By Matt Gertsmeier

“Sophomore slump”  also doesn’t exist in Chatrice White’s vocabulary.

The sophomore from Shelby, Nebraska has heard the term before, but refuses to acknowledge it. In fact, when asked about a “sophomore slump” her usual cheerful demeanor darkens.

“I don’t even want to think about that, honestly,” White said about the term. “It wasn’t even a huge term to me, until some people started talking about it.”

As a freshman White averaged 14.5 points per game, 7 rebounds per game and 1.9 blocks per game. She was on the 2015 Big Ten All-Freshman team, was a 2015 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention, and won a gold medal in the U19 World Championship with Team USA this past summer in Russia.

White had 10 points and 5 rebounds in the gold medal game over Russia.

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After an impressive freshman season and summer, Illinois women’s basketball head coach Matt Bollant said he expects White to be better than last season.

“I expect her to be better in every aspect of her game,” Bollant said. “I think that gave her a lot of confidence that she’s not just one of the better high school players in Nebraska, she’s not just one of the better players in the Big Ten, she’s one of the best players in the world.”

But Bollant isn’t the only person expecting White to have an improved sophomore season. After a year of getting to know White’s tendencies and skills, teams are most likely going to double team her whenever she has the ball.

Because he anticipates an increase of double teams in games, Bollant has simulated situations with practice players pressuring and double-teaming White. Bollant said double teams will create open players and White will have to improver her passing skills to find open teammates.

Not only does White trust her passing skills, she has confidence in her teammates to capitalize on open looks.

“The supporting cast, everyone around me I know can pick up that slack,” White said. “So whoever is double-teaming (me) is definitely going to have to pay for it.”

Bollant has expressed his interest in White becoming more of a distinguished leader on and off the court for the Illini.


White certainly has a lot on her plate for her sophomore season with Illinois. In order to balance her time on the court there needs to be time for her to be away from the game. When her life isn’t being consumed by basketball White enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, or shopping at Maurices, Charlotte Russe, or the Nike Store.

White believes it’s important for her to spend time away from the game and to cope with the pressure of the season.

“I just like to take a step back from everything,” White said. “Just hang out with my friends and not think about basketball for a while.”

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