Watch Kelsey's News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head women's basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke the Badgers' win over Drake, upcoming games and potential point scorers 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: Last night was a great one for the team to open up the season. The win was always what you want to do. We had a lot of people contribute. Most notably, Dakota Whyte came out and really showed what her hard work over the summer has done for her. We're very happy for her. And others have come along as well. I think she was probably the biggest surprise other than Michala (Johnson), which was not a surprise. We all knew what she could do.
To have them come out and play as well as they did, we're very happy about their performance.
Question: What can we realistically expect from Michala Johnson?
Kelsey: We'd like to think that she could give us a double-double every game, if she plays the way she's capable of playing. Obviously she commands a double team or even a triple team in some instances. She's just hard to stop because she can use both hands. Sometimes she tries to do a little too much sometimes.
Like I said, she can go both way. She can hit a high post shot. She's not shown that as much right now because they're not sagging off of her. And obviously she's a great rebounder.
So teams have to really pay attention to keeping her off the board, doubling her, because if you leave her one-on-one, I would like to think she could really do some damage one-on-one in there. Unless the defender is really tall, that might pose some problems for her. But she's 6-3, so she's pretty tall herself.
Realistically, we're challenging her to averaging double-double because we think she's capable, and she has shown that she can do that.
Question: Bobbie, as you looked at the stat sheet from yesterday, anything else that jumped out at you that might not jump out at the common, the average fan, as far as the team won and what you liked about your team?
Kelsey: Defensively, I think we held their two leading scorers to single digits, which is not something they're used to. They kind of took us out of our game a little bit too by sagging. It was nice to see Dakota (Whyte) hit her shot, that Taylor (Wurtz) got some good looks. We missed a lot of little chippies around the basket. That does happen. We didn't shoot a great percentage, but we held them to 25 percent, which -- if you can't get your baskets, you'd better keep them from getting their easy shots and their go-to players getting open looks, and I think we did a good job with that.
Question: There's some familiar faces on some opposing benches this week. With Milwaukee you'll see Kyle (Rechlicz) and then on Sunday Northern Illinois comes to town with Kathi Bennett. Can you tell what that means?
Kelsey: It's nice to see the faces. Obviously, Kyle worked with us our first year and she went on to Milwaukee last year. She's a great young coach. She knows the game. She's a great motivator. She gets her team to play hard. Obviously, I learned a lot from her, and she learned a lot from me as an assistant.
We're happy for Kyle. Obviously, we want to beat Milwaukee. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking we are not wanting to beat them, but they want to beat us as well. They're going to come out fired up. I'm sure she has a game plan for trying to take Michala (Johnson) out of the game and just doubling her, and we have a game plan for her getting doubled. And she will be doubled the whole year, so that's not something we're just expecting from Milwaukee or Northern Illinois or anyone else that we play.
We would welcome people leaving her one-on-one, but I doubt that's going to happen. We're going to prepare as if she's going to get doubled. And then if she does not, she knows to go ahead and try to score that thing around the basket.
I don't know Kathi very well, but I'm familiar with her. When I was at Evansville, she was the head coach there and then left. I came in after she left Evansville. So we've kind of met up in different spots. Of course, she was here and then left. So maybe I'm following her. I don't know. She's a great coach as well. She has a great legacy, and her dad and brother being great coaches.
So we're preparing ourselves for what we're going to see against those teams and throughout the season with the different schemes that people are going to use to try to stop our play.
Question: Specific to those two teams, what do they bring and what challenges do they present to the Badgers?
Kelsey: With Milwaukee, I know they're returning some starters from last season that are very familiar with our players as we are with them. Milwaukee is probably going to bring more of an excitement. I'm sure they're very excited to play us. They've been plugging the game for a while. This is an instate game. Obviously, it's just a good game for the state of Wisconsin and all the fans to come out and watch the teams play.
As far as Northern Illinois, I know we had a transfer from here that went there, Lacia Gorman. She actually, I think, tore her Achilles, if I'm correct on that. We were looking forward to Lacia being out there and playing against her with her new team, but unfortunately she's injured. I believe that is correct.
I know they have some other players. I'm not as familiar with Northern Illinois as I am with Milwaukee just because we play Milwaukee every year. We're preparing for everybody's best. We can't take anybody lightly. Anybody can beat you on any given night.
You hear that all the time, but it's true and we see it all the time. There were some Big Ten teams that were beaten this week, Illinois lost to Bradley, and Michigan fell to, I think, one of the other smaller mid-major teams. So anyone can beat you. It's not just because we're in the Big Ten we just automatically are the big dogs that can't be knocked down. Our kids understand it, and we go and approach every game individually with that in mind; that we have to be ready to play.
Question: What's the relationship been like between Cassie (Rochel) and Michala (Johnson) with kind of the senior, the incumbent, and then the transfer coming in? How do you envision that playing out moving forward?
Kelsey: With Cassie not being able to play right now, I'm sure she's disappointed because, obviously, a player with Michala's talent and caliber, you always want to play with a -- especially if she's on your team, obviously you want to play with her. So there hasn't been any bad dynamics there. Michala is a nice kid. She's a great young lady, and all the kids really love her and have embraced her since the moment she got here. She's just an easy person to know. Not drama, no drama, and just a really nice individual.
So Cassie's a good kid. A good young lady too. So all of the kids really embraced her, and there was no animosity or anything like that. They just embrace -- wanted to play with each other, but right now that's not happening right now.
I know Cassie is looking forward to the day where she can get on the court with Michala and have that one-two punch, because those two together would be very -- it would be a hard task for other teams to stop, because Cassie has come such a long way from my first year with her aggressiveness and being able to block shots and rebound and even score around that basket.
Question: Bobbie, I'm sure you're not overly happy that Jacki (Gulczynski) and Morgan (Paige) weren't able to score, but are you encouraged by the fact that you still won, had others step up when Jacki and Morgan didn't score yesterday?
Kelsey: Right. The load was on those two last year. So we know that they can score. When you have a lot of scorers, sometimes your usual suspects, those two, they take a little bit of a backseat to some of the other kids that are stepping up.
I don't think those two have a problem with that. We need to probably watch and see where we can get them the ball a little bit more, maybe where they can look for their shot a little bit more.
Morgan missed a lot of bunnies. So she could have actually scored quite a few more points. And just for some reason she wasn't getting it up on the backboard and really lifting on her shot. She got fouled a couple of times, and they weren't and ones.
Jacki's been kind of a little bit under the radar with her scoring this year, but there will be a day when all five of them go off, and that's not going to be a good day for whom we're playing at that time, because all of them are very capable, along with AnnMarie (Brown) coming off the bench, Nicole (Bauman) coming off the bench. Tessa (Cichy) has shown she can score.
So we're just waiting for that day when all of them score, and that ball just gets whipped around and we have 25 assists. That's when you know everybody's scoring.
So that will be nice. We're working on that. I'm excited for that time to come.