July 23, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF junior Emma Cannon (Rochester, N.Y.) picked up another honor for her stellar 2008-09 season as she was recently announced the Orlando Sentinel Knights' Notepad UCF female athlete of the year. Cannon took the honor after winning 66 percent of the vote in an online readers' poll.
Volleyball's Jenny Heppert was the runner-up with 18 percent of the vote while soccer player Aline Reis garnered eight percent, golf's Stephanie Connelly collected seven percent and softball's Tiffany Lane received three percent of the vote.
Former men's basketball standout Jermaine Taylor won the vote for UCF men's athlete of the year with 67 percent of the vote, beating out football's Joe Burnett (20 percent), football's Sha'reff Rashad (eight percent), golf's Blayne Barber (four percent) and baseball's Shane Brown (two percent).
Cannon had one of the best seasons in school history as a sophomore, totaling 526 points and a school-record 393 rebounds. The junior averaged 15.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest, posting 21 double-doubles for the season. She was named to the All-Conference USA first-team and also took home C-USA Tournament MVP after leading the Knights to the title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
She will be one of four starters and 10 letterwinners returning in 2009-10 for head coach Joi Williams. With 878 career points, Cannon is close to becoming the 12th member of the program's 1,000-point club.
Season tickets are now on sale to watch the Knights at UCF Arena. While the complete home schedule has yet to be released, UCF is expected to welcome Notre Dame, Florida State, Alabama and Washington to its home floor. The Knights were 9-4 at home a season ago.
For more information about season tickets and the arena's premium seating options, including club seats, group discounts, courtside tables and suites, contact the UCF ticket sales office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit the women's basketball ticket page at UCFAthletics.cstv.com/tickets/w-baskbl-tickets.html.
For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.
Below is the complete interview that Cannon recently did with Iliana Limon from the Orlando Sentinel. The interview can also be found on the Sentinel's website, OrlandoSentinel.com.
On what the women's basketball team has been doing this summer:
It's been going good. We started our summer classes. We've been working out, going to open gym and working really hard to stay in shape and get stronger.
On what has changed since the team won the Conference USA tournament championship and reached the NCAA Tournament:
Yeah, we're a lot more serious. I wouldn't say that we weren't in the past, but it's like we know we're capable of doing this again. It's like a greater sense of urgency. Everybody wants to get better, everybody wants to get stronger. It's helped out a lot. We're all really motivated.
On Gevenia "Ne" Carter, a Top 100 recruit who just joined the program as a freshman:
She's a goofball, man. But she's really excited to be on the team. She fits in perfectly with us because as anybody knows, we're all goofy. She's ready to work hard. She's seen what we've accomplished and she just wants to add on to it.
On what Cannon has focused on improving this offseason:
Getting stronger. Getting a little face-up game more so than what I've been playing with my back to the basket. That's about it. I really want to get a lot stronger and I've been running a lot more.
On what she has noticed about her teammates during the offseason workouts and whether the improvement is noticeable at this point:
Oh yeah, everybody's getting a lot stronger. Even Ne coming in, she's getting a lot stronger so everybody's focusing more on that. When we go play pickup, it's real serious. We're at each other. It's not like we're teammates when we play each other. We go out there and we want to win. We're mad when we lose.
On who has been the most impressive during those games:
I would say everybody. There isn't a single person out there that's doing more than others. It's everybody who wants to do better and get better.
On whether the team learned a lot from the end of last season:
I think we matured a lot more. We learned to play with each other a lot better on the court. We understood everybody's game and what everybody's strengths and weaknesses were. Once we combined all that, we were just hard to stop. Once we realized, we just ended up keeping it going. Even though we lost in the NCAA Tournament, it just gave us motivation for this upcoming season.
On whether she feels like UCF has more of a target on its back after winning the conference title:
To be honest, I still feel we don't get as much respect we deserve. I still think people think it was a fluke because of our how our past was. I think some people may see us as a target, but I still think we've got a lot to prove.
On the most entertaining thing that has happened to the team this summer:
Every night we have dinner together. It's so crazy. We're like a little family and I just love that. We're just all so goofy and funny. I just love spending time with them off the court.
On who is the best cook on the team:
It's Shay (Marshay White) and Leah (Paige). And Ne even cooks now too. You can add her to the list.
On the best dish the team has eaten this summer:
The shrimp and chicken alfredo. And it's not out of the bag. They feed the whole team and it's real good.
On whether the team has gone out much together:
We went to some movies. We went to see the Hangover together and we went to go see that Bruno mess. That was funny. But Hangover was real good. That was fun when we went out to do that.
On the importance of spending all this free time together so that they can develop good team chemistry and intuition on the basketball court:
It's real important. Being able to communicate with one another and being cool off the basketball court, that's big. It really helps make you a better team. A lot of other teams aren't like us. Everyone on this team really does love one another. There are no cliques here or separate people hanging out together. It's just like everybody is just one group. I think that's great because it really does carry over onto the court.
On being selected the UCF female athlete of the year:
Really? Wow. That's crazy. That makes me so happy. I can't stop smiling. I don't know what to say, other than that's crazy.
On whether she feels more motivation to improve this offseason so she can live up to the standard she set last season winning a lot of awards:
Yeah, there's always something I've got to work on. I'm not perfect. Nobody is. I've just got to keep working. I'm never satisfied. I love everything that I've been able to do with my team and everything I've accomplished, but I just want to keep working harder.