Claim to fame: In her first season on varsity, Patrick has already solidified herself as the Lady Eagles’ No. 1 defender, causing havoc on Tuesday with a team-high eight steals and 10 points in a 46-44 win over No. 13 DeSoto.
Patrick’s defensive presence has brought new life as No. 11 Ellison advances to play Flower Mound Marcus in the Class 5A area round on Friday.
Patrick is averaging three steals per game for the Lady Eagles (32-3).
You’re starting now, but what do you feel your role is on this team?
“My main role is pressuring the ball, staying on my man and cause turnovers. I pretty much lean on the defensive end and defense creates offense, so get the steals (and turn it into) a fastbreak and that’s two points right there.”
You’ve described yourself as a “pitbull” out there, what goes into that mentality?
“Being a pitbull is being very aggressive, and not letting my person see anybody open, and just be everywhere on them. Basically suffocate them pretty much.”
When you’ve got somebody one-on-one defensively, what’s going through your head?
“One-on-on is mainly just (about) timing. So as they’re coming. I give them no room, one, and as they’re ready to make their move — I never watch their eyes, you always watch the ball — so as I see the ball leave their hand, that’s when I shoot my hand in and go.”
Against DeSoto, you have a couple of steals in which you just ripped the ball from the offensive player. How were you able to do that?
“When I see the ball, it’s kind of like an instinct or a light switch that clicks on and I just go for it. I just be aggressive pretty much.”
Coach (Sherry) McKinnon has credited you with bringing a new defensive mindset that this team didn’t have last year, what do you credit that to?
“I’m more of the quiet type, so I guess more seriousness, and (a) get-the-job-done (mentality) and (I just) work hard and encourage (my teammates).”
You’ve helped several other players with their defensive approach, what advice did you give them about hand-checking and reaching in for steals?
“It’s all about timing when they’re dribbling. You have to time it as soon as it leaves their hands, or if the ball is coming up. Because if you swipe down, the ref’s going to call a foul.
“But if you swipe up or down, let the ball leave their hand first and then you shoot in or just push it forward.”