Season Reflection: Kelley Cain
|Liberty rookie Kelley Cain averaged 1.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field in 6.8 minutes per game this season. Many question marks surrounded the Tennessee graduate as the Liberty geared up for their 2012 campaign. Cain did not play her senior season due to nagging hip, knee and back injuries. After recovering, Cain played her way into shape overseas in Turkey and was drafted #7 in the first round of the 2012 WNBA draft. After losing Janel McCarville for personal reasons and Quanitra Hollingsworth to preparations for the Olympics with the Turkish National team, Liberty head coach John Whisenant explained that increased depth at the post, Cain's size and good hands were the reasons he chose the solid framed 6-6 Cain. Cain saw limited minutes off the bench in the 20 of 34 games that she appeared in. Cain achieved her biggest impact toward the end of the first half of the season when experienced Liberty posts Plenette Pierson, DeMya Walker, and Kia Vaughn all missed games due to injury. Cain made huge strides in her understanding of the offense and defense, aggressiveness in the paint, and increased her confidence in the practices and games during that time period. The injury-depleted Liberty needed Cain to contribute and threw the rookie into the fire. While Cain had a lot of ground to cover in catching up, she provided undeniable size and strength inside for the Liberty. Cain appeared to be coming along until suffering a concussion in practice during the Olympic break. Cain struggled to regain the momentum she enjoyed earlier in the season, especially as veteran posts recovered. However, Kelley could still be found doing extra conditioning and shooting throughout the course of the season.
By Ros Gold-Onwude
Post Season Chat with Kelley:
Did your rookie year move fast?
Yes, it did move fast. I'm not used to the amount of games and the amount of travel that we did. The season flew by.
Do you feel that you improved?
I think so. I spent the season learning the game the way it's played in the WNBA. The women play a lot smarter. I learned how to think the game better.
What were your expectations coming into the season?
I don't know if I had any expectations. I just wanted to be ready to do whatever coach needed me to do, really.
What will you work on this offseason?
...Everything. There is not one area I don't need to work on. I want to get out there. I want to be a consistent post player in this league.
So, what's next for you?
I will go overseas, but it's not 100% clear where yet. I like to travel so basketball provides a perfect lifestyle for me. (Laughs) I don't like packing, but I like to go! I've been blessed to have opportunities as a female baller and blessed to see the world!
How was New York City? In an interview we did during the preseason all you wanted to do was taste a New York hot dog. How was it?
(Laughs) Good! And it didn't cost much! New York was overwhelming. I guess coming from the south it felt like it was jam-packed and a lot to take in. I'm kind of getting used to it now.
What surprised you about this season?
Hmmm..I guess how many games there were in a short amount of time.
What's your message to the fans?
I hope to be back next year as a consistent factor in the team's success.