Temeka Johnson joining women playing basketball in France

Temeka Johnson joined USO Mondeville at the beginning of January and has already made her mark at the club, 5 matches played and all won.

Hervé Coudray, the coach of USO Mondeville, who had spent three months in 2008 studying the WNBA, was well aware of the qualities of Johnson.

While Johnson may not have known Coudray, she only needed to ask Nicole Ohlde, a team-mate in the WNBA, who had played in France under Coudray with USVO.

Johnson came to France via Israel

At the time Caroline Aubert was injured Johnson was playing in Israel on a four-week medical cover contract and was not avialable.

Mondeville went through a terrible period in which all the recognised point guards were injured. However Esther Niamke-Moisan and Clarisse Costaz have recovered. Yet Mondeville was looking for a court leader to fill the gap left by Aubert.

Johnson, a 1m60 (5ft 3in) point guard who plays in the WNBA with the Phoenix Mercury, matched the profile and came to France.

She is 27 years old and hails from New Orleans. She represented the USA at the 2003 FIBA U21 World Championship for Women. Johnson picked up several honours during her University career at Louisiana State University (LSU).

Notes from the video interview

Temeka Johnson © Olivier Sarre  Johnson explained that she had started to play basketball when she was very young and was fortunate to get drafted in the WNBA.

What she did not mention is that she was the 6th pick in 2005 and won the rookie of the year award.

In the interview she talks about what she can bring to the team in terms of leadership.

Coundray, her coach, added that he was told about her leadership skills and her work ethics. He is not surprised at the immediate impact she has made although a lot of people are surprised at how quickly she has fitted into the team.

What impresses him most is what she is capable to do because she is not the tallest player in the league.

He also likes her work on the court and also her contribution that is not picked up by the statistics in helping the players get better.

Anyway he is pleased because she is doing what he wants her to do.

Johnson takes nothing for granted. She still sees room for improvement in all aspects of her game as she said: "As long as you're still learning you can play."

Her immediate objective is to help Mondeville to be the best they can be. While the coach is hoping for a top 4 finish, she would like to be number one.

At the time of writing this article Johnson led Mondeville with 18 points in their cup victory against Reims.

The video was prepared by Normandie TV, a local television station from the region.

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Women playing basketball picture credits:

Oliver Saare @ basquetbol.org

Date created: 22 January 2010

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