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Head coach Bobbie Kelsey previews Penn State game


ON WISCONSIN <b>Head coach Bobbie Kelsey cheers on her team from the bench.</b>
ON WISCONSIN
Head coach Bobbie Kelsey cheers on her team from the bench.
ON WISCONSIN

Jan. 28, 2013

News Conference

MADISON, Wis. - Head women's basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey talked to the media on Monday, previewing this week's game vs. Penn State.

After a bye weekend, the Badgers (9-11 overall, 1-6 Big Ten) return home for two games this week in the Kohl Center. Wisconsin faces No. 8 Penn State (17-2, 7-0) for the second time in two weeks when the Nittany Lions come to town on Thursday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

UW also hosts Illinois (10-8, 3-3) on Sunday at 2 p.m.

A complete transcription of Kelsey's comments is below. You can also watch an archive of the news conference at the link above.

Opening statement: “We had a nice week last week - a little roller coaster week actually.  That game against Ohio State was a nice win for our team, one that we desperately needed.  And then we go to Iowa, and we didn't quite finish that game the way we wanted to. We were right there neck and neck.  I think there were eight or nine lead changes back and forth and a couple of defensive mistakes, and they took advantage of that.

“But (I’m) very proud of the team for continuing to persevere and be positive in light of the adversity they're experiencing right now. It's only going to help us down the road. We're very happy with their attitudes and approach of this tough season we've been going through.”

Bobbie, the last time you played Penn State, they had a big advantage rebounding and also points in the paint.  How do you turn that around this time?

“… that game, I think Cassie was ill.  She wasn't up there 100 percent.  She usually does a nice job of keeping those post players out of there with some help from the guards, different people coming down to double.

“In all areas of the game, we were really not poised and not executing our offense the way we should, and then that led to some turnovers.  Once Penn State gets going, they're very hard to stop because they have a lot of guards that can really hurt you in a number of different ways.

“(Maggie) Lucas didn't get going in that game, but Nikki Greene did.  It's kind of like our Iowa game.  You take away (Morgan) Johnson, and then (Jaime) Printy gets loose. We have to fix that. We did watch video of the whole second half (against Iowa) yesterday.  There were probably nine or 10 plays where it was us not doing the defensive plan we put in place.

“That's disappointing because -- not to say they wouldn't have scored or wouldn't have won a game, but when we go over something, not only do we go through is, you look at it, and you have the paper scout.  There's no reason not to do what you know you should.

“If they make a spectacular play or do something we didn't go over, I can live with that, but not the things we continually walk through and review.  We shouldn't be making those mistakes.”

Bobbie, your team ranks among the national leaders in free-throw percentage this season.  What do you guys do in practice to really focus on free throws if it's any different from other teams?  Secondly, as a broader question, do you think there's a significant difference in just the emphasis placed on free throws, growing up, between the men's game and the women's game?

“First of all, we just shoot them every day, and our kids -- we put them in different situations.  Like sometimes we have a game called Survivor Island.  They have to swish it.  It can't hit any rim.  To break up the monotony of just shooting them, we try to do fun things.

“Sometimes we'll do free-throw challenge, which everybody gets one opportunity to step up.  If we don't -- each time somebody miss, you got to go down and back.  We try to do different things to put a little pressure on them.  We'll shoot one and ones instead of two-shot fouls because you've got to make the first one to get to shoot the second one.  So just little things like that.

“Our kids are very poised with free throws.  They step up to the line and make them.  I don't think I've ever been with a team that really doesn't look nervous.  Even freshmen.  Nicole (Bauman) walked up and just hit two in the one game we needed her to hit them, and I'm calling her name out.  And Tiera (Stephen) is like, ‘Hold it, she's shooting.’  I'm trying to tell her something, and I'm looking right at her, and she's shooting free throws. She didn't look at me at all, just focused on the free throw.  We do a good job of that.

“And the second part of your question, I don't know if there's a big disparity between men and women as far as opportunities to shoot free throws.  The guys play a little above the rim.  So that might have something to do with the fact they don't get a whole lot of them.

“I don't know. It would be interesting to see how many free throws the guys get overall as opposed to the women. We have to set screens and things. You have an opportunity to get more free throws on offensive fouls and going to the rim and setting screens.  There's a whole lot of other ways to get to the free-throw line besides just shooting the ball.  Especially if you're in the bonus, it doesn't matter.  A foul is going to take you to the free-throw line no matter what.”

Like you were mentioning in the guys' game, with how they play above the rim or focus more on those aspects, whereas in the women's game, that's not necessarily a focus.  Do you think free throws are emphasized more from a younger age in the women's game?

“Probably.  Because that's a way to score without the clock running, and like I said, we don't get up over the rim.  So most guys are not going to take somebody out if they're in the air getting an alley-oop or something like that, which we don't do.

“Again, we have to emphasize that because that's one way to score without pressure or without having to handle the ball. You're just standing up there and shooting free throws, but it's a different pressure because you're standing up there shooting free throws, and everyone's watching. Some kids, it doesn't bother them at all.  Some, they feel like all eyes are on them, which it is, and they feel that.

“I think the girls probably do emphasize it a little bit more. That's a technique thing. I've been at guys' practices. They don't want to stand around just boring, shooting free throws. Girls kind of focus in on, if the coach says you've got to work on it, they kind of focus in on that as opposed to the guys, they want to play. The girls maybe work on their skills.  Not to say that the guys don't, but you know what I'm saying.”

I know that Daria (Kryuchkova) hasn't played that much so far, but what are your impressions of her and maybe the improvement she's made.  My understanding is she works very hard in the practices.

“She does.  If anyone -- I wouldn't say anyone works harder than Daria.  Some work as hard, but not harder.  She's one kid that it doesn't affect her if she doesn't play.  She understands the bigger picture.

“And it's hard to keep working when you haven't had a chance to get in the games, but she understands a lot of these games are going to be situational that she gets in.  Sometimes they play four guards or a more mobile four, and she's not that tall.  So she can't play a 6-4 player.  I think she understands that.  She doesn't let it discourage her.

“And every day after practice, she's either grabbing a manager or Stacy Cantley, our assistant coach, to shoot.  When she gets her opportunity in that Miami game -- I mean, I think Delaware State, and she catches and shoots it because she's worked on it.  And I don't mind her doing that because I know she's worked on it.

“Others can take a page out of her book as far as working.  Even if you're not playing as much as you want to, just continue to work because you never know when your number's called.

“I always tell the story of a teammate of mine at Stanford.  She had to come in with .8 seconds on the clock in the semifinal game, national championship semifinal to guard (Virginia’s) Dawn Staley.  She didn't play all year.  That was the most important .8 seconds of her career.  But if she's pouting on the bench or mad about not playing for two years, she don't guard Dawn Staley correctly.  She can't come in and do the job.  She's probably the biggest reason we won the national championship my freshman year.

“Others may argue with that.  When you've got to guard an All-American and everything's on the line, and if the shot goes in, we don't win, that's says a lot about her as an individual, and Daria has that same mindset.  You just don't ever know, so just keep working.”

Has she told you much about her youth in Russia?

“  She hasn't.  Her mom's been here, but she doesn't speak English.  (I) can't really communicate with mom that much.  Daria's a funny person -- she's funny.  Her accent, obviously, the kids get a kick out of that.  I'm sure she teaches them kind of some bad things in Russian.  I'm sure they've taught her some bad things in English.

“They have fun with it.  And she'll translate if someone's name is -- we've played a couple teams where I think the other -- the kid on the other team had a Russian last name, and she'd explain it and tell us what it translates to.  So we have fun with Daria.  She's a good kid.

“I know her father passed away when she was little, and it was just her and her mom.  And over here, we have a lot of extended family, cousins and aunts and uncles and things like that.  I don't know if she has a lot of that as far as growing up.

“She tells me she had to ride the subway when she was a little kid.  Jump on the subway, jump on the bus.  I'm like you got to go by yourself?  She's like yeah.  So I guess they grow up fast over there, like you've got to get moving over there.”

How is Taylor Wurtz coming along?

She's coming along.  Taylor's been restricted to not carrying anything, not lifting things for the first four weeks.  I think she's on the tail end of that part of her recovery.  But she was in practice the other day.  She's standing up, looking -- walking around.  She looks good.

“And Taylor's never really going to give away that she might not be as -- I mean, she's getting there.  She's never going to let on.  She's always going to have a smile on her face and be upbeat and positive.  That's her demeanor and her personality.

“I think she's come along.  I think she's excited about her rehab and being able to get back because she loves basketball.  She doesn't like it, she loves it.  When you love something as much as she does with basketball, she's itching, but she's following the doctor's orders.  She's following them because she knows, if she doesn't and she has a setback, it's only going to be her fault.

“So she doesn't want to hurt her team, herself.  She doesn't want to let anybody down.  So she's going to do exactly what they tell her to do.”

I guess while we're on the subject then, how's AnnMarie (Brown) doing?

“Actually, she's amazing.  She was on the Stairmaster. I think she's four weeks out, not even.  She has full flexion, full extension.  Her knee is still puffy.  I mean, it's swollen.

“I went through two of them.  I fully understand what she's dealing with, but I was nowhere near where she is right now.  That can be good and bad.  You don't want to come back too fast, but if your body is responding in a positive way, yeah, you push your rehab.  You push it.  She's pushing it as much as she can within where her knee is right now.

“But it's amazing.  She was on the bike the other day, and I'm like goodness.  I've not seen someone recover this fast.  I've heard of it, but I've not seen it.  She's coming along.  She'll be -- I wouldn't be surprised if she's ready to go in the end of the year -- I mean, the summertime leading into the fall, doing a lot of actually cutting and jumping.  I would not be surprised.”

Since you two are in that same club, have you two discussed that, commiserated?

We discussed it more last year when she came in.  This is her second one on the same knee.  I had different knees.  We have some stories to tell, but we could rehab some folk.  If anybody had an ACL, we could help you out.  We'd charge you, but we could help you out.

“She understands what it entails.  Even though the second time is very unfortunate, you kind of know what to expect.  The first time is hard because you don't know.  It's more psychological.  I think the second time you just physically, you understand where you need to be physically.  The mind is not so much involved the second time because you've been through it.

“But her body's responding very well.  Hopefully, the graft is strong.  I think she had her own graft from her body.  I had a cadaver on one and a patella on the other one.  So it's interesting, this ACL.  But mine were 20 years ago.  Technology and all these things have come a long way since then.

“She's dealing with it.  She has a very positive attitude.  She crutches in and crutches out.  She does her rehab.  She's going to be fine.”

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