The Nevada Women’s Basketball program hosted an open media practice this past week at Lawlor Events Center. This season, under first year head coach Amanda Levens, the Wolf Pack have been having an up-tempo style of practices.
Media from various local print and broadcast mediums were invited to participate in the truncated practice session. Both Nevada Sagebrush sports editors participated in the drills for the first time.
“I thought you guys brought it,” head coach Amanda Levens said. “I thought you guys full energy, full effort. I was pleased with what you guys brought today and were awesome.”
The event started with some dynamic stretches led by Strength and Conditioning coach Matt Eck, focusing on lower body muscle groups. Following the stretches, Levens huddles up the team and each person sets an offensive and defensive goal.
My own personal goals were to: a) Shoot over 20 percent from the field and b) not get crossed over on defense.
After each person sets goals, the media were then put through a fast-break and jumpshot drill that tested our passing, shooting, and conditioning.
After the warm-up drills, we were then split into free throw pressure shooting. Each person was given 10 attempts. One of the few things I pride myself on the basketball court is my free throw shooting ability. At a whopping 50 percent shooting percentage, I was able to match the percentage of one of the all-time NBA greats, Wilt Chamberlain.
Following, the free throw shooting, Levens split the groups up and directed the teams to a variety of team spot shooting from different parts of the court.
At this point in the practice, about 20 minutes in, each participant was breathing heavily and missing practically every shot. Senior Teige Zeller emphasized the importance of maintaining good form when shooting with tired legs.
To conclude the practice, the Levens emphasizes late-game conditioning that hopefully will translates to having the edge against the competition during the season. Each person lines up at one sideline and runs the width of the court twice, back and forth. Everybody on the team is required to run under 15 seconds and guards have the added challenge of dribbling a ball. Should somebody fail to make time, the whole team has to run again. For head editor Brandon Cruz, this was the most difficult challenge.
“Coach Levens challenges its guards to dribble a ball while running our sprints,” Cruz said. “Nobody in the media wanted to dribble the ball so I wanted to take on that extra opportunity. I was proud of myself for being able to make time and complete the sprints.”
Finally, Levens ends the practice with a drill called “win the game”. Each person on the team has an opportunity to shoot a free throw. One point is awarded for a made basket. Misses are more costly as two points are deducted. The goal is to have a positive score after every person has shot the ball.
Overall, the practice was a success for media members. However, Levens has a few pointers for next year.
‘I think you guys need to get in the gym a little more often,” Levens said. “I think you guys need to fine tune your shooting mechanics and your ball handling but your effort and focus was definitely there.”