Wisconsin vs. NIU
Nov. 17, 2013
Kohl Center – Madison, Wis.
Head Coach Bobbie Kelsey
“3-0 sounds nice. I didn’t realize that was the first time since 2009 that we were 3-0 but we want to keep it going. The game wasn’t as pretty as we would like but it was a good game. I thought our kids competed hard and obviously these three (Taylor Wurtz, Jacki Gulczynski, Michala Johnson) did a nice job out there looking for their shots and scoring when they had an opportunity to score, when they weren’t double-teamed.
“I know Taylor was double-teamed and trying to drive to the basket. I know Michala was double-teamed on the block but that leaves other people open, we just have to find those folks a little bit better and see if we can share the ball. But 14 assists is not bad, that’s pretty good. Turnovers, when you have a lot of people playing you’re going to turn it over a little bit more than you want to but we improved in some areas and obviously always have some areas to work on.”
On Michala’s inside presence opening up the outside:
“We haven’t had that in the last two years, we haven’t really had that presence. Anya (Covington) did a nice job our first year but she was a little more undersized so she didn’t command the double-team. It’s nice to have the inside and out, it makes it hard for teams to pick someone. They have to pick someone to double off of and if we can get some other folks really understanding footwork and stepping into the pass, you may not shoot it but you have to look like it, and some of us catch just catch it standing and the whole gym knows you’re not going to shoot it when you’re not ready to do anything else with it.
“But we missed some shots we probably could’ve made and should’ve made, but everybody is taking good shots so it’s not something we can’t correct, as long as they’re taking good ones where they’re open they’ll fall, they’ll fall eventually. One of them that Taylor shot, it sort of just stuck and then it fell in, so that was a different-looking one. I’ve seen her make a lot of different-looking ones, but that was a first.
On Michala and Jacki taking advantage of size down low despite knowing they would double-team:
“We did, we did have to make that assumption (on the double team), if we don’t prepare for it we’ll be caught off-guard. We always tell Michala that she will get doubled, and sometimes we will post Jacki down there because she’s very capable of scoring on the block as well. I think she missed one or two that she probably makes in her sleep but she’ll get those. We have to get it to different people in different spots and not allow them to get comfortable coming down and doubling us. And they made some nice adjustments too. When we doubled them, they kept that other post low so we couldn’t bring our other big over so obviously Kathi (Bennett) is a great coach and she’s going to make some adjustments, and we made some, we just had a little more fire to score. But her team plays hard, they’re very disciplined and they know what they’re good at and they do it. We finally realized that, I forget her name, the one that goes right every time, Tessa (Cichy) finally realized that she had to get all the way left to stop her from going down the lane but she’s a very talented player, number 12.”
On making adjustments to get the ball inside:
“We just have to reverse it. Sometimes we just keep it on one side and try to work that side too much when the defense is already set so if you can get them shifting and moving around a little bit, now you can hit those gaps and those holes in the defense. That’s whether they’re in a zone or man-to-man, but I thought these guys did a good job of finding each other.”
On importance of defense in successes so far this season:
“I think it’s been really big for us. We do go into every game with a game plan of how we are going to guard people certain ways. I think if you don’t do that, then you allow them to get comfortable and do what they’re used to doing. So we try to take people out of their comfort zone and make them make some adjustments to what we’re doing instead of us always adjusting to what they’re doing. But our defense is big, we struggle sometimes to guard the quicker players off the dribble, but other than that people are really trying to do what we are asking them to do and getting into those spots. Sometimes we’re not in a great position but again we make it hard for those teams to get the comfortable shot. If you’re going to beat a team, if they’re any good they’re going to make you take tough shots, not just the one that you’re used to making so we hang out hat on that. We didn’t shoot a great percentage, but you definitely have to keep the other team from shooting a great percentage or obviously you’re going to lose the game. We do pride ourselves on our defense.”
On whether she was expecting to be 3-0 with large margins of victory:
“We don’t ever focus on margin of victory, we don’t even focus on being 3-0. We just take every team individually and if you start thinking about being 20-0 you’re going to lose some games along the way. You have to just focus on that team and doing the right particular thing against that team, otherwise you begin looking too far ahead. To us, we’re always just 0-0 because it’s a new game, it’s a new team, it’s a new challenge, it’s a new set of people that you have to figure out how to stop, their best players. We pride ourselves on that and if we don’t do that we get lost in the shuffle. And every team I’ve been a part of, the good ones, you focus on that team, and what you have to do with that team. And that’s a big part of what we do because then they realize we have to guard the screens a certain way, we have to guard the posts a certain way. It wasn’t what the last game was, because these are different players now. So we just take it individually, and I think that helps them focus on that game, not behind, not ahead, just that game.”
On rebounding in today’s game:
“We did a better job of boxing out, they got 10 (offensive) boards, they got 21 boards O boards in their last game. We just have to do a better job of recognizing when the shot goes up and grab the ball. Sometimes we just kind of bat it. Everybody’s saying no you get it, no you get it. Somebody has to decide no I’m going to snatch this ball, and I’m going to knock down whoever is in my way, whether it’s my team, the other team. I think sometimes we just pat at it and we don’t get it. But we worked on our defense over the last two days and we will continue to work on it.”
NIU head coach Kathi Bennett
“I think Wisconsin is a very smart team. They definitely play well together, and their size and their length really affected us.”
On whether she felt her team had to pick its poison between Michala Johnson and Wisconsin’s outside shooters:
“We picked our poison, and actually really didn’t (succeed on limiting either). We let them shoot quite a few threes. I wish we would’ve contested a few a little bit better. There was that middle stretch where Michala really went off on us, but we really tried (to give her) no lane or no middle—(to make sure that) everything in that area was contested. We knew with their size the offensive rebounding would be a factor, and really tried to work very hard on those things.”
On trying to defend Jackie Gulczynski and Taylor Wurtz:
“We tried to throw (Gulczynski) off and we did a terrible job on her early on. Then I felt like Natecia (Augusta) got tired and I rotated and when I rotated it hurt us. Michala scored six in a row, and we missed (Augusta) during that stretch. I would say that was the biggest gap in the first half. I know Taylor (Wurtz). She’s their heart and soul, I think. I think she makes them go. She’s constant energy, and she’ll come up with an offensive board when you really need it, a three, a take, (drawing) a foul. Whatever it is, I think she’s their heart and soul, and we talked a great deal about her.”
On returning to UW and coaching in front of her family:
“You want to do a really good job in front of your family, of course, and especially somewhere that there was such great success. Thank goodness they love me no matter what. You always want to do a great job. This is where I grew up, where I dreamed of playing, all those things. And I do want to say one thing about my team. There was never a moment in this game where they didn’t think they could win, and they fought like crazy. We had great energy on the bench and everywhere, and that’s a positive step for us.”