MAC Week 1: Women's Player Quotes

Last week the Western Michigan University Broncos women's basketball team defeated Northern Illinois and Buffalo to start the MAC season and defend their conference tournament championship. Following the games Maria Jillian, Casey Rost, Kate Verseput and Lori Crisman talked to the media. The give their thoughts on those games and looked ahead to Marshall.

Maria Jillian

She talks about the game against Northern Illinois.

"Yeah, they played strong. They changed up their defense from last year. Last year they were like intense in the passing lanes and this year they kind of sagged off and baited you to shoot it so it was a change for us not what we were used to."

She talks about the tight defense the Broncos played in the first half.

"Definitely, our full court press worked very well today and we've been working on it the whole year. We really haven't been getting the cuts right but tonight everything fell into place."

She comments on whether or not this was the defense they wanted to establish.

"Yeah, definitely, we need to pick up our intensity on defense. The second half we kind of died down. I'm sure you guys noticed that. That's like one of the things we have to work on is, because we come out in the first half and we come out with a bang but in the second half sometimes we come out flat so that's something we're going to work on."

She talks about whether or not it's just playing with the lead.

"Everybody knows everybody after you've been in the league for it's like my third year. So you get used to people and the way teams play."

She talks about the non-conference schedule and how it prepared the team for the conference schedule.

"It will help us keep our composure. We've been down in a lot of games we've lost six games. We know that we have to stay with it and when we have the lead we have to maintain it and that's what we've learned in the non-conference."

She comments on the losses to 3 or 4 ranked teams helping heading into the MAC schedule.

"Well yeah, playing with the bigger teams like against Purdue we're right in there with them and Arizona State is in the top thirty I'm pretty sure. We've played with those teams. We know we can play with the best."

She talks about the offensive performance against Northern Illinois.

"Offensively we're just looking for the open shot. We had actually taken our time on offense until we had taken the first shot we were running the place we wasn't trying to get people who were hitting the shots open shots."

She talks about the team hustling against Buffalo.

"Yeah, we went out there, we stepped out there today and we just wanted to play very intense like the whole game. Like before we would play good for a half and the second half would be kind of like shaky. So this game we wanted to concentrate on of course playing good right when we got out there but also bring it into the second half and that's what we did."

She comments on the game she had.

"I was just hustling out there that's all we could do. Everyone, I mean Casey was getting her hand on a bunch of balls, Lori was all over the floor today, everybody was just diving around. We just wanted this game really bad."

She talks about what was said and done following the game against Northern Illinois.

"Definitely we didn't play defense like we could have as simple as that. We didn't play to our potential at all in the defensive end. A lot of our concentration in the past two practices was defense and that prepared us for this game."

She takes a quick look ahead to the Marshall game.

"Marshall, they're doing very well this year. We haven't done any scouting because we're taking one game at a time so us players don't know as much as the coaches do. But we're going to have to go down their and play so we're not overlooking at all. We know it's going to be a tough, intense game so I guess we're just going to have to play hard."

Casey Rost

She comments on here 32-point effort against the Huskies matching her jersey number.

"Yeah, that's just a coincidence I guess."

She talks about the importance of starting out the MAC season with a win.

"It was very important for us to start out the MAC season with a win tonight just to set the tone for ourselves and just so that we can get going to continue doing what we did last year. We knew what we had to do and kind of lost intensity toward the end of the game that's something we are going to have to work on and improve to stay constant throughout the whole game."

She talks about the importance of playing the kind of out-of-conference schedule that they played.

"It was crucial playing those top ranked teams. Playing UConn, Michigan, Purdue and North Carolina that's once in a lifetime experience and we need to take that into the MAC. Those teams get us mentally prepared, they get us intense, they get us executing, we can do things against the MAC teams that we weren't able to do against UConn and North Carolina."

She comments on whether or not she wants to see that kind of scheduling to continue.

"Definitely I think we should always strive to get as tough of a non-conference season as we did this year. I only have one more year left and I would love to play UConn and North Carolina one more time before I graduate."

She talks about the play of the Broncos defense.

"Maria and I just work really well together. We know where we're always going to be and we try to execute our bumps. We did a little press today and were able to get each others back and then if she's going to cheat up then I'm going to fall back and vice versa. So we pretty much know where each other is going to be and we can work off each other."

She comments on whether or not the performance against Northern Illinois is going to be something that can be expected throughout the MAC season.

"So far this season we've been a first have team and that's something we're going to have to work on because the second half is when you win the game. Our intensity level died down towards the end of the game today and we've talked about that and we are going to stress that very importantly in the rest of our MAC. As for defense that's something that wins games. If you don't play defense you are not going to win so that's something we are going to take a look at also."

She comments on working on her free throw shooting.

"I really haven't worked on my free throw shooting but I am going to start doing it tomorrow probably."

She talks about Kate Verseput being a new offensive weapon for the Broncos.

"We've always had faith in Kate. We know what she's capable of she's just got to start believing in herself. I'm going to keep giving her the ball and I'm going to keep yelling at her to shoot it because I know what she can do."

She talks about the status of her injury that she sustained earlier in the season.

"I dislocated my finger about two weeks ago when we were playing Utah State. So it's still a little sore and a little bruised."

Since it's her left hand she commented on whether or not it affected her or not.

"It just pretty much affected me on the pass and I really can't make the move to the left side. It's getting a lot better maybe I will finish with my left hand lay-up and get back and get my hand in passing lanes where as I was real timid a couple of weeks ago in doing that.."

Casey talks about the game she had against Buffalo.

"By book we're playing zone, I was able to execute a three-point shot and that is something I'm practicing and everyday trying to improve getting more range, more accuracy so tonight that's just something that I was doing right."

She talks about the defense Buffalo was playing in the first half.

"Kim (Driggett), that girl can shoot and we encourage her to do that every day in practice. Buffalo's in a two-three and we've been working our zone offense so we were able to move the ball and make their zone have to work defensively and that opens up opportunities for everybody."

She talks about the depth on the team.

"We have a very deep bench and our quality of our starts is among the best in the MAC. If one of us is struggling somebody else is able and capable of stepping up and taking that role on."

She talks about playing the top ranked programs prior to starting MAC play.

"I'm thankful that we're able to have the opportunity to play those teams. That prepared us so much for our MAC tournament and MAC season. The level of play that we have elevated to is going to help us out down the stretch."

She comments on what it is going to come away with a win against Marshall in Huntington, West Virginia.

"They are a very good team, they're very intense, very aggressive we're going to have to rebound, let our offense be patient and really work defensively."

Kate Verseput

She gives her thoughts on the game against Northern Illinois.

"I thought we played well. We came into this game we knew it was the first MAC game and we played a really tough non-conference and we knew that we had to get up for it and we did. We feel pretty comfortable playing at home so we feel pretty good about the game."

She talks about her game and going on a little run against the Huskies.

"We talked at halftime that we needed a run because we were only up by five and we needed really to push ahead and Coach has been telling me that I need to step up and actually shoot the ball better than pass. I just took that to heart and found open spots and my teammates got me the ball so I tried to capitalize.

She talks about taking the shots that are given to her.

"Definitely if I don't take the shots everyone is just going to collapse on me and know I'm a passer and pick off my pass. So Coach has talked to me about that and I need to be more offensive minded."

She comments on if Casey is really yelling at her.

"You know she's honestly her and Maria are like, "Kate, shoot" and I'm like, "oh I need to shoot." They do, do that quite honestly."

She talks about whether or not it's tough getting up for the opening of MAC play after the non-conference schedule they played.

"It is a little bit tough but again we have our first two games here at home so that's always nice. We just try to get up for every game. With the tough non-conference getting up for the UConns and the North Carolinas that just helps us being able to get up for games. We just got to make sure play any less than we know that we can especially here."

She talks about having four players in double figures.

"Definitely, because everybody knows that Casey is an excellent shooter so more MAC teams are probably going to be pressing on her. That means other people have to step up and take shots so it's really going to be important for us."

Lori Crisman

Lori talks about the game against Marshall.

"You can see on the court our intensity was there. This game was a different game compared to Northern Illinois. I don't know why. We were more fired up, you could tell in our press we just get feels and everybody was flying around and it was a good game for us."

She talks about her game and abusing her body by flying all over the court going after the basketball.

"No, I just go out there every game, give my hundred percent and just give everything I can give on the court so whatever happens, happens and I haven't been hurt yet, knock on wood (knocking on the counter she was sitting on), in the four years I've been here."

She talks about the preparations the team made for the Buffalo game.

"I think we had a really good week of practice and I think it all comes down to game day. A routine that gets ready on Gameday. We have a bad week of practice we're still going to come in on that Gameday get ready for the game but honestly our intensity was there. After dealing with all those Big Ten teams, ACC, UConn it kind of got our confidence level down a little bit 5-6 or 6-5 non-conference kind of got our confidence level down a little bit but soon as we started winning and our team chemistry comes back together."

She talks about the non-conference schedule preparing the team for the MAC.

"I just think Coach had a plan. He wanted to play those big teams and I think it did help us because we did compete against some of those teams. Its just experience playing against those bigger and better teams but it is all about the conference, winning the conference, winning the conference tournament and getting an NCAA, so right now is when it really counts the conference season."

She takes a look ahead to Marshall and what it will take to win at Marshall.

"They're excellent rebounders. Coach has already warned us about that, how well they rebound the ball and we're going to need to. Tonight we didn't rebound the ball very well tonight. We got out rebounded so we just have to be able to rebound against them. They have great athletes on their team and they are going to be ready to beat us. Everybody is going to be ready to beat us so we just have to be ready to play that game."

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