Jan. 20, 2014
• Watch Kelsey's News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head women's basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the Badgers' loss at Northwestern, the inconsistency of the team’s play and the challenge of looking for a leader in today's press conference at the Kohl Center.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Kelsey's remarks can be found below.
Coach Kelsey: We are coming off a little disappointing loss to Northwestern, a very good team. We had a lot of mistakes that are not so much uncharacteristic but untimely mistakes in the game.
And they hit some incredible shots. I mean, at the end there, being down by 10 with, I think, three or four minutes to go, we feel confident that we can come back in those games. But they hit some incredible shots, and credit to them.
But we had our chances as well. We missed some bunnies and didn't get back in the transition defense a couple of times.
So it got away from us a little bit at the end, but I was proud of the kids' effort. They did play hard; just got to play a little bit smarter.
Question: How do you play smarter?
Coach Kelsey: We watch it. Today we watched the whole game. Sometimes you give it to them in pieces, and they forget. I even forget sometimes. I have to go back and watch it.
And it's not always as bad or as good as I think it is in the moment. So sometimes you want to watch it and make sure you're telling them the right thing. But they need to watch it as well and in sequence. Sometimes you break it up, and they can't tell what happened when.
But we watch the whole thing from beginning to end in sequence, so they can see where the runs are being made, what we're doing to aid that or prevent it in some instances. The passes, the shot selection, the decisions. Sometimes in the moment you don't remember whether that kid was open or not, your teammate, but when you see it, you go, oh, man, she wasn't really open.
So I think you're not trying to make it passive, but they need to see where we're making our mistakes. These are the same mistakes we're making, and we kind of tell them, hey, you don't want to do this.
We tell our kids don't really drive baseline on the first pass because the defense is already set. Well, in the game you got two people going baseline. It's like you've got to pay attention to the scouting report and what we're telling you to do or not to do and try to implement those things. It kind of helps you to not make those mistakes.
A lot of the turnovers are us; it's not the other team. It would be different if they were pressing us the whole game, but they weren't. We just made some poor decisions.
When they see it, the video doesn't lie. I can rewind it 20 times, you're going to see the same thing.
Sometimes they think we're being hard on them, but this is why we tell you not to do certain things because we can kind of know the outcome before it happens.
So we try to give them the answers to the test before the test. Sometimes they don't pass. Sometimes we don't pass, you know, as coaches. So we're all kind of figuring it out.
Question: Bobbie, how does this team, the leadership on this team, compare to years past that you've had?
Coach Kelsey: It's a work in progress. We don't -- I've not been with a group that it's hard to find someone to be not only vocal but also -- giving the effort, but also playing a lot. We got those patches in different folk.
Some of our most vocal kids don't play that much. So it's hard to be a leader when you're not out there. Some of our better talented ones aren't vocal. Taylor (Wurtz) is very quiet. She just doesn't say a whole lot. She knows what's going on, but you kind of got to share that with your teammates.
And then some that are real vocal and are talented, maybe they struggle. So we haven't found that one person that is all in at the same time. That's the struggle when you don't have that kid.
In past years it was Anya (Covington), it was Jade (Davis). Cassie (Rochel) has come along. She was very helpful to Tiera (Stephen) last year. Tiera was that last year.
We don't have a clear-cut, vocal, talented, play-a-lot person, not all in one body. And that's really, really difficult.
But it's not for lack of effort, for desire; it's just for whatever reason we just don't have it.
Question: This may be a question better for the end of the season, but you came from a program of model consistency. What's it like for you when it's inconsistent? You get a win, you lose a couple. You win a couple -- you know, what's that like for you as a head coach?
Coach Kelsey: It's hard. It is hard. I understand that they're not Stanford players. Those kids are -- you know, obviously, they have their own issues when they're playing Connecticut and Baylor. They still get the same stuff, it's just on a different level.
But I think that my expectations of what I see them being able to do and what we actually do doesn't always match up, and I'm hard on them. I'm hard on them for a reason, because I believe in them. But sometimes that doesn't bode well when they're not as talented.
And I know that in my brain, but I got to make the adjustment. When I'm more encouraging with them, the more "you can do it" type thing, they tend to do better.
And I know probably people see it on my face, and I'm trying to work on that myself. But I want it for them so bad, and I know they can do it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have come here. I wouldn't believe in them. Last year we beat people probably nobody thought we could. Some people probably don't think we're going to win another Big Ten game. I don't care what they think. I know what these kids can do.
We have to make adjustments as coaches and help them more, but they have to help each other and help themselves. You know, I always tell them effort -- we can't coach you effort. You've got to go out there and give us everything you have.
For the most part, they do that. Now you got to put the brains with the effort; you can't just throw it up and hope they catch it when she's got three people on her.
So it's just gelling together. I like to think, as the season goes on, we'll get even better. We tend to get better as it goes along.
But it's still a work in progress, and it's hard coming from a program like a Stanford to a program that you got to build and get those type of players one day. But it's going to be other problems when you get the good ones through, the McDonald's All-Americans and Gatorade All-Americans, they got other issues.
But you have to learn to win by winning. We've got to get more consistent. We definitely do. I agree with that.
But we're working on it. Today we had a good practice, and we're going to show ourselves better in this next game.
Question: Now that you're in your third year, how has the performance of the team over the last few years compared to your expectations coming in from Stanford?
Coach Kelsey: Well, when you have injuries, I think that doesn't allow you to do some things that you were hoping for. Like we didn't anticipate Cassie (Rochel) being out this year. Last year we didn't anticipate Taylor (Wurtz) not being able to play.
So along the way, things happen to where you got to make adjustments. So it makes for -- you got to change your mindset about what you can do. It's not what I expect, it's what we have and what we have to work with. That's been a little bit tough.
But you can't make excuses. You have to adjust. If you count yourself as a decent coach, somebody that really is looking for ways to help your team, you can't cry about what you don't have. You just have to work with what you do have and get those kids better.
I think we've got to get them playing well at the same time because Taylor had a monster game, 27 points in Illinois, 19 rebounds. The other night Michala (Johnson) had an awesome game, 22 points, 13 rebounds. Jacki (Gulczynski) had a monster game. I want that all at once. Could we get you all doing that at one time? Please? Thank you.
So that's what we -- we need that consistency. Can't be two of the top four scoring and the other two doing nothing. I mean, Morgan's (Paige) had monster games, but now we need her, Taylor, Jacki, and Mick (Michala Johnson) to have them at the same time. The other kids, they just understand that they're the ice cream on the apple pie. You don't have to have it, but it would be nice. Sure tastes better when you have it.
It's not that we're discounting the others, but we know who the other team is going to pay the most attention to, and it's those four players.
Question: Bobbie, defensively, I know you said Michala (Johnson) put up 32 against Northwestern (indiscernible). Defensively, just a work in progress?
Coach Kelsey: Someone is knowing when to scout, understanding who could do what. We let Maggie Lyon go left a couple of times. We let Nia Coffey go left. Both are left-handed. We let Deary go right, and she's more right than left. You got to know that. We go over it, we walk through it. It's lack of concentration. You got to concentrate.
We always tell them whoever starts on a person doesn't mean they're going to be on them the whole game. So everybody's got to know what everybody else has got to do, and that takes practice. You don't just naturally do that.
So like I said, we were within 10 with three minutes to go. So we let them get loose a couple times, and they made some incredible shots at the end. We were right in their face, and they made the shot.
The score wasn't quite indicative of the game, in my opinion. If anybody watched it, they would know that.
But we have to do better on defense. You're absolutely right. We've got to play better, better team defense.