In her third season, Micaëlla Riché has been named team captain of the Gophers and has proved her leadership on and off the court. The junior out of Gloucester, Ontario, has had a great start to the 2012-13 season and she's not stopping there. She is ready to work hard and strive to achieve each and every one of her goals while leading this Minnesota team to successful season.Here is a short question and answer with Riché.
Q: How did it feel to be named a team Captain?
A: First of all, I've come a long, long way. I remember (Coach Borton) telling me a lot about how I was an energy taker my freshman year. Whether it was blowing up a drill or not working my hardest, or whatever the case may be, I was always demanding attention from someone because I was doing something wrong. Also, I've always been a very transparent person when it comes to my emotions. If I'm frustrated, oh gosh, don't look at me, don't talk to me, nothing. Just being able to get past those two things mainly, I feel like were a big part of fixing my faults to be able to become a captain. I've always had a good work ethic and I've always been pretty driven and motivated to do things right. But those first those things were major factors that were definitely bringing my teammates down and that were keeping me from being able to be the leader.
Q: Was there a certain point that you knew you needed to make a change?
A: I think it definitely came with me deciding I wanted to be successful. I've always wanted to be successful, obviously, but there was a lot of stubbornness or not figuring it out, or just doing things completely wrong my freshman year. I saw that I could do this over my sophomore year. I remember one practice, we had shoot around at Northwestern. Coach put me on the gold team, which is the scout team, and I remember thinking, oh no, I'm done with this now. The maroon team was supposed to play defense and I just went as hard as I could. I was on the gold team for a while, but I just kept going as hard as I could and eventually she switched me up. Then (Katie) Loberg had an injury, so that was my opportunity to step up. Since then I was starting games. That was definitely where I snapped out of it. Then over the summer it was get yourself in shape, get yourself in the gym, do anything you needed to do because you need to keep your starting position, you need to be successful.
Q: What were some of the things you did over the summer to meet those goals?
A: I went home in May and I remember thinking, okay this is the month we don't have anything planned. So I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran a lot. I definitely got myself in the gym a lot too. We have post season and then a month off, so a lot of people tend to get out of shape, but I did a pretty good job of maintaining and getting in even better shape. I came in before the summer testing and I did really, really well. That was another motivator to set the tone and bring energy. We had our freshmen coming in so it was an opportunity for me to lead doing that too. I just made sure I got myself in the gym at least five or six times a week. Most of the times I was in there all day every day. I knew what I needed to work on. I knew what my weaknesses were, I knew I wanted to be able to do this season, so mainly getting myself in the gym and getting in shape.
Q: Doing that for yourself, does is help that you're majoring in Kinesiology?
A: It helps a lot. It's funny because we'll be in the weight room and I'll be like, `Oh yeah the defluxion of the this'... I'm using all these words and my teammates are looking at me like, really Micaëlla? The other day, I got the wind knocked out of me in practice and I was like, `Kate, I have a solar plexus contusion' and it really means you get the wind knocked out of you. It's cool because I'm learning so much, especially now that's it's the core requirements and they're focusing on my major. I'm writing workouts now so I'm talking to Sara Wiley a lot about that, I'm learning about sports injuries; so a lot of that stuff really relates directly to the sport. I find myself studying while I'm in practice because I can use the terms. It's really cool, I like it a lot.
Q: What are your goals for after you graduate?
A: Once I graduate, I've thought about a graduate assistantship and how I could get that done, so that's definitely something I'm looking at. I'd love to work in the weight room with a good strength coach who I would be able to learn a lot from and get some hands on experience while getting my masters. Obviously if an opportunity, either pro or over seas comes up, I'm going to want to look into that. But, I'm really anxious to get into my career so either or I'd be happy with.
How much of an honor was it to be named the Big Ten player of the week earlier this season?
"It was kind of a surprise. I felt like I played well, but everybody's good. The fact that I was picked out of such a huge selection of great players in the Big Ten, I'm happy about that. I'm doing something right and now that I got it, I'm going to want it next week and the next week. It's just a motivator to keep working hard, definitely a good push in the butt."
Q: How has Associate Head Coach Curtis Loyd helped you?
A: Coach Curtis tends to like to repeat things a lot, and it eventually has to get in your head. Not only with getting my mind right, but definitely on the court. We're usually shooting upstairs before practice about a half hour every day. He's just helping me with moves, with my touch, with rebounding a lot, with catching the ball. I'm catching the ball well this season and a lot of that is credited to him. He's just really helping me with my game overall.
Q: What is the biggest difference between this year's team and last year's team?
A: Starting off, it's crazy how different it is. On the court, in the weight room, off the court as friends; there is so much chemistry. I feel like everybody's always just joking and laughing and having a good time. The girls are all working so hard. Everybody is working so, so hard. Nobody is slacking on anything. Just from that, right off the bat, we have a good base. If you work hard, that's the base for everything. We're all encouraging each other and picking each other up. There's so much chemistry build in the weight room, on the court. Then off the court we all love hanging out with each other. I would say the chemistry is the biggest thing. We all know that we love each other and we all know that whatever is said is said to make one another better.
Q: What are some of your individual goals and expectations for this season?
A: We have really good team goals this year that I really believe we can achieve. It's good because we're all keeping our mind on that versus writing them and then `Okay let's go have this season', then at the end of the season, `Oh yeah we did have that goal'. My individual goals, I would summarize them as, I want to beast. Coach wants me to rewrite my goals just so I can get higher expectations for myself. Now that I've had the Big Ten Player of the Week, I'm definitely going to want to get that another few times. Just do everything I can to make my team win. If I'm not making shots I need to rebound. If I have fouls I need to be the loudest one on the bench. Its always hard for me to set specific goals because you never know how it's going to end up. I need to feel like I made a significant different in every day that we have a win. Whatever it is I need to do, I need to get it done.
Q: As a team, what are you looking to accomplish this year?
A: As a team we definitely want to have 20 wins. I feel like that's our biggest goal right now. We realize that our non-conference season is very important. We have 14 good games against great teams and we need to be able to win the games that we need to win. Coach has said this many times, but we can win every game on our schedule and we can lose every game on our schedule. We want to get to 20 wins and make it to the NCAA Tournament. We have goals for each game; under 15 turnovers, seven or more hustle plays, shoot 77% from the free throw line, goals like that. I think we have about 20 team goals and they're all very specific, so we have some good, high expectations for ourselves this year.
By Kelly Kleine, Athletic Communications Assistant
Introducing: Taiye Bello
The freshman from Michigan has enjoyed her summer in another of the Great Lakes states.
Introducing: Gadiva Hubbard
The Viginia native is feeling at home in the Twin Cities during her first summer on campus.
WNBA Update - July 13
Rachel Banham's season is unfortunately done, but the other three Gophers in the league have been making headlines.