Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly was in a very unhappy mood after Wednesday night's 61-50 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks. During the press conference, Fennelly continually brought up how the Cyclones were out coached by the Kansas coaching staff, and he was taking all of the blame upon himself for the poor performance. Read all of what Coach Fennelly had to say about his team's performance and what he said needs to be improved upon for the future right here.
Bill Fennelly: There is not a better coach in our league than Bonnie [Henrickson]. We were totally out coached, totally out prepared for this game and we are going to have to make some adjustments for us to have a chance to be a good team. I take full responsibility for that. I'm glad we won. I'm happy for our kids. I'm happy for our fans. It's my responsibility to get them to understand what it takes to play and be successful, and obviously I'm not doing it. We are fortunate that we made some free throws at the end to win the game, but they were much more prepared than us. That's my fault, and it won't happen again.
You had to be happy with the finish to the game.
BF: The positive is we found a way to win. Last year, I don't know that we could have done that. Toccara did a great job making her free throws. We knew they were going to foul a lot. We talked for a couple days to defensive rebound the ball, make free throws and don't turn the ball over and we could win. We didn't defensive rebound the ball very well. I don't know if I've ever coached a game where I walked in to the locker room and held the other team to 14 at halftime and really felt you were in trouble. That's exactly how I felt tonight. That's the one thing I was right about. We've got to be a lot of things better. I told them "welcome to the Big 12. Enjoy being 1-0. Be happy that we won the game. Don't even worry about Missouri. We will go back to practice tomorrow." For us to have a chance to be a good team, we have to learn to adapt to the style of the other team. The first half we didn't do that at all in my opinion.
What was it that disappointed you in this game?
BF: I don't care what level you play. I think there was one time that we played defense for two minutes. We told them all the time that they are going to run the clock down, which they did. They banked in a couple threes and made a couple other tough shots to their credit. There were a number of times that we had the right people that we wanted shooting the ball and missing and then they would get the rebound. That can't happen. Against a team that's a little bit older and a little bit more mature, they are going to make the second and third shots. Literally the one time I think we did guard for almost two minutes. I think they had the ball four times. You can't do that. We had 19 turnovers and half of them are great defense, but when you have an offensive foul in the post, a three-second call, throw the ball out of bounds twice on an outlet pass, that's bad coaching. That is my responsibility, and that's embarrassing. That stuff does not happen. We have got to correct it. The other team is going to guard hard. They are going to make you turn the ball over from time to time. They are going to be physical with you, but those are things that we have to correct. I have to find players that believe in what we are telling them and coach them better and get them to understand it. Absolutely nothing against Kansas, but I don't think anyone is picking them to win the Big 12. It's going to be a lot tougher starting on Saturday and down the road. We sent a message that we are competitive and we are going to fight to win, and we sent a message to the rest of the league that if you maul us we can't handle it. It's been that way here for a long time. We've got to find people that can embrace that mentality and understand that's what this league is about. Right now, I'm not doing a good enough job to get them to understand that.
You will probably be facing the same kind of game plan on Saturday.
BF: Yeah. There are a lot of coaches in this league that are obviously a lot better than me, and they know how to play us. You maul Lyndsey Medders, and you physically abuse them on the backboard. That's how you play us, and that's how everyone is going to play us. We have got to learn to understand and do a better job of that. Alison Lacey gave us 22 minutes and didn't turn the ball over. Megan Ronhovde doesn't make a shot but doesn't turn the ball over. At least they are defending and doing something to impact winning, which last year we didn't have those people. Toccara struggled most of the game but rose up at the end and made some plays. That's something to be proud of and I am. Nicky struggled but made some free throws at the end and made some shots. It's not that we are not capable, but right now we have got to understand what this level is all about and what this league is all about. It's no secret. Chase them off the three-point line and just beat the crap out of them. That's how everyone is going to play us. We got away with it tonight because we made enough free throws at the end, but we only shot the ball 34 times. I don't know if I've ever seen that either. I like this team a great deal. They are good people. They are great kids. I will leave it at that.
Nicky did get it going in the second half.
BF: Obviously if people are going chase you off the three-point line and mug you on the perimeter, you have to go inside. The first three plays we had set up. We ran a really good back cut for a layup. The very next play we ran for Nicky right underneath the net and she missed it. I don't know what else we could have done to run a better play. We just missed it. The second half she got more engaged. She wanted the ball. We had to throw it in there because we couldn't get a perimeter shot off. It was either her, T or Rachel. One of them was going to have to make a shot because that's the shot that we were going to get. Rachel is still struggling to find opportunities to score, but Nicky and T were aggressive. They got to the line 18 times and made 16 of them. Them being able to finish free throws was probably the difference in the game. That was our advantage. It wasn't anything that we didn't expect. We just couldn't get it done. To their credit, they had a bad first half but the second half they both contributed. We told them that Kansas doesn't win a lot of games if the other team gets to 60. It took us a hell of a long time to get to 60, but we did. Like I said, I am happy for them that they won and I'm happy for our fans. We've got a lot of work to do. We will go to the film room tomorrow and see if we can get better.