Legette-Jack and the Hoosiers Ready to Open Season This Weekend
Oct. 31, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Under first year head coach Felisha Legette-Jack, the Indiana women's basketball program is ready for the 2006-07 season.
Legette-Jack and her staff bring 30 years of coaching experience to the Hoosiers that include stops along the way in the ACC, Atlantic-10, Big Ten, BIG EAST, MAC and Mountain West, to name a few. Legette-Jack spent the last four years turning Hofstra into a postseason contender, earning Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Coach of the Year honor in 2003-04. In her fourth season leading the Pride, she guided Hofstra to 19 wins and a school-record 12 league wins, culminating in a Women's National Invitation Tournament appearance in 2005-06.
"We pursue championships on and off the court," Legette-Jack said at Big Ten Media Day on Oct. 29. "We take care of our character and our academics. I have some great coaches on my staff who don't lack in energy or passion."
Legette-Jack also brings a wealth of experience from two USA Basketball gold medal-winning coaching staffs that included Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors and Ohio State head coach Jim Foster. With her background and enthusiasm, the Indiana women's basketball program is looking to build a new legacy in Bloomington.
"Indiana is a mecca of basketball and, in my opinion, the future mecca of women's basketball," Legette-Jack said. "The electricity and the adrenaline rush when you step into Assembly Hall -- it's just an amazing feeling. The future is bright for this program, and our expectation will always be the same as long as we stick together and play with purpose, passion and pride. "
The Hoosiers return seven letterwinners from a squad that went 19-14 last season and made a trip to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Legette-Jack will look to the entire team to take a leadership role, including senior Leah Enterline and junior Nikki Smith, who represented IU at Big Ten Media Day.
"We have leadership by committee," Legette-Jack said. "One day it's Leah (Enterline), and she's doing a fantastic job. The next day it's Nikki (Smith) stepping up, and then Carrie Smith and Whitney Thomas are each doing a great job. Even Jamie Braun, one of our freshmen, will say 'Hey guys, pick it up,' or 'You're doing a great job,' so our leadership this year is coming from everyone on the team and that's a great thing. You can't always rely on one person."
Enterline averaged 6.8 points, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals on the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team Tour, which went 4-0 on the 11-day trip through Denmark, Norway and Sweden, July 18-28. The 5-9 guard averaged 2.0 points and totaled 26 assists in 33 appearances last season.
Smith returns as IU's leading scorer after averaging 7.2 points per game during the 2005-06 season. The 5-9 shooting guard also made a team-high 58 three-pointers. Smith shot .356 (58-163) from beyond the arc, ranking 11th in the Big Ten. She tied her career-high with 18 points when she went 4-6 from three-point range against Minnesota during the 2005-06 Big Ten Tournament. Smith also shot .361 (82-227) from the field.
Enterline and Smith, along with the rest of the Hoosiers, have adapted to Legette-Jack's style and have started to feed off of her enthusiasm and passion for the game.
"Coach Jack brings in so much energy to practice," Smith said. "She enjoys teaching the game of basketball, and I really enjoy playing for her. It's fun to have a coach that brings so much enthusiasm. It makes you want to play harder and increases your drive to win."
Enterline said that Legette-Jack and assistant coaches Cherie Hogg, Vera Jones and Marc Wilson have set a positive tone. "Coach Jack goes out every day and is full of energy, and the same goes for her staff. It's just really nice to have that on the court. They can't get out and play, so they are going to give us as much energy as they can."
Legette-Jack and Hoosiers open the season this weekend with their first of two exhibition games when they host the University of Indianapolis in Assembly Hall on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:05 p.m.
Visit IUHOOSIERS.com for complete coverage of the Hoosiers' exhibition season-opener against the Greyhounds.
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