LeCoe Willingham All About the Team

By Kurt Pfannenstiel, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: July 9, 2009

Le’Coe Willingham is having a career season in 2009 with the Phoenix Mercury. Averaging a career-high 10.3 points per game, she definitely appears to have found her groove in the team's fast-paced offense. While it is obvious that Le’Coe is getting recognition on the court, she gives all of the credit to her teammates.

Phoenixmercury.com caught up with Le’Coe after Wednesday night’s win over the Chicago Sky to talk about her career year and her biggest fan that has yet to miss a game.

Phoenixmercury.com: How are you enjoying the season thus far?

Le’Coe Willingham: So far it is awesome, everybody is contributing and the energy is very high. Everybody has the same goal and is working hard, it’s great. It feels so good because it is all a team thing, there is nothing individual. It’s still early and we cannot be complacent and that’s one of the things that this team is concentrating on. We just have to take it game by game and never get comfortable. We can always get better and that is what we as a team are striving for; getting better.

Phoenixmercury.com: You had a career high 26 points against Sacramento earlier this year. Where does that performance rank with all of your other basketball accomplishments?

Willingham: To be really honest with you, I never look at individual achievements. That is the last thing that I look at and I have always been that way. I’m always about team. I credit the people around me. I credit Diana (Taurasi), Temeka (Johnson), and everybody who saw me running. I credit them for hitting their shots because it opens up my offensive game. We all give credit to each other. I feel like me playing well down low helps open up Diana to get her shots. I am just a team player. As long as we come out with a win, that’s what matters the most.

Phoenixmercury.com: You spent four years with Connecticut before coming to the Mercury. With your time in Phoenix, you have really blossomed into a key contributor for the team. What was it that brought out the best in your game here?

Willingham: I can’t say anything but great things about Connecticut. It was awesome being there. Here, it is just the people that I have been surrounded with like Annie (Meyers Drysdale), Corey (Gaines), and Diana. They tell me all the time, “Le’Coe, you have something special.” That means a lot to me knowing that people believe that I can go out and contribute. Being undersized is not going to get in my way; I can just go out and do my thing. Last year, it was a little nerve wracking because I didn’t know my place on the team yet. As the year progressed, we started to trust each other more and got to know each other. Once I figured out my place, I just felt so much more comfortable and it just carried over into this year.

Phoenixmercury.com: Your son Derek is often in attendance for your basketball games. Was he at the game against Sacramento and what did he have to say about your performance?

Willingham: Yes, he was in attendance that night. Before the overtime he said, “Mom has more points than Diana.” (Laughing) But then the overtime finished and he was a little down because she finished with more points. He has been to every single basketball game that I have played in here in the States. He’s always here.

Phoenixmercury.com: Who got you into the game of basketball? Was it one of your three brothers?

Willingham: I was just a tom-boy. I did everything that they did. I climbed trees, ran track, played football, basketball and more. I did it all. I was just a tom-boy. It helped that I had all brothers.