10 QUESTIONS FOR COCO VANDEWEGHE

Ken Hoffman serves up 10 questions for tennis star CoCo Vandeweghe

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Last year, this same week, I interviewed Swiss tennis star Belinda Bencic who was competing in the Oracle Challenge Series at Rice University.

Bencic was coming off a serious injury and her ranking had fallen outside the Top 50. I asked Bencic 10 questions, some serious, some silly, and boom — she had her best year ever on the tennis tour in 2019, winning three tournaments, making her first Grand Slam semifinal, returning to the Top 10 for the first time since 2016 and qualifying for the year-end Women's Tennis Association Finals.

I don't see a coincidence.

So, this week, I sat down with CoCo Vandeweghe, my favorite American player, another former Top 10 star coming off an injury, at the Oracle Challenger Series currently underway at Rice. Vandeweghe's ranking has fallen outside the Top 300. She plays next against Anhelina Kalinina from Ukraine (no quid pro quo here) in third-round action.

Here are 10 questions with CoCo and I totally expect her back in the Top 10 where she belongs in 2020. It won't be a coincidence.

CultureMap: Your grandmother (Colleen Kay Hutchins) was Miss America in 1952. Have you ever thought about wearing her tiara during a U.S. Open match, just to freak out your opponent?

CoCo Vandeweghe: That's a funny story. Her tiara was stolen from an apartment in New York when she was Miss America, right out of a safe. So we don't have her tiara.

They didn't give her a replacement, this was back in the '50s. We kept the trophy, which we gave back to the organization as memorabilia when she passed away (in 2010).

CM: Tennis players have to stay in shape, but what do you dive into on a cheat day?

CV: My birthday is coming up (December 6). I will be having steak, baked potato, asparagus, and chocolate cake. That's my menu for my birthday, and that's a cheat day. I will have butter on the baked potato— the full nine yards. I don't care, calories don't count on your birthday.


Continue on CultureMap to find out if CoCo ever gets genuinely mad at an opponent, and much more.

The Houston Cougars win their fifth straight game in blowout victory over the South Florida Bulls.

Cougars keep rolling in blowout win over South Florida

The Houston Cougars (16-4, 6-1) took care of business Sunday afternoon in a 68-49 victory over the South Florida Bulls inside the Toyota Center in Houston. While improving their winning streak to four, Houston has now won 10 of their last 11 games.

It was a dominating performance for the Cougars as Houston outplayed the Bulls in nearly every aspect of the game. While scoring a total of 34 points in the paint, the Cougars forced the Bulls to commit 15 turnovers in which Houston converted into 18 points.

"My staff does a great job in breaking film down, head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "Our kids knew the actions, and of course, it comes down to executing principles. Basketball is a game of actions, and to be a good defensive team, we have to be able to adjust."

After coming just two assists shy from recording a triple-double last game, junior guard DeJon Jarreau led Houston in scoring with 12 points and six dimes while senior big man Fabian White Jr. added in 11 points and two blocks.

After opening the game on an 8-2 run, Houston en barked on a 17-5 run during the first half to take a 31-23 lead into the half. After extending their lead to 44-28 early in the second half, the Bulls did not get closer than 12 the remainder of the game.

"I'm extremely proud of our effort today," Kelvin Sampson said. "Sometimes when you don't shoot the ball well, it looks like you aren't playing good. It could not be further from the truth. We played good today, and we didn't make a lot of shots, but we did a lot of good things."

On a day where Houston failed to shoot over 40% from behind the arc (23.8%), it was the Cougars hustle plays that gave way to their 19 point victory. With 14 offensive boards, Houston recorded 17 second-chance points.

In the loss, neither of USF's players scored in double-figures, with Michael Durr and Antun Maricevic each led the team with eight points apiece.

Following the win, the Cougars will travel to Greenville, N.C. on Wednesday to take on the 9-11, 3-4 East Carolina Pirates. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.


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