MODERATOR: Coach Fennelly, please introduce your player, make an opening comment or two, and we'll go from there.
BILL FENNELLY: I
have Brittany Wilkins with us today.
want to thank everyone for coming. This is always an exciting time of year to
start the basketball season. We're looking forward to being part of what the Big
12 has to offer. I don't think there's any question year in, year out this is
truly the most special league in the country with the fans and the Hall of Fame
coaches and so many great players and hopefully
Q. Update on Heather?
COACH BILL FENNELLY: Heather Ezell is one of our freshmen who was hospitalized for a week with a staph infection. She is out for about two more weeks. She has a pickline, I.V. -- permanent I.V. for the next two weeks. She runs around with a bag on her hip shooting jump shots. And she shoots better than anybody on our team with an I.V. in her arm. She's doing a lot better. Probably won't be available for two, three weeks. Basically what I told her is flush October 2005 and when November starts we will start over. Hopefully when November comes she will be back practicing.
Q. So start of the season unlikely she'll be --
COACH BILL FENNELLY: I think she should be ready to go by the start of the regular season opener November 20. I don't think she will be ready -- we have exhibition November the 6th. I would doubt that she'd be ready to play that night, but for sure we're planning on November 20. Hopefully it goes that way.
Q. (Inaudible) a bit of a dark horse (inaudible) team that can surprise some people in the north?
COACH BILL FENNELLY: I wasn't surprised that we were picked 9th. I thought that was probably appropriate. We lost a lot of great players. Look at all the percentage of rebounding and percentage of scoring, returning, were not we're not real high.
hope we can surprise some people. I think we can. I think we have players that
understand what it means to have an
Q. How different does it look at your practice and not seeing Anne and all the starters from last year and how different will your team be this next year?
COACH BILL FENNELLY: It is, to be honest with you personally, it is extremely difficult. Much more than how good of basketball players they were, those five seniors did more for our university and for me personally than anyone I have ever been around in my life probably. That was very hard to not go out there. But at the same time I am very, very excited about the kids we have back, with Brit, Lyndsey, Megan who understand it.
have some freshmen I think will make an impact on our program and we're trying
to play and understand what it means to wear an
As you mentioned, those kids – Tracey Paustain is student coach, Katie Robinette works on our scout team so we get to see them. Mary Fox and Anne O'Neil and Lisa Kriener emailed me or called me right before practice started. There's still a part of
it -- and hopefully the current players understand what that means, and they will play and act and conduct themselves in a way that those players did. Thank you for asking.
Q. Looks like the north division is really jumbled. Some of the teams that weren't successful have a lot of people back. Other teams lose a lot and are rebuilding. How do you see the north this year?
Well, I think very similar to last year. I don't think there is a great team
right now in the northern division, but I think there's a lot of teams that --
Patterson is always going to be good. They have recruited very well. And
And hopefully all of us will be able to also say that we played some pretty good basketball because in this league you get 6th or 7th place you got a great chance to be in the N.C.A.A. tournament. I think the northern division is going to be an -- like last year, we had our own little chart just for the northern division games because we really felt that was going to impact the end of our season. I don't think that will be something that we should probably throw away. Should probably bring it back out.
Q. Brittany, with all the kids you lost and just I would say very strong personality strong character kids along with good basketball players. How is this team developing it's personality and chemistry can you tell so far this early?
COACH BILL FENNELLY: This summer all five of the freshmen came up and took classes and worked out and I think that really showed a lotof commitment on their part just to the program and the roll this they are going to play this year in our program. Just over the last couple of weeks we just been getting to know each other more. Last year we just knew each other so well, that core five seniors.
But I think our team has a lot of potential to do that this year. We had kind of like a team retreat a couple of weekends ago that just really kind of opened a lot of doors just to get to know their personalities, you know, besides them as basketball players because I think that's really important for our program, just the chemistry that we have off the court I think is huge. Because it carries onto the court as well. I am excited to get to know the five freshmen and just what they have to offer for our program. I think that they got a lot of expectations and I think they can do it. They have had a great preseason, and I am excited to see how our personalities come together and stuff.
Q. Is this Iowa State team going to look as much like the traditional Iowa State teams or is this one going to be something new, something different?
BILL FENNELLY: I
hope it looks like the traditional
We have kind have gone from a traditional four guard one post to maybe a little taller lineup. I think that's the only thing that would probably to the casual fan look a little different but hopefully the Iowa State Jersey will still represent the same kinds of things and the way we play and the way we act and represent our school and obviously represent our conference.
Q. Brit, seems like a lot of the teams that are here talk about being really stronger at the post than in past years. Overall, do you think does it seem like this is maybe going to be a post year in the conference this year, who
in the conference impresses you as far as the other opposing centers?
BRITTANY WILKINS: I would just have to say that I mean, post game is gone up the level of play has definitely improved and gone up. The girls are getting bigger, stronger, faster, and I think we have a lot to offer like our freshmen, you know, Rachel Pierson and Nicky Wieben in particularly have really stepped up and, yeah, you just got to go out there and every day roll the ball out and bring that effort that Coach Fennelly talks about every day.
You are going to go against people that might be bigger against you or faster than you but you can always outwork them and Coach Fennelly always talks about rebounding. You can have a 5'9" girl be the best rebounder on your team. It is about height but it is more about effort. Yeah the post game is obviously strong in the Big 12 you can see that on Baylor's team with Sophia Young and just her game and stuff. Just come in every day with that effort and bring in what you have to
Are you any more concerned than usual about going to
BILL FENNELLY: No,
I am always concerned when we play