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10 Questions with Women's Basketball Player Koko Richardson

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Koko Richardson and her Spartan teammates open the 2009-10 season on Friday night against North Greenville.

Koko Richardson and her Spartan teammates open the 2009-10 season on Friday night against North Greenville.

Nov. 11, 2009

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - USC Upstate guard Koko Richardson averaged 7.5 ppg and 3.4 rpg for the Spartans a season ago. Her efforts helped lead Upstate to one of the biggest turnarounds in the nation. In 2007-08, the Spartans first year in Division I, they won just five games compared to 13 wins in 2008-09.

Richardson and her Spartan teammates begin their third season in Division I when they host North Greenville on Friday night. Tip-off at the Hodge Center is slated for 7:00 p.m.

Richardson recently sat down with Alex Edwards of to discuss the upcoming season, as well as her time at Upstate.

What has preseason training been like for you and your teammates? Do you feel that you are prepared for your first game against North Greenville?
It has been really tough, but that is a good thing because I feel it has prepared us not only for Friday night but the entire season. We have come together as a team and we are all ready for the season opener with North Greenville this weekend.

What are the expectations for you and the Spartans this season?
We have set goals for our team this season. Our main focus is to win the conference this year. If that doesn't happen then we have a secondary goal of finishing in the top five. We also want to out-rebound our opponents in every game.

If things aren't going your way and your shots just aren't falling, how do you mentally and physically motivate yourself or pick yourself up?
I try to be a vocal leader on the court each and every game. If shots are not falling for me, then I try to figure out who on the team is having a quality night. Once I figure out who that is, then I make it my objective to get the ball to the individuals who have the hot hand.

Prior to arriving at Upstate, you played at Santa Fe Community College in Florida. What is the biggest difference between the junior college level and Division I?
Surprisingly, both levels have a lot of speed and I don't think a lot of people realize that. I would have to say the biggest difference is the level of competition is a lot higher in D-I.

What games on the 2009-10 slate are you most looking forward to this season?
I am looking forward to all the games this season. It is my final year of eligibility and I want to go out with a bang. I am focusing on one game at a time, while hoping it doesn't go by too quickly.

This is your final season in a Spartan uniform, what do you see yourself doing when your time in Spartanburg is over?
I would like to play professionally overseas after my career here ends. If that does not work out, then I am going to get my master's degree in special education and become a teacher.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to play collegiate basketball?
You have to work hard, but it is well worth the time and effort. Never let anyone tear you down, continue to motivate yourself to give it your all. Set goals for yourself and strive to achieve those goals.

What has been your most memorable moment as a student-athlete here at Upstate?
The friendships that I have formed during my time here have been amazing. I know that after I leave the university, I will still keep in touch with my teammates for many years to come.

When you are not on the court or in the classroom, what do you find yourself doing?
I like to go to church and get involved with the community. When I am able, I serve as a mentor for local youth.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?
I have five siblings and I am the youngest of those siblings. Everyone calls me the baby of the family. I also love to sing and, last season, I sang the national anthem before home games.

USC Upstate Women's Basketball
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