July 9, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - D'Nay Daniels (Atlanta, Ga.) brings versatility to the UCF women's basketball team. At 5-10, Daniels is arguably the best pure athlete on the Knights' team. Her size and speed allow her to play on the perimeter and in the post.
In the C-USA championship game against Southern Miss, Daniels' effectiveness as a post defender against Pauline Love, a first-team all-conference player, helped the Knights to a 65-54 overtime victory. Love struggled to just 4-of-15 shooting in the contest.
During her sophomore campaign, Daniels averaged 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while starting 10 times. She had 12 points and nine rebounds against sixth-ranked Baylor in the Paradise Jam and was named to the all-tournament team.
In a recent Q&A, Daniels talked about her summer, her role for next season and her thoughts on becoming an upperclassmen.
What have been the highlights of your summer thus far?
"The freshman and getting to know her and seeing how she is as a person and how she fits with our team. She fits in really well." Off the floor just bonding with my teammates."
What did you do when you were away from school? Where did you spend that part of your summer?
I went to Atlanta for a little bit and hung out with my brother because he lives up there. I went to Longview in Texas and saw my mom because she just bought a house out there and we went out on the dirt bike and the four-wheeler. That was fun just hanging out with her. I also visited New Orleans where all of my extended family lives and they had a picnic for me because I am not there too often."
What class or classes have been on your schedule this summer? Which have you enjoyed the most?
You have played both on the perimeter and inside during your career. Where do enjoy playing the most and why?
"I am taking Finite Math and Interpersonal Communications. I do not really like math but it has not been as hard as I thought it would be. My favorite is definitely interpersonal because I am in there with Jelly, Jelisa and A.J. [Rompza] from the guy's team. We do exercises that are a lot of fun and teach people how to communicate."
"The coaches always think that I do not like being a guard, but it really doesn't matter to me because I am just happy that I can play anywhere and be able to help the team out. I like having an advantage in both because I am taller than most guards and I am quicker than most posts."
Does the team have anything fun planned over the next month of so before the school year starts?
"This weekend we are supposed to go see Bruno as a team but that is pretty much it right now. Besides that we just hangout and act like fools and laugh and joke with each other."
The team played a really difficult non-conference schedule last season, playing the likes of Baylor, Wake Forest and Florida State? Do you think games like this helped the team in conference play?
"I think it did help us because we matured and learned from our losses. I do not take them as losses I take them as lessons. The games taught us a lot about our team. Each of those losses we learned something new that helped us when we got to conference play. We knew we were not going to meet teams that were as good as the ones we played."
What do you hope to improve in your game for next season?
"My shooting range and ball-handling of course and trying to work on my post moves and post defense."
What do you see as your role for this coming season? Where do you think you will help the team the most?
"I see my role as defending the best post player off the dribble. The post players inside Emma [Cannon] can handle, but post players that are more like me and can step away from the basket and drive. There are a lot of [power forwards] like that in Conference USA and I think it will be my role to stop them."
Two years ago, almost everyone on the team was a freshman. Now you have all become upperclassmen. How do you think you have grown or changed since then, both you personally and as a team?
"It hasn't really changed us because we never really had players above us that were upperclassmen. We were all freshmen together and we just moved up. Now that we have a freshman we do not treat her like a freshman. We are just all one team and that upperclassmen and underclassmen thing doesn't mean anything to us. We have felt like upperclassmen since our freshmen year because we played so many minutes."
What are your goals for yourself and the team for this upcoming season?
"To stay out of foul trouble and to not get so frustrated with myself. Also learning how to play in practice and translate that to the games and be very consistent. For our team, of course our goal is to win the conference and taking it past round one [in the NCAA Tournament].
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