One-on-One With Stewart

On New Years Eve Coach Ron Stewart took the time to talk to Broncos Illustrated on his way to the locker room to watch tapes of the Montana Lady Griz. Coach Stewart talks about the two-week stretch the Broncos just faced.

In this stretch the teams suffered with a tough loss to the University of Missouri at Kansas City, a strong performance in a loss to Kansas State, a strong showing in their win against Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne and a touch loss to #6 Purdue. He also talks about what the Broncos will face against the Lady Griz and what Bronco fans can expect from the Lady Broncos in 2003.

Coach could you talk a little bit about the last couple of weeks? You go down to UMKC, you play a tough team there, it seems like the team was hitting on all cylinders in the first half. You come out in the second half, I don't know whether it was sluggish or kind of slow to start out and UMKC pulls out the upset. Then two nights later at Kansas State, you play a tough Kansas State team. Could you talk about that one? Then you come home and are able to rebound from those two losses and then a couple of nights ago you go play a tough Purdue team.

"Our trip to Kansas was really good for us in terms of we raised the level of our play in Manhattan at Kansas State against an outstanding team. Stubbed our toe at UMKC allowed the game to maybe be a little bit too close going into the last three minutes and it's kind of a tough scenario. We're up it's a one point game with three minutes to go. A minute and a half later we're down by ten, there were a lot of events that contributed to that. So we learned you can't allow those close games to be that close maybe on the road. However UMKC is an improving team. They are definitely on the way up so you feel good about the progress that they've made I guess. Kansas State, an outstanding team, our play was very, very good. We were on top of it, we were into it, could not have come back any stronger and then somewhat carried that over on tired legs against a Fort Wayne team. Christmas break come back, go down to Lafayette and got yourselves in a two point game with four minutes to go, four point game with a minute to go against the number six team in the country. So we feel really, really good about that. Now the challenge is to come back against Montana, because Montana is an outstanding basketball team. It's an excellent program, Robin (Selvig) has been there twenty five years, he was a player for Jud Heathcote, he's been coaching women for twenty five years, won over 700 games and need I say more, it's probably an opponent that we're not ready for. …If we're not really on top of it we won't win that game."

I heard you at practice talking about them having a ninety one percent winning percentage in twenty-five years. Talk about them a little bit and what kind of system do they use to be able to win so many games.

"Well, they keep things very simple, they keep the game very simple, they do the same things continuously over and over and do them extremely well. So it's not trickery. It's just solid fundamental play and they play a match up zone and if you're not ready for the physical part of it because they are a strong physical team, all the people are from that area, so they just continue to do very well. They schedule good teams but they have their way with most folks."

How's the mood in the locker room with this tough stretch that you guys hit prior to the holidays and heading into the New Year?

"Fine. I think they're doing fine. I think they, hopefully they will come out rested and we'll be rested after this game with an opportunity to play at Kent to open the league. We should have enough time to prepare. So, I think our mood is good, it's really good. We need to be tough minded in order to get it done on Thursday night."

So what's it going to take to be able to come away with a victory Wednesday night?

"We've got to really execute well against their zone and then take advantage of opportunities down the other end. They have an outstanding low post scorer, an inside scorer and hopefully she won't teach us too many lessons. We got to make sure that we're are ready to help out on her and not give her too many, no career high or anything like that and just make sure we neutralize some others. Hopefully run out. Run out that we've got to defend. We've got to do a better job of defending than what we've been doing."

I noticed you're working a lot on defense, actually on the offensive end working against their defense. Is this a team that stresses defense first?

"Yes. They are just really solid with their match up zone and they don't come out of it. They're not going to get out of their match up zones so you definitely got to have a plan because they are much more at home playing it than we are playing against it because we don't see it that often."

Since we're heading into the New Year anything Bronco fans can look forward to the rest of the season and throughout 2003?

"I just think our team is much improved. On any given day we have our sinking spells but overall I think our team is much improved because we competed and we had Kansas State down in the first half and we competed very well. Then rose to another level against Purdue to be in the game with a minute to go at Purdue and Purdue's record 74 and 4 in non-conference games. So, to be there we have made progress so hopefully we will carry that on and hopefully we will show it on January 2nd but if not we will definitely, hopefully do that when the conference season rolls around."

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