Throughout the successful 2012-13 campaign that the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team experienced, one of its key components was the role players. Senior guard Monica Touvelle was one of those players.
The Boardman native gave the Penguins a spark with her 3-point shooting ability. Touvelle is this week’s guest in our Five for Five segment, giving her take on the upcoming season and her expectations.
Touvelle ranks seventh in program history with 140 career 3-pointers. She needs 58 to tie Dianne Rappach’s career mark of 198. Touvelle also ranks seventh with 392 3-point attempts and ninth with a .357 3-point percentage.
Q: Going back a little bit when you were at Boardman, what was the reason for staying at home and going to Youngstown State instead of somewhere else?
A: I never said that I wanted to stay home, but when I came here, it just felt right [and] comfortable. I’ve been coming to football games [and] basketball games since I was younger, so it was just the right decision. It just felt right, but I never said that I needed to stay at home. I was open to any options, and I’m glad that I ended up staying here.
Q: Coach mentioned that you’re not going to be much of a 3-point shooting team. You, for the most part, are a 3-point shooter. How have you been adjusting to that?
A: Well, definitely we’re still going to be shooting the 3s. I’m going to headhunt for some 3s, and it is important to get the ball inside. I’ve played with big girls before in high school. That actually opens up for 3-pointers because as soon as you throw it in there, everyone’s going after that big girl and leaves smaller people open shots. I think it’s going to be a good thing for our team.
Q: Not only are you switching from coach to coach, but you’re also going from your first couple of years with no expectations to high expectations. What’s that change been like? Is it harder to go from low to high than from high to higher?
A: I think low to high isn’t that difficult because when you’re low, nobody really expects you to do anything. But now that we’re up at that high level, we do have that pressure to continue to improve and stay that level. I think it is a little nerve wrecking, but it’s also exciting to push that No. 1 spot after we were No. 2 last year.
Q: Liz [Hornberger] said the first three weeks of practice has been all about defense and pretty much all you’re focusing on is defense. Is that something different than what you experienced in your past playing days?
A: Every coach I played for has harped on defense, which is a challenge for me because I’m not a quick kid. Defense isn’t my forte, but I always work hard and try my best. You know, the offense is something that will come. You can always have somebody dribbling it. You can always have somebody shooting it, but the defense is definitely our focus, and it’s what’s going to get us to No. 1 this year.
Q: Coach mentioned that there is no starting lineup so far. Even though you are a senior, do you feel like you have to thrive more to earn a starting spot?
A: It would be great to start. I’m not saying that that’s a goal of mine or anything. I’m a role player, and I know what my role is. I’m not sure if that’s going to be included in the starting five, but whoever starts, starts. It’s not that big of a deal to me, really. I am a senior, but as long as I play, who cares?