Ask a 'Dore: Jessica Mooney's Answers
Oct. 4, 2007
What was the most difficult part about making the adjustment from high school to college basketball and what advice would you give to the new freshman? The work ethic in practice from high school to college is a lot different. Practice in high school was not anywhere near as intense as it is in college. My advice to the new freshmen is to be focused when you come in the whole time, and you'll be fine.
What did it feel like to win the SEC Tournament championship in your first season? It was exciting. Of course, we expected to win it. We came in expecting to do well in it. It felt really good to get it accomplished. Of course, we wanted to go further (in the NCAA tournament).
Last year didn't end the way you wanted it to, especially after the momentum built up from the SEC Championship. Does the loss to Bowling Green at the NCAA Tournament still linger in your mind and motivate you for this year, or is it an afterthought? It's definitely motivation for this year because we had a good season as far as winning the SEC Championship, and we had a pretty good record, but we didn't end it the way we wanted to end it. We should've went a lot further, so of course it's motivation for this year because we know that we can do a lot better. We have a lot to prove.
What are your priorities on the court as you enter this season? My shot needs to be more consistent. I feel like in high school, I was a lot more consistent in 3-point shooting than I was last year. I need to be an all-around consistent player every game and try to help out the team every game, not just certain games.
What was your favorite part of the preseason trip to Spain? It was my first time overseas. The experience was very good. Spending time with my teammates and getting to know how we're going to be as a team this year was important. My favorite part was being able to work on my Spanish. Tina [Wirth] and I were the only two people on the team that could actually speak to people in Spanish.
How do you adjust to playing in front of a "hostile" crowd on away games in the SEC? I'm the type of player that simply goes out there and plays. I block it all out and don't hear that much of anything when I'm playing. It doesn't make that much of a difference to me. I just try to stay focused and don't worry about anything else.
What was the deciding factor in choosing to attend Vanderbilt? Ever since I was younger, I would attend games at Memorial Gym to watch the Commodores play basketball. My cousin Charles [Davis] played here. We had season tickets on the second row, and I enjoyed coming to see the games. When it became time to decide on a college, I really didn't talk about where I wanted to sign, so nobody really knew where I was going to go until the last minute. Of course, as far as people close to me, I told them Vanderbilt was a great school academically and athletically. Part of my decision included proximity. I wanted my parents to be able to come see me play because they've always supported me a lot. I wanted to make it easy for them.
Who impacted your basketball game the most when you were younger? When I was about four years old, my older cousin played basketball. She taught me how to dribble, and I wanted to be just like her. She was the first person to put a basketball in my hand. She died when I was in the seventh grade. That's why I wear my number to honor her.
Away from the basketball court, what are your favorite activities and why? I love to hang out with my friends. I go to a lot of movies with my teammates and relax when we spend time away from basketball. We haven't been to the movies at all this summer, so that's something we need to do.
What basketball players did you look up to as a kid? When I was younger, and the WNBA first started, I was a big fan of the Houston Comets. Cynthia Cooper was one of my favorites.
(Question submitted by teammate Jennifer Risper) How do you manage it all: basketball, friends and academics? I just try to find the time for everything because if you work too much and don't have fun, you'll go crazy. If you have too much fun and don't work, you won't last in school. I just have to find a happy balance between that and make sure that I know my priorities and what I need to get done. I try to get my work done so that I can go out and have fun with my friends.
Why egg whites? What's wrong with yolk? We had to run a lot today, and I figure egg whites are healthier. I'm trying to eat the healthiest I can, but there's nothing wrong with yolk.
You are so athletic. You must have played other sports growing up. If so, which sport was your favorite? I ran track in seventh and eighth grade. I also played volleyball in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. Volleyball would have to be my second favorite sport besides basketball.
What it's like to play for Coach Balcomb? It's exciting. She's one of the best coaches in the country. It's a privilege to play for her. She's accomplished a lot, and she lets you know every single time you step on the floor that she wants you to work hard. She makes it clear what she wants from you.
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