Storm Q&A: Jenny Boucek
Former Seattle Storm Assistant Coach Jenny Boucek will bring her Sacramento Monarchs squad to KeyArena tonight (7:00 p.m., KKNW 1150 AM, ) in her first game as a WNBA head coach. Boucek, who was part of the Storm's staff during the 2004 Championship season, has become the youngest head coach in the WNBA. She's got a talented squad with high expectations after former coach John Whisenant (now Sacramento's general manager) led the Monarchs to the 2005 WNBA Championship and back to the Finals last year.
After conducting shootaround this morning at KeyArena, Boucek chatted with members of the Seattle media.
Boucek: We've got so much going on right now, I'm taking it one day at a time with everything - we're taking it one day at a time. But it's obviously nice to come back here with the familiarity and see old friends.
When were you last in Seattle?
Well, my parents still live here, so I'm in and out of here.
Do you know how many friends and family you'll have in attendance?
I don't know. I'm not really exactly sure how many people will be here tonight. I haven't really been focused on that, to be honest. My mom has her little crew, a lot of my friends are coming, but I don't know how many.
Are you ready to coach your first WNBA preseason game?
I'm extremely excited to get started. There's been a lot of firsts, so everything is a growing experience for me as a head coach but also our team on our journey this year. We're trying to use everything as a learning experience. This is our first exhibition game, so we've got a lot of areas to grow.
What's it like coaching against Anne Donovan?
Much respect. We know this is a big challenge for our team, but it's a team sport and it's really a player's game, so it will be a good challenge.
How has camp been?
Really good, although we've had not a lot of our veteran players and we still don't have them. That's the biggest challenge and it's an uncontrollable one, so we're trying to make the most of it, but the group that we've had has worked extremely hard and learned very quickly, so we're doing the best with what we can do.
How much do you expect to tweak what Whisenant has done in Sacramento?
As a coach, whether you're a new coach or just coming into a new season, you're always evaluating how to get better. So we've done that as a staff, including Coach Whiz and the assistants. We've evaluated how to keep this team growing, evolving, getting better and what's been working and what needed a little tweaking. We've been doing that.
How is your health?
Good. I'm not 100% yet. It was scary, but the tests have all come back negative. They still don't even know what it was. It was definitely a humbling experience and still a little bit scary until I feel 100%. I'm being monitored pretty closely for a little while longer. The next few weeks, I know, for sure and then we'll go from there.
DAILY CAMP REPORT
It's extremely exciting to be a part of a team that's this special. Whether you're a first-year head coach or a 10-year or 20-year head coach, I think to get an opportunity to be a part of a special group of women with an established winning tradition, an identity, is exciting for any coach.
Have you learned anything new about your players that you didn't know about them as an opposing coach?
I always really admired this team from afar, but I think being up close with them, really, it's exceeded my expectations. It's a special group of women, a special chemistry and special leadership. We haven't had all of our leaders in camp, but Kara Lawson and Yolanda Griffith, I haven't seen better leadership in the WNBA since day one in the league. Really, really special leadership. We're still waiting for some of our leaders to come back, but those two have well exceeded my expectations of really taking ownership and responsibility for the welfare of our entire team.
You're younger than Griffith. Has age been an issue at all?
You know, I've been coaching in this league since 23 or so. It's not anything new for me. I think the players are somewhat used to it as well. If you can help them, they're okay with it. I don't think they pay attention to it too much. In terms of years in the league, I don't think there's anybody with more years of experience coaching in the WNBA, so it depends on how you look at it. But it hasn't been a factor at all so far.