Dec. 3, 2012
• Watch Kelsey News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's basketball head coach Bobbie Kelsey spoke about the Badgers’ win over Alabama and the game against Marquette 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.
I'd like to congratulate our football team. Obviously, they gave us a lot of incentives and encouragement to go out and do our part to make the Badgers look good. We're very excited for them. And going to the Rose Bowl, obviously, a little school I kind of know about.
People keep asking me, who are you going to cheer for? Well, who pays the bills? But, of course, it's going to be a great game, and we're looking forward to it.
Our game against Alabama was a good one for us. We obviously hit some shots that we normally were not hitting in previous games. Everybody contributed. We had a freshman contribute greatly for us, and we needed that. I made reference to the fact that we needed other people to step up now that Taylor is out, and they certainly did that. So we're very happy about that, despite the 31 turnovers, I think that I counted 21 of those 31 were just us, not necessarily the other team.
Question: Do you have an idea yet, Bobbie, how long Taylor (Wurtz) might be out?
Kelsey: We're still waiting for doctors. She had doctors' appointments with different people and just trying to figure out the best option for her.
Again, with a back injury, you don't want to take a chance with that because basketball, much as we love it, it's not she's going to have to walk the rest of her life. So it's a situation where it's something that's pressing on the nerve. So you can't just put some ointment on that or a Band Aid on it. You've got to figure out what's going on with that, and that's what they're trying to do.
So until we know, we can't make any definitive statements about Taylor's immediate availability.
Question: In the last few weeks, a lot has been stressed from you about getting rebounds. You rebounded the ball awfully well yesterday. What went into that? How did that happen?
Kelsey: Well, you get what you emphasize. Again, there's so much we have to do and work on. Again, we're small. So we have to find a way to get the ball. We don't have 6-4 across the boards in our front line. But our guards are very good rebounders.
When you're not being boxed out, you can't stand around. You've got to go get the ball. There's a good expression on the defense to box us out. I'm always harping we need to box them out. Again, if you're not getting touched, you must go pursue the basketball. The more you get them like Tiera (Stephen), she got a couple and wound up with 11. I think that's a career high for her.
It's like anything else. If the ball is dropping, you keep shooting. If you're getting rebounds, you keep going after them. And so that's what we did, and I think the kids did a really good job with that.
Question: With Taylor (Wurtz) hurt and Lindsay (Smith) now leaving, how are you feeling about your guard ranks and what some of the freshmen are going to have to do then?
Kelsey: Well, you always, no matter if people leave or not or injured or not, you always want everybody to have an opportunity to contribute. We're guard heavy. If we were post heavy, it might be a little bit easier to get the guards in there because you've got people you can pass it to. But when the guards have to do a lot more, then you need those out there that can really play on both ends of the floor.
I think that, with Dakota (Whyte) and Nicole (Bauman), they've proven they can score and defend. They still have a lot to work on, but, again, with the situation with Lindsay, she felt like she wanted more playing time. It's hard to get them all in there when they want to get in. It wasn't a situation where she wasn't getting an opportunity, in my opinion. She might say something different.
I tell the kids all the time your opportunity comes in practice, and when I can get you in there, I will. I'm not sitting anybody on the bench that I feel like can help us. But there are different times and different situations. Sometimes it's matchups. Sometimes it's shooting ability. Sometimes it's ball handling ability. And each kid has something they do well and other things that they don't do well.
It just when kids feel like they want to play and they think they should be, and, of course, I don't know if you ever talked to any player will tell you they didn't agree with their coach. That just goes with the territory. And if they feel like they have to move on to do that, I have nothing but high praises for Lindsay. I think she's going to contribute to wherever she lands. With the ability that she has, I think it's going to be an asset to whatever program she decides she wants to be a part of.
But it's just hard with a lot of guards.
Question: With the way your freshmen are playing, as a new coach, do you think that maybe what you're preaching in practice, what their success is on the court, do you as a newer coach feel like you're reaching them?
Kelsey: I do. I'm like a dog with a bone. I just keep gnawing and gnawing and gnawing at you until you get it. Some heads are thicker than others. Some skulls you can't penetrate. You've got to get a jackhammer to get in there. Some you can just tap it, it's an egg, you can just tap it and get right in there.
With freshmen, they just don't know. A lot of times, they don't they're coming from high school. They're coming from different systems. Dakota's (Whyte) come from Canada. The basketball is different up there.
So a lot of this beginning period for the freshmen is just getting acclimated to what college basketball is about the pace, the physicality, the demands on and off the court, me yelling at them, me getting on them, but also encouraging them that they can do it. If I didn't think they could, I wouldn't have recruited them.
But I said, “You told me you want to play, so here you go. So play. Don't come out here timid and scared. You've got to go out there and play.” And they've done that, and I think this last game against an SEC opponent, very athletic, just high energy, they showed that they can do it.
So now my expectation is that you won't give me less than what I've seen. The difference is I didn't see it. Now you've shown it to me. Now you've got to come up to the standard of playing that way or better every time you get an opportunity.
Question: So I was going to ask about Dakota (Whyte). What kind of a head does she have as far as your gnawing or cracking?
Kelsey: Like on the walnut side. It's not as easy to get in there as I would like, but Dakota and I'm making fun. She's a great kid. I love her to death. And because I've had an established relationship with her for a long time recruiting her, she knows, when I get on her, it's for her benefit, and I'm never out there to embarrass her or make them look bad.
Again, she has so much ability that she does not realize she has yet. But I'm getting in that head, that walnut of a head of hers. You saw flashes of it in the game. She's a very good ball handler when she takes her time and reads the situation. She can shoot the ball. She just has a lot of upside, but, again, she's a freshman. You've got to train them and mold them and shape them and get them where you want them to be.
But Dakota's a great player, and she will be for us for a long time.
Question: When did you first see her and talk a little bit more about the areas of improvement she has made.
Kelsey: Kyle (Rechlicz) actually she was recruiting Dakota for Dayton. And when Kyle came on board with us, she said there's a little point guard up in Canada that we need to make sure we're on. So I'm not sure exactly when I first saw her, but I think it was in Canada somewhere. She lived up to Kyle's evaluation, and then it was a matter of just getting in contact with her coaches and her and her calling us because, obviously, we can't call them at certain times of the year.
We just connected, she and I, for some reason. Easy to talk to, cute kid, just a great personality. Really wants to do well, and I'm telling her, we need a point guard. We need you. And so through conversation and getting to know her, it just kind of worked out. I'm very glad she's here, though. She's really going to help our team.
Question: Bobbie, you had a pretty good battle with Marquette last year. Could you kind of give us the scouting report of their team this year and what messages you might be sending to your team here in the next couple of days perhaps.
Kelsey: They're more experienced now with their freshmen, obviously, having gained a year of experience. They have Sarina Simmons, who a big, strong, 6-1, left handed guard post on the perimeter. They have (Katherine) Plouffe inside. She's really good. They have a point guard, freshman point guard, (Brooklyn) Pumroy, I think that's how she says her name. So they have a lot of pieces to what they're doing.
And I think they're doing much of the same, trying to get their shooters open and get it to their bigs on the inside. So we don't match up quite as well with them, but, again, if you got Jackie (Gulczynski) and AnnMarie (Brown) who can step away. So their bigs are going to have to come out. Then when they get on the block, we have to then adjust to what they're doing. It will be an adjustment for both teams to try to figure out how to guard certain individuals.
We certainly hope our shooting continues to go for us because then it makes it a little bit easier on you when you're hitting shots. And getting rebounds.
Question: You talked about recruiting earlier. How important is it to put on a good showing against an in state rival in terms of recruiting?
Kelsey: It's important. Just for pride's sake, for in state rivalry's sake. Kids still don't know about us on that level. Marquette is obviously more known for their history of getting in NCAA tournaments and stuff like that. So I don't know outside the state how big it is for people. It's something you can obviously use in recruiting.
But I look at more the conference matchups. If you beat an ACC or SEC team or BIG EAST team, that probably means more to kids than if we beat Marquette or if they beat us. I don't know how much that helps them or helps us. But in state, obviously, the kids in state know more about both teams than kids that don't live in Wisconsin.
But you want to win every game. You don't care who it's against. You just want to win.
Question: What would you say Dakota's (Whyte) strengths and weaknesses are at this point?
Kelsey: At this point, her strengths are her ball handling, her instincts. She pushes it. You'd never see her walk the ball up the floor. She doesn't know how to walk it up. That's fine with me. I love that. I don't have to tell her to push it. She just does it naturally.
Her shot is improving, her reading the defense. I think Dakota has to figure out when to score, when not to, how to set everybody else up. She's in the point guard position, so she's going to have to really figure out how to get everybody else involved and not just her decision making, I think, has got to improve.
Her defense has to improve. I mean, she's got a lot. But her upside is so huge because she can do things that you cannot teach or takes too long to teach that you'd rather just recruit it and refine it than try to teach it. I'm not that good. I don't know if others are, but my time is better used other ways.
Question: You and I have probably seen a lot of basketball seasons through the years, and things happen. People get injured. People don't play well. Are you surprised at all that Makailah (Dyer) and Lindsay (Smith) would make a decision now to do this. There's things that happen during seasons where then people get chances.
Kelsey: I think their situations are a little bit different. Makailah, she was more of a realist in that she was behind all the guards, and it was going to be hard to crack into the lineup. And she's a freshman. So it probably was better for her to decide now as opposed to waiting a year to decide.
Lindsay was more surprising because she was playing last year and she was hurt a little bit this year. She had the hip flexor issues and the concussion. So we were a little bit more surprised that she decided to leave now as opposed to and Taylor (Wurtz) being out, that's an opportunity.
But, again, when kids want to do what they want to do and their parents and all these different voices in their heads, it's hard to say, hey, be patient. Your time is coming. We need you. So, again, I don't ever tell a kid I advise them. I try to give them the situation, the real situation from our vantage point as coaches, what we're seeing and what we're trying to do.
But some kids want things now. They don't that waiting stuff is that's too much. You'd have to ask Lindsay exactly what her mindset and thinking was to leave now. But, again, she wasn't asked to leave. She just decided that was more of what was going to make her happy.
And the bottom line is, if that's going to make her happy, we wish her nothing but the best.