Q&A with Chantal Vallee: coach of Windsor’s best basketball team

Keeping in line with the best of Windsor theme, we talked with Chantal Vallee; head coach of the 3 time national champion women’s basketball team. In the interview Coach Vallee discusses the new recruits, defending a championship and a few “the best” themed questions about the top team in CIS Women’s basketball.

Mike Specht

Sports Editor

Keeping in line with the best of Windsor theme, we talked with Chantal Vallee; head coach of the 3 time national champion women’s basketball team.  In the interview Coach Vallee discusses the new recruits, defending a championship and a few “the best” themed questions about the top team in CIS Women’s basketball.

MS: What is it about your program that has made it the best basketball team in the nation three years running? 

CV: First of all it is the establishment of a culture based on excellence, performance, and respect.  Our culture is also based on being very proud of representing the University of Windsor, and the city of Windsor.  We want to create a culture of women that are going to be exemplary citizens as well as excellent at playing basketball. We focus on the overall athlete, not just being basketball players but overall student athletes.

MS: You had a perfect season last year, how do you improve on that going into 2013? 

CV: Each year is different, because each year is a new team.  We have some players that have graduated and it is a new sense of who we are.  The challenge is brand new. Not only are we a new team, but every other team in the country is new.   We really have not accomplished anything this year.  As a program we have, but not as a team.

MS: What is the hardest part about defending a championship? 

CV: To stay motivated.  As we play new teams throughout the year the challenge will be to keep the girls motivated, to work hard making them understand that we can’t just turn it on in the playoffs.  Fortunately with three years experience now I have become a better coach at managing that.

MS: What is the role of the veteran players on this team?

CV: Our veterans have been to four straight national finals and won three straight.  They are used to the pressure and are able to help me manage the team as leaders as well.  I know that these girls would not have it any other way to leave than to win the national title on home court.

MS: What can we expect from the new recruits this season?

CV: We have had one of the best recruiting classes; we have very mature and experienced players.  All of them are excellent basketball players, and they are fantastic individuals.  I think all three of them will have big roles right away and I think that all 12 of our players will be able to play quite well during the season.

MS: This team boasts the best defensive player in the country, what makes Miah-Marie Langlois so dominant? 

CV: She is very fast; she has great lateral movement and can steal the ball very well.  Also, she finds a way to rebound and for a guard that is rare.  Often when you look at stats for defensive players of the year rebounds and steals are the big ones and that is an area where Miah excels.

MS:  Which current player would make the best future coach? 

CV: I really like Anna Mullins, she is younger and she doesn’t play as much.  Her brain, she is incredibly smart and she understands the game very well I have taken her under my wing a bit and tried to push her in that direction.  This summer she was the assistant coach for the Windsor team at ICG that won gold.

MS:  What is the best rivalry matchup in the OUA? 

CV: Carleton and Ottawa seem to have the best programs in the past.  I think it’s the last four or five years in a row Carlton or Ottawa are the teams we face in the OUA Final.  In our end the OUA West, we will be playing at Lakehead which is always a tough matchup because of the road trip.

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