WORTHINGTON -- Having two French players on the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Lady Jays basketball team means head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka sometimes has a little more explaining to do.
New to the team this year are 5-9 forward Anna Cadassou and 5-6 guard Justine Bernazeau. Hayenga-Hostikka recalled an incident during a pre-season scrimmage when the two of them needed more information.
“I kept telling them not to reach. Then I had my two French girls come up to me and say, ‘Coach, what do you mean, reach?’ There’s going to be a few translation barriers this year,” said the veteran mentor.
Now that that’s out of the way, Cadassou and Bernazeau appear to be getting into the swing of things. The girls, who hail from Lormort, France, are contributing members for the Jays. Bernazeau is an important ball-handling guard and Cadassou is a versatile performer who drives hard to the basket while hitting some outside shots, too.
Worthington, they admit, has colder weather than what they’re used to back home. The basketball is different, too, along with the practices. But the experience is what counts. Anna, who has a brother who is an exchange student in Perham, is growing as a player while Hayenga-Hostikka instructs her on how to expand her on-floor roles. And Bernazeau, who is more slight of frame, is learning how to be successful in the more physical American style of hoops.
Local basketball fans can follow the exploits of the two Drill subjects throughout the winter campaign. To see video footage of this week’s Drill episode, go online at www.dglobe.com. Here is a sample of the interview:
QUESTION: How did you find your way to Worthington?
ANSWER (Anna): “I know Justine because we were on the same team in France. We were not in the same high school, but we played together. In February we spent 10 days in the U.S. and we did basketball tryouts. And they said it was a good choice for us to come here, because that’s a good college and there is a great team.”
QUESTION: What are the major differences between basketball in France and basketball in the U.S.”
ANSWER (Anna): “In France, basketball is not the same. We don’t play with our high school but in clubs, and it’s more physical here. We have to always give our best and push ourselves. In the U.S.A. we have more games, more training. In France we have only three trainings during the week.”
QUESTION: How’s it going so far?
ANSWER (Justine): “We have great teammates who can drive us to Walmart, because we don’t have cars, and that’s a small town. So that’s cool.”
QUESTION: Are you adjusting well?
ANSWER (Justine): “The hardest thing for us to get used to is the weather. It’s too cold for us. In October there is snow, but not in France, so that’s hard.”