Nov. 18, 2013
• Watch Kelsey's News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head women's basketball coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the Badgers' 3-0 start, Michala and Malayna Johnson’s play and Morgan Paige’s scoring ability 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: You can say 3-0. That sounds good. We are happy to be undefeated at this point in the season. I know the last two years we struggled in the beginning, but we finally have some pieces there that we need to compete on the level that we are expecting ourselves to compete on.
(I’m) Very proud of the kids. They worked really hard. We still have a long way to go. Just going to take it game by game, and hopefully we can continue on this streak.
Question: Can you just talk about Michala Johnson and how vital she's been to this team.
Kelsey: Everywhere I've been, you need that inside presence. I don't think there's been a team that has really competed at the highest of levels and hasn't had a young lady down there to anchor the paint and really be able to score on the block and command the double-team.
This is our first year of having that now. AnnMarie (Brown), the first year, she did a nice job of going down there, but she didn't get that respect just because she hadn't done it in the past.
But Michala coming from a high school career where she really proved that she was an outstanding scorer in high school and then going from a school like Connecticut and now coming here, people know she can score on the block if you leave her one-on-one. So they have to block her in some way.
You saw last night with Jacki (Gulczynski), they double downed, and that left her to get some shots. So that opens it for everybody to really look for their shots. She's a load down there, but we're counting on her to really take it up another level. I think she missed a lot of those bunnies around the basket that she could make. She probably didn't want to be greedy and get them all.
Question: I know that she (Michala Johnson) came really to play with her sister. Can you talk about that dynamic and maybe how she's been able to help Malayna kind of grow this year and what that's like having the two sisters here?
Kelsey: It's nice for us because they're both very talented. Obviously, Malayna's young, and she doesn't know quite what she's doing yet. But for the first time, the fans kind of saw them together last night. I kind of liked them out there together. They really complement each other.
Mich is usually not at the high post area where Jacki (Gulczynski) normally is. We have to play her more with her sister in practice just for her to get used to playing either the four or five position.
I think they like it. I haven't asked either one what it feels like to play with your sister. I think Mich told us a big part of that reason, Malayna committed way early. We didn't even know that Mich was looking to move or anything like that. It wasn't like we got Malayna hoping to get her sister. She was already at Connecticut and seemingly happy, from what we could tell.
When they contacted us about her possibly joining us, we were like, yeah, hello. That doesn't take but two seconds to figure that out. But I think they really like playing with each other, and once Malayna develops, they're going to be hard to match those two. We're excited about the future of them looking really good together.
Question: Earlier in the year, you talked about the team needing to limit turnovers to be successful. You guys lead the Big Ten in turnovers. What's been the key to that?
Kelsey: We lead them now in turnovers?
Question: It says the Badgers are averaging just 11.3 turnovers per game, which leads all Big Ten teams. You guys are doing pretty good in that category.
Kelsey: Oh, you mean, not leading as far as the numbers? Wait a minute, are we? Good Lord, we just talked about this.
It's nice. Obviously, having Dakota out there, she's really done a great job of taking care of the ball. And her assist-to-turnover ratio, I think, is pretty high.
We haven't had people really pressure us like we're going to see. So that number may fluctuate. I hope it doesn't because we are capable of taking care of the ball. Some of the passes last night, you're like, what are you seeing? Because nobody in the stadium is seeing what you're seeing. So don't make that pass.
But I think we really made a concerted effort to not make plays that just aren't there. I think some of our turnovers last year was just trying to force things. Some of it was just we were tired. We didn't have a sub last year.
Now they know, if you make silly plays, you've got to come out. I can't leave you out there just doing crazy things. So I think some of that is people understand that you need to really make sure you're seeing what's open and not what you want to be open because sometimes we're deciding before we let the defense kind of raise the defense and see what they're going to do.
But that's a nice stat not to be leading in that area, on the bad side of that.
Question: Bobbie, is it a matter of time before Morgan Paige kind of gets in the swing of things a little bit and her shots start falling?
Kelsey: Yeah, I hope so. Morgan is a very good scorer. I have to watch and really look, and maybe her and I sit down and chat and really see. I need to get her thoughts on -- Morgan is a really steady kid. She's not going to be low when she's not scoring and high when she's scoring. She wants our team to win.
So that's a good problem to have, not that she's an emotional kid and caring about her scoring, but we need her to score more, and we need her to really get back on track as far as that last year.
Now, she understands that it's more up front, so she's not going to have the ball as much. But I think some of her shots, it could be a little bit better decision. I think she kind of makes it harder on herself just a little bit.
I'm going to watch that. I was thinking the same thing when I looked at the stat sheet last night for the third game. She hadn't really made that impact that we know she can. We're going to sit down, and we're going to figure it out because we need her to be another threat out there.
And Nicole (Bauman). I think Nicole needs to score a little bit more. She doesn't take many shots, but she's got to be a little bit more assertive out there.
I'll to talk to both of them and see if we can get them going. We could potentially have six people in double figures average. We could have that, but with the understanding that maybe one game somebody's going to score a little bit more. But these kids don't really care about their scoring. They want to win.
Question: Looking forward to going to SEC country?
Kelsey: Yes, always a challenge. SEC has a great tradition of women's basketball with Tennessee and Georgia and different teams, LSU. Alabama had a rich history, you know, not too long ago. They've been down a few years, but very athletic team.
We played them last year. We were afraid then because they're so athletic and they can really out quick you in a lot of areas. We're going to depend on some scheming on them as well.
They have a lot more players this year that I think have stepped up for them. I looked at some of their stats, and they're much improved. Also, they have a new coach in Kristy Curry that has a great reputation as a women's basketball coach.
I know that team is going to be -- if they're not already, they're going to be turning the page here soon. We just don't want it to be against us. Let them beat somebody else.