Oct. 29, 2012
• Watch Kelsey News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's basketball head coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the upcoming exhibition games 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're working really hard in practice, so far, so good. We've had a couple little nagging injuries from the past, but we're working through those. But the new kids are really coming along, learning the offense. It's a lot for them coming from high school to this level. They're working really hard.
The returners obviously are a little further ahead than the new kids. They're gelling really well, and we're a lot more guard heavy this year than we were last year. So that's nice to have some guards that can help Taylor (Wurtz) and Morgan (Paige) and take some of the scoring load off of those two and contribute that way. We're very excited about what they're going to be able to do. If we stay healthy, we'll have a great year.
Question: Exhibition games, you're expected to win and all that sort of thing, but what do you look for out of your team in exhibition games?
Kelsey: You definitely want to win exhibition games. These are not teams you have to beat to get a Big Ten title or get to the NCAA Tournament, but they can be a little bit tricky because kids maybe don't take them as serious. And these kids are coming in thinking, the other team is thinking, hey, this is our opportunity to knock a big dog off the pedestal, so to speak.
But the things we're looking for, different lineup combinations, executing on offense, trying to get that going. Offense takes a lot longer than defense to get fluid and smooth. And so, obviously, kids love offense, but they have to execute it and run things. They always say, people know our plays. Well, it doesn't matter. If you set a good screen, it doesn't matter. You're going to be open.
So they're just learning the nuances of the triangle. We do run triangle offense, and the new ones, it's a lot for them because there's a lot of options just where the ball goes. It's not, okay, go to set a screen here, there, and there. So they just have to read things, and they're not doing that.
But in the exhibition games, we're just looking to get up and down the floor and really execute on the offensive end. Obviously, we want to play some good defense as well. We want to get up and down and really put some points on the board.
Question: When you come from a place like Stanford, something tells me you don't just come to Wisconsin to be a middle of the road team. What do you expect because I'm sure you expect it quickly, what do you expect in terms of progress from your team going into the second year?
Kelsey: We just expect to improve upon last year. Last year was tough just because everybody's new. I'm new. They're new to me. I'm new to them. It's a new offense. It's a new defense. Everything is new.
So this year it's a little more relaxed because they know most of what we're going to do. They know my personality. I know them a lot better. So the second year it's a little bit more of a let's get better as far as working together type deal, not let's learn the new offense or let's learn the new coaching style.
And we're expecting the kids to really especially the returners. The new ones, everything's new to them anyway. But the returners, about half the team are returners, so we're expecting them to lead the young ones and show them not just tell them, but show them what they need to be doing out there because they've never played in a college basketball game, collegiate basketball game, other than the transfer, Michala Johnson, but she can't play this year.
All of them are really new to this type of pace, intensity. It's going to be a new thing for them. Some of them will be more shocked than others. Some of them are more ready to play than others. That's what exhibition games are for. Throughout the year, we expect to get better as things go along.
I think last year we did that. Even though it's very difficult, we did improve throughout the year. That's always what I'm looking for, improvement and better play, because that's what the fans want to see. That's what we want to see as coaches.
Question: How valuable is having a game to improve? To actually play a game.
Kelsey: To actually play in a game? I think they're looking forward to that. I think practice has been a little stale, a little bit. Yesterday I noticed it more than any other day because they're just probably tired of playing against each other.
So a game and a game setting, warming up and the chalk talk and all the things that go into the tip off is it's exciting. You know, you get to put the uniform on. You don't play in your uniform in practice. So just to dress and get out there and get subbed in and everybody's on the same bench. In practice, you mix everybody up. But everyone's on the same side and it's against them, whoever them is.
So I think that will give us a little boost of energy because it's preseason, and practice season, before your first game, even if it's an exhibition game, is pretty long. So it will be nice to play somebody else besides ourselves.