The Monarchs head coach answers your questions

Hoops 101: Maura McHugh


This offseason, has enlisted a lineup of players, coaches and executives eager to tackle your questions on women's basketball. This time around, has Sacramento Monarchs coach Maura McHugh.

Coach McHugh recently answered your questions about new Monarchs rookie Hamchetou Maiga, the Fire/Sparks trade involving Ukari Figgs and Nikki Teasley, her favorite place to shop, and more!

I am the biggest ODU fan. I was wondering why did you pick Hamchetou Maiga? Ticha and her are going to do so well together. Good choice.
Rebecca, Virginia Beach, VA


Coach McHugh: We chose Maiga because we felt she was one off the best athletes in the draft. She is a talented defender and rebounder and runs the floor well. She fits into the up-tempo style we favor in Sacramento. The fact that she was an Old Dominion Monarch like Ticha and me is just icing on the cake!

Hey coach, what did you think of the Figgs/Teasley trade? Given the fact that the Sparks are probably your biggest rivals, how do you see this deal affecting your chances against them? Figgs was obviously a major part of their team last year. Do you think Teasley's talent can make up for her inexperience? How badly will they miss Ukari this season? Thanks.
Orli, Israel



Coach McHugh: I thought that the Figgs/Teasley trade was an interesting one for both teams. In Figgs, Portland gets a proven veteran and floor leader. Figgs is also a good three-point shooter who will give Portland another scorer on the perimeter. On the other hand, L.A. is a team that won 28-plus games last season and won a WNBA Championship. It is hard to predict how a change at the point guard spot will affect the team's play and chemistry. There is no question that Teasley is a talented player with size and skill. I think only time will tell what impact she will have on the Sparks.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of having a good inside/outside type of team? Why do you run the three-guard offense? What is your weakest point on defense?
Toby, Lueders, TX


Coach McHugh: Having a good inside/outside game is definitely a strength. A balanced attack allows a team a lot of options and gives a team many ways to win games. At Sacramento, we have had a great deal of success with the three-guard offense. The main reason we can compete in the WNBA using this style is that our point guard, Ticha Penicheiro, is 6-foot-1 and can defend many of the small forwards in the league. This allows us to match up our two smaller guards with our opponent' s smaller guards..

Hi Coach!
We are all eagerly awaiting the first preseason game to see the 2002 Monarchs in action. Are there any plans to replace Jim Les, who has gone back to Bradley to coach? And when do you expect the European players to get to camp? Thanks!

HoopMatron, Sacramento, CA

Coach McHugh: Jim Les is now the men' s head coach at Bradley University. He did an outstanding job for the Monarchs and brought a great deal of experience and expertise to the team. Although we will miss him, we are excited that he got the opportunity to be a head coach and are confident that he will be a huge success.

Monique Ambers will join the Monarchs staff in place of Jim. Monique is one of my former players at Arizona State. She has college coaching experience at George Washington University and has played professionally in both the WNBA and in Europe. She will be a wonderful addition to our staff.

"I think our team defense can win games in the WNBA and consequently have made defense a point of emphasis at training camp."

-- Maura McHugh

Coach McHugh,
The Monarchs has always been an offensive minded team like the Kings. Are you planning to change that philosohy? Also, who will you replace Edna in the starting lineup?
Go Monarchs!

Gigo, Sacramento, CA

Coach McHugh: After taking over as head coach last year, I felt that our defense had to improve in order to make the playoffs. I think our team defense can win games in the WNBA and consequently have made defense a point of emphasis at training camp. That being said, you have to score points to win games and therefore, a good portion of time is being devoted to offense as well.

Maura, Welcome back for your full season as head coach. As one of the best dressed coaches in the league, we look forward to seeing some new fashion statements from you this season. In your opinion, which WNBA city has the best places for your clothes shopping?? Best of luck to our team!!! Monarchs Rock!!!
nancgo, Sacramento, CA

Coach McHugh: The best place to shop in the WNBA is "The Big Apple." Unfortunately, the Monarchs do not go to New York this season. However, I was definitely born with the shopping gene and am sure that I con do a little damage in any of the WNBA cities.