Today, www.GoDucks.com is catching up with Oregon freshman Ellie Manou. The 6-foot-3 forward is close to signing off on her freshman year of college, and we’ve got the scoop on her first year in Eugene, summer plans and what she is looking forward to for her sophomore season.

GoDucks: So Ellie, we know the season ended in March at the Pac-10 Tournament, but tell us what you and the team have been up to since then?

Ellie Manou:
We’ve basically been going to school and been involved in some pretty vigorous spring training. We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, weights, individuals, open gym and of course having some fun at the same time.

GD: At the end of the season banquet, you were named the team’s Most Improved Player for 2007-08, what did that honor mean to you?

EM: To be named the team MIP was really a huge honor. My freshman season definitely wasn’t smooth for me, and to see that my teammates recognized my hard work, even if it was on the bike or in the treatment room, really means a lot to me and gives me motivation to keep getting better.

GD: So as you look back on your freshman season, what things do you think you learned that are going to help you in the future?

EM: It’s simply unbelievable how much I learned in my freshman season. Coming in I thought I knew the deal because I had some experience playing overseas, and at the world championships, but nothing could have prepared me for the steep learning curve of this past season. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned (and I'm still working on) is about changing my mentality and focusing purely on what I can control and what I can become.

GD: What was your favorite road trip of the year and why?

EM: I’m gonna have to say Baylor. That road trip really was tough, but it showed me what college basketball is all about and the level that Oregon women’s basketball needs to get back to. Oh, and Cancun wasn’t too bad either.

GD: What was most difficult for you to adjust with your move from Australia to Eugene?

EM: I’m from Sydney so I love my big cities and it was a bit difficult adjusting to a college town at first. But I must say I really do love Eugene now. Also, it has been hard being so far away from my loved ones.

GD: If you could pick one unforgettable moment from last season, what would it be?

EM: T’s performance against Washington at home when she just took control and won that game for us. Also, all our karaoke sessions on the bus which always ended with Bev asking us to please stop. We’re actually pretty good! If you see Micaela Cocks around get her to sing Pink’s “Dear Mr President.” Mic’s singing abilities are simply breathtaking.

GD: So with school wrapping up soon, what are your plans for the summer?

EM: As soon as I’m done with my last final I’m hopping straight on a plane back to Australia. I’m taking a couple courses online so I’ll be doing summer school while its winter time back home. Other than that I’ll just be spending time with family and friends, training and working. Then in mid August I’m coming back to Eugene to start team preparation for our tour to Italy.

GD: What was your favorite class you took this past year?

EM: I really loved Comparative Literature. I’m a bit of a book worm and we analyzed some great material in this class so it was right up my alley.

GD: You have been in Eugene for almost a year now, do you have any favorite places to visit, go shopping, or go out to eat?

EM:
I love watching a good movie so I go to the movies quite a bit, I love shopping at Banana Republic and I haven’t really found a favorite place to eat.

Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to speak with us Ellie. Good luck with finals and have a safe trip home.