner and we kind of had a little bit of hang out time and had to be in bed kind of early.
Q: Who were your roommates?
Jacinta Monroe: Drey Mingo from Maryland and Mya Moore, who’s going to UConn.
Q: Did you pick up anything from them?
Jacinta Monroe: Not so much. Both of them are guards. I loved watching the older girls like Alaina Larkins and DeWanna Bonner from Auburn, she’s very good. She’s about my stature so I really enjoyed watching her and really everybody. Marscilla Packer from Ohio State was really good too. I just really enjoyed watching the older post players.
Q: What did you pick up from them?
Jacinta Monroe: Aggression. All of them were aggressive about going after the ball. They had a lot of good leadership. They’re talking to their teammates, even though they’re from different schools of course, but they were talking. They had great communication and they were just showing leadership so I like that.
Q: Besides school and training camp, what else did you do this summer?
Jacinta Monroe: I went home a couple times. I pretty much stayed up here so I could stay in shape and work out, but when I wasn’t working out I was at the movies a lot. Every time a movie came out I was there so that was pretty much my summer.
Q: What was the best movie you saw this summer?
Jacinta Monroe: I really liked “Norbit” and “Ocean’s 13” – I love that movie that was my favorite.
Q: How much does it help to be here over the summer – both academically and in basketball?
Jacinta Monroe: It helps a lot. Your discipline is there, more so than when you’re at home. When you’re at home you say, `I’m going to work out,’ and then you probably take a day off, but when you’re here, well for me, I’m more driven when I’m here in the atmosphere of basketball. So I just go home occasionally. I go home for a couple days and come back so I won’t get too lackadaisical.
Q: How is preseason and the whole season easier this year being a sophomore compared to last year as a freshman?
Jacinta Monroe: I know what I’m doing. Last year I had a million questions. Practice was pretty much question and answer. This year I feel like I know what to expect, I know what they expect of me, so I just get in, get my workout in, listen, and of course I’m still going to have a few questions, but not nearly as many as last year.
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you learned last season?
Jacinta Monroe: Never give up. Just never give up and hold your head down after anything because as long as you put forth an effort, as long as you put forth 150% then it doesn’t matter what the outcome is as long as you played your hardest and gave your all.
Q: How long did it take you to learn that?
Jacinta Monroe: I’d say January is when I began to grasp a hold of that more, but the first part of the season I was a pouter. I would get mad every time I didn’t make a shot and I’d put my head down. That’s why I was always taken out. So yeah, January, ACC and NCAA Tournament I just kept my head up, played, and I just love the outcome of the year.
Q: Is it a tough shot to your ego to be as dominant a player as you were in high school and then come in here and all of a sudden you’re back to square one a little bit?
Jacinta Monroe: No, I knew that college was going to be a bigger jump than just high school to college. That’s why I worked out when I was in high school with older guys because I knew the talent level was limited in high school. I knew that it wasn’t realistic that I’d have like 30 blocks in a game, so I just made it my mission to play against people that I knew are going to beat up on me so when I got to college I kind of knew that I’d get beat up a little bit or wouldn’t be number one in rebounding. That helped me kind of get used to it and I expected it when I came here.
Q: What do you look to improve on this season?
Jacinta Monroe: Rebounding and my defense and I want to be more of a scorer. Those three are my main goals to help my team get to Tampa.
Q: How are you trying to achieve those?
Jacinta Monroe: Just being in the gym. I’m in the gym pretty much everyday, even through we’re not practicing. We have Fridays off, but I still come in and do a little shooting and working on my post moves and sometimes playing defense with Angel (Gray). She shakes me a couple times every now and then but it’s making me better. I purposely play defense against a quicker person so when I’m matched up against a post player it will be like a walk in the park other than the weight disadvantage. That’s pretty much what I’m doing to get ready and staying healthy.