Dec. 9, 2010
DES MOINES – When Lisa Stone walked into the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus Wednesday night, the first thing she looked for was a reminder of one of her most successful seasons as a coach.
“I looked up and the first thing I looked for was the Sweet 16 banner … that means a lot,” said Stone. “I hadn’t been in this gym since the day I walked out of here and it’s been eight years. It was very nostalgic. I walked by the old offices – some very fond memories here.”
Stone returns to Drake, where she was the head coach for three seasons, for the first time since coming to Wisconsin in 2003. Stone was 64-27 from 2001-03 at Drake, aiding the Bulldogs to two NCAA tournament appearances. Drake lost in the first round of the tournament in 2001 with Stone earning Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors. The Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2002. The banner from that season and many others line the court at the Knapp Center.
“Lots have changed since then,” said Stone. “Drake gave me an opportunity. I still call it home in a lot ways. I know it means a lot (for) both Steph (Janke) and I to be here and know what happened while we were here and to know what will hopefully happen tomorrow night against (Drake).”
Janke, the UW’s director of basketball operations, played at Drake from 1998-2002. She (then Schmitz) ended her career ranked third in assists with 546 and was also fourth in steals (220) and fifth in 3-point field goals made (135). Janke was a two-time all-conference selection, averaging 13.2 points and 4.6 assists per game as a senior.
The Badgers and Bulldogs tip off at 7 p.m. tonight from the Knapp Center. Wisconsin (2-7) is looking to snap a seven-game losing streak against Drake (5-2).
Stone and Janke expect to see several former secretaries, an event manager and the department historian as well as some former players at the game tonight.
“I don’t know how many will be here,” said Stone. “I know there are a lot of boosters and a lot of fans that followed us. They’re just Drake women’s basketball fans – it doesn’t matter who the coach is. It will be nice to see those folks.
“It will be a very welcome return. It’s really neat to be back.”
Stone and her Badgers are looking to turn things around and get back on the winning track.
“The attitude of the team is very good in terms of the team, and the belief in that we can get this thing turned around,” said Stone. “What’s wavering right now may be their confidence. And that is something that we need to continue to drill and find success, have some fun, lighten it up a little bit, but continue to put our players in a pressure situation in practice so it carries over to the game.”