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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. Illinois



Box Score

Wisconsin Postgame Quotes

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Wisconsin vs. Illinois
Feb. 3, 2012
Kohl Center – Madison, Wis.

UW Head Coach Bobbie Kelsey

Opening statement
“What a difference a couple days makes. A lot of our problems in this game were the turnovers. Some of those were not them taking the ball away from us, just us making poor decisions as far as passing decisions we’re making. Even though it’s a high number, we can fix some of that stuff, but the boxing out is very disappointing. Very disappointed that we did not do what we said we needed to do, and we knew we had to do. I warned the team if we don’t box out, we are going to lose the game and that’s exactly what contributed to us not being successful today.

“Their trapping buzz defense did not really affect us all that much. There were sometimes where we threw (the ball) to the corner and they trapped us, but I thought for the most part, we did handle that well. But the travels and just the poor passing decisions, us not taking care of the ball, that was really disappointing.”

On if Illinois’ trapping defense disturbed Wisconsin’s offense:
“That’s what it is designed to do, but again, if we were to have run our little buzz buster correctly, we would’ve had those same looks we had when we broke it the first couple of times. We passed it around and we were fine. When the ball stays on one side of the floor, which it did when we turned it over a couple times, or we look right at the person we want to throw it to, and they get the steal, well I don’t have an offense designed to help you not do that. She’s standing right there, don’t throw t to her. It’s very simple.

“We have to look at it and make the corrections, but we go through this stuff and you have to tune in. You have to tune in to what’s going on out there. You’ve got to be a little bit more assertive and aggressive and that’s some of our problem. Some (players) are more aggressive than others and it doesn’t help us when you are getting trapped, because when you are getting trapped, you have to make quick decisions. You can’t stand around and think about it. You have to do something and we had a couple times when we didn’t do that. We’ll work on it and fix it. We’re going to have to.”

On Wisconsin’s reaction to Illinois’ trapping defense and how it affected UW’s play:
“Tiera (Stephen) had several layups that she made, so again it wasn’t necessarily that part of their defense that was hurting us, because she did finish at the hoop several times when they did take it back to half court. Some of the passing decisions, trying to get it to people when they are not quite open or the ball sails out of bounds, some of that falls on Morgan (Paige) and Tiera. Being the primary ball handlers, they know that having seven and nine turnovers is not what we want, because the next closest person is four. They play a lot. I’m not trying to make excuses for them. They’re trying to make things happen. They’re going to look at it and make the corrections. I’m confident that they’re not going to have this amount of turnovers between them the next time we play.”

On if Illinois’ defense pressured Morgan Paige:
“When she caught it, they definitely did have a hand up on her. She had a couple of looks that she could have hit. Morgan is not going to shoot 100 percent.  We can’t put all of it on Morgan. Other people have to step up and help us. Tonight, some people were out to lunch. They were at the Panera Bread Company eating and not in the gym paying attention to what we were doing.

“That’s what’s frustrating, because we don’t have a lot of depth, especially in the post. The urgency is not there. When you’re playing with a short bench you can’t afford to not be ready to play. It can’t be two or three ready and four other ones not. Everybody has to be ready to play.  Whether you play a lot or a little, first half, second half, not this game at all, you have to be ready to play.”

On how the team played:
“You can tell I’m not happy about our play, because we can do better. No disrespect to Illinois, they played a great game. They did what they needed to do. They had some people step up. They made their free throws. They got their hands on the ball and stole it when they needed to. They didn’t get tie-ups, they snatched it. They had urgency. We did not.”

Illinois Coach Matt Bollant

Opening Statement:
“I’m really pleased with our team. Today was kind of a grind-it-out day. It was our third game in a week, so you knew that it might not always look as pretty, or it might be a little tougher. Obviously, we played a very physical Wisconsin team that tries to control tempo at times. Today was just one of those days where you’ve got to just grind it out and find a way. I’m really proud of our team, because we lost a couple of those types of games in the first semester where we weren’t at our best and lost close games. For three games in a row now, to step up and make the plays down the stretch and really defend well down the stretch was the key. We only shot 31 percent in the second half and still outscored them by five because we forced a lot of turnovers and did a much better job guarding a terrific player in Morgan Paige. She had a great first half, and we did a little better job in the second half. I think we made her work a little bit more and just got some breaks down the stretch as well.”

On whether he liked what he saw from his zone-trapping defense:
“Yes. In the last two games, against Iowa and Wisconsin, we’ve made some adjustments, and late in both games it’s really helped us. We did a much better job of finding their shooters in the second half than we did in the first half. In the first half, we struggled a little bit with that. In the second half, it was just a better awareness. Then, when we did go man, Adrienne (Godbold) did a good job and got a big steal for us and layup that really got us going. So I’m really pleased with the team for that. The trap (gave us) kind of what we were looking for out of it, and to (be able to successfully) change it up with man (defense) was great.” 

On whether the zone trap helped to slow Paige:
“It’s hard to get penetration against it, and we were trying to double her, so it keeps the star players from being able to penetrate. Against man, her first step is so quick that she gets by her defender so much of the time, and (in the zone trap) we’re kind of funneling her and guarding her with two a lot of the time, which makes it a lot tougher for her to drive.”

On his team’s program-record five road wins:
“Winning on the road takes mentality, and that’s one of the things where our players have grown a great deal—just having that fight and determination not to back down, and that belief. It started early. We beat Ohio State, and they’d won 31-straight (home games), and that kind of got our swagger going on the road. We started calling them ‘Road Warriors’, and you could just seem them take that identity on. For us to win five on the road is just huge.”

On his team’s 19 steals today:
“We’ve been one of the best in the Big Ten and one of the better teams in the country (at getting steals). I think we’re averaging 15 (steals) per game, so getting four more than our average is huge—especially in a game where there aren’t quite as many possessions because it was played at a little slower pace. But 19 steals, when (Wisconsin) had only 44 shots, that’s pretty good.”

On whether his team focused on stopping Morgan Paige coming into this game:
“Yes. She’s a terrific player, she really is. In the game before us she had 33 of their 63 points—over 50 percent. In the games that they’ve played really well, a lot of games she’s went off. I noticed that in scouting and watching tape. Obviously we didn’t do a very good (stopping Paige) in the first half, she had 18 points in the half, and 18 out of their 31 (points) was not the ratio we were looking for. But (in the second half), we did a better job, got some breaks, I think she got a little bit tired in the second half. One thing I’ll say is a lot of star players aren’t great defenders, and she’s a great defender. She guards the other team’s best player a lot of times, so I really respect that a great deal. A lot of star players take possessions off, and she didn’t do that defensively against Penn State, didn’t do that against us. She’s a terrific player and deserves a lot of accolades.”   



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