Q&A with Lynx Forward Charde Houston

We often hear that winning in professional sports takes sacrifice, but it’s not always about extra practice or more time in the film room. For some players the sacrifice is more personal, they are required to give up playing time and the prestige and money that often come with it for the common good. If they don’t react positively, it can ruin team chemistry and derail a promising season.

For the Minnesota Lynx to secure the WNBA’s best regular season record and gain home court advantage throughout the postseason, it’s taken that type of sacrifice from several players, including Charde Houston. The 4th year forward was an All Star in 2009, but with the addition of Maya Moore and a fully healthy Seimone Augustus, Houston has seen her minutes drop significantly in 2011.

In 27 games this season, the 25-year-old has averaged just 2.9 points in 7.8 minutes after scoring 11.8 points in 22.3 minutes in 2010. Houston and I discussed her season and the upcoming playoffs after Wednesday’s practice at Target Center

DZ: The playoffs start on Friday, how would you describe the mood of yourself and the team right now?

HOUSTON: Really great mood, but we are striving for perfection and now coach really stresses that every possession matters. We want to not look ahead, not think about the play that just happened. We really have to focus on capturing the moment and that’s really been big for us, understanding that each play is all you need to focus on. When the next play comes up, you focus on that. You just take it one step at a time.

DZ: You guys obviously had a great regular season, one of the best records ever. What would you say was the turning point where everything clicked for this team?

HOUSTON: I think since day one of training camp. When you see certain players that are dedicated to getting in better shape and just doing things that will put themselves in better position. Also, the first day of training camp, coach said that we want to be the hardest working team from now until the end of the regular season and carry that over to the playoffs. And we’ve been just that. We been the hardest working team and it’s not something that we say, we believe it, we do it and it’s carried over to the games.

DZ: The team hasn’t had a lot of success since you’ve been here, does it make you appreciate being this good more?

HOUSTON: Definitely. I’ve been with the team during our losing seasons and to be able to be a part of this for the first time is something that you can really hang your hat on…it definitely makes you appreciate it more. Now you see that this is what they were talking about when they said that we have to work hard and be the hardest working team, when you have to execute and have team chemistry – it’s paying off.

DZ: You’re a player that’s been an All Star before. You’ve had to make some personal sacrifices this year – minutes – what’s that been like for you?

HOUSTON: I think I’d rather be on a team where my role isn’t as big and we’re winning than be on a team where I play 40 minutes and we don’t win. That part of being a competitor – a professional – is making sacrifices because every year nothing is guaranteed to stay the same. I think as long as you remain open minded and understand that you love the game – it’s your job and it’s also a business – things can change without notice. I just embrace my role. Whatever I can do to help, which right now is being an encourager to my teammates, then that’s what I’ll do. Everybody can’t play; everybody has to basically play their roles very well, no matter what it is. I am happy to do it.

DZ: You still have a chance in the playoffs to make a big impact. I know that’s in the back of your mind. You’re ready to score.

HOUSTON: Yeah, coach always says you have to be ready. I don’t prepare any differently than if I am going to play 40 minutes. You never know when your number will be called. It might be called next year, but it doesn’t matter. I feel better knowing that I’m prepared, so that if I am ever thrown into a situation, I am prepared. So, I approach every game like I am going to play and if I don’t that’s fine, but if I do I want to make an impact.

DZ: Taj (McWilliams-Franklin) and (Rebekkah) Brunson are veteran players who have been to playoffs before and won championships. Have they talked to you about that experience, have you picked their brains?

HOUSTON: We’ve talked about it as a team and even during practice we get little pointers and I always ask them questions because it’s not just about playoffs and things like that. At the beginning of the season, that not what I am thinking about. I always ask them questions; get little pointers to help me. If I don’t know something, Taj is always the first person I am running to because she’s played this game for a very long time and I trust that she knows what she is talking about.

DZ: On personal level, you shaved your head to show solidarity with your mother who had breast cancer. Can you talk about that?

HOUSTON: When I first shaved my head because I wanted to, I just wanted something new. When I found out (about my mom), I decided to keep it low, so it didn’t start off that way.

DZ: How is she doing now?

HOUSTON: She’s good…she’s in remission and I am just praying that it stays that way.

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Lynx players:

September 7: Jessica Adair
August 26: Seimone Augustus
July 29: Monica Wright
July 12: Taj McWilliams-Franklin

One Response to “Q&A with Lynx Forward Charde Houston”

  1. MinnesotaSCORE » Q&A with Lynx Guard Alexis Hornbuckle Says:

    […] 15: Charde Houston September 7: Jessica Adair August 26: Seimone Augustus July 29: Monica Wright July 12: Taj […]

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