Beyond the ACCtion: ACC Women's Basketball Media Day

Oct. 18, 2011

Beth Mechum, Website Intern for the Atlantic Coast Conference, takes you Beyond the ACCtion from the Greensboro Coliseum for the 2011 ACC Women's Basketball Media Day. Entries added throughout the day.

Afternoon Session

Same thing, different teams. The coaches and student-athletes made their way through the television and print media interview rooms, again stopping to chat with familiar faces on the way.

These coaches and student-athletes continued on with similar themes that emerged in the morning session.

“Teachable moments”

Coaches go through life in much different ways than “normal” human beings. They don’t enjoy a basketball game on TV – they try and find ways to improve their team. And it’s not just basketball – anything they see on TV, or read in a book or notice while walking down the street – they are constantly looking for wisdom they can bring to their team.

Clemson’s women’s basketball coach Itoro Coleman said she watches Clemson’s men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell for teachable moments. Other coaches spoke about the hours of film of their own teams plus WNBA teams they watched - anything to get an edge.

“Possessions”

People say football is a game of inches, but basketball is a game of possessions. The ACC is a competitive league and the coaches know that mere possessions can mean the difference between a winning season and a losing season.In the weeks of practice leading up to the start of the season, coaches teach the importance of possessions and the endurance it takes to make sure each possession counts.

“Defense”

What are you concentrating on this year? What do you think your strength will be this year? What do you hope to improve on from last year?

All those questions were asked and the most prevalent answer was defense.The student-athletes can shoot and score – that was seen in the shooting competition. It’s the defense that takes the most work and the coaches spend hours and hours coming up with schemes and then running their student-athletes through the drills as long as they think is necessary.

Coaches subscribe to the old adage - “defense wins championships-“ and all the ACC coaches have the ACC Championship in their sights.

ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day is over. The coaches and student-athletes are on the road or in-flight back to their universities and the Greensboro Coliseum staff is cleaning up the area.

Now, the season truly begins. These few weeks are the only time of the year where the coaches can say 100 percent that they have a chance of winning it all – and all truly believe it.

The hard work will come in handy during the tough ACC season. Follow it all on theACC.com and on Twitter at @accwbb

Lunch Session

After the morning session was done, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest arrived at the coliseum and joined in on the lunch and shooting competition.

One or two participants from each school teamed up with a media member in a standard shooting competition – think NBA All Star game.

ESPN’s Kara Lawson and Miami’s Shenise Johnson took the crown with a score of 50. The next closest was 46.

Lunch was served and those who finished their lunches early took to the hardwoods to practice their shots. Can’t keep women’s basketball student-athletes (or the men who cover them) away if they see a stack of basketballs just sitting there. Johnson took some time to practice her half-court shot - just one more thing she can add to her already impressive repertoire.

After the break, Coordinator of Officials Charlene Curtis made a presentation about the rule changes this year.

One of the most notable changes is that the three-point line will be moved back to where the men’s is at 20 ft., 9 in. Curtis said that most of the student-athletes were shooting from that line anyways and making a higher percentage of their shots from there.

Next came Associate Commissioner of Women’s Basketball Nora Lynn Finch’s forum and interview session.

She welcomed new coaches Virginia’s Joanne Boyle and Virginia Tech’s Dennis Wolff to the conference head coaching ranks as well as mentioned the record number (55) of ACC women’s basketball games that will be televised this year.

Next up the remaining teams will make their way through the question & answer session.

Morning Session

ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day is underway here in Greensboro, N.C.

Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and NC State were the teams set to make the early morning rounds with the different teams coming in last night and this morning.

After a couple of flight snafus with Clemson being routed to Winston-Salem on account of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Triad and Boston College’s flights being delayed a number of times, the student-athletes and coaches made it to the Greensboro Coliseum decked out in their warm-up gear.

Fuel was needed to get the players and coaches ready for the day - Florida State was reported to have made two Starbucks trips in an eight-hour span and others snacked on bagels and juice in the Coliseum.

A tight schedule was planned, but of course it was derailed early on as most schedules are. It looked like coaches were the main culprit of this (or at least involved) – stopping to chat with other coaches, other student-athletes and other team’s officials walking through the hallways.

Plus, coaches are used to having an audience, so their times with the media were overflowing with questions.

Media Day is in the same building that will hold the ACC Women’s Basketball Championship and though the players and coaches stop and talked and laughed in the hallways of the coliseum, an underlying sense of competition was prevalent.

The student-athletes made their way through a gauntlet of newspaper and television interviews. They also stopped to pose with basketballs and to get filmed shooting and dribbling. It was during those moments where their eyes truly came alive and the smiles shown through.

Of course, the student-athletes were good sports about the interviews, but with the basketballs in their hands, they were reminded why they were here, in this Coliseum. A basketball player can’t have a ball in their hand without wanting to toss it or dribble it and that’s what they did. Sounds of dribbled balls echoed through the Coliseum hallways.

In one area, the student-athletes were asked to write on some miniature basketballs about themselves. (You'll see more about that throughout the season.)

Some wrote quickly while others thought long and hard about what they wanted to write. All were excited when they were told they got to keep the balls.

The first round of interviews are about to wrap up and the other six teams are filtering in. A short lunch and media and student-athlete shooting completion will follow.

Follow all of today’s happenings on Twitter @accwbb or seach #ACCwbbDay.