Women’s basketball spotlight: Michelle Holmes
The senior forward talks success and senior leadership with The Eagle as the first senior in the weekly women’s basketball Q&A features.
Michelle Holmes, one of only two seniors on the roster for the women’s basketball team, leads the Eagles in average minutes per game and points per game. The Ohio native scored a season-high 22 points against Wake Forest University on Nov. 29 and said she hopes to continue to lead the team to success this year. The Eagles have struggled in non-conference play so far this season, but the team hopes to start fresh with Patriot League games at the end of the month. Holmes sat down with The Eagle to talk about her changing role as a senior, the locker room mindset and how the team is working to improve. The Eagles play Loyola Maryland today at 4:30 p.m.
Tough start to the season, what’s the mindset right now?
To make sure we know we can win games. Don’t get used to losing, keep our heads up and work on the little things. Take the time to look at film at practice and work on things we did wrong and fix it, so in the next game we have a better chance at winning.
What has Coach Gebbia addressed the team on? What improvements has she pushed for?
Things you can control. A couple of our first games, we weren’t boxing out, we can control that. Keeping our man in front of us when we're playing defense and not fouling. Starters not getting in foul trouble in the first half to put [Coach Gebbia] in a position to play more inexperienced players in crucial times. Just doing what we can do, and not trying to do more or less.
What was Coach Gebbia’s impact on the team when she first started coaching? Was there a culture change when she arrived to AU?
There was a difference. Before she came here, it was more pressing, tight defense. And then she’s more conservative in her defense. So she doesn't want to risk getting beat, so we don’t press as much unless we’re down or we need to. So I think her style of play is more conservative, don’t do anything more than you have to and let the offense come to you instead of trying to force the issue.
As one of the two seniors on the team, have you seen your role on the team change?
Yeah, usually I’m more of a leader by example, and this year I’ve been asked to be more vocal and just leading the team that way. And for the post, since I’m one of the only senior posts [players], making sure I’m setting an example and showing them what needs to be done. I know what it feels like to win, when we got to Iowa, so just making sure that the younger players know we’re still capable of doing that this year even though some of the key pieces aren’t on the team.
What do you feel like you could improve on before Patriot League competition?
I think defense could always use improvement, not fouling, and knowing time and situations. Taking care of the ball in crucial times, not turning the ball over and just getting our younger people ready to play. To make sure they're ready to come in and contribute.
Are there any underclassmen/freshmen that have impressed you the most?
I think they all have their games. I’m very impressed with how composed they are a lot of the times when they get in the game, especially in crucial situations. So, like, just seeing Coach have confidence in them in crucial situations, I think it would only raise their confidence even more.
How have you felt your game has improved over the years?
I think that I’ve increased my abilities. So I’m not just sitting on the black anymore, I’m more comfortable taking perimeter shots, being on the perimeter, driving to the basket. I’m not limited anymore. So I think I’ve taken the off-seasons to increase my abilities and make myself harder to guard.
Facing these Patriot League teams for three years, do you think that’s an advantage or a disadvantage, knowing they know your game but you also know theirs?
They know my game, but I’m working like, ‘if they take this away, what else can I do?’ I think it's always harder once you play the teams in the Patriot League, like you said they do know you, but you know them also and what it takes to beat them. It’s about who can adapt more. I’m finding ways to, in non-conference games, when teams takes certain things I like to do away, adapting and finding other ways to score.