Bill Fennelly Media Day Transcription

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly met with the press Monday afternoon to discuss the upcoming 2002-03 campaign. The Cyclones will be without the likes of Angie Welle and Tracy Gahan this season, but there is hope that they can rebound with a solid returning backcourt that's being bolstered by the addition of Anne O'Neil. Here is a complete transcription of Fennelly's press conference.

on moving forward with losses of Angie Welle and Tracy Gahan:

"It's very difficult, obviously. That's not just with what kind of players they were, but you're talking about kids that started for four years, won 103 games, have their names attached to pretty much every record we have at Iowa State, and, more importantly, the kind of people they were and the way they handled themselves. The leadership they gave our team will be missed."

"From a basketball standpoint, we go from all-conference center to someone who hasn't played one minute of college basketball and someone who's going to be playing a new position. With Tracy we lose maybe the most versatile player we've ever had at Iowa State. It's a huge loss and no one can say that it's not. We don't have one person that can replace them, but that's what college basketball is all about. You hopefully build a program over time. It's other people's opportunity right now."

on outlook of backcourt:

"Our guard play will be very good. I wouldn't trade Lindsey Wilson for any point guard in the country. She's tough and knows how to win. This is her team now. I don't think anybody denies that. She grew with Stacy Frese, Megan Taylor, Angie (Welle) and Tracy (Gahan). Now she's the undisputed leader of our team and likes that role. She has wanted that in the past, but never really got that chance."

"Guard-wise, if we were playing in a 6-foot and under league, we might not lose a game. You've got to have great guard play to win at any level. Look at Oklahoma's team last year. They didn't really have a true center and made it to the national championship game."

more on backcourt:

"People are going to have a hard time guarding us, but on the other hand how are we going to guard them? You may see us play Lindsey, Megan, Erica and Anne altogether, so we could have four point guards on the court at the same time."

"June is healthy and looks good. Hopefully Anne O'Neil's knee is coming along like we hoped. Tracy Paustian, Mary Fox and Mary Cofield got some time last year. Megan McCracken is a kid that everybody will like to watch. She's talented and aggressive."

"Offensively, we still want to run the ball, shoot the three and do those kinds of things. With a smaller team hopefully we'll get to the free-throw line a lot. That's something we've worked hard on this fall. Defensive rebounding and guarding in the post will be an issue. Plus we've got to stay out of foul trouble."

on outlook of frontcourt, with Lisa Kriener and Brittany Wilkins:

"It's going to be those two, but I think they both can do it. Lisa Kriener will start, no questions about it. You want recognize her as a player or person. I don't know what she did over the summer, but I wish all of our players would do it. She's confident and her talent level and game is better. She's only 6-1, but at the same time can play bigger than that."

"Right now Lisa would start and Brittany would be behind her. Brittany is coming on. I think she's still a little behind physically, coming back from a knee injury and has never played Division I basketball."

on what the expectations are for those two after what Welle provided last four years:

"The thing that I've talked to them about is that Angie Welle averaged around 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. We don't need to get quite that much production, but we need to get it out of two people. Lisa is not Angie Welle and doesn't need to think in those terms."

"It just means that everybody else has got to get better. Lindsey has got to score more. June has to shoot the ball more. Mary Cofield has to score more. So it's not fair to say that Lisa Kriener has to take up where Angie left off. That's not fair to anyone. The older, more experienced kids have to do that, and they're capable."

on progress of Anne O'Neil since having offseason knee surgery:

"Her knee is very good, she's been released by the doctor and will go full go on October 12. She played pick-up games for the first time last Thursday. She's been held back a little bit, because there was no reason to rush her."

"She will be counted on a great deal and can play a lot of different positions. This kid has waited a long time to get back out and play. She stayed here all summer and rehabbed very hard, then had a good fall of individual workouts. She appears to be ready to go and is a big part of what we need to do."

"When you're trying to find a way to get 35 points that you lose with Angie and Tracy, Anne can definitely score. We're trying to find the best position for her, whether it's big guard or small forward. We don't really know that yet, but she's good with the ball and knows how to win."

on what lack of inside game could mean:

"We don't have anybody like last year that we can just post up on the block. If you come watch us practice, all of our players this year are doing everything. Every single player is learning how to post up, shoot threes and dribble the ball. Literally, we could put five kids that are 6-1 and smaller on the court. In our league, a lot of people play pressure man-to-man defense, so we'll draw them away from the basket and put the ball on the deck and try to go by them. Every single kid we have feels more comfortable with the ball in their hands going to the basket."

"We've got to be more aggressive off the dribble and get to the free-throw line. Last year we had chances to score some easy points, because Angie could run so well and was tough to guard in the post. Finding easy baskets may be harder for us, so maybe that comes from the free-throw line and three-point plays. Maybe a little more aggressive defensive style will create some more turnovers. Last year we created a turnover about once every half, so maybe we can do that more."

on how ISU stacks up in the Big 12:

"I think we'll probably be picked sixth or seventh. Texas Tech and K-State have to be prohibitive favorites. They don't lose anybody. Texas Tech will have Plenette Pierson back and that doesn't hurt. Kansas State doesn't lose anybody except for Kristin Rethman and I think they'll replace her. Texas also has a lot of players back. Those are the three teams most people are going to point to."

"Baylor lost a lot in graduation and we lost a lot. Oklahoma lost a lot, but I think they're going to be better than people think. I think Caton Hill is going to be great. If you gave me one player in our league to start a team with, Caton Hill would be my choice. Oklahoma also has a transfer that's good. Colorado is good in the post and their guard play could be."

on how conference has changed from one season ago:

"You're not going to see seven teams in the top 15. There are going to be a lot of good teams, but it's probably going to be like in year's past where there were one or two dominating teams. I could see a Texas Tech or K-State doing that with Texas on the fringe trying to break into that level."

on expectations for Erica Junod:

"With June, the number one thing for us is we hope she's healthy and not hurt. She had mono and her knee injury. She's a kid that has the best shot of anybody's in the country. If you wanted to take a video and show somebody how to shoot the ball, that's the kid you take a video of. She's athletic, jumps well and can rebound from the guard spot. She handles the ball enough and can guard a bigger kid. We need her to really do the things that we've always hoped she could do."

"I think she's ready and is a fourth-year junior. From an experience factor, nothing is going to faze her. The work ethic that she showed to get back to play last year shows the type of player she is. She's always had a little bit of Tracy Gahan's disease, as far as being a little reluctant to shoot. She's got to get over that."

"I've said this every year. For our team, when we've been good, you always have a surprise. Maybe June is the type of kid that can get us 12 to 14 points a game. I don't think that would be a surprise to us, but it would surprise a lot of people because she hasn't done it yet."

on Wilson assuming leadership role this season:

"I don't think Lindsey Wilson wants her senior year to be one where the team doesn't achieve like she wants it to. She'll handle it great. Lindsey Wilson is going to have to trust to drive and kick the ball to a freshman. She's going to have to trust throwing the ball to Lisa Kriener and Brittany Wilkins in the post. At times she's not going to want to take over games and be capable of that. She's smart enough to know that she can't do it by herself and has done a great job this fall."

"If you ask Megan McCracken, the person that's helped her the most is Lindsey Wilson. She likes that and knows this is her team. Seniors are always very important to Iowa State. They get the most attention and are on the media guides and posters. I let them dictate a lot of things that would happen."

on how Kriener has changed her approach:

"Last year she was someone that, anytime she did something wrong, she felt like she left 11,000 people down, her coaches and teammates. She seems much more confident now. No question she's more physically fit. Her ability level has grown over the summer. She played in that summer league in North Liberty. She's really a different person. I don't know if that's a natural progression from freshman to sophomore year or what, but it's been amazing."

"She knew at the end of last year that we weren't going to sign anybody over the summer and no one was going to grow six inches. It was going to be Lisa and Brittany. I told those two that life is full of opportunities and there aren't two inside players in this country that have a better opportunity then those two. They're the only two that we have. We have great guard play and, to Lisa's credit, she took advantage of that and sees the opportunity. She has the chance to be a very good player."

on how defensive approach of team could change:

"We're going to try and press a little more and extend our defense. Since we've been here, this is the first year where we don't have one play to isolate somebody for sure in the post. Right now our best low-post player may be Anne O'Neil. We're not going to have that kind of style."

on if he thinks of this season as one of transition:

"There's no question that we're rebuilding some. I don't think there is anybody that's going to pick us in the top 25 or to win the Big 12. It's a different team and different challenge."

"Even though we knew that certain things were coming, this time last year we were looking at Nina Smith and Melanie Bremer. They're not here. We didn't have time and could not find the right type of player to fill in those spots. If we weren't in the Big 12 and were in a different league playing with a 6-foot-1 center, it wouldn't scare you as much. But we're in the Big 12 and they're going to have to play against some of the best centers in the country."

on the role of senior Mary Cofield:

"Mary will be a little bit of everywhere. We had to fix her knee at the end of the year. What she did against Temple gave her a lot of confidence for the rest of the summer. We're going to play at the three and four. She's someone that probably can get to the basket as well as anyone. She's got a good first step and jumps well."

"She's got to be more aggressive offensively, but she wasn't going to be last year. You're talking about a kid that had transferred from an NAIA school and you're playing with Angie, Tracy and Lindsey. You're not going to be the person that's real assertive. I think she will be this year."

on what starting lineup would be if season started now:

"If we had a game tonight, we would start Lindsey Wilson at the one, Erica Junod at the two and Lisa Kriener at the five. Then either Mary Cofield, Anne O'Neil or Holly Bordewyk would start at the other two spots. I couldn't say which one right now. Those six would be there initially."

on Holly Bordewyk being the possible surprise player he wants to have:

"Everyone who knows Holly Bordewyk is pulling for her. She's a great kid and has never complained. She worked as hard this summer as anybody. When you think about it, why? How many 20-year old kids would put themselves through what she did this summer and have absolutely no guarantee you're going to play? That says a lot about her as a human being, let alone as a basketball player."

"Holly could really give us a lot of time and will be given a chance. She had a great summer and played well in that summer league. She was getting 25 or 27 points. The challenge for Holly has always been putting it out here. She's done well in the fall and does well in practice. Hopefully this year she can just say this is it and let's go."

on what Bordewyk needs to do in order to gain a starting job or spot in the rotation:

"We need to see a little more consistency. She needs to limit her turnovers. Defensively, she needs to know where to go and be as aggressive as she's capable of being. She can shoot the trailing three on the break and that's good."

"If she is able to start, she needs to be satisfied to be the fifth starter and hit your open shots, throw the ball to the right person and be a quarterback that doesn't want to lose the game. At the end of the game, nine points, four rebounds, two assists and no turnovers is good enough. And she knows that now. She has always tried to hard to be a little bit more than that."

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