SNSB Coach’s Corner: LSUS Lady Pilots Head Coach, Matt Strickland

Local Sports

SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/ KMSS) – The LSUS Women’s Basketball program fought their way to their 17th straight win on Saturday over Our Lady of the Lake out of San Antonio. At the helm of the ship for the Lady Pilots is second year Head Coach Matt Strickland. Coach Strickland joined the KTAL sports team over zoom for this week’s Coach’s Corner on the NBC 6 Sunday Night Sports Blitz.

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports

“Checking in, you guys are having an incredible season this year, coming off a great season last year. Talk to me about how proud you are of this team and how it feels to be the head coach and see this success.”

Matt Strickland | LSUS Women’s Basketball

“It’s definitely a pretty surreal feeling, kind of just tried to hit the ground running. We brought a ton of new players in, I think we had seven new players last year along with the five returners and then a brand new coaching staff. So, it took a little bit to get everybody acclimated and used to the new system and the culture we were trying to implement. They really took off at the last half of the season last year and were able to win the Conference tournament and make the national tournament, obviously before it got cancelled.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports

“Yeah let’s talk about that adversity. You’re in your first season as the Head coach, you guys are having an incredible season, you win the conference tournament, and then all of a sudden sports are cancelled. What was your message to the team and how did you keep them positive looking forward to this season.”

Matt Strickland | LSUS Women’s Basketball

“Throughout the whole year there were expectation for this team because they were so talented. I just wanted them to meet and exceed those expectations so all year I’m preaching that we have to get to the National Tournament, we’ve got to win the conference, those were our goals. To eventually reach those goals and win the conference tournament… you know the next day, scrambling to get plane tickets and everything. Selfishly our tournament was in Billings, Montana and that’s where I played and went to school in college so secretly I was just fighting for us to get back. We finally did it and we get plane tickets and everything like that, started making arrangements, and then we get the phone call the next morning saying the tournament is cancelled, well everything is cancelled. I just kind of said, hey, our National Tournament was cancelled but there are 31 other teams in the NAIA that had their tournament cancelled as well. We ended the season with a win, which not a lot of teams can do. I was proud of them so I just let them know how proud I was and that we were going to keep the ball rolling coming into this year.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports

“Well you’ve got experience, we just talked about it, coaching the men’s side at LSUS, but you’ve also got some women’s basketball coaching experience in there as well. What’s the difference in your coaching style when it comes to motivating a group of women compared to being a men’s coach and the challenges that each present?”

Matt Strickland | LSUS Women’s Basketball

“I’d say that on the women’s side they listen a little more. Guys they kind of roll the ball out, and hey I’m guilty of this as well. But they will lock in and listen a little more. Actually it’s weird, my first two years coaching I was a junior college assistant at my alma mater and I coach them hard, I’m tough on them, and I just do the best I can to prepare them for the real world. So I’m much harder on them on the women’s side even though that might sound crazy. They handle it just fine and they accept every challenge we throw at them everyday.”

EmmaKate Few | NBC 6 Sports

“You guys are undefeated, undefeated in conference play, so there’s a lot on the line as I’m sure you want to go back and get that conference championship again. What games are circled on the calendar?

Matt Strickland | LSUS Women’s Basketball

“The games we are looking forward to are right ahead of us. Pretty much every year in the Red River it comes down to Our lady of the Lake out of an Antonio and LSUS. We played three times last year and they were three battles. First game last year we went on the road and beat them on their home floor. Then they came back to our place and beat us by two in overtime, and then we were able to beat them that third time at the conference championship. On the National Landscape, our Lady for the Lake, they have been to the final four and have won the Red River countless times so we are trying to compete with them each and every year for that top spot. Obviously the rivalry games against LSUA are always fun. We got to play them last Saturday in which we were able to win and then we play them again next week as well. The ones we are looking forward to the most are really right in front of us. We’re excited, we know we have to stick to the process and prepare properly so that we are ready to play in those games.”

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