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Kelsey previews this week's action


Feb. 3, 2014

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MADISON, Wis. – Head women’s basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey addressed the media on Monday as her Badgers (10-11 overall, 3-6 Big Ten) wrap up a two-game home stand by hosting Nebraska (15-5, 5-3) on Wednesday. Tip time is 7 p.m. from the Kohl Center.

UW takes to the road on Saturday to face Indiana (16-6, 3-6) for the second time this season. The Badgers and Hoosiers kick off at noon CT from Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., live on the Big Ten Network.

Wisconsin ended a four-game losing streak with an 82-71 win over Ohio State on Sunday at the Kohl Center. The Badgers equaled their Big Ten win total from last season with the victory over the. Wisconsin is 3-6 this season after going 3-13 in 2012-13, finishing 11th. UW needs just one more win to equal last season’s overall mark of 12 wins.

A complete transcript of Kelsey’s remarks is below.

Opening Statement: Obviously, we're very happy we won the game yesterday. I thought our top-four scorers really showed up. Taylor (Wurtz) had a nice game, Mick (Johnson), Jacki (Gulczynski), and Morgan (Paige), they were all in double figures. Jacki and Mickey had double-figure rebounding numbers as well.

As you can tell, my voice is gone.  I'm not going to talk too much.  If you have some questions, I'll be happy to take them.

I guess that would be the question.  What is the attitude like this week as opposed to the last couple of weeks when you guys struggled a little bit?

I think and I feel both things. When you're losing, of course, I would be shocked if somebody wasn't mad, you know what I'm saying? You're a competitor. You want to win. That doesn't mean you get so negative that you can't focus on the next game or you can't improve on the things that you need to improve upon.

If my kids are skipping around happy and we're losing, I'm going to have a problem with that. I don't mind if somebody were to say, ‘Hey, we need to get it together.’ We're not doing what we're supposed to do. You love that as a coach. As long as it doesn't spill over to blaming other people.

Our kids were very -- they weren't happy about the losses. We knew we could do better. Some of it is out of our control. Some people were sick. Some people were not playing well. We can't have a bunch of excuses. You've just got to get it done.

Yesterday I think we just caught Ohio State. Maybe they weren't playing their best game. They did make a run in that game, and we were up enough to weather the storm. It's nice to get a home win, and especially against Ohio State.  Obviously, we want to always beat them, just like they want to beat us.

Can you talk about the play of Taylor Wurtz, especially in the second half?  She's been on kind of a scoring slump.  Did she do something in the locker room or say anything in the locker room at halftime?

Whatever she did, I hope she does it some more. Taylor, I think she thinks sometimes too much out there instead of just taking what the defense gives her. She maybe makes up her mind.

I said, ‘Taylor, if you've got a shot, take it.  If you don't, drive it.’ You can't predetermine, I'm going to drive. Well, if the girl is standing underneath the basket, probably not a good time. You've just got to read the defense and take what they give you, and that's what she did yesterday.

She finished her shots. I think she'd been struggling to finish. Sometimes you just need the ball -- you just need to see it go in the basket.  Free throw, O-board, layup, shot, you just need to see it go in and feel like I can make a basket. Sometimes with scorers, they struggle with that.

A couple weeks ago you talked about getting more player to have a big game.  You talked about how Morgan and Taylor and Jacki and Michala and how they would all have big games separately but not together.  Yesterday Taylor and Jacki both had big games.  Have you figured out a way to solve that puzzle, or is there a way to solve that puzzle to get those multiple players going?

We've been trying to figure it out. We tweaked the offense to get them more shots. We were taking too many threes. We tried to help them get to the basket because you've got to get to the free throw line. A lot of your points come off of free throws, and then the other team is not so aggressive because now they're in foul trouble.

So it can't be all one thing or another. You can't just shoot threes, but you can't just go to -- I mean you've got to play what they're giving you. You have to be multidimensional.

I think some kids, they just want to shoot. They just want to drive well. You've got to be a complete player. A complete player as a defender, there's nothing I can do because they're going to make their free throws. They can finish it right at the basket. They can hit a three or two off me. They can pull up.  They can make a pass because sometimes everybody's converging on you.

They have to be able to do a lot of everything instead of one thing, and I think when certain things aren't going for certain players, then the game is over.  Not really – go rebound, play some defense. There's a lot you can do out there to help the team.

Kind of to that point, a couple weeks ago you also said there aren't going to be Stanford talent-level kids coming in here. How important is it to find one skill -- maybe shooting -- how important is it to find a skill that somebody is good at, maybe a defender or a rebounder, but find certain spots during the game where you can use that and it hides their deficiencies?  How important is that to doing what you want to do, which is win?

I think every team has those players.  Not every kid coming in is a McDonald's All-American or Gatorade Player of the Year in their state or what have you.

I think kids have to understand their role. You can't be Morgan if you're not. Be you. Sometimes you look at what other folks are doing and you want to do that, well, that's not your gift. When God was handing that out, you just didn't get -- you weren't in line long enough, whatever the case may be.

But that don't mean you can't help our team. I think the best teams, everybody understands their role, whether they play a lot, a little, shoot it, get it to somebody, screen. I think Tessa (Cichy) does a good job of just coming in and just plays her role. She doesn't try to score too much. But if she's open, she's capable. She's going to get somebody open. She's going to post up. She's going to do the little things.  She's going to get a rebound. I need to depend on her to do those things.

So I tell them all, what can we depend on you to do that you can do? Not something you can't do. So Stanford has those players too. They have role players as well. Everybody's not Chiney Ogwumike. Can't be. But if you play your role, now the other team has to account for you being a smart player and doing the little things that's not on the stat sheet.

During the second half of conference play, can this team make a push down the stretch?

I believe so. Every game, that's why they play them. If that was the case, they'd just stop right now and say, okay, it's the end of the season.

You still have to play the games. You have to believe you can win. That's a big part of it. If you just go in the game and not believe it, then you're probably not going to have it happen for you.

I believe we could win every game. If I'm the coach and I don't believe it, then what's that saying to the players? So when we don't, I say we get the next one. Let's just prepare for the next one. I don't want to allow them to have pity parties and feel sorry for themselves. You can't.

If you do that, you just may go pack your bags up and stay home. I know the men are struggling, but they're going to try to go get that win tomorrow. As every game, you're trying to win it. They're close, but you've got to win them.

The last two games Jacki Gulczynski has played pretty much 40 minutes.  Have you seen something from her, that consistency on the court that you needed?

She and I had a little fellowship, a little meeting, and she voiced some of her concerns, and I voiced some of mine. Any time a player comes to you and they say "Coach, I'm struggling" or "This is happening, and I don't understand," I always welcome that conversation because now, once it's out in the air, we can do something about it.

So she talked to me and I talked to her, and we came to some middle ground. I think she understands now what we need her to do. Not what she wants to do, what we need her to do. And that's -- you know, she's in shape. She can play 40 minutes. I don't want to play her 40 minutes, but if she's out there doing the job and she's not tired, we're going to leave her in the game.

And Jacki can defend different positions. She blocks shots. She rebounds. She can hit the three. She screens. She gets other people open, and they have to guard her on the perimeter.

So it's a hard matchup for the other team, which is nice for us to have someone that doesn't do the same thing that Taylor does or Morgan does or Mickey does.  It's versatility within our scorers, and that's a good thing.

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