Jan. 7, 2013
• Watch Kelsey News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's basketball head coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the Badgers’ upcoming game against Iowa, injuries and what the team needs to do to succeed in the Big Ten in this week's Monday press conference.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Kelsey's remarks can be found below.
Kelsey: My team is really fighting hard to stay in these games and hopefully win them. We're down some players. Obviously, our number one scorer, Taylor Wurtz, is out, and she had back surgery the beginning of this week, last week. She's doing well. She's on her way to recovery.
Also, AnnMarie Brown actually tore her ACL. They couldn't see the ligament on the MRI, but it was actually torn. Those are two key kids we really counted on this year and needed.
But we're not going to make excuses. Our kids are playing really, really hard. We just don't have quite the closeout that we really need. I'm proud of them. They're giving us 100 percent. We can get more from certain individuals, but, again, some of those individuals are freshmen, and they really don't understand yet how to play college basketball.
I think Tiera Stephen is playing totally -- she did a 180 from last year. And Cassie Rochel is much, much more aggressive. And Jacki (Gulczynski), I can't say enough about her progress. Morgan (Paige) is giving us what she has. And we're getting contributions from our newcomers.
We need a third scorer, and we don't have that. It hasn't manifested itself as of yet. But we're still looking, and we hope we will get that person going here soon.
Question: With the limited amount of players that you have, is it easier to determine a lineup, or is it harder to determine what you're going to do?
Kelsey: It's not necessarily harder. Like I said, we need that third scorer, so we're just looking for that I don't like to change it too much because kids think you're changing it because they're doing something wrong, not necessarily because you might need them coming off the bench as opposed to starting.
I always tell them don't get comfortable with the starting position or not because you just never know what we need. A lot of our decisions are based on the situation, what we're playing next, not necessarily the overall season.
I think that it's not harder. If anything, it might be a little easier. But everybody has to be ready to play. They have to be ready to play.
Question: Bobbie, Michigan yesterday (against Iowa), they kind of clogged the lanes and limited the touches to Morgan Johnson, who you're going to be playing this week. How do you see Cassie (Rochel) matching up against her and your defense?
Kelsey: Because we are limited in the post, we can't leave our kids one on one. Morgan Johnson is a very talented young lady. She uses her body well and her height to get to the ball. They get it to her, and she makes things happen on the block.
Just like we doubled (Micaella) Riche and she couldn't get going, she was very frustrated. We're going to try to do the same thing to Johnson, and hopefully the other ones don't get going. They have a lot of talented players on their team. We're going to scheme it like we always do and follow the game plan.
I think our kids, they get excited now that they know exactly what they're supposed to be doing because they don't have to figure it out on their own. We do certain things against certain players and take away their strength, take away their favorite moves, make them do something else, and then they're not quite as comfortable when they get the ball.
And they know you're coming. They know you might double and know you might not. Might not guard you too close, might make you drive. It just depends what the talent of the other person is. You try to take that away and make them do something they're not comfortable on.
Question: Are you alerted to what challenges (Jaime) Printy, (Samantha) Logic and (Theairra) Taylor give to you?
Kelsey: Printy, she's a very potent shooter. She'll shoot ten feet off the 3-point line, which makes it you know she's going to shoot it. So it makes it easier to get out on her. Sometimes when you're in these defensive rotations, you kind of get lost sometimes with where she is. But we can't do that. We definitely have to know where she is.
Taylor is a good driver. I think she's more of a driver than a shooter. She's shown that she can hit an outside shot.
And Logic, just she's a tough player. She's going to drive it. She's going to do whatever she needs to do for her team to win. She has run the point guard for them, which I don't know if it's her natural position, but she's done a great job up there. We have our hands full with them.
Again, our kids are not intimidated by anyone. They're not scared of anyone. We don't want anyone to feel sorry for us. This is what we've been dealt. We're going to work with it. Adversity always comes in some form or another. The schedule is set. The games are going to be played. There's no need to cry about what you don't have. Just work with what you do have and worry about that.
The kids you're upset about are the ones that are hurt, they're still hurt. It's not going to change anything. We just want them to get back and get healthy and join these ones that are stepping up. I think this will help us in the future with Jacki (Gulczynski) giving us I don't know if anybody, and you all media people, would have picked her to play the way she's playing, but maybe she don't get these minutes if Taylor's (Wurtz) playing or someone else is healthy.
So, again, it's benefitting some of the ones that have not had quite the playing time that they started out with. They're getting that now. Even our freshmen, as they struggle, it's going to help them.
Question: Bobbie, with what you just said, it sounds like everybody's all in, everything's the effort is still there. I mean, human nature would be with the injuries and the lack of shooting success, it could be a roll back in development. That's not happening?
Kelsey: No. I think that has to start with me. If I'm not believing they can do it, then the kids won't believe it. I always believe they can, and I hold them to that standard.
Recently, we had a coach at the end of the game. She said, “I feel sorry for you guys,” and I said I don't. I kind of got mad about that. I'm like don't that's like telling a paralyzed person, I feel sorry for you. They don't want to hear that. They're going to deal with whatever the issue that they have.
I will keep that in the back of my mind so the next time we see you and we beat you, I might say, we feel sorry for you. It just kind of ticked me off because people are just the person meant well -- but I don't think they realized how that sounded. It wasn't appreciated by me. I didn't say anything.
Our kids are going to buck up and play, and they have been doing that, and I'm proud of them for that. I think that, again, it's going to help us in the future. Also, we don't want people to feel sorry for us. Everybody has an injury on some team somewhere in the country. The game is still going to be played. Our kids are going to do what they need to do to help our team be successful.
I tell them, you don't know if we're going to win or not. We don't know that. One player is not going to get 33 points on us. It's not going to happen.
Again, I think we did a great job on (Rachel) Banham she didn't have any field goals in the game, and that was by design. They knew what they were supposed to be doing on her. She's a very talented player, and she averages 21 points a game.
Again, we're not thinking we're going to shut her down, but certainly you're not going to let her be comfortable doing what she wants to do. They just had some more people to step up. (Kayla) Hirt stepped up and made some shots, and we didn't have quite that third scorer we needed. They did what they were supposed to do, but we're certainly not going to let their two, three star players go off. You're not going to have a chance to win the game if you do that.
That's why we scheme so hard and watch the video and help them understand what they're supposed to be doing out there. And they followed the game plan. I commend them for following the game plan.
Question: Was having an experienced player like Taylor (Wurtz) on the bench, it's one thing to hear something from a coach, from a player's perspective, but to hear from one of your peers, do you think that's going to help on the sideline with her coaching?
Kelsey: Oh, yeah. They look to Taylor not just being on the floor. They really believe in her. They trust in what she's saying. They know she has their best interests in her heart. I've been injured. I've been on the sidelines watching. You can see everything from over there. Why didn't you pass? Again, you're sitting over here relaxing, and that person's in the game trying to decipher through what's going on.
I think that having Taylor there and knowing that she's going to be back, it gives them confidence to play that much harder. You know, I just feel bad for maybe Tiera (Stephen) because she's a senior and she won't have that opportunity to play with a great player like Taylor again.
But Tiera's making the most of her time. Last year I wouldn't have ever said, if we don't have Tiera out there, what are we going to do? I wouldn't have said that last year. This year I'm saying, oh, my goodness, if she's not out there, we're in trouble. So that shows what a player can do if they go home and work and make up their mind that they're going to do whatever it takes to help our team.
Tiera's not a scorer. She knows that. She's not out there jacking up shots. She will shoot every now and again when she needs to. But she makes some nice passes to Cassie (Rochel) sometimes I don't even see it. I'm like no oh, yeah, that's great. I think Tiera is doing a great job at the point guard position. It's a hard position, but she's trying to help the line, and that's not an easy thing.
Question: You don't have a lot of big bodies inside. What are the traits that you or that make a good rebounder. Is it positioning? Is it determination, heart? Seeing the ball off the board?
Kelsey: It's all of that. A lot of it is timing. I tell the kids, if the other team is not going to box you out, then go get the ball. It's different if you've got to fight through a box out and try to get around. Some teams really box out hard. After a while, you're like, I don't want to fight that battle. Again, a great rebounder is somebody that has good timing, good understanding of where the ball's going to come off the rim.
Some shots in corners, you know they're going to come off certain parts of the court. But it's a lot of determination and just fighting through.
I always tell them, when somebody puts their arm out, you've got to be like the Karate Kid and move it so you can get around and get the ball. It is little tricks and techniques that you can do out there to help yourself.
A lot of it is going and just trying to pursue the ball and pursue it with aggression and passion.
Question: (Lisa) Bluder has used the triangle offense for many years. Does that help you in your preparation for this game since you also use that? And your defense kind of knows.
Kelsey: I haven't seen them use that I've watched them over the years. I haven't seen a lot of it. I think they probably have some elements of triangle, not quite how we run it. There's a lot of different ways to run triangle. So many different alignments you can get in. I know Connecticut runs it totally different. They kind of use like a hybrid, elements of those different offenses to get your scheme of what you want to do.
I think we try to scheme it more individual player and what they want to do. And take that away. So if they do happen to win the game, it's not them doing their favorite moves. They're going to make that one. You have to take away that and make them do something else. But make others that maybe know they're not supposed to be shooting to shoot the ball.
I'm out there, and I'm kind of a role player, you leave me wide open. Coach, I'm wide open. If you were that great of a shooter, you wouldn't be. It's kind of like that, Coach, I'm wide open thing. There are two reasons why you're open. Either you can't shoot, or somebody lost you.
I think Iowa's a great team. They've shown that they have the pieces in place to make you pay when you do make the mistake. So we're going to try to eliminate and minimize our mistakes against them. We're going in thinking we're we're going in preparing to win the game. We're not sitting here saying, well, we hope you win. We're trying to win, and we just need certain people to do certain things and play within themselves.