Stewart Miami Game Quotes

The Western Michigan University women's basketball team's head coach Ron Stewart talked to the media following the Broncos 75-60 win over the Miami RedHawks on Saturday. Coach Stewart talked about Kristin Koetsier and Maria Jilian, about the RedHawks' second half comeback and about being able to go deep into his bench.

"Well, let's talk about the first half. All questions, craziness aside the first half was probably beyond our expectations in terms of the way we were able to stop their shooting game, stop their perimeter game and I just really thought we did it all. Defense, rebounding, some blocked shots and just a lot of things there that you weren't sure of. You always line up against an excellent shooting team and excellent team like Miami and you're never sure if your game plan is going to work and I think our kids really executed things awfully well in the first half. Obviously it's hard to come back and maintain that level of intensity in the second half. But, a very good team like Miami is not going to roll over and not come back either so, a little bit different story there. But still pitched it out really well, got a lot of people to contribute and felt good, felt awfully good about getting a win here at home today."

Coach, Kristin Koetsier had like five blocked shots in the first half. It seemed like she just took control and Maria Jilian had a really strong game. Can you talk about those two and their efforts today?

"Well, to speak directly about Kristin I think she's definitely focused and really has a solid purpose in terms of what she wants her career to be. She's really leading this team at this point in a lot of quiet ways, some that I pick up on and some that I don't. Obviously feels very good about herself and when you play well you feel good about yourself you continue to play up to your capacity. But, that's two double doubles in a row. We hadn't seen that as much out of Kristin in the non-conference season. But to see her do that and probably more than the five blocked shots or any of those other things, zero personal fouls. We want to play with Kristin in the lineup and as long as she can do that as she did on Wednesday night that really helps our club. To address Maria Jilian, as you can see we aren't going to play very many minutes without Maria in the lineup. She gets beat up, she gets banged up, she's up, she's on top of every possession, and she does everything she can to help this club and motivate them. If she wasn't of such good stock and fiber our club just simply would not be the way they are today."

Miami is really a strong club. A team in the (MAC) East, them and Kent State was picked among the top leaders in the East. What and you say about their comeback in the second half?

"I think you said it. Miami is, as we knew five hours ago and forty-eight hours ago; Miami is a contender for the league championship. This is one game for them, it's a road game and they came back in the second half, as you would expect them to. They have excellent shooters, they have shooters on the bench and they figured out what the situation was. Certainly (head coach) Maria (Fantanarosa) didn't give up, they came back out in the second half and did things that caused us some problems with our defense. Yes, we let up a little bit from our performance in the first half but any time you have a Player of the Year like Heather Cusick they're going to come back and we knew that. I'm not surprised that they played as well in the second half. I'm surprised that they didn't play better in the first half because they are a quality club."

To say about your team, two tough MAC opponents Kent and Miami you guys are sitting 2-0. You got to be pretty happy about that.

"Well I wasn't very happy with the schedule when it came out last year in August. Having to go to Kent to open the conference season, knowing that Miami was coming back right after that but now I'm extremely happy that we have Kent and Miami out of the way. To have them out of the way and be 2-0 I think speaks volumes about the effort that these kids have put out this week. Our kids played great against Montana here and that's when I began to see the change. If not the second half of the Purdue game, certainly the Montana game and now they've carried it over and we find ourselves 2-0 in the league and against contenders. So I feel great about it because those games right there are tiebreakers. When all is said and done in March we just got two tiebreakers that hopefully a lot of other people won't get."

The fact that Miami knocked you guys out last year, was that in the back of your mind at all? Was that last year, this is this year?

"I think it was in the back of my mind to a degree. But, anytime you have a revenge motive you sometimes don't perform as well. So I tried to treat this as one where we had a great deal of respect knowing that we could have played better against Miami a year ago but we didn't and they got the win. Very similar Miami team and one that we knew would be a huge threat and I, yeah we were motivated by the results from a year ago."

Coach were you happy that you were able to go a little deeper into your bench and get some of the girls some longer playing time, some more playing time?

"What really our plan was to try and make some substitutions one or two at a time and what happens there is that the different people don't always fit right into the zone spots. So, you have to handle it kind of gingerly because the one thing you do not want to do when you sub is put someone in a position that they're not comfortable with. And sometimes you just sub to get them in the game and they're out of position, they're not as comfortable and wanted to make sure that we didn't put someone in a bad position there."

Shaylen Jackson looks like she could be real good for the Broncos coming here.

"Shaylen played six minutes and had five rebounds so that'll tell you a little bit right there about where she is with her game right now."

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories