Jan. 14, 2013
• Watch Kelsey News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's basketball head coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the Badgers’ close losses, shooting woes and upcoming opponents 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: We have a rough road with the next two opponents, but our team is hanging in there. It's been tough for us. We have a lot of youth and inexperience, but, again, we're not going to hang our heads. We're just going to keep working. We're right there in some of these games. The last three games, we were right there, but that's youth and inexperience.
They understand that the games are still going to be played. We have to prepare for each individual game and not worry about what's happened before or since, and that's what they're doing. So I'm happy about the attitudes, but it's still tough to lose games.
Question: Since you really were in all of those games and just a few stretches where maybe they kind of slipped away, do you feel like with the youth and maybe inexperience, if you are able to break through and win one of those, that that will then be a carryover to other games?
Kelsey: I would hope so. You never know. But just winning one, just getting one under your belt, being so close, I think it would boost our -- just the morale. Kids are kind of down because we're losing, not the way we're playing necessarily. They understand that some mistakes are made here and there, but we just can't overcome them sometimes, and that's been the problem these last four games. It's just you can't overcome some of the issues that are happening out there.
Somebody gets loose or they get an "O" board, and then it kind of snowballs from there. I think just being young; they're just kind of wondering we going to win? I keep telling them, just work hard, do what you're supposed to do, follow the game plan, and it will happen.
But it hasn't happened yet. So, again, kids are just you can see it on their faces, they just really want to win a game. And I'm kind of getting like that too, but I can't show that. In my mind, I'm like what is it going to take? It will turn somewhere here. We're hopeful that it will.
Question: If you look at the numbers, shots just don't seem to be falling for you guys. What goes into that? Is that something you can work on in practice, or is it just a situation where sometimes teams go hot and teams go cold and you just have to wait it out?
Kelsey: We shoot every day actually. So I don't think it's a matter of not getting shots up. Now, I always encourage the girls to shoot extra. We're not in school right now, so there's no reason to be sitting around not doing things that are going to help you improve both individually and as a team.
We're getting good shots. When I watch our film after the game, they're not taking bad shots. They're just not going in. It would be different if kids are out there kind of playing out of their minds and doing things that they're not supposed to be doing.
I think we could be more aggressive trying to pursue -- you know, get the ball in areas where it's open. I think sometimes they don't see it every time.
On top of that, we're not very big. So we're trying to get that rebound, trying to get that "O" board, but it's just not falling our way right now. We work on it. We work on it in practice quite a bit.
Question: Bobbie, I know the shots haven't been falling for Morgan (Paige) either, and knowing with the personnel that you have now and with Taylor (Wurtz) out and what have you, is there a little bit does she feel more pressure, do you think, that she's got to be the one to score?
Kelsey: With Morgan's personality, I don't think so. I just think that she's hit another little rough patch here. But Morgan is very positive. She's a very positive young lady. I don't sense that. Now, if you ask Morgan, maybe -- I don't think she'd say that, though. I really don't. She just has she just knows that she's one we count on, but I don't think she feels any added pressure to score.
I think some of the ones might feel it because they haven't, but Morgan knows she'll get that ball in the basket. She does other things for us. She guarded Kate Thompson last night, their 49 percent 3-point shooter last night, and she didn't get a three. You're asking her to run around and score on this end, and that's tough. When you don't have the other pieces in place, she's not always going to make her shots because she's having to work so hard and expend so much energy on the defensive end of the floor.
Morgan played practically the whole game, and she looked as fresh as anybody out there. She's in great shape. She had a layup or two that she couldn't quite extend up on the glass. Again, this is a situation where she's taken good shots. She's just got to knock them down.
Question: How good is this Penn State team? Obviously, they're a top team in the conference. Where are they stacked nationally?
Kelsey: They're ranked up there nationally. I think they're probably top 15, if not top 10. I'm not quite sure what their ranking is. Penn State has always traditionally been tough.
Coach Washington does a great job with her group up there. They shoot well. They run the ball. They have some bigs on the inside. It's just par for the course for us to see these teams that have a lot of experience or size, just things we don't have right now.
Our kids, again, we haven't been blown out of any of these games. We've been right there. Penn State is obviously a really tough opponent, but we'll have a plan for them. You've always got to have a plan so the kids will know what they're doing. And hopefully some of our shots will fall more so than they have been in the past.
Question: I know that you've been seeking a third scorer, but you need to get some scoring off the bench, don't you?
Kelsey: I do. We have freshmen over there, and none of them are bona fide scorers. You're not talking about McDonald's All Americans sitting on the bench. We don't have that. Again, they kind of play to their strengths and their roles. That's why we need our starters and our older ones to really be more consistent.
Like Morgan (Paige), she's got to be more consistent. Jacki's (Gulczynski) got to be more consistent. We're asking her to do more. Cassie (Rochel), we're asking her to do more. Tiera (Stephen) we're asking. Those are the four that really can do it because freshmen, they're hit and miss. If they give you something, great. If they don't, you can't just depend on them because they're young and they're new and they don't know how to play college basketball yet.
Question: I think part of the art of coaching is exuding confidence on your players even when maybe you don't feel so great. Like you said earlier, you're even kind of shaking your head, saying when are we going to get wins? What goes into that for you with all the injuries and the losses? How difficult has that been for you to exude confidence and instill confidence in them going through this hard time?
Kelsey: By nature, I'm confident. I always feel like I can do something if it's just on me. I think that's my natural reaction to things, don't get down, just keep plugging. Now, at home in private, that's something different. But in front of the kids, you can't if I don't believe it as a coach, then I can't ask them to believe.
But it is difficult, especially when we are depleted in a lot of ways that would probably make the situation different. But, again, the schedule is going to be played. You cannot worry about that. You have to just continue to press forward and really help them to understand there are some things we can do that does not require a certain skill set.
Rebounding is something everybody can do. Taking care of the ball is something everyone can do. It doesn't require you to use your left hand or make this spectacular pass. I try to focus on the things that everybody can do, and then the specialized areas, hey, if someone's hot, get them the ball. Let's screen for them. Let's do certain things to get those people open.
I think Tiera Stephen is playing as well as she ever -- she had nine steals last night. For one person to have nine steals in a game, that's pretty incredible. Then again, you've got to convert on the other end, and some of that is not happening. So it's just little pieces here and there. We've got to put it all together in one single game.
Question: What went into those steals for Tiera (Stephen)? Does she just have a knack for it? Or just getting in the passing lanes?
Kelsey: She has a knack for it. She was divinely blessed with some timing and ability to read the situation. Some of it is, when someone drives, she's right there to kind of snatch it. Other times, she'll make things look open, and then she'll kind of be looking this way, and they'll think the girl's open, and she'll go get the steal. Some of that is deception. Some of it is her ability to quickly move and steal the ball. Everyone doesn't have that ability to react and anticipate on the pass or on a drive.
So she really has a knack for it, and as she does it more. She takes some chances here and there, but I live with them because I know most of the time she's going to try to get that steal or at least deflect it so someone else can pick it up.
Question: It seemed like early in the season Dakota (Whyte) was really kind of coming into her own, and then she was out for a while when she was hurt, and now she's been struggling a little in conference play. What do you think is the reason for that?
Kelsey: Freshman. She's a freshman, and she's a freshman trying to play point guard. Anyone that's ever played that position knows how hard it is anyway. Even Tiera (Stephen) struggled last year, and she was a junior. It's going to take Dakota a while. She has the talent. If you see her sometimes in practice, we're like where is it at?
In a game it's different. You're playing other teams that have maybe some experience guarding a point guard up there. It's just hard for her to really see things. You're asking her to call an offense, get everybody in place, make the correct pass, create for others, and then yourself. It's a lot.
A lot of times, the point guard has to know the plays and everybody else's position, and that's not easy for her. She doesn't know her position let alone four other people and where they're supposed to be. So it's difficult for her, but she's working, and she's going to get better.