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Jan Jensen, Player

posted on February 27, 2008 at 3:56 PM

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Jan Jensen: Player, Elk Horn-Kimballton High School, 1980s. Her grandma played 6 on 6. All-American at Drake University, Associate Head Coach for the University of Iowa women's’ basketball team.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: Please introduce yourself and tell me where you graduated from and what year.

Jan Jensen: Okay, my name is Jan Jensen and I went to Elk Horn-Kimballton High School and I graduated in 1987.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: What is your earliest memory of playing basketball?

Jan Jensen: Well, I think the earliest memory was when I was a toddler. I think my grandmother gave me a doll but my brother got a ball and I remember just wanting the ball and it's kind of funny to hear the stories. But just over time I just always enjoyed basketball and it was such a major focal point in our community. The Elk Horn-Kimballton community had several great championship years within the conference and they had some moments where they got to go to the state tournament as well. But organized basketball started for me in the third grade.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You bring up your family and in reading the book and also hearing stories about you, you were a part of a family dynasty that spanned 70 years. Tell me a little bit about that and about your grandma.

Jan Jensen: Well, I think that's probably the coolest thing for me is that I got to share that whole experience with my grandmother. I think the most unique aspect is that her nickname was Lottie because she scored a lot of points. And that was something I never knew until really after I had finished my professional playing days. I came back and we stumbled upon her old scrapbook and I noticed I was looking at different articles that I hadn't seen as I was growing up.

And it had the headline was "Lottie Snares 18" which 18 wasn't as many in this modern day but back then when the scores were 22 to 18 it was a lot. But she played in the 1920's for Audubon High School and Audubon and Kimballton are about 10 miles apart or so. And I remember when we were playing and I was growing up she obviously had a vested interest and it kind of skipped a generation. Her son was pretty athletic, her daughters were athletic but at that time they didn't go out for sports, my mother was very musically inclined but now my mom is the biggest sports nut there is. I mean, she knows more about ESPN Sports Center than I think I do.

Jan Jensen: But going through that as I was having more success and our team was winning it was fun to hear my grandmother's comparisons and she always loved the competition and the winning but the hang up she had was we showed too much skin with our uniforms because she wore the bloomers and then she thought the game was much, much too physical. But that was six on six which is, compared to five on five, it really wasn't physical at all.

But compared to 1920 to 1987 obviously there were a few changes. But I think that was really neat that we shared and I was a Drake University graduate and her trophy when they won the state championship they play that at the field house at Drake and they went to the tournament by train, one year I believe they went by horse and buggy. I can't remember that part exactly.

But when they won they got little silver cups and it was really tarnished so I had seen that when I was growing up but as I got older and you start to get a little bit more mature in your thinking and your roots become a lot more important so I began to shine it off and then I saw Drake University which is pretty cool because that's where I played my collegiate ball.

And by the time I got to college her health was failing, she still had a real sharp mind but she came to a few games at Drake and so that was pretty neat. Now, I didn't always by that time we had our moments where we had a really great exchange of the memories.

But just to have her in the same building was pretty cool and now I have in my home I have found tons of pictures from that 1920's era and the little, I still have her uniform and I have a little like bookcase that is all kind of a shrine, if you will, to her era and then the centerpiece is that little silver cup that is now pretty shined which I probably need to shine it again over those years but you can read it now, it says Drake University.

So, that was a pretty serendipitous kind of I was blessed and I got recruited nationwide but I chose to stay in Iowa and went to Drake, a great academic institution. Back when I was coming out Drake was, had finished in the elite 8, now there's a lot more differentiation between conferences and programs. But then to find out -- and that was after I signed that she had played her state tournament there, that was pretty cool.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You were talking about how did it feel to have her in the book she talked about how she got to see you play and you were a star. What did she think of that, of the high scoring?

Jan Jensen: I think she was just as any relative would be, probably proud. I was really blessed. I didn't have a lot of undue expectations, I didn't have I did score a lot but I never felt like that was my sense of worth and she just, it was just fun when we would discuss after the games.

I grew up in a Danish community and we had the Danish Inn which is right down the hill from our high school in Elk Horn and we'd go there after the games and eating is always very important to a farm family so we would eat and just kind of discuss the game and the wins and I think it was mostly she couldn't believe my little hook shot or she couldn't believe that I got fouled so much or she just thought it was too physical.

But she never really had too much critique of how I played, just usually happy that the team won. But it really as any protective parent or grandparent, I remember most of the conversations just because I did score a lot, I got double and triple teamed a lot. And sometimes you get hammered a little bit and I remember those were most of the comments maybe I wasn't hammered quite as much as she thought but nonetheless she was pretty protective.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: Describe your years in high school, what did you like about playing?

Jan Jensen: My high school experience, I've been so blessed. God has blessed me so much. It was just fun. You read about this day and age of kids getting into the wrong thing and they have so many pressures and the world was just changed a lot in those 20 years. But it was just fun and lighthearted and we didn't really know because we were a small class 1A program, we didn't have the pressure of going five on five. That wasn't an issue, we weren't going five on five until they had to take us kicking and screaming basically.

But as kids we didn't really know that and it was probably administrators and I had a great coach, Rod Hoig was his name and they were probably doing some battles behind the scenes keeping the six on six game. But it was I was in an era I think you work really hard, yes, but I think there is just a lot of timing issues. I happened to come along and I had a high score, I had great teammates, most of my friends I made in college and now when you talk back in the day they can't believe I had friends because I scored so many points, you know.

But it just worked that was the strategy and back then how how are we going to win, we're going to try to get the ball to this scorer and I was one of the scorers. And it worked and it was just really fun it's fun because you win, we won big, we had great crowd support we drew better than the boys it's like the girls game always started at 6:30 so the fans would come filing in and several of our district games were people got shut out in the tournament play, they couldn't get in to see the games.

I mean, I'll even go now, I'll recruit in southwest Iowa and I'll have people coming up that are 75, 80 years old now and they come over and they're just saying I remember when you played in Harlan, Iowa and just hear the story. And so it was just a really wholesome environment, it was the whole community backed us, classmates male and female were so into girls basketball.

I just really feel fortunate, I had just really a Pollyanna experience and it's probably kind of like a fine wine, it does get better with age, the more you think back on it there were some tough losses and so forth but it doesn't sting quite so badly at all. Did back in 1986 a little bit but now you only remember the good.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You were talking about your community and I think for so many years especially rural areas ... what do you think it meant for rural communities?

Jan Jensen: I think it was really huge because people are hard workers in the state of Iowa collectively whether you're in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids, our two largest cities, or you're in the rural community. But a lot of the rural was farmers sun up to sun down, blue collar just work ethic. And a source of that entertainment when they'd spend their two bucks to get into a game what better way to spend that than to watch your daughters and sons for other sports too but just because we're talking six on six and six on six was so unique I think it really did become a centerpiece of pride not only if you didn't have a daughter playing but basically in smaller communities you know everybody.

And you had some special connection to Jan Jensen or Cami Christensen our best guard and my best friend to this day from growing up. you just have, it was a family, it was a family event even if you weren't related and there was just something special and I think the older the game got as it grew everybody got to be much more protective because then it was unique and it was unique to the rural towns because the big cities they were all, they were going over to the dark side they were switching and everybody was trying to hold fast to the traditions.

And when you take it out of the basketball setting I think life in rural Americana is based on tradition. Stereotypically change isn't always real welcome we're going to do it this way and we're going to do it this way every year and you get around a holiday and it's going to be this Danish custom and so forth and I think it's not that unusual to think that people had a hard time thinking that we were going to change this great game because why would we change it?

My grandmother played it and my mother played it and great-aunt Bertha played it and everybody had such a great experience and it was such a great experience because everyone was involved in the small community. There was just a sense of it was our team, they were our girls and I think that goes with Wayne Cooley establishing the Iowa girl.

And it was a thing of pride to be one, it was a thing of pride to cheer for one and I just think the rural communities really embraced it because it was wholesome and it was a family affair and it was unique and sometimes in the rural communities there's not always a lot of people that are thinking anything is really that unique about the smaller communities. And when you have something special I think they really wanted to hang onto it.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You're talking about Wayne Cooley. Tell me about E. Wayne Cooley. What do you think his role in all of this?

Jan Jensen: I think he was hugely instrumental. I think anybody that knows anything about the state of Iowa and basketball and the recent history. I mean, you just credit Wayne Cooley for really establishing it and making it the institution that it was and he was a great business mind and he also -- but he had a passion he was running an organization and anybody that is running an organization you need to have revenue and the bottom line is to have a profit.

But he didn't want to do that at the expense of making anything seem cheap or fake or just getting people in just for the basketball. he would make it an event, he made it entertainment and so it was a lot of pride obviously for the young women who got to play but when the pep bands got to come and the dance squads and all the parade of champions he just kept thinking and figuring out ways to try and make this a showcase for as many young people as possible.

And I just think he did a fabulous job and he really succeeded in marketing it. He succeeded in really instilling a sense of sentimental value with being a wholesome Iowa girl and now sometimes you don't want to be called girls, it's sexist and so forth, but in that timeframe, in that era when it was in a payday we weren't as politically correct in concerning ourselves with girl means you're not as good as a boy and so forth, it was simply a trademark and the girls who played it were proud of it and they aspired to be the very best Iowa girl that they could be.

And Wayne I think made so many high school girls' dreams come true and you didn't always have to be state champion you didn't, the great thing was to become part of that sweet sixteen but as with anything and maybe it's because I'm in coaching now but it's always the journey. if you ever figure that out, I mean, yeah, you want to cut down the net but if you get it figured out that it's the journey and every step along the way that's when you really get to fully embrace everything.

And I think that's what was fun about being an Iowa girl is that everybody wanted to go to Vets, everybody wanted to go to the Barn and that's when the little trek started when you've got to start practicing October, November and you were part of that process. And then if your dream came true and you ever got to go to state that was just the pinnacle.

So, I think that he should have a great deal of pride in everything that he established and I know he does. But I often when I talk to some young women and different organizations I'm asked to talk with is to make sure that you always remember the people who went before and I think that we'll always in this state owe a great deal to Wayne Cooley.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You're talking about the tournament ... what was the state tournament? What kind of experience was that for you?

Jan Jensen: Oh, it was just big time you've made it, everything -- I'm getting a little older now so a lot of the memories get a little cloudy but not that one, I mean, I remember our pep rally before we took off, I remember the bus ride and the whole procession, the police officer will follow you out of town and just the whole ordeal. And what's interesting that was 1987.

When I was reading my grandmother's newspaper articles, I mean, they came home to a heroes welcome and they had the same thing. They were state champions but, I mean, it was the big deal and the town they had a way of communicating and they'd get it off the wire when Audubon girls had won just they kind of detailed how that happened and then they met them five miles outside of town and they came in with this big parade and how cool is that.

That was 1920 and this is 1987 and we were having the very same type of send off. Unfortunately we didn't become the state champions but just being in the tournament I think everybody had a sense of just the satisfaction and you just felt special because everything they did when you got to the state tournament was very special from the tournament breakfast to the procession and the rules of how to get into Vets and the rules or the protocol for the pre-game warm-ups and halftime and it just was big time and you knew that you were experiencing something, even when you're young and sometimes you don't you don't know really what you should be feeling when you're 15, 16 years old, the state tournament you got it.

Now, you didn't know that you were going to remember it quite as well when you're 38 as when you were 17 but you got it and I think that's probably the best mark I think anybody that I'm sure you talk to that has competed in the state tournament, you knew that you were experiencing a pretty dog gone special memory and you couldn't really maybe articulate it but you just knew that being there, being one of those teams was something that you were never ever going to forget.

Yeah, really, when they set it up like that and they delivered, really, you felt like that.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: Talk about some of the myths. I know when I played and now things change ...

Jan Jensen: I mean, I think first it's laughter. I mean, even when I played at Drake because when I was recruited at Drake there was a lot of kids from Michigan and Chicago and different big cities or other states that had no clue and they just couldn't get it. They were like you are kidding me. And I think the biggest thing was they couldn't believe that anybody would want to play defense for a whole game because the sport no matter how much we like to say that defense is as important which we all know it is especially then when I coach.

The media always wants to write about the kid who scores 100 or the one that is averaging 30 points a game in college or whatever. But that was always the biggest thing is that they just can't believe that there would be someone that would really be excited about being a guard the whole time. So, you kind of have to explain that I'm sure you experienced that when you went to a little camp back in the day they'd ask who wants to be forwards and we'll all raise our hand or who wants to be guards, there would be equal number that would want to do that.

And so I think that was maybe not a myth but that's been one of the biggest things I always encountered to have to really say no really, the bad kids weren't just pushed to the other side. It was just what you got excited about because of how the game was really created.

I think the myth was a lot of a lot of people just didn't think that girls from Iowa could really play. How could you play if you've only really played half the game and thought we were weaker, thought that we weren't as versatile and so forth and the thing that was probably true -- I played a lot of AAU summer league ball which was five on five and then I got recruited that helped me a lot, so I probably had a little bit of a better start in college than some girls that got recruited that didn't play that.

But there was an adjustment period. I mean, it was a lot more physical, I laugh when my grandmother thought it was physical and I got to five on five in the Division I level then I knew what physical was. But I think that was the biggest thing is there was some truth in it but it didn't mean that we were physically weaker, we just weren't used to it.

But what we did have on them is if you were a shooter or a forward is our shot was so much better because that's where we spent most of our time. We weren't always doing the defensive slides or the defensive drills, we were down there really honing our shooting and especially if you had a knack which I think I was just really blessed with that is I was a little bit better in college than shooting because that's where I spent my whole life basically.

So, those are the things I think but you just had to, like anything the myths and that you just had to put up or shut up and if you were competitive which that game we were competitive, we succeeded and I think a lot of the girls that went on to play Division 1 I was really blessed to have a great college career and a pro career. But I think the ones who really succeeded you just worked your tail off and maybe the deficiency that the game of six on six didn't allow us to have but the things that, the benefits that we got from it were far outweighed any negatives.

The forwards they get a lot more of the glamour but it was the guards that won the championships. No question.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You were just talking about going on to play at Drake and how obviously you played AAU but you were the leading scorer in the nation among Division I players at one time. How do you think playing the six on six game actually influenced that, influenced your success at five on five?

Jan Jensen: That's a great point, I think being so prolific at scoring in high school I spent so much time on that skill and when I went to college I had, especially my senior year, Lisa Bluter who is now the coach at Iowa, she coached me at Drake before we came over to Iowa here and she just really, maybe it was the fact that she was an Iowa girl too, she grew up in the states but she just really knew how to utilize a scorer and the game of six on six Deb Coate, Lynn Lorenzen, Denise Long, you have great scorers that probably spent countless hours like I did playing outside, shot in the barn for a while, always shot outside in the winter.

We had little vinyl gloves you'd cut the tips off, that was just as important as it was to us, that we were so much more ahead of the game because we spent so much time on that. And it was such a great source of pride and it was fun for us that when we got to college yeah we had to catch up a little bit maybe on the overall game the defense and just understand how that all worked, not just the defensive mechanics but the fact you were running up and down and so forth but I just think if you had a knack to score and you couldn't get to average that many points as we all did, some of the scorers if you didn't practice long and hard at it. But were just were a little step ahead.

And I think people didn't realize that. It took people a while to come in on the national level to come in and recruit Iowa and I think it was helpful because I averaged 66 points a game in high school but I played some national tournaments where I was getting recruiting letters but they were probably thinking can this kid just score.

But then when I would go out and I played and I had a really good sophomore summer that's when I got some letters from Stanford and Tennessee, they could see that okay, there are some kids in that state that really can make that transition. But Iowa was such -- I love Iowa, I'm so proud to be from Iowa that I wasn't going to leave the state of Iowa because it had been so good and I think a lot of that was due to Wayne Cooley establishing such a pride of being an Iowa player as a high school athlete that the Iowa schools were always near the top of my list, even when I was hearing from Ivy leagues and hearing from the West Coast or the East Coast.

Family was important and we had some great schools in our state that I didn't really feel like I wanted to just leave all that behind to go out of state to play. But I do think that it was helpful that when I went and played in the summers and I had some other great players that were six on sixers we were basically six on six kids and we won the state AAU tournament.

And then we went out and these six on six kids were beating some of the nation's best. If we weren't beating we were definitely competing which I think really helps in that 85, 86 era, opened some national recruiting eyes.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: You bring up a good point -- the rest of the nation was really looking at Iowa. A lot of the larger cities in Iowa they never even played ... how does it make you feel? You're still a part of women's athletics -- to know that Iowa led the nation?

Jan Jensen: Yeah, I think there is a sense of pride in that and I think a big reason as to why I've always chose to stay in athletics, I had such great role models and great mentors and I was able to really follow a lot of great pioneers. And I think I had a great upbringing and I have a real strong faith and had a good sense of it was the right timing and I was really blessed.

And so I think part of what I hope I'm doing is just passing along the baton, is just taking everything that, all the good that I received and hopefully I can be considered when I'm older and like my grandmother was, when I get to my twilight days that people will look back and say yeah she played way back in the 80's but she was still making a difference.

And I think that Iowa was making a difference when I played and it was the people a little older than me, the Denise Long, Deb Coates, those people in that era, they just kept making it a little bit better and a little bit better and we're still not where we need to be in the national division 1 level. Iowa was special. I mean, it was kind of weird for me when I went to Drake and there was kind of gender equity issues.

I was like, what? Why do the guys get to fly to games? In high school that would never happen. we were treated equally, we happened to be better attended. And now in this day and age we've made great strides. Title 9 really helped us and I was a benefactor of that. But just on a division 1 level when you talk about salaries between men and women, you talk about practice times and so forth across the nation it's such a discrepancy.

I think it's harder for women from Iowa who grew up in pretty great supportive high school settings to realize, wow, we still have a long way to go. And I think that is part of the challenge and that's just not within athletics sometimes, that can cross over into other professions where there is sometimes a little disparity where you wonder why.

But I do think that Iowa has always been a forward leader in that aspect and it's probably one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable and confident staying in Iowa because we do have great support. We have great legislation. Our athletic directors, our university presidents and all of our universities and colleges here for the most part really get that.

And so I think that there is, there's always more work to be done and I think the minute you get complacent you're really doing an injustice to all those that have enjoyed the sport before and have worked hard to position it as it is today. So, I'm proud to continue serving in that role as a coach in the state right now and hopefully, like I said, I can continue to do that however my life unfolds but to be a nice positive advocate for competing in sports.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: In Jan's book you were talking about the significance of six on six basketball for you personally and for the state -- what do you think six on six meant to you?

Jan Jensen: I think that, I just think the game of six on six, I don't know, maybe it wasn't just, I can't maybe credit just that it was six on six but I think just the values that are instilled when you are a competitor and you're on a team and everything you learned through winning and losing and sometimes I really think we learn more from losing because it really reveals your disappointment and your character but how do you bounce back from that. And all those life lessons, I think those are things that really tremendously shaped me along with my parents and all that they instilled in me.

And then I think the six on six perspective was the fact that you felt special you just knew you were special because I was kind of coming through when the controversy, like when are they going to change for good when are they going to change. And you knew that you were probably, you could just feel it because sometimes all good things must end and you could kind of feel like the end was probably going to be near.

And I think that component mixed in with knowing that you're going to lose sometimes, that sometimes you're not always going to cut down every net, sometimes you're going to have to get along with someone that just stole your boyfriend or whatever. You have to work with people. I think those are just opportunities, and that even now we instill with our college women that I coach here at Iowa… is dealing with all the ups and the downs. But within all that, making sure that you are holding strong to your value system and who are you when no one is looking.

And I think just as a young kid all those things were so important to me as I played the great game of six on six but then it was just even more special because I was kind of the last of the Mohicans if you will on that era of big time scorers with a big time community following and making that trek to Vets Auditorium.

So, I think it was really emotional and then you add you get to share with your grandmother who is aging and in her twilight years it really was and I think that God really blessed me, I've always had a pretty mature spirit or an outlook that I could grasp it. I got it as a senior, maybe not as much as I get it now, but as a teenager could, as much as I could absorb and as much as I could take in I really think I got it. I think that my parents would be a witness to that and my coaches and my teammates.

I think they would know that I really, I was really most of the time filled with just the spirit of humility. Because, I just felt I was part of something really special, and never took it for granted. And it was just an unbelievably growing process that just yielded so many wonderful life lessons and so many great, great memories.

So, I really think being a competitive athlete really did shape me. And I was one of the lucky ones that had a stellar career that led me to a full ride at Drake. That led me to a pro career in Germany. Things that women didn't get to do… and certainly not a kid from southwest Iowa who lived on a farm in a class of 26. So, I just really feel tremendously blessed and I do think a major reason of it was because I played the game of basketball.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: Obviously you have a love for five on five -- what would you like the girls that you're coaching today to know about the game of six on six and about the athletes who played it?

Jan Jensen: That's a great question. It was funny because when it was switching over six on six, I probably had to be a little bit more politically correct because I was recruiting kids from the bigger schools, the Cedar Rapids schools and so forth right alongside the six on six kids. So, a lot of times I'd get asked when the national media blitz was happening should the state go six on six, is it ready for a change.

I was always a little bit in the middle, very truthful I said well my heart wants it to stay six on six. But knowing now, as a college recruiter, when I'm going out and the game just keeps getting more physical and better and bigger and faster and stronger. Collectively I did feel that girls that played in Iowa would perhaps get more of a look.

Because my friends who would coach California, a school in California, a school in Arkansas were not coming to Iowa because they just thought we didn't have time to develop that defensive side. Just in those kind of conversations, knowing full well it kind of benefited us because I was like good, stay out of our state.

At Drake we really had a lot of success. We would typically sign the best six on six players, they would end up at Drake. And I think part of that was we really had a commitment to recruiting the Iowa girl. And we still do at Iowa. Our goal every year is to recruit the best player in the state of Iowa. And we always will and I think that is because Lisa Bluter, myself and Jenny Fitzgerald were all Iowans and Jenny Fitzgerald was a great Iowa athlete as well, she played at North Scott and she played more five on five than I did. But we're proud of our heritage and proud of all of that.

So, when it was kind of switching over it was a little tenuous sometimes but I do think that it was a great sendoff, I think the timing was probably right and it probably needed to be done because if you hold on too long sometimes you've kind of got to leave them wanting more and I think that's what six on six did is when it ended it kind of left everybody yearning and longing for a little more but then that's what even takes it into another level. Then it just becomes like it's even bigger than life because it was unique.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: Tell me about the night that you were inducted to the Hall of Fame? How did that feel?

Jan Jensen: It was dreamlike. It was awesome because my grandmother could be there. She was in the home at that time, but she we got she was in a wheelchair, but they had handicap seating right next to the court, and that was probably the pinnacle moment, because my mother is a piano teacher and we lived in the country but she would do all of her lessons at my grandmother's home, and on the piano, but on like where you could, like when you're practicing piano in my grandmother's home, she had her Hall of Fame Trophy, and I remember practicing the piano and I'd looked up at the trophy when I was really little, a third grader, and I told my mom I was going to get one of those someday.

And over the years my mom would help remind me of that, but I kind of remember that moment, and as kid you're not egotistical in that, you just wanted to have a trophy like your grandmother whom I love dearly, and it was really kind of surreal when it all kind of came full circle, and it was just a great moment because Vet's was sold out and I had a lot of my friends and family there, and just to kind of have your life kind of summed up. I think back when I was little making plays to go to the state tournament and with my dear friend Kami who was a great guard. It was it was a moment. It probably ranks up there in all the wonderful things that I've been blessed with, that was definitely one of the top.

Laurel Bower Burgmaier: The five on five --- it was kind of unique with some of the other players that we're going to be interviewing you are still in, in the game coaching. since it was passing game, there was high scoring, you had such great fundamentals, what kind of things do you do with what you learn in that game that continues in your coaching?

Jan Jensen: Well, I think the great thing really six on six was a game of three on three. Making it simple, breaking it down to the teams that won usually had the best strategies. With three on three. And we sometimes, I think, in the game of basketball you can really get, really involved with all these elaborate strategies and schemes and trying to set 17 picks, and have someone roll off. And if you make it simple and use a couple screen and rolls and have a nice passer and have a prolific scorer, you can be pretty doll gone successful.

And so, my experience when I played it was always a game. It was a very fun game and there were very fun moments, and there were intensities because you wanted to win. But I think sometimes in this game of athletics, this day in age of athletics, and there's so many big contracts and lots of pressures to be the Big Ten Champs, and in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, everybody wants to be a champion. There's so much pressure now.

If you're not careful you can put that pressure into your kid and you forget that they're kids. Kids are playing a game and I think why I had such a great coach in high school and great support. And fun -- it was always a game. And it was pretty simple, what we were going to do, and it was pretty fun. And even a couple of my greatest memories of playing in high school were a couple of losses.

They were great games and I just happened to miss the shot that didn't win it. And that would have been great too. And so everything that I do as a coach now, and the intense level of five on five, at one of the premier institutions in the country, is to always keep it pretty simple. And we have some complex things don't get me wrong, but really just keeping the love in it. I think that holds true. I mean, anything we do, the happiest people are the ones that love what they do, and I love what I do getting to work with young women.

I think that young women are more successful when they love the game, and it's not a pressure cooker of, “I've got to get this, we got to win, we got to do this and I got to make this cut.” Just have a really great positive experience and have a love for it. That's what I learned in six on six, and that's what I hope I instill today.

 

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