Feb. 13, 2004
1. Full Name: Monique Latisha Hernandez
2. Birthdate: March 22, 1981
3. Hometown: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
4. Major: Sociology
5. Favorite Class: Leadership and Social Responsibility
6. Hardest Class: Statistics
7. The biggest reason why you chose to come to Notre Dame? I really thought that we could win a championship here … and we did!
8. What is the one thing in your life that you cannot live without? My two boys – my husband and my dog!
9. Describe how you prepare for games both mentally and physically: Physically, I try to get rested up and get in to the Joyce Center early to shoot a little bit before the walk through. Mentally, I try to go over the scouting reports on the opponent. As for pre-game rituals, I do listen to Michael Jackson! He is fun!
10. Your greatest personal athletic moment: Winning the National Championship, it was a great moment.
11. You are currently taking graduate level courses in criminology…do you have any plans to use those courses in a career and what are your plans in life after Notre Dame? I am pretty torn. I used to want to play basketball, whether it be overseas or in the WNBA, but with professional sports, it is really hard. I have been leaning towards maybe some type of social work and working with underprivileged kids or maybe even with some type of law enforcement agency.
12. Your favorite Notre Dame athletics team other than your own? Probably football. It is just a lot of fun to watch and those guys have so much talent. They are under tremendous amounts of pressure not to mention such a tough schedule. They are fun to watch even if they don’t win.
13. The best advice you have ever been given: To always work hard no matter what. My dad told me that. There were so many times throughout my career it seemed like there was going to be all of the effort but none of the reward. You just have to stick with it. It got me back here (Notre Dame).
14. How do you balance married life and your athletic commitments? My husband is awesome! He loves basketball and would go anywhere for me. He is just awesome. He helps pack me up for the road, and picks me up at two in the morning when we get back. Without him, I think it would be really difficult for me because I remember when I was when I was younger and he helps me out in so many ways.
15. Talk a little bit about being overseas and how that has influenced your life: I was born in Heidelberg, Germany when my Dad was in the military. I lived there for only two years and I don’t really remember much about it. I moved around from West Point, NY to El Paso, TX and New Mexico. Moving around so much opened my eyes, I never really lived in a shell. I was never really sheltered from any type of diversity and I had to adapt to so many different living arrangements. I learned how to become more of a team player because I would be around so many different people.
16. How does your experience of winning the National Championship in 2001 help you and your current teammates? It has been really important for the team that there are three of us here that won the National Championship. When you are younger, it is really hard for you to believe that you can win a National Championship. Now, we can help the younger players believe in themselves and show them how to get there.
17. So far you have played a very difficult schedule. How has this team grown since the start of the season? At the beginning of the season, we had a bunch of potential. It took us a little bit to figure out who was doing what and we had to find consistencies in ourselves. After going through those tough early losses, like West Virginia, it was hard to rebuild ourselves and to discover our individual roles. People sometimes think that being a role-player has a bad name, which it is not. Michael Jordan was a role-player he just had a different role than most. As a team, we had to figure out our roles a little better.
18. Since you have moved to the starting line up the Irish are 7-2. What do you think you have added to spark the team’s current streak? I just have that killer instinct. My teammates know that when I am in the game, that either my girl is going to be fouled or is going to the floor … she is not going to score on me.
19. Notre Dame is ranked among the Top 10 in attendance over the last four years. How important has crowd support been this year? It makes a huge difference. I can really tell the difference from my early years at Notre Dame. We really play a lot better at home than we do on the road. The fans always stick with us and it makes such a difference when the fans are behind us. The fans here have always been great, they know us and they know everything about us.
20. Notre Dame will be hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament this year. How much of an advantage will it be to play here at the Joyce Center? It is really a driving factor for our team over the rest of our season. We want to have the higher seed, and don’t want another school to be technically hosting on our home floor. I know from playing here the first two rounds of my sophomore year that it is a huge momentum builder if you can get the first two wins here. We are solid at home and we know it. We want to stay on this course for the rest of the season and we don’t want to mess that up.
Bonus: You are one of the few players in the country that can say you have been apart of three wins over Connecticut. Describe what that means to you: It is a big deal because it means that I came from a good program. I was not the player of the game when we won those games, but I remember what it felt like to win and to be cheering on my teammates. It really says a lot about our program.