The Webster University women’s basketball team kicks off its season on Nov. 15 against the Sewanee College (Tenn.) Tigers. The Journal interviewed Head Women’s Basketball Coach Jordan Olufson to discuss his expectations for the 2013-14 basketball season.
The Journal: You have a pretty young team. Your lone two seniors are Kailann (Rikard), and Courtney (Pursley). What is it going to be like coaching a fairly very young team this year?
Olufson: It’s different because the last three years we’ve had a veteran (basketball) club. Now what helps us is that all our sophomores saw a lot of action (last year). So we may be young, but we’re seasoned. We’re only as good as our seniors, and we have two fantastic seniors in Kailiann and Courtney and I expect no difference this year. The expectation level doesn’t drop, it goes up. We love this bunch. We’re quick, we’re athletic, probably more than the past. (We’re) not as big as we have been, but I think this team is going to surprise people. It won’t surprise us because we got a lot of talent, but I really like the make-up of this team, yet being young is part of it, but it’s also a good thing as well.
The Journal: You said you preach defense. (What is the key to the basketball team’s success?) Do you prefer a “zone” defense? Or “man-to-man?”
Olufson: We want other teams to make bad decisions. We want to reach the rewards of it. So basically I tell our kids our best offense is let’s get steals and get lay-ups. So we want to put enough pressure for our teams where they can’t run their stuff. Try to make players make decisions because most teams run what we call a “robot offense.” You get them to go out and think outside the box, some people can do it, some people can’t. That’s what we want to see. Can they do it or can they not? We’re going to put pressure, and basically put the ball in their court.
The Journal: What’s the robot offense?
Olufson: It’s a patterned offense. It’s the same thing over and over.
The Journal: What excites you most about this season?
Olufson: I think the unknown possibilities because we are young, we are new. We got a lot of people in our system that are learning it and as a coach you never want to play the best basketball at the beginning of the season, and I don’t think we will, and I think we’re going to be very good. But I think as the season goes on, we’re going to get stronger, and we’re going to get even more competitive. I really think this team is really come along and I think we’re going to have success early, but I think we’re really going to play our best basketball in the middle to the end, and that’s what you want (as a coach) especially with our process of new kids and young kids.