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Chatting with Delaware coach Tina Martin

Oct 16, 2012, 4:58 PM EDT

The Blue Hens, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, are the glamour team in the CAA led by All-American Elena Delle Donne. The Hens, preseason picks to win the league again, were 31-2 last season and have their five starters back.

A word to describe your team.

New (?). See below.

But you have five starters back!

It’s a different dynamic. We have the five returning starters, but I have six first-year players right now and that’s half the team. My older kids want to go, go, go. They want to move fast. And I have six players who are looking at me like, “What is going on right now? Where am I supposed to screen?” It’s so different than last year’s team that had four seniors and six juniors, so we were a very veteran team. We have younger kids trying to catch up with the older kids. We’ve actually moved at a slower pace than last year because of all the new people.

You will definitely have players in some changed roles.

Kelsey Buchanan, who had a small role, will take on a big one. Jaquetta May, who was hurt on and off, has to take on a different role. Really Kayla Miller is the only player coming off the bench who played substantial minutes. Spots 7, 8, 9 and 10 are up in the air. Stephanie Leon, no one has heard of her, will get minutes this year. Kelsey will be playing 18-20 minutes. That’s a big jump.

Talk about Elena’s offseason.

From a standpoint of leadership, she’s gotten better. She’s more vocal. She knows what people’s roles are and understands there are roles that are very, very big that need to be taken care of that our fans never see: There are leaders on the bench, leaders in the locker room. She understands how important those areas are. Now she gets the total team concept. From a basketball standpoint, she buys into the team concept, encouraging a lot of people to take shots.

The NCAA Tournament is coming to The Bob for first and second rounds. How thrilling is that for your program?

There’s already 2,300 tickets sold. I’m excited about the community of Delaware getting behind it. We have a long way to go before we start talking about the NCAA Tournament. My mind is focused on the first game of the year. But I’m excited about how the community of Delaware has embraced women’s basketball.

Talk about your nonconference schedule, which includes St. Bonaventure, Princeton, St. John’s, Maryland and possibly Georgetown in the preseason WNIT.

A lot of people are talking about playing Georgetown, but we’ve got to be Sam Houston first. It would potentially be a great early-season game to have and even better we’d have it at our place. The schedule was put in place last year because those teams were all on the rise. It definitely is a challenge because of the dynamic of our team — the young and the old.

Something fun you did during the offseason.

I went to Annapolis. Annapolis is one of my favorite cities and I had a good time visiting family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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