Head Coach Lisa Bluder Quotes Opening Statement:
We are definitely a team with great chemistry, terrific work ethic and a lot of good people. So I am very excited about this year.
Megan Skouby had an absolute terrific freshman year and I think she is ready to continue to build on that. I know a lot of people would love to have Megan as their center to build a team around and we plan on doing that this year.
Krista (VandeVenter) is on track to become the all-time leading rebound in Iowa history if she can continue on her present rate. We have given her that challenge and her response to a very lengthy email in response to one that I wrote to her was that ‘you can count on it'. So I think she has the right mindset that she is ready to tackle that type of a goal and come out of here as the all-time leading rebounder.
Krista and Megan make a great inside combination for us.
Kristi (Smith) had a terrific freshman year. She holds the freshman assist record at Iowa.
I like her (Smith's) back-up in Abby Emmert too. I think Abby has had two terrific years for us. I know that she is going to play an important role in backing-up Kristi for us.
Wendy (Ausdemore) was just waiting in the wings last year. She could have easily been a starter for us last year. She paid some dues as a freshman and I think she is ready to really enjoy her next three years. She is bigger, stronger and faster than last year and I think she is going to have a terrific three years in an Iowa uniform.
We are extremely excited about the women that we have returning on our team.
I think we are going to have an exciting product on the floor again this year and a great opportunity for people to come out and support our team.
On somebody stepping up and making perimeter shots:
Crystal (Smith) did that so well for us during the past two years, so it's definitely the concern of our team right now. Who is going to become the 3-point shooter, who is going to become that scorer from outside?
Kristi (Smith) was our best field goal percentage shooter from 3-point range last year. She averaged over 40-percent shooting from 3-point range. I really think that she will be able to continue and probably improve her shot as a sophomore. I also believe Wendy Ausdemore definitely has the capability.
One thing that we are really going to have to prove is that can we shoot threes.
On the health status of players that were injured last year:
Stacy and Nicole both had really good summers. Johanna (Solverson) did not have a good summer (health wise), she's behind a little bit. We hope to have her back by the Big Ten season. Obviously, it would be a big boost to get her back. Zoraa Quoie did not have a good summer (health wise), so she's a little behind schedule, she's not where we thought she'd be, but again we hope to have her back by Big Ten season.
On the team's depth:
Yeah, I think depth is a concern for us. Anytime you have only 11 players on a roster you have to make sure that nobody gets injured. Depth will be a situation in which we are going to battle all year.
I'm amazed how successful we were last year with how poorly a team we were rebounding. I guess it's because we took care of the ball and shot well and it made up for some poor rebounding nights. Rebounding is an area in which we took such a dive in last year, from the previous year. It's definitely something that we need to improve on. I've always been a coach that one of first statistics I look at after a game is rebounding. I feel like physically we're doing some good things, but mentally we need to understand the importance a little more.
On Megan Skouby:
I think Megan has changed for the better mentally. When she came in here as a freshman, I don't think she really thought she was going to contribute that much as a freshman. I don't think she really understood how much we really needed her until Stacy went down with an injury, and that's when it registered to her that yeah, I can play at this level and I'm going to be counted on this year. I think having an entire year and a summer knowing of what's going to be asked of her has made the biggest change in Megan.
I think a reasonable expectation for Megan is all-conference. I think before she leaves here, I don't think Kodak All-American is out of the question.
On Krista VandeVenter being able to increase her scoring output:
Krista is someone I would like see average a double-double. I think she's very capable of doing that; that would take a little bit of the pressure off of Megan underneath. I think we need Krista to gain some confidence in her shot, but I really believe she's ready this year. I think she shot ball better in preseason workouts and took the shooting drills a little more serious this time and I think that'll pay dividends for her.
On Big Ten Schedule:
It's the toughest we've ever had since I've been coaching here. I was shocked when I saw that we play everyone in the bottom-division one time, it's ironic. It's possible that we may be a better team than someone ranked ahead of us in the standings at the end of the year, just by virtue of the schedule.
On the team's leaders:
Krista VandeVenter and Stacy Schlapkohl are our captains this year voted on by their teammates. But, I also see Abby Emmert and Wendy Ausdemore giving excellent leadership and vocal effort on the floor. I think those four women will be our court leaders this year.
On the possibility of a 3-forward lineup:
We could have a lot of very unusual combinations on the floor. We want to have the best five players on the floor.
On Lindsey Nyenhuis:
She can definitely give us the potential of a 3-point threat. We're going to have to convince her to play defense and once we do that, she's going to be a very fine player for us. She has to learn to play both sides of the court. She has the potential to put the ball in the hole like nobody else on our team right now.
On excitement on this team:
They are so positive and really feel confident of the dues that they've paid and how hard they've worked this summer. They are really feeling good about themselves.