Sofia Huerta '15
Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) had the chance to catch up with the famous red-shirt Junior, Yannick Atanga (YA) this week. Atanga is one of the older and more experienced players on the Bronco's team this year, having almost four years of familiarity with how the program is run. With Atanga's leadership role on the team, he talks about how he is helping the new players get used to the level of play. The Cameroon native also talks about the game plan against their rivals, University of San Francisco on Sat., Feb. 15 in the Leavey Center.
SCB: With only five regular season games left in your season, what are the team's goals?
YA: Right now our team's goal is to finish strong and keep building from where we are right now. It's still a new team and everyone is trying to understand their role on the team and do their job.
SCB: How does it help the team's rhythm and confidence coming off of a win at San Diego?
YA: It feels really good to win. We needed that win and it was very important to us. Now, we are trying to take advantage of the extra motivation right now to keep playing and working hard to finish the season strong. I think we played really good defense that we haven't been playing in the past. The whole team was defending strategically and it worked out really well.
SCB: Explain the team's strategy to defeat USF.
YA: Just get ready to play defense because it doesn't matter who you play against, if you have a good defensive plan, it makes the game a lot easier to play. I think this whole week we will focus on defense and try to execute the game plan while working on defeating the key players of USF. It's one of those teams that every time we play them, we get really excited to play them because of the rivalry; it's usually a war on the floor. We are extra- hyped because we know it's not going to be easy and it's going to be almost like a battle.
SCB: Individually, how do you think you've improved since last season?
YA: My level of maturity is a lot higher than last year. Understanding the plays and what we need as a group to be successful has improved. From the leadership standpoint, I want to get the freshmen as used to the level as possible and set the tone defensively.
SCB: What does the team have to do to win out the rest of the regular season?
YA: We just need to stay focused and keep the mindset that we had this weekend. And understand exactly what it takes to win and approach every game like it's the most important game of the season. We need to keep working and keep being positive.