Skyline grad talks Taiwan, college hoops, Carly Rae Jepsen | Reporter Q and A
July 17, 2012 · 5:16 PM
Christy Cofano graduated from Skyline in 2011 after a two-sport career in basketball and track and field. She continued her basketball career and education this year at Chapman University, a member of Division III and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and finished her first season averaging just more than 15 minutes per game.
She and her teammates were far from the beaches of So-Cal recently, when they were part of a six-team international basketball showcase in Taiwan.
Cofano took some time with the Reporter during a family road trip to talk about facing international professionals on the court, gaining celebrity with the locals and her team's impromptu performance of Carly Rae Jepsen's pop sensation, "Call Me Maybe."
ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER: Where are you road tripping to?
CHRISTY COFANO: We are going back to Missouri. We're from Washington but my family moved to Missouri a year ago. This is going on day three.
REPORTER: Had you ever been overseas before this most recent trip to Taiwan with your college team?
COFANO: I've been to Europe and Mexico and Canada, but I haven't been to Asia, which was cool because it was very different.
REPORTER: Have you ever played sports against international competition?
COFANO: This was my first time and the first time for a lot of girls on my team too. It was a very different experience playing people from different countries.
REPORTER: What was the competition like?
COFANO: We didn't really know what to expect going into it and we were playing teams that were professionals or are the national teams from their country. These girls were anywhere from 20-35 years old and very competitive. Our first game, we lost by about 70 points to the team that won the entire tournament. The Taiwanese team barely missed the Olympics and really wanted to win this tournament.
REPORTER: The International game has some different rules and regulations, did that impact your team?
COFANO: The key is a foot bigger on each side so it made it harder to gauge where you were, they have a 24 second shot clock and eight second backcourt clock, so we got called for that a couple of times. They didn't really call any travels or charges. We were all standing up on the bench, but they didn't call travels over there. The refereeing was a big difference from what we had known in the United States, but we just tried to play through it.
REPORTER: What was the skill level like for the teams you faced?
COFANO: It was hard playing against these teams because they were making 60-70 percent of their shots. This is their job, and it was kind of surprising to us how good they were. We were trying to block shots and they would still go in. Seeing the type of athletes on these national teams, they didn't look like athletes from the United States, but they were just as fast.
REPORTER: You mentioned the big loss to start things, did it get any better from there?
COFANO: We did better progressively every day, which was a good thing. By the end, we were still losing by a good margin, the closest we came was 20 points, but we battled and we fought and never hung our heads and that was something our coach was really proud of us for. It wasn't like we could beat the best teams in Asia, so it was just cool to be able to compete.
REPORTER: Did you have much of a chance to interact with other teams away from the court?
COFANO: They were all very nice to us and stayed in the same hotel. We passed each other at breakfast or in the lobby and they were very friendly. They all treated us with respect even though we couldn't really communicate with them.
REPORTER: How much support did you get from the locals during the tournament?
COFANO: Fans would come up to us after the games like we were famous. A bunch of the people in the crowd would come want to take pictures and get autographs, so that was cool.
REPORTER: As the only American team there, did you bring any US culture to the other teams?
COFANO: One of the most fun nights was when we went to dinner with the Mayor of Taiwan. He hosted a dinner for all the teams in the tournament and the referee that knew my coach and asked us to come play had us perform a song on stage. We weren't sure, but we ended up choosing "Call Me Maybe." We turned it on an iPod and started dancing around all the tables and went over to other tables and dragged the girls onto the floor. We made it into a huge party. We couldn't talk to them, but it was just fun because we were all dancing. The Indian team was doing Indian dancing, it was fun being with all these teams and having fun with all of them.
REPORTER: Did the team have an opportunity to get out in the city at all?
COFANO: We went to a night market in the city and that was very fun seeing the culture and be able to see what they do on a daily basis and how they live. It's very different from how we live. They ride on scooters and don't have many cars, so it was cool seeing how they do everything. We had a liaison that helped us around and translated and that was nice. But really no one spoke much English.
REPORTER: How do you think the trip will help you next season?
COFANO: Just being able to see how we can grow and learn from the experience. It was good to build character and bond as a team. When we get back, being able to compete in the SCIAC won't be easier, but it will be in perspective and it motivated us to work harder so we can do well.
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