Tulsa Shock interim head coach Teresa Edwards addressed the media before hopping on a plane with her new charges on the way to face up with the Mercury tomorrow. She sounded nervous, excited and a little tired after a long and nearly sleepless night that saw her title change from Director of Player Personnel to interim "GM or coach or whatever you want to title it".
She was quick to answer in a frank and honest manner about the new role and how she expects to transition into it. A few takeaways:
This was not the plan heading into the season, contrary to some fan belief - "Taking over as assistant coach wasn't even discussed at all. I'm telling ya, Nolan talked me into this, so imagine to be me standing here right now."
She still has a tremendous respect and admiration for the man she's taking over for - "I probably can never fill the shoes I'm stepping into," Edwards opened. She continued later, "I learned a lot from Coach and I truly feel like I had plenty more to learn from him. I thought Coach worked his tail off, I really did. And I don't think anyone is going to miss Coach as much as I am going to miss him.
"I think Coach was trying to do everything that he could do. He was dealt some tough cards from last year to this year ... I have nothing against what he's done. I've been with him every step of the way as far as what he's done and tried to do here and build. So right now I've just got to learn who I am and be me. And figure out a way to be successful."
She is still formulating her plan - "I've really got to gather my thoughts on a lot of things. I've got to - as I said, it was a late night last night. I don't want to jump to conclusions, I don't want to be presumptuous myself. I want to truly view everything on a blank sheet of paper for myself to build what we've got to build. But of course, we've got to do what we've got to do to build success here and you can't always keep things the same when you're building and the tower keeps falling down."
She is realistic of the situation she and the team is in - "To me, we're in transition and I think our young ladies have a lot to deal with and they're going to be dealing with this obviously for a long time, probably for the remaining portion of the season. I'm sure every time I make a mistake it's going to be scrutinized and every time I look fabulous it's going to be blown out of proportion. So, take one day at a time."
She is excited for the support both inside and outside the organization - "I think we've got, still have a hard challenge ahead of us and I think no one should forget this is a new franchise and Tulsa of all people have been the greatest fans to begin a new franchise in the history of what I've watched this league materialize to today. And we need our fans. We need our fans to be happy, we need our fans to be supportive, we need them to hang on tight and give us time to develop. Give us time to be who we're going to become and we're going to continue to work towards that.
"Cohesiveness, chemistry - that comes from organization, that comes from this whole franchise from the top to the bottom. We will continue to build and we will continue to put this thing together and we are going to build chemistry, that's what it's all about. We can't be successful without it."
She is ready for the challenge - "Plan of attack? It's just basketball, man. It's just basketball. For me, I'm very passionate about this game and as a female professional basketball player, now a coach - we worked hard to have a professional league here so I'm not going to step out of line and say anything more than that. It's just basketball, and I'm going to do my best at it.
"I'm just not a person - sort of like Coach Richardson - I'm not here to fail, I'm here to give it my best shot and I want Tulsa to know that."