Dec. 8, 2009
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin women's basketball coach Lisa Stone talked with the media on Monday as her team plays three games in the next week. The Badgers (7-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) wrap up their six-game road swing on Friday, playing at intrastate rival Marquette (5-2). Tip-off is at 7 p.m. from the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee. The Golden Eagles play at Illinois on Wednesday before hosting the Badgers.
Wisconsin returns home on Sunday, taking on SIU Edwardsville (2-7). Game time is 4 p.m. from the Kohl Center. The Cougars play at Wichita State on Friday before coming to Madison.
A complete transcription of her comments can be found below. You can also watch the video here.
Fans who purchase four general admission tickets to the SIU Edwardsville game will receive a free Bucky Book. Tickets must be purchased in advance, using the promotional code: BUCKYBOOK.Click here to buy your tickets.
Sunday is also UW Student day with free admission with a valid student ID. The first 75 students will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and soda.
Coach, you obviously had an excellent first half against Ohio State the other day. Just what is, what did that show you about your team, whether it's resiliency or toughness? I mean, what did that say about this team?
I was very proud of our team, the way we went into Ohio State with a different look on our face than we've had in the past. There was no intimidation, an unbelievable belief in the game plan, and you're playing a team that's been ranked as high as second in the country, averaging well over 80 points a game and its 28-20 at halftime. We weren't celebrating at halftime, we just knew we had to stick to the game plan. And despite eight minutes in that second half, we played about as well as we could against a great Ohio State team. But (I was) very, very impressed with our team's focus, their belief. We talk about being resilient. We talk about understanding who we are and how we play and there's a lot of really good things to take from that game.
Coach, last four games, three wins and a loss. The point scoring has all been in the mid-50s. Are you concerned about that level of point production?
No. It's a possession game and if we have 50 and they have 45, it's going to come out on the right end of the track. Again, we're in the midst of a six-game road swing and game six comes up here on Friday and I'm real proud (of our team's) resiliency. Our team has definitely showed some toughness, some resiliency, just an amazing ability to overcome some tough situations. I'd like to see, obviously, more points on the board, but again, we're doing what we have to do on the defensive end. We've challenged some of our players, in particular our post players, to get a few more - get some production in that post, on the block (and) that's going to help on the perimeter as well. But we're facing some good teams and again, we've been very pleased with how tough we've been on the road.
Coach, when it comes to these intra-state games, do you kind of stress to the team that it's important to pick these wins up to make sure that Marquette, or Wisconsin rather, tries to remain kind of the marquee program in the state?
Any time you play anybody in the state, you throw out the records. Case in point was our Milwaukee game and our Green Bay game. You're going to get everybody's best shot and it's important that we understand that Marquette's a very good team, led by a great point guard in Angel Robinson. We're going to their place and it's important that we continue to take the good from these last few games that we've had and continue momentum, continue to do the good things that we do. And again, understand that it's, with inner-state ... there's going to be some rivalry there. It's important that we go in there and play our game and play the way we play.
I know you can't do anything about this, but the stretch you've been on, with the road games and then the turnaround that you're going, have you been through anything like this, the amount of games and the travel and everything that's been involved?
You sometimes wonder how to get home anymore because you haven't been there in awhile. Due to our scheduling, the way it is, from the ACC Challenge that NC State game was on the road or the tournament, three games in three days. It's been probably one of the toughest preseason schedules that we've had in terms of travel and short turnaround. Again, we play on Friday then Sunday then Tuesday and that in large part, is due to finals week. Finals start next week and we can't play during finals week. Other people have their finals week this week. Ohio State started finals today.
It's the way the schedule is and when our facilities are available. It is what it is and we'll deal with it, but we find out a lot about our team through this and we're hoping it will pay dividends for us later, because once you get to the Big Ten season, its two games a week. There will be all kinds of time for practice. But right now, we're learning on the fly. And Mike (Eaves) had mentioned that too. You learn a lot through game experience and we're finding out a lot about our young team and we're getting great production from our bench.
Coach, would you say this is one of the deepest, if not the deepest team depth wise that you've had. You got production out of Anya Covington, Jamie Russell, Taylor Wurtz. I mean, the list goes on and on.
Yeah, you need your bench and particularly right now. I mean, when you're road weary a little bit and whether someone comes up with an injury and Ashley Thomas was injured earlier, to get her back into the post rotation is huge for us. She did a great job against Ohio State yesterday. It's nice to have her back at full strength. We can go to different people depending on the game situation. Jamie Russell provides us a ton of quickness, ability to elevate, defensively is a ball hawker and she's been getting some key minutes in some tough situations that she didn't have early in the season. So every day at practice those kids come to compete and in the fact that they know that the bench is going to get them play makes practice that much more competitive.
You talked about how proud you were of your team yesterday, especially in the first half. Do you think your squad gained some confidence playing down there and being with them for as long as you were?
I think so, but I also think they're disappointed. I think our team is disappointed for those eight minutes we didn't get the job done. And so knowing that abiding by the game plan and going in there focused and not intimidated and playing in, against one of the top teams in the country, at their place, doing what we did ... Yes, there's some confidence, but also there's disappointment because we didn't get the job done.