BERKELEY – The California women’s basketball team held its third practice Monday afternoon as Lindsay Gottlieb’s squad continues preparations for its 10-day goodwill tour in China that will take place Aug. 17-26.
Junior Justine Hartman checked in with CalBears.com about how she is looking forward to venturing to Asia for the first time and about how practice has gone so far under second-year assistant coach Katy Steding.
CATCHING UP WITH JUSTINE HARTMAN
Have you ever been outside of the country, and have you ever been to China?
“I went to Europe last summer with my parents. We went to London and Paris. I’ve never been to China. I’m really excited. I’m kind of scared because of it being so far away, but I’m really excited. It’s going to be a life changing experience, and I think we’re very fortunate.”
Are you going to take it safe or try to experience the “real China” while we’re there?
“I might venture out at least once because I don’t want to go to China and not experience it.”
The team is going to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Are you looking forward to one city in particular?
“I’ve heard of all three of them but Beijing I know the most because of the Olympics, so I think that will be cool to see where the Olympics were held. Other than that, all three places will be exciting for me.”
We’re three practices in now. What was it like getting out there on the court in early August?
“It’s exciting. I was excited the first day because it was really cool to be back out there coming off the Final Four appearance last year. It’s exciting to be beside some of the same team members we had last year as well as the freshmen that are eager to experience what we went through. People were saying before we started ‘Oh, my body hurts’, but once we got out there we were really excited to be here. We get to go to China and we get to get started early.”
Your position coach is an Olympic gold medalist in Katy Steding. How has it been learning under her?
“It’s pretty awesome. She’s really smart. She knows a lot about the game. She knows positioning and our footwork. She knows everything down to the little things that matter the most. She’s good at refining our moves and making sure we’re in the right spots. She’s very wise and I feel honored to play for someone that played not only at Stanford but won a gold medal.”
Tell me about fellow post player KC Waters, a freshman from Oakland. How has she looked in her first three collegiate practices?
“She’s doing well. Her first practice, every freshman gets overwhelmed, and she’s bounced back since then and has worked extremely hard learning the ropes. She’s doing as well as any freshman can do with what we expect in this program.”