By Rachel Frey
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Senior Yvonne Anderson leads her team during practice, and under the watchful eye of coach Gail Goestenkors, she guides the offense into positions and screens during games.
"She has a great understanding of the game of basketball," Goestenkors said. "She runs the offense, she gets us into all of our offenses, all of our sets, and she takes great pride in her defense as well."
Anderson is part of Goestenkors' first recruiting class at Texas, along with teammates Ashleigh Fontenette and Ashley Gayle. The rest of the team consists of seven sophomores and four freshmen, and according to Anderson, one of the goals she has for this season is to help build the team's connection.
"My goal is always to win the Big 12 championship, but we have greater goals, and we want to go very deep into the NCAA tournament," Anderson said. "However, it is not so much that, but it is the new team, how we are going to bond. It is about how we are going to make our goals happen."
Anderson and Goestenkors have worked on improving her leadership skills. Goestenkors believes that as Anderson has matured during college, she has gained confidence to talk to and pilot her teammates during practice or a game.
"She has always been kind of quiet, but she is a more vocal leader this year than she has ever been," Goestenkors said. "She knows the game and she has worked so hard, so she needs to work with others to help them understand the game and get them to where they need to be.
Anderson also strives to help her younger teammates understand the expectations UT fans have each season.
"Everyone has to reach up to [those expectations]," Anderson said. "My job is not to bring them down, but to raise them up. I want everyone to play their hardest, and put their passion on that floor."
Chassidy Fussell is one teammate who has grown with Anderson's guidance.
"She is a great point guard -- she will get you the ball," Fussell said. "She knows when to pass it, where to pass it. She has a knack for the game. Yvonne is a great teammate, she is really passionate for the game. She is a great leader on the court, and one of my best friends off the court."
According to Goestenkors, Anderson makes sure that the person who needs the ball gets the ball, plays good defense and controls the tempo. She calls the senior a floor leader who always wants to guard the best player on the opposing team on the perimeter.
"She is our point guard, and she is a great leader for our team," Goestenkors said. "She has tremendous will to win, and will do whatever the team needs for us to be successful.
However, this season she has also shown an affinity for setting up her teammates to score. She leads the team with 47 assists.
"I look for what is open, what is not open -- not just for me, but the whole team," Anderson said. "I read everything that is going on. It is a coaching mindset almost. I see things that the other players don't see. You have to be able to read mismatches, and see how to guard on defense. I have a broad view of the court."
Her expectations have increased for her last season, which is now accompanied by a "sense of urgency."
"[I am] in a mindset where there are no days off, you cannot have bad games, you cannot have days where you do not work hard," Anderson said. "That is not what we expect here and that is not what I can handle in my last year. I have no more chances. Our expectations are high, but we are working hard and we believe we can achieve them.
She is proud of the progress her team has made towards their expectations, and the attitude the team has throughout each game they play.
"Mindset wise, we fight from start to finish," Anderson said. "That is a change from a lot of teams. If we get down, we don't lose our poise. We fight and we expect to win these big games. That is the difference in this team, we have no fear. We expect to go out and do great. We expect to leave it all out on the floor."