From The Coach: Penny Lucas-White
Oct. 24, 2001
We are struggling through one of the worst seasons ever. Yet, in no way do I think we are not capable of winning. But it's obvious that we aren't as tough mentally as we are physically. At the Division I level, you have got to be tough mentally. What happens is, when the team faces hardships and the going gets tough, you can either fight or take flight. We are taking flight mentally. We are in a mental slump. Actually, a slump is going below where you were initially, so we aren't even in a slump. We are still in the starting blocks getting ready for the race mentally. But the race has already started without us. That's the problem. We're not prepared mentally.
Our team is very talented. The players are physical and athletic. If we are playing a team the players don't feel they have a chance to beat - the top 20 teams in the country like Utah and Colorado State - you will see sparks of genius. They play their hearts out because they have nothing to lose. We play best when we are playing the best teams in the country. But when we play teams we know we can beat, the fear of success and the fear of failure step in and it becomes a handicap. We can't shake it and we can't play like we know we can. We haven't decided yet as a team that we are willing to pay the price it is going to win.
We have a lot of "practice" players. We have players that perform to the best of their ability in practice, but do not perform in the critical times in an actual match. If you don't have a leader that is going to step up when the whistle blows and bring everyone else up with her, then you are in trouble. You are going to get a different result than the one you desire. We need a leader that enjoys the heat of the battle. A leader that is going to make sure a team actually beats them. They aren't going to stop swinging, and if they go down they are going down fighting. Eventually, you will become tougher mentally, and you will begin to win. Our players need to perform in a match like they perform in practice.
There is a missing ingredient that we are trying locate or perfect. We haven't given up. I will never give up. I will never sell out. We will keep working until we find answers. We are at the drawing board. We are trying different things, we are working different strategies to make these players believe that they can win. Because I know we can. And I know we will. - Penny Lucas-White