HOOVER, Ala. - LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell and senior forward Courtney Jones met with approximately 200 media members on Thursday at the Wynfrey Hotel as part of Southeastern Conference Basketball Media Day, which officially kicked off the 2011-12 season.
All 12 SEC schools were represented by their head coaches and one player on Thursday. Each met individually with ESPN, ESPNU, the SEC Network, Sirius/XM Radio and CSS. The final stop of the rotation was in the main media ballroom with national, regional and statewide print and television journalists.
Caldwell, who was appearing at her first SEC Media Day, fielded questions ranging from her mentor, Coach Pat Summitt, her style of play, the transition to LSU since April and the late great Sue Gunter. Jones, one of five seniors on the squad this year, is a native of Midfield, Ala., which is only 15 minutes away from the Wynfrey Hotel.
The Lady Tigers open exhibition play next Wednesday, Nov. 2 when Xavier-New Orleans visits the Maravich Center. The Caldwell era officially begins at Wichita State on Monday, Nov. 14. LSU then faces a tough home test when Georgetown comes to Baton Rouge for a 7 p.m. tip on Nov. 16.
Season tickets for the 2011-12 LSU women's basketball season are on sale starting as low as $50. Season tickets can be ordered online at www.LSUsports.net/wbbtix or by calling the LSU Athletic Ticket Office at 225-578-2184. Individual game tickets go on sale on Oct. 31.
Current season ticket holders can receive 10 percent of purchased price back towards his/her women's basketball account for next year by referring someone to purchase new season tickets.
For more information on LSU women's basketball follow the Lady Tigers on Twitter @LSUwbkb.
SEC Basketball Media Day Quotes from SECsports.com
Head coach Nikki Caldwell
On playing for and coaching with Coach Pat Summitt and now coaching against her ...
"I had the opportunity to coach against her my first year at UCLA so it was good to come back and be in that environment. Did it lessen the fact that we wanted to beat them? No. You are still going to be competitive because that is what she instilled in us - to go out and do your best and play against the best. Being back in the SEC my team is going to be playing, night in and night out, against some great talent. Hopefully our non-conference schedule will prepare us for conference play. I know for us being back in the SEC, and when I say us I mean my staff, that we are excited to be here."
On similarities and differences from Coach Pat Summitt ...
"I don't have her stare. I don't have her piercing blue eyes. I definitely have taken a lot from her. Having spent six years with her as an assistant coach, I was just like a little sponge. I know what it takes to put together a staff because she did an amazing job of doing that. But also implementing her philosophy and game plan and how she wants her team year in and year out to run. We make sure that we play this game in a way that you are going to respect the way we play and hopefully you will fall in love with the way we play. We aren't reinventing the wheel here. We are going to do things the right way both on the court and off the court."
On moving from UCLA to LSU and being in the SEC ...
"Yes we will overlap in some areas but a game is a game. I don't put more emphasis on one than another. Hopefully through practice and how we train our student-athletes that we look at everybody as an opponent. Obviously there is a great respect for all the teams in this conference but at the same token I want our team to understand that no matter who you play, at their place or at our place, there is a way we play this game. If they can understand that, then to me that fuels that competitive greatness that lies in all of us."
Sr. F Courtney Jones
On what Coach Caldwell has been like ...
"She has been awesome - a fireball. She has come to practice with a smile on her face every day. She has been with us through thick or thin. She has been that role model for us that we can just go to and talk about anything to. She is very personable with her player
On the transition to the new coaching staff ...
"She has done a great a great job letting us know that you are not more important than the person next to you because it's about a team. We do a lot of self motivational activities and team bonding activities.