Cancun Recap: Q & A with star guard Bjonee Reaves

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The Bearcats went 2-0 in Cancun over the Thanksgiving holiday, defeating South Dakota State and Chattanooga. I was able to give senior guard Bjonee Reaves a call and talk to her about the team's first road trip of the young season.

Q: What was the best thing about Cancun? (Basketball related)

BR: "I think it was getting two wins. We went out there to get two wins and that's what we did. Just accomplishing that goal was very big for us and I think it really boosted our confidence. The fact that that second game we did it together; the second game we won by working together and holding each other accountable. We grinded it out."

Q: What was the best thing about Cancun? (Non-basketball related)

"I would say the sun. The resort was the most beautiful place I've ever been to. We went jet-skiing, swimming, we went to the beach;  it was just an unexplainable experience, especially to spend it with my teammates. It was the perfect way to end my last year here."

Q: What do you think about this team now? 

BR: "I think we're on the right track. We still have so much work to do and we are nowhere near being a BIG EAST championship team. If we keep building and keep progressing every day, then I think we really could be a top team in this conference. If not this year, then for years to come. I feel like Cincinnati is going to be a team that people talk about as long as we keep working hard like we've been doing. All those things that make a good basketball team, I think we have all those pieces, now we just have to put it all in place."

Q: How did you step up as a leader while in Cancun?

BR: "I didn't really do too well defensively in the second game. When I did get in foul trouble I was able to let my team know that even though I wasn't out there I was going to make it seem like I was. Just giving them lots of encouragement from the bench, letting them know that I'm still there with them even though I'm not out on the court. If I was in a situation where one of my best players went out with foul trouble then that's like a downfall. I was just making sure that they knew that we needed to keep pushing forward."

Q: What was the most memorable moment from your time in Cancun?

BR: "I'd say the most memorable moment was when we went jet-skiing. It was so much fun, especially because most of us have never been jet-skiing before. The fact that we all did it together out in the ocean, under the sun. That's the one thing I'm really going to take away from the Cancun trip."

Q: Has the team morale improved since the preseason?

"I think we have improved tremendously. Especially for the new people, preseason was a time to just get your feet wet. Even for us it took us time to get used to not having some people from last year, as well as adding Day, and having Chanel who is healthy now. I think as each game progresses we're getting better and better at knowing our strengths and weaknesses. I think we are going to get a lot better."

Q: Was there a difference playing in Mexico than playing in the United States?

"There is a big difference. I think the difference is going through customs and doing things like that. Our trip was elongated because you have to go through customs and you have to go through all these security checkpoints and things like that. Traveling internationally is a lot more time consuming and it was our first road trip and it just happened to be in Mexico. I think we responded very well as a team."

Q: How did the Freshmen respond on their first road trip?

"I think they responded well and responded to the best of their abilities and that's all that we ask out of them. I think they've accepted what coach Elliott and the rest of the staff are trying to do here. I think Mexico was no different that playing at home, they were still buying in to what we are doing defensively, offensively, if they weren't in the game they were cheering. It's just a completely different team."

Q: Did it seem weird playing on Thanksgiving?

"No, not at all. It felt like a normal game day and we weren't even focused too much on Thanksgiving. I know some of us, including me, sat with our family that day and that was it. We had a game to play that day and we were focused. I think it showed that day because of how big of win we got."

Q: Who was the tougher opponent? South Dakota State or Chattanooga?

"It was definitely Chattanooga. The fact that they were able to watch us and see what we did against South Dakota State, they really were prepared for everything we had and everything we threw at them. They really gave us a run for our money. I think we needed that game as a program because now we know that we're not going to be able to come out and jump on teams and they're just going to roll over. Chattanooga just kept pushing and kept pushing, which is going to be like the rest of our games from here on out. I think it was a really good test for us and it brought us down a little bit. Now we have to go back to practice. Hopefully on Thursday we will see how much better we've gotten, which is our goal. We want to keep progressing and getting better everyday. We're not so much worried about what other teams or other schools are doing, we're focused on Cincinnati basketball and we're going to play Cincinnati basketball no matter what."    



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