| Lady Mountaineers Swish and Repeat and Repeat and repeat ...
While the Lady Mountaineers are a young squad this year, they are off to a strong start with an 11-5 record. Along the way, the are continuing where last year's team left off- playing at whiplash speed, throwing in record numbers of three-pointers, and putting enough points on the board to make opposing defenses blush. In fact, the Lady Mountaineers 104 points per game average is ranked as the twelfth highest in the nation.
We caught up with Coach Bunky Harkleroad to talk about this year's squad and where the season will go.
The coaches and players of the 2005-2005 Lady Mountaineers
BCnow: What are your past coaching experiences?
Harkleroad: I am in my sixth season as head coach at Berea College. I was an assistant here for one year before that. Other coaching experiences include being an assistant girls basketball coach at Berea Community High School, assistant boys basketball coach at Berea Community, Boys middle school coach at Berea Community, assistant boys basketball coach at Madison Southern.
BCnow: Why did you choose to work here at Berea College?
Harkleroad: I graduated from Berea, I grew up in Berea, most of my family lives in Berea. Being a part of Berea College was a great opportunity for me.
BCnow: So, we’re the twelfth highest scoring team in the world. What philosophies and methods have you used to get our ladies to this point?
Harkleroad: Shoot and shoot some more, work hard, have fun.
BCnow: What has been your team's reaction to being one of the highest scoring teams?
Harkleroad: They like it and they take pride in it.
BCnow: What sets your girls apart from any other ladies team out there?
Harkleroad: Our philosophy is different from anything else they've been a part of. The fact that we shoot so many 3 pointers and are so aggressive on defense are definitely things you don't see a lot of women's teams do. Off the court I believe that our students are held to a higher standard than most of the other schools we compete against. Our kids have to work really hard in the classroom and complete their student labor contracts. But, they take pride in the fact that they can be successful in the classroom and compete at a very high level. They enjoy beating other teams that have it easier than them.
BCnow: What do you find most rewarding about coaching the Lady Mountaineers?
Harkleroad: The most rewarding thing about coaching is when your team and players really appreciate their opportunities and their gifts. I love it when they come together and realize that they are part of something special. When that starts to happen they tend to over achieve and the sky is the limit.
BCnow: Are there any elements that the team needs to work on specifically?
Harkleroad: There are numerous things we have to work on. We are relying on many young players, this is still somewhat new to them. We've been more turnover prone than we need to be, we've also got to do a better job on the defensive glass.
BCnow: Has there been a defining moment or game for you this season?
Harkleroad: Our season is so long there are many defining moments. It is a long haul. I don't think that many people understand that the basketball season typically last around 6 months. In terms of defining moments I think that our team and certain individuals on our team have shown flashes of outstanding basketball. Now we are to the point where we want it to be an everyday occurrence. Earlier in the season we scored 141 points in a game (vs Knoxville College). On the road versus King College in a close game we scored 9 straight points (3 straight 3 point baskets) to open up our lead on them when the game was on the line. Things like that really fun to watch, but in terms of one defining moment I don't think there was just one. I also think that this team has a lot of growing to do. We are nowhere near our potential and we are only two games into conference play. That's always a good measuring stick.
BCnow: How do you think the ladies will close up the season?
Harkleroad: I really believe this team will make a strong run in the conference tournament and will give our fans a lot to cheer for down the stretch. I think we are getting better everyday and we look forward to each game to see what we can get done.
BCnow: Any chance the team will go to the NAIA National Tournament?
Harkleroad: The only way for us to get there is to win the KIAC conference tournament. I think we have more than a chance to get there. The tournament is Feb. 23-25, we hope to be playing our best basketball by then.