Jan. 13, 2014
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin women’s basketball team is in Big Ten Conference play and head coach Bobbie Kelsey talked to the media today as her team prepares to host Indiana on Wednesday in the Kohl Center. The Badgers (8-7 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) welcome the Hoosiers (14-1, 1-1) for a 7 p.m. game.
UW wraps up the week on the road on Saturday, playing at Northwestern (11-5, 1-2). Game time is 2 p.m. from Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.
Wisconsin dropped two Big Ten games last week, falling at Michigan 70-62 on Thursday and losing to Iowa 82-65 at home on Sunday. The losses drop UW into a four-way tie for eighth in the Big Ten standings.
A complete transcription of Kelsey’s comments is below.
Opening statement: We are coming off at this point a loss last night to Iowa. (I) felt like we were really prepared for them, but they're a tough team. They made runs when they needed to, and we couldn't counter at that point.
But (I’m) really proud of the effort of the kids. We're normally not a pressing team, but it seems like that's been the best thing we've shown so far in these last couple of games where we were able to pick them up, cause some turnovers, fight back.
But we're prepared for Indiana. They're a tough team as well. They're 14-1, they really had a great season so far, and they're looking to come here and get a W. But we need one as well, so we're going to really fight hard in this game to try to get the win.
Your last two wins were games that were on TV. Do you like playing on the big stage a little bit more or what?
You know what? It's weird because when I'm watching at home, I have a lot more anxiety than if I'm in the gym and I don't even notice the game is on TV. You don’t know. You know your grandparents are watching and mom and dad, and I think it's harder to watch it on TV than to think ‘I'm on TV’ while you play.
So I don't think the kids really notice it at all. It's nothing that looks different in the gym. But for recruiting-wise, you always want to play well on television, because sometimes that's the only time kids are going to watch your team play and see your style and what you have and what's leaving and what's coming back.
So in that sense, it's good for us to play well on television. And Nicole's (Bauman) shot in that Green Bay game, obviously, (ESPN) SportsCenter highlight – to get that kind of national attention was really good.
But these last two, not being on television, we just didn't play well enough to pull them out. But we're fixing some things and we know what we have to do to improve to get those wins, and we're really working hard to do that.
Can you talk about some of the parity in the Big Ten? Do you think there is more parity especially now with Indiana losing for the first time this season?
Yeah, I think there's a lot of parity, more so than my previous two years in the league. I'm looking at the scores, and Purdue went down to Northwestern I think the other day and Nebraska beat Illinois. It’s just a lot of people beating folks that maybe you didn't count on or in previous years you didn't see that happen.
But I think with everybody a little more balanced in their scoring. I mean, a lot of teams have three or four people in double figures, which I've not seen that a lot in the leagues I've been in. So it's really good to know that we can beat any team on any night or you better be ready to play or you can get beaten on any night.
Looking at Indiana's record, 14-1, it looks like a daunting task. But last year, as tough as it was at times, the big win against Penn State, some big wins here and there. How much did that add to the confidence that you can get it done against a team like this?
Well, I think our kids know that we've played tough games in the past, like you said. The last two we've won previously were tough. We just happened to pull them out. I know in the Illinois game we had 30 turnovers and wound up winning by 12 in overtime.
I think they have to understand you have to have a good start to the game. You can't wait until you're down and then punch and fight and come off the canvas. You have to really dictate. Sometimes we react; we don't dictate the action.
But we've had tough games before. We've been down to six players and still won. It's a testament to conditioning and toughness, mental toughness. I think we have to help them be a little more aggressive.
Because by nature, this is not an aggressive team. Their nature is not to be aggressive. So we have to do things to help them be aggressive with is trapping, picking up full court, swarming the ball, things that you just naturally have to go over and try to make a play.
We're doing a lot of that now to help them to understand how hard you have to play to beat these teams. All of them are good, every last one of them, in the Big Ten. They're really good.
Talking about the pressure, you kind of did the man-to-man full-court press starting with Michigan. That seemed to give the team that inspiration. Can you talk just about what that does give the team and that effort?
When it's successful, it gives them a lot of confidence to know that if we have to pick up, if we have to extend our defense, which we normally don't do because some of the people play so many minutes I'm trying to conserve energy. But when you're down and you need a spark, you have to do whatever you have to do to help them get that spark.
These last two games it really looked good. And we've never practiced it, to be perfectly honest with you. We've just never practiced pressing. But these kids seem to have a knack for it. We're not going to turn into all of a sudden this pressing team but we will use it when we need to. Whether that be when we're down or up, to get a spark, to push tempo, to raise the level of intensity in the game. We will do it if we feel like we need to.
What are some of the tactics that you use to keep your players up? When you start a season 6-2, then you're 8-7, is there anything in particular that you do that other coaches might not when it comes to keeping their confidence up or keeping them relaxed?
Yeah, I think you have to do more encouraging, more teaching. Not so much discipline and barking at them a lot. (The) coaches are a little down, too, and we're trying to figure out what we can do to help them play better and put them in better situations and make things simple. Keep it simple, not get too complicated. When they do something well, throw a party about it – really hype it up and high-five them and butt-slap them, do whatever you have to do to help them understand.
I said today all is not lost. We lost two games in a row. We can't mope into the next one. We have to go in with confidence saying we're going to get this one. We're going to work our hardest to get it. Whether you do or don't, you still have to play the next one.
So it's good that you have some games coming just back-to-back, because it doesn't allow you to mope and worry about the last one. You've just got to get the next one.