Feb. 4, 2013
Watch news conference
MADISON, Wis. – Coming off a split week of play, including an upset of No. 7 Penn State, the Wisconsin women’s basketball team continues the second half of Big Ten Conference play. The Badgers (10-12 overall, 2-7 Big Ten) travel to Ohio State (12-10, 2-7) on Thursday for a 6 p.m. tip-off from Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Wisconsin returns home on Sunday for its only meeting of the season with Indiana (10-12, 1-8). Game time is 2 p.m. from the Kohl Center.
Head coach Bobbie Kelsey talked to the media Monday about her teams’ play last week and facing the Buckeyes for the second time in less than three weeks.
Opening Statement: Excuse my voice. It's a little hoarse. You probably can imagine why from yesterday's game. Not too happy with our results, but we did split those last two games, which is a nice thing for us to have happen, especially against Penn State, who is obviously ranked high in the polls.
For our kids to come out and win that game says a lot about their resolve and their perseverance because through the adversity we've been experiencing this season.
My standards are pretty high, and I'm greedy and competitive, and I want them to understand that we can't have lulls and dips. We have to be very consistent, and our margin for error is very, very slim.
We're learning. They're learning how to win and how to build that tradition and culture in this program. They know the expectations from the coaching staff.
Coach, some of your coaching counterparts in the league have been very complimentary of Morgan Paige's play. How much has she meant to your team?
Morgan is a big piece of what we're trying to do. She comes ready to play every game, and you can see that by her stat line. She had a very nice stat line yesterday.
Morgan is the kind of kid that she has a short memory. She doesn't let things bother her. It doesn't affect her ability to continue to move on to the next thing that's going on. She doesn't linger and mull on what happened before. She just continues to motor forward. I think that's why she's been so successful in her play.
Yesterday, I think she would agree with me, that she can't have nine turnovers in the game. That's unacceptable for her standard as well as ours. Some of it is her trying to be aggressive, and I have to live with some of that, but I also pointed out to them and showed them, but with Morgan, I have to let her feel things out a bit because we do rely on her quite a bit to score, and she can score in a number of different ways.
That's what I'm trying to get to some of the other ones. They're learning it, but Morgan has it today, and we need it.
With all the injuries, have you basically taken the keys to the car and thrown them to Morgan and said go get?
Not just Morgan, I'm looking for anybody -- freshmen, sophomores, seniors, I don't care who it is -- to step up and give Morgan some help because she can't do it all by herself. Some of the kids aren't scorers by nature, like that's not really Tiera's (Stephen) role. She knows that, but she also takes opportunities when they're there. Jacki Gulczynski can score a little bit for us.
I'm looking for Cassie (Rochel) to give us a little bit more consistency being right around the basket and getting some putbacks and running the floor. That's how she scores. She's not a block player. That's not really her game even though she's very tall and long.
And then you have freshmen that you just don't know. If they give you something, it's just like having dessert. You want it, but you don't have to have it. It's something extra. Freshmen are going to go through stages where they ebb and flow. Nicole (Bauman) is feeling a little bit of that. Dakota (Whyte) is feeling a little bit of that.
With all the injuries -- and the injuries are people that we would have scoring. You're talking about potentially 40 points sitting over there. But I can't wallow in that. Those kids are injured or not available, and I think that's why we've been able to kind of persevere and win some of these games, because we don't focus on that. We just focus on who can play, who's available, and then we try to get a win.
Bobbie, I think it's safe to say you wear your emotions on your sleeve.
A little bit.
We saw that and heard about it after the Penn State game and then yesterday too. When you're dealing with young student-athletes, is that always good or sometimes bad?
I think last year I was worse, so this is better. And I'm learning what they need, and it's not always good. But you have to hold people accountable. I'd rather be that way than just saying, ‘Oh, great job.’ That's not helping them. They're not getting what they need.
But I do try to taper my emotional intensity with what they need and what they can handle. Some can handle it more than others. Like I get on Morgan, it doesn't faze her a bit. But some of them you can't yell at too much because they can't handle it.
But they know my passion is from a good place. I want them to succeed, and I would hope that they would agree with that. I'm learning, since this is my first opportunity to lead a program. I think that there's always room for improvement. And I will admit to the players when I've come down on them too hard. They agree. ‘Our coach is much better this year.’ They'll say that.
Again, we're trying to build something special, and you can't do it babying them. You just can't. It doesn't work. Where I've been and where I'm trying to take the program, it just doesn't work. Some of it can be tapered back, and I think that I have to pick my spots.
With so many young players on the team, how important was that Penn State win? Did you see any attitude changes in them? How do you keep them in check to say, this is just step one from where we need to go?
The Penn State win was obviously huge for our program. At that time, they were No. 7 team in the country. So being a Wisconsin program that's not quite where it wants to be, to beat a team of that caliber says a lot of about the kids. The next game is always the scary game, and I tried to warn them of that. I said, ‘You can beat a great team and everybody's excited, but we can't live on that. We have to move on to the next game.’
Illinois poses a different challenge because they trap and get a lot of steals. Of course, we didn't come out with the energy and enthusiasm that we needed to. I warned them, this is what happens when you beat -- we see it on the men’s side. Every week there's a different No. 1 team. You can't just be happy beating the top team and then come out and don't do anything what you're supposed to do with the energy and the enthusiasm that you need to win and be consistent.
That's exactly what happened.
Is that part of the learning process?
It is part of the learning process. Unfortunately, you want to learn winning instead of losing, but sometimes a loss gets your attention more than a win. They're understanding that we have to be consistent. The goal is to be consistent, not to get high for a ranked team and not for an unranked team. You can't do that.
You had an outstanding performance the first time you played Ohio State. What are the challenges in the rematch against them and then as you play Indiana for the first time?
Ohio State is obviously not playing up to their standard, I would think. Coach (Jim) Foster would say the same thing. They've struggled this year with injuries as well and just maybe not being the typical Ohio State team that we're used to seeing.
But our challenge is to go up there and play with the intensity that we did not bring in this last game, and that's the challenge for a young team because now you're not on your home court. Sometimes that gets your attention even more if you have to bring it on their court. And I know Ohio State is looking for a little bit of payback, and they maybe didn't play as well as they wanted to.
So we'll take that challenge like we always do and prepare for them. It will be an interesting -- it will be interesting to see how this team comes back after a loss that we probably -- we're right there, and we let it just kind of slip away.
I know you've discussed boxing out quite a bit. You don't have a lot of options for people to do that. So you're relying on your guards to actually get a lot of rebounds, and that doesn't always happen. How do you help that situation?
I'll just speak on the Illinois game. Two people got 11 of their, I think, 13 O-boards. If you just focus on those two, and then maybe you solve half your problem. (Karisma) Penn is a very hard cover, but she's standing right underneath the basket. It's not like you've got to go out and find her. She's right next to you. Just make a little better effort. (Adrienne) GodBold, she's running from the perimeter. If you don't get the board -- I always tell them, even if you don't get it, make sure she doesn't get it, then somebody else can have an opportunity to get it.
Part of our problem is, when the shot goes up, we look up at the ball. You have no idea where your girl is, where your player is. You have to train yourself to, when the shot goes up, to try to identify if that player is crashing, if they're not, if you have a beat on the ball, if you don't.
It's a little bit of art to boxing out. You're not turning and just standing in front of someone. They're going to make an effort to get around you, and you have to try to keep them out of there without fouling, without holding. It's a discipline. It's something you have to discipline yourself to do.
We do the drills, but a million things happen on a play at one time, and the shot can go up at any time. You have to always be ready to respond when the ball is in the air, and we're just not -- we're not getting that. It could be four people boxing out, but if one doesn't, it doesn't matter.