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Calling the shots

Nov. 11, 2005

by JOSHUA FLANAGAN, sports writer

The national championship season is over. Gone are the seniors, one of which was point guard Chelsea Whitaker. Now Lady Bears head Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson hands the offense over to sophomore point guard Angela Tisdale.

Is that hard?

"No, not at all. (Tisdale) understands the ball is in her hands now," Mulkey-Robertson said. "All competitors want to play."

In the Lady Bears' first game of the season, an exhibition against Arkansas-Monticello, Tisdale did just that, recording seven assists along the way.

After starting nine games for the Lady Bears throughout the season and postseason last year, Mulkey-Robertson has no doubt about her experience.

"Angela is going to get better and better with game experience," Mulkey-Robertson said. "She had so much experience last year. (Tisdale) is going to be all right."

If her game-time experience wasn't enough, Tisdale spent most of the summer working on her game, too.

Even after Whitaker graduated last year, she spent the summer playing her tenacious defense against Tisdale to help Tisdale's dribbling.

"Chelsea taught me a lot. She taught me how to be in control of your team and help your teammates out," Tisdale said. "After she left, I stepped it up this summer."

In addition to practicing with Whitaker, Tisdale also ran scrimmages with the team, shot with the team and even on her own.

"(Tisdale) has worked extremely hard this summer to develop her game all around," senior forward Sophia Young said. "She's been working extra hard, and I think she's going to do amazing this year."

Even after that much work, is there a point that the team worries about a sophomore point guard?

"I think (Tisdale) is an excellent point guard. We've been working together all summer long and we've developed a lot of confidence in her," Young said. "I'm not worried and I don't think anybody is worried about what she is going to do."

Tisdale said she isn't worried either.

"It's been a big challenge, but I've had a lot of people around me like (Young and Abiola Wabara) and the rest, so I think I fit into the role real well," Tisdale said. "I'm ready for the challenge ahead of me."

She keeps her goals for future games simple.

"I just want to control the team, have little or no turnovers and win the game basically," Tisdale said.

Tisdale said that there's going to be pressure on any player at the college level, but that she does feel some extra pressure as a sophomore because nobody respects the experience she has.

But she said she believes she has enough.

"After the season we had last year, I think I'm well-experienced," Tisdale said.

Even though Mulkey-Robertson expressed her confidence in Tisdale, the player still expects some tough love from her coach.

"She's going to be hard on me because I'm a sophomore, and she thinks I need to step it up some," Tisdale said.

How does Tisdale respond?

"I just step it up."