Ron Stewart Post Game Quotes

Western Michigan University's women's basketball head coach Ron Stewart talked to the media following the Broncos wins over Northern Illinois and Buffalo this past week. He talked about both games, about the out-of-conference scheduling helping prepare the team for the MAC and the performance from his bench as well as other things.

Coach Stewart gives his initial thoughts on the game against the Northern Illinois Huskies.

"Obviously I think all of our players and our coaches I think we're all very happy to get a win over a Northern Illinois club that is so solid in what they do. Carol (Hammerle) is without a question is one of the best coaches on game night. You know that you are in for a solid battle in terms of execution. There's always, always a solid effort out there by Northern Illinois and you find yourself playing their way. I'm not exactly sure what our way is right now but I think that we definitely got into a habit early on of allowing Northern Illinois to do what they do everyday in practice and we simply can't let that happen. So it was just a kind of a night where both teams looked a little tired, a little sluggish as the game wore on both teams seemed to be a little heavy legged. We didn't have the bounce that we need to have and therefore I think we're very fortunate to come out of it with a win."

He talks about the importance of the win starting out the MAC season.

"We have a week here where we have two home games and Northern Illinois is always a contender or very close to being a contender or a spoiler. So you've go to make sure that you take care of things and you've got to have a presence early on. I didn't think that we played well at all defensively in some areas. Some of the other parts of our defense I feel great about in terms of the way we extended it, the way that we forced them to take time off the clock. I feel really good about that. We didn't put them at the line much they never were in the one-on-ones. So there are a lot of things that are good yet there was a point where they scored inside on us and certain individuals just made some big time errors in how we were covering. Then when we solved that they went away from it and started shooting the threes although it was late in the game they had to shoot the threes and we didn't handle that well at all. So how do I feel? I think it's been a pretty good learning experience and I feel good to get the win while we learned. I'm happy with the way came in off the bench, I'm pleased with Casey's game, obviously pleased with Maria's forty minutes, I'm real, real happy with an awful lot of things. I wanted to get more kids in there and get more minutes. I tried to do that in the first half, we weren't quite able to do that in the second half but that's a goal of mine is to give some kids the opportunity because I think there's some kids that haven't had the minutes that can help us. How important is it? Sure is a whole lot better than the alternative."

He comments on the team not being able to maintain the level of play they have in the first half through the entire game.

"That's really bothering them. We've talked about that privately and we talked about it in the locker room about going back out for a half. I walked into the locker room at halftime first I went in and we talked and that was the kind of the gist what I said. I said, "So whatever you have to do you got to get yourselves ready to step out there with enthusiasm and get things going in the second half." Then I left and came back at the seven minute mark, six and a half and they had the CD the sound system going pounding as loud as it could possibly go whatever and I said, "Whatever it takes, whatever it takes." I did turn it off so that they could listen to me. Maybe it's me, I don't know."

He comments on it being tough to get up for a team after playing teams like UConn and North Carolina.

"Unfortunately it becomes more businesslike and you are going at the business at hand. The last time we walked in here we had a ranked a top ten team and we had over 2,000 people in the stands. So it was a different atmosphere but we were still a little different. We didn't have the bounce that we had then and I think all the things that prepared us we've been in some situations that are just fun for these kids. It's fun to play against (Diana) Taurasi. Going down to North Carolina really, really challenged us. We didn't play very well for a lot of that ball game. At Montana we played pretty well. We actually statistically we played pretty well so it's hard to gauge how well you play against those people and you know that there is a benefit but your not really exactly sure where. I think the benefit was there tonight because we sort of felt like we could go out in a businesslike way and probably win this game. So we got to make sure that we don't let someone hang around as we did tonight especially someone that's got a great coach like they do."

He talks about getting someone like Kate Verseput to put up a shot instead of making the pass.

"Well, it's hard to take those shots from the bench. I will just leave it at that. You don't get the opportunity to shoot if you're not in there. That's what I'm saying, if you're not going to do it then…But I think Kate has a very solid ability. I think as I look at our team someone like Kate or someone like Shaylen (Jackson) and still some other people that are somewhat undefined. We threw Nicole (Watkins) in there tonight, we threw Marlena Jackson in there and Ashley (Owens) they are going to taste that a little bit and there were a couple of mistakes that came and they know that now. If they don't ever get in then they are not able to assess that. But now they know that there name might get called a little bit. So I think with Kate we know that Kate can shoot the basketball we got to make sure that she's got her legs and she's not tired and that she's ready to shoot it. She's got probably when you assess the mentality the basketball IQ of people on our team individually Kate is going to rank very, very high in basketball IQ and that's why we need her to be out there doing that type of thing for us. We need her to help us win this thing."

Coach Stewart gives his initial thoughts on the game against the Buffalo Bulls.

"Just in general we've answered a lot of questions in the last few weeks about whether or not the preseason or the non-conference schedule is helping us or what effect it's had on us. I would hope that after the completion of one week of the opening week of course we were at home but the opening week of conference play that we've now in our mind kind of solved some of the questions that maybe some of those things were those trips were definitely worthwhile and got us more prepared and more ready to play. But just to focus in on our club and put that to rest that issue to rest I really think that we improved on defense this week from the start of practice on Monday through Wednesday night and definitely today. I recognize that Buffalo is a team that's maybe lost a couple of players here in the last week or so, has the infusion of a couple of new players, there's some change, some flux going on and that probably effected their ability to shoot the basketball against us. But by the same token I really think that that we had an effect on that, that we did a good job of handling things from the standpoint of extending our defense and getting back and covering on the half court. So what I take out of the game is really, really pleased with the way we played defensively in practice and in games but especially today before we take a day off. I feel good about our defense."

He gives his thoughts on the importance of the guard position in the MAC.

"I don't think it's just in this conference. I've been on the bench for quite a few years and I've always felt like you've got to have guards. That's why going into this year I knew that we maybe we didn't have exactly the team that we thought we might have in the summertime in terms of personnel but I knew we had two awfully good guards. So knowing their fiber and their approach to the game I felt awfully good because I think guards are extremely important. You've got to have guards in order to win. You go back and you look at the NCAA champions and I would reference on the men's side because that's where I was for twenty some years. You know a lot of teams of the final four that didn't have great interior post play. They weren't there because they had the seven footers who dominated the game. Shaquille O'Neal for example was not. Tell me when those teams were in the final four. I was at Florida and we played against Shaq at LSU. So I think guards, there's not any question about it, you got to have them but you've got to have good ones. You've got to have people that can handle things and discipline themselves to get the ball into the hands of the right people and handle pressure and you have to have people that are able to play on an even keel and not rise up and fall down to far in their approach on each possession. So, we've got two of the best in the league there's not any doubt about it, I'm sure she (Buffalo Head Coach Cheryl Decker) probably said that. The one that gets all the notoriety is Casey because she's scoring and she should because she in my opinion is right there with the best players in the league. But we got one that gets the ball to people and defends and is about to play a whole lot of minutes this year and Maria doesn't always get credit for what she does that tandem right there is pretty strong."

He gives us his thoughts on Carrie Moore

"Well Carrie just has physical strength and I think that is definitely one of her attributes I mean we can play Carrie in different ways. But, I'm glad she's on our side.

He talks about the performance his bench gave against the Bulls.

"I think you continually try to establish depth and we did that on Wednesday as far as Kate goes. Kate came in, had ten points, played a very nice floor game and did very well. Today I thought we were able to get more people more minutes. Ashley Owens, you talk about Carrie's size and strength, Ashley Owens has great size for this league and we got to just get her confidence level up and that's through playing minutes. It's important to realize that those kids have never seen Northern Illinois, they've never seen Buffalo, they've never seen any of the folks we're getting ready to play and so it's more of a struggle for them. You have to reflect back on when the older ones were freshmen and facing these types of situations and maybe what challenges they had. It wasn't automatic with all of them with possibly the exception of Case. It wasn't automatic with them and so I'm ecstatic that we got some minutes in there and I'm please that we got Mia (Marlena) in there and didn't get a three second call in the second half."

He talks about the intensity in the game against Buffalo.

"I felt that on Wednesday night we were very sluggish and today we didn't show signs of that at all. Today we seemed to have good legs, a lot of bounce, a great deal of enthusiasm and just really, really played together played in the zone, played with an awareness. You call that an intensity but just really played with an awareness on defense that we maybe haven't shown for awhile. So that's exciting to me to see them excited about playing at that level."

He talks about the play of Lori Crisman.

"Well Lori I think has been doing that for the better part of four years so we come to get used to what she does and we don't reflect on it quite so much. But Lori gives us rebounding, she gives us great hustle on defense and there's some folks in the league, some players in the league that's flat out scared of Lori. Again, I'm glad she's with us."

Was the game against Buffalo the type of game he was looking for heading into Marshall?

"Well next week we have a really tough week. We are at Marshall and we're at Eastern. I think those two team are probably playing as well as any team in our league; the Miami's and the Ball State's and all that are playing well and off to an early lead. However, at Marshall and at Eastern I don't think there's any doubt Marshall is probably going to be one of the toughest places to play this year because they know they're leaving the league, they're very physical but it's going to be tough because of the people they have on their roster. They got kind of a new look, a lot of new folks but some of those that are still around they have a great deal of confidence, they have a real air of confidence in their whole program right now that makes it really tough to play them. They beat a very good Kent team an extremely well coach Kent team on Wednesday night. Eastern Michigan is playing as well, they're off to a great start and Eastern's got the ball going the right way for them and they're very well coached and they recruited well. So I said back in November that I thought Eastern Michigan is the one that would cause people problems in the West and they've definitely played that way."

He comments about preparing for teams with weaker records.

"We talk a lot more about ourselves and what we have to do. Maybe didn't focus as much. I think our Thursday practice was one of getting our legs back and working on individual things and a little bit of Buffalo. Our Friday practice was more toward that. Assistant coaches you have to keep in mind, the assistant coaches do the job of scouting. This was Torriea Bradford's and she's got them, they're watching tape and she's focusing on that Buffalo issue a whole lot more. Mine is one where I want to make sure they don't want to look at that record quite so much. The fact that they have three people from Michigan, that there is a homecoming for those types and there's certainly things that we can use as motivators."

He comments on Buffalo's 24-6 run.

"No, not worried about that at all. I was concerned about the scoreboard because I thought for a second maybe the lights had burned out and that it wouldn't go to seventy six. But as far as our team goes that was fine. We were coaching to try to do what we do. I don't look at the scoreboard in practice and I didn't look at it during that stretch either. So at the point we had pretty well established what we wanted."

He comments about the individual performances he got.

"I'm really pleased with our kids. I'm really, really pleased with what we did."

His gives thoughts on shooting the three point baskets.

"No. I got to be honest with you. Casey had a chance to break the school record tonight. Casey had a chance to keep going and knocking down threes and I don't think I would have felt very good if she would have broken the record against Buffalo under these circumstances. You don't want to rub it in to someone's face. I was very aware of that at halftime and yet I just couldn't have Case stand out there and do that to Cheryl Dozier I just couldn't. That wouldn't have been right. We know that Casey is the best dad-gum three-point shooter in the league and so record or whatever we know that we are going to get a three when we need it.

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