SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University's women's basketball team is wrapping up its spring training and conditioning program. One of the team's top young players, Nici Gilday (San Jose, Calif./Presentation High School), part of SCU's nationally ranked recruiting class of 2011-12, recently took the time to answer a few questions from SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB). Gilday (NG) talks about hoops, academics and one of her favorite moments from her first year as a Bronco. Gilday impressed as a true freshman, which included a 15-point, 10-rebound night in her collegiate debut.
SCB: You had a really productive freshman season. With this being your first spring training and conditioning here at SCU, what made the biggest impression on you regarding the workouts?
NG: I didn't really know what to expect out of spring at first, but I am really happy with what we have done. I think the biggest impression on me was the amount of workouts we had. We had individuals, conditioning, lifting, open gym, and our one-on-one competition each week. It was awesome to have so many workouts that each provided a different focus.
SCB: How do you think your game will benefit? Were there certain drills/exercises that helped you specifically?
NG: I think my game will benefit in many ways because of everything we have done this spring. The variety within the workouts that the coaches designed kept things interesting, but also allowed us to get better in multiple areas. Workouts each day were different and we also mixed up the small groups of teammates we were with half way through. For conditioning, Cory (Schlesinger) did a great job mixing things up too. We did many different things including sprints, prowlers, swimming, and even tug-of-war. All of these different workouts gave us a dynamic edge and helped us all to improve in a wide range of areas.
SCB: Looking back at your freshman season, what were a few favorite moments that you shared with your teammates?
NG: There were so many great moments this season. When you have the wide range of personalities that we do on our team, things will always be entertaining. One moment that stands out in my mind was when Tyler accidentally left one of her basketball shoes in the lobby of a hotel. Luckily, the coaches found it, but lets just say she had a hard time getting it back.
SCB: Your teammate Alyssa Shoji had a great senior year, what was it like to play with her and what have you learned from her?
NG: It was amazing to get to play with Alyssa, and I am disappointed I only got to play one year with her. Even though it was short I definitely learned a lot from her. The biggest things I will take away from getting to play with her are her work ethic and toughness. No one worked harder than Alyssa on a day-to-day basis and she never once showed any mental or physical weakness no matter how she was feeling. Her composure and continual hard work are something to truly be admired. She leads with her actions, and I hope we can all learn from her example.
SCB: How has your coursework gone this past year? What classes interested you most? Are you leaning towards a particular Business major?
NG: Schoolwork hasn't been too overwhelming this year. It got a little harder towards the end of our season with so much travel and having to miss a lot of class, but Jason (Stock) does a great job helping us to stay focused and ahead so we don't run into issues. As for a major, I'm leaning towards either Finance or Accounting, but that could very easily change.
SCB: Are you following the NBA playoffs? Will the Celtics beat the Heat? Will San Antonio continue to roll?
NG: I have been following the playoffs. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Celtics fan so I am definitely pulling for Boston, but it will be tough for them to beat the Heat. I have faith in Rondo and KG though. As much as I like Kevin Durant and OKC, I think the Spurs are going to get this series pretty easy. They are playing extremely well as a team right now.
SCB: How are you planning to spend the summer? Will you be taking some down time to recharge/reflect on your first year of college?
NG: Since I am local, I will be around SCU all summer. I will have plenty of time to think about this past year and refocus for next season. It's really nice to be so close since I'll be able to stay at home with my family and get to spend a lot of time with them, but I can also come and work out with Cory and have access to the gym.
SCB: Finally, what goals, if any, have you set for your sophomore year?
NG: My goal is to win a championship. I am really excited about how our team is improving, and I think the incoming freshmen are going to make us even better too. Individually, my goal is to be more of a leader this year. I hope to help make our team better everyday, and if we can do that then there is no doubt in my mind we can win a WCC championship and make it to postseason play.