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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Roxana Button and Porsche Landry says team's goals remain the same

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POSTED: October 6, 2011 -- 2:48 p.m. CDT

Porsche Landry and Roxana Button are two of the three seniors on the 2011-2012 Houston Cougars basketball team. As seniors, both of them are counted on to lead by the team by example. This season's squad includes six freshmen, one junior college player, and one transfer. Last season, Landry and Button contributed to a tremendously succesful season for the Cougars which included a perfect 16-0 Conference USA record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Despite the large number of newcomers on the 2011-'12 team, Landry and Button both believe the goals for the Houston Cougars remain the same.

HRR: How have you changed from your freshman year -- now that you're old and a senior?
Rox: Well, I think I've matured a lot as a player. You go through ups and downs during the season; and, it's important not to get too down with the downs or too high with the highs. I think just that maturity as a leader and as a player.

HRR: Coming off last year with the great success you guys had, what do you expect this season since the bar has been raised?
Rox: We expect nothing less. Our goal is to win conference and to go to the NCAA Tournament and that's what we're working toward since day one.

HRR: What did you do this offseason to get better?
Rox: Lots of stuff. We got in the weight room; got stronger; got bigger. We ran a lot to get our conditioning up to where it needs to be; and, then, just playing together as a team to build that chemistry.

HRR: Talk about the benefits of working in the weight room.
Rox: It went very well. We were all here. Starting in July, the whole team was here -- newcomers and every thing; and, we worked with Coach Kelly, our strength coach. She just, to be honest, kicked our butts. She worked a lot on us getting stronger and getting faster and building our conditioning; but, also our mental toughness was something that we had to build to overcome the fatigue and come together as a team.

HRR: With the improved strength, was it difficult to adjust to shooting? Did the strength change your shooting style? Did your new upper body strength make any difference in how you shoot the basketball?
Rox: Uh, no. Not that much. I didn't get that much stronger (laughs). No. You lift; but, you were also in the gym everyday; so, the strength should affect the shot and it hasn't.

HRR: Are you excited about being a senior and this being your last year?
Rox: I've thought about it; and, I think, right now, I'm just enjoying it everyday. Just making everyday count. That's how I'm looking at it right now.

HRR: Two things. One, tell me about Porsche Landry.
Rox: (laughs) Porsche is Porsche. We came in (to UH) together as freshmen; and, so, we've sort of had that bond since freshmen year. She's Pea. She doesn't change. She's stepped up as a vocal leader this year which is something which we needed her to do. I love playing with her. She's awesome to play with. It's been great.

HRR: Lastly, talk about the importance of having the fan support and fans coming to the games to see the team play.
Rox: It's extremely important. When we have fans and they're loud, it kind of gives us that home court advantage and really amps us up to play. When you come to the court, and they're only 10 people in the crowd, you're like 'Nobody cares about us.'

It's nice to have fan support.

HRR: Talk about Rox as a teammate.
Porsche: I love Rox as a teammate. I can say this: she's probably the best shooter I have ever played with. Pure shooter. Hands down.

HRR: How's practice gone thus far?
Porsche: Practice is progressing. It's gotten better. It's tough times; but, we're learning each day. Everyday is a teaching day; but, we're getting better. It's getting better.

HRR: You're the coach on the floor. You're one of the seniors. Talk about your new role as a vocal leader.
Porsche: Being a vocal leader was kind of difficult at first because I never was a real, real vocal person. I was a lead by example person. I would show you; but, being a vocal leader makes it easier.

I think I should have been talking more earlier. It's easy to talk now because I'm always willing to help one of the newcomers on the team, one of the freshmen, or even my old teammates.

HRR: Any of the newcomers really stand out to you in practice so far?
Porsche: Yes. Tasha Tubbs has stood out; but, I would also have to say "Home-schooled" -- Terran Alford. She's the X-factor us. She gets every rebound. Every rebound. And, I love her for that. (laughs)

HRR: Since the team had so much success last season and raised the bar for the program, what do you expect from the team this season?
Porsche: We expect to have a good non-conference. We expect to win conference, win the (conference) tournament, and make it tO the NCAA Tournament, too. The goals are still the same. I hope for a better record than last season.

HRR: That's better than 26-6. Is that realistic?
Porsche: I think it's possible. Anything is possible.

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