July 2, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite the all-conference campaigns of Emma Cannon (Rochester, N.Y.) and Chelsie Wiley (Riviera Beach, Fla.) and the immediate impact of freshman Aisha Patrick in 2008-09, point guard Angelica Mealing (Decatur, Ga.) was arguably the key to the success of the UCF women's basketball team. After lineup shuffling early in the season meant three different players started at point guard in the first four games, Mealing added consistency to the Knights by taking hold of the position and starting 23 of the final 24 games.
The floor general led the team in assists with 112, but could also produce offense on her own and averaged 7.6 points per game. Mealing reached double figures in eight-straight games late in the season and averaged 11 points and 4.8 assists in the team's run to the Conference USA Tournament title.
Taking classes in both Summer A and Summer B, Mealing has been on campus for most of the summer. She recently took time for a quick Q&A in which the lefty discusses her summer classes, her role as the team's point guard and the talented group of guards on the UCF roster.
What have you been up to this summer? Have you had the chance to do anything fun aside from school and basketball?
"We all get a chance to go back home and enjoy times with our families. Other than that, I have just been hanging with the team. We have not done too much, but we have gone to the movies a couple of times and of course we saw The Hangover."
Your grandfather is famous around the UCF women's basketball community for being one of the loudest and most loyal fans. What does his support mean to you? How does he fill his time in the offseason?
What class or classes have been on your schedule this summer? Which have you enjoyed the most or gotten the most out of?
"It means a lot. It is embarrassing sometimes, but you have to love it. It means a lot to have family support there at the games. Yeah, my grandparents are constantly talking about basketball and how they can't wait to come to the games and are always looking forward to it."
"I took an intercultural communications course [in Summer A] and it was interesting to see how other cultures go about communicating in different ways. I am taking statistics now so I am not really looking forward to that one. I am just now getting into my major classes."
You took hold of the team's starting point guard spot early in the season after the lineup had been shuffled a lot. Do you think that helped the team play more consistently the rest of the season?
"I think it did. I think once we got our lineup set it helped everyone understand their roles more. It helped people understand what they needed to do when their number was called."
What do you enjoy most about playing the point guard position?
"Just the fact that you have to be the coach on the floor and having that responsibility. A lot of people do not like that, but I like knowing that I have one of the biggest areas of responsibility."
You led C-USA in free-throw percentage last season, including hitting 33-of-35 free throws in conference play. Is that something you really work hard at and take pride in? Were you even surprised with how well you shot from the line?
"I was shocked when I found out about it and I try not to feed into those kinds of things, but I definitely wanted to improve my free-throw percentage from the last year because being a point guard you can't be too low and the year before I was in the seventies. I knew I wanted to improve on it, and I guess it worked out."
You are not necessarily known for your defense, but you have knack to get your hands in the passing lanes. You will carry a pretty impressive streak into next season, having recorded a steal in 25-straight games. What do you attribute that success to and what do you focus on defensively?
"Just reading the passing lanes. The coaches do a good job of teaching us the different angles we need to play so I just try to anticipate passes and get my hands in there."
The team has so many talented guards with you, Aisha Patrick, Marshay White, Chelsie Wiley and now incoming freshman Gevenia Carter. Does practicing and playing against them help during the season and in the offseason help make you a better player? Are you better prepared for games because of that competition?
"Yeah it does definitely because we push each other. Everybody is fighting to play and fighting for minutes. It is all love off the court but on the court it is a competition. It helps us in games playing against each other as well as playing against the green team [male student practice players].
Last year the team slid under the radar as a team nobody outside the program expected too much from. What will be different this season with having a target on your backs?
"Last year, we took that aspect of not being looked at as a good team and turned that around into motivation. Now it will be interesting to see how we respond to us having a target on our back."
What are your goals for yourself and the team for this upcoming season?
"I am trying to continue to improve my strength. I have been hitting the weights pretty strong all summer with [strength coach] Tracy [Prosser]. I am also hoping to improve my defense as well as my transition game making better decisions. For the team, anything less than winning a conference championship will be a disappointment as well as getting past the first round of the NCAA Tournament."