Women's Basketball Coach Don Perrelli
1. How can the women's basketball program succeed and win the Big Ten title
and go on to the NCAA's?
John, Jerseyville, IL
A. A Big Ten title is one of the main objectives of the Northwestern
women's basketball program. It takes a major effort and commitment from all phases of the
program: quality players, role players, and of course luck. Going on to the NCAAs
is another objective - not just to get to the NCAAs, but progress through the many rounds.
2. Why is it that you haven't recruited many post players over the last
Ron, Evanston IL
A. We have recruited post players over the last few years, players that
can play either the 4 or 5 position. Leah Berki, Tami Sears and Becky Fisher are
young players that you haven't had a chance to see because of injury. This position
continues to be a priority of our program. Players have been evaluated and we are
attempting to recruit this position.
3. I would like to know what your strategy is when you face a team with
one dominant player such as St. Bonaventure and Hilary Waltman. Do you give the star her points
and try to stop everyone else, do you play team defense, or do you try to put a clamp on
Bob, Highland Park, IL
A. The strategy for facing a dominant player is just what you said.
First, contain the star player and shut down the other players. Second, go all out to stop
the star by closing the middle if she is a post player, or by giving a lot of help if she is a
guard or wing player. We did not do a good job in containing Waltman of St. Bonaventure.
4. Can you describe a typical day for you during the season?
Sean, Los Angeles
A. My day is made up of preparing for practices and upcoming opponents.
My focus in practice is executing individual and team situations to better our on-court
execution. The coaching staff breaks down film to give our players an edge in our
games. Other activities include media interviews, academics and meetings.
5. Who would you say ranks above all the rest that played for you and
which player surprised you the most as far as her development in the four years under your guidance?
Arnie Sandler, Deerfield, IL
A. This is a very difficult question to answer because I have been
fortunate to have so many great players. I would have to say the two players that stand
above the rest are Michele Savage and Nancy Kennelly. These players led us to outstanding
years during their time at NU.
Surprise players have been many, but the ones that stand out are
Christina Braden, Jeanine Wasielewski, Robin Garrett, Kelly Cole, Heather Ertel, and Donna Groh.
6. What is the hardest part of your job, recruiting, traveling?
Dave Moll, Chicago
A. The most difficult part of my coaching responsibilities is recruiting.
It is the blood line of the program. Establishing a list of quality student-athletes and
getting them to understand the benefits of becoming a student-athlete at NU is the
objective of our program.
We have been fortunate over the years in being able to recruit
solid student-athletes, all of whom have received their degrees. I'm most proud of this because the
student-athletes have a difficult daily schedule.
Traveling is always difficult because of the size of the group, and
the organizing of hotels, bus/plane reservations and food considerations. I have excellent
assistant coaches, and we all help in the organizing of trips.
7. How strong of a conference is the Big Ten this season?
Russell Wright, Alexandria, VA
A. The conference is very strong this year, with the top teams being
Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Other teams will be competitive and the order of finish will
depend on home play and luck. As for the rest of the country, the Big Ten ranks very
high. The SEC is still the best conference, but we are continuing to reach for the top.
8. Do you set goals for yourself and the team each season? What are your
goals for 1997-98?
Jamie Lemmond, Dallas
A. Yes, I do set goals for myself: (1) To be a good listener; (2) To help our
student-athlete succeed in the classroom by being flexible with our
practice schedule; (3) To help our players become better by developing drills in all fundamentals of
basketball; (4) To help our team win a Big Ten Championship and reach the NCAA Final Four.
These are just a few of many. It takes time to develop each of the above goals.
Our top team goals are to win a Big Ten team championship and earn
a berth in the NCAA tournament. We also have statistical objectives dealing with field goal percentage,
field goal defense, free throw percentage, assists and turnovers, three point field goal percentage and
three point defense, to name just a few.