Coach, last week after the loss at home, you said immediately you would be getting to work on defense and that was one of the first things you were going to work on. Any coincidence then that your team had such good defensive performances on the road, after saying that?
"Well, the next day we practiced with one basketball. We didn't come out with a ball rack at all. We really addressed our defense and rebounding issues. With our size advantage, I think a lot of people look at 6-7 and 6-5 as the duo to go to inside, offensively. We have to start on the other end of the floor and our team has made a commitment to that. We did a great job on the glass down in Florida, played great defense, held our opponents to a sub-par shooting percentage. We played two different styles of teams. Hampton was very kind of unorthodox, if you will, a kind of ‘shoot it to go get it' offense and we did a good job of boxing out. Jordan Wilson came off the bench and was the MVP of the tournament with 15 rebounds in the championship game, which was huge for us off the bench. Then against Butler, in the championship game, a much more disciplined basketball team, so it was nice to see two different types of games and for us to adjust to that on the defensive end and then allowed our offense to get going."
When Coach (Mike) Eaves was talking about learning to win, I saw you nodding your head. Obviously, this past weekend has helped that. How far away are you guys from consistently knowing how to win?
"Well, I don't have an answer to that. I would like to say that it's today. We're kind of on an NBA schedule right now. We returned Saturday night late, practiced for a little bit yesterday and we have a game tonight, and two other games yet this week. So, we're on a tough schedule, but our team is very good about taking care of themselves. They are very good at absorbing what we have to go through. We had to go through the Western Illinois scouting report yesterday, shoot around here in about half an hour and they are eager for it and I saw some really good things. I told our team we're looking for an identity and how we want to be remembered when we leave the court. If we can identify ourselves by playing defense and rebounding, I'm going to shaking my head a little bit more that they are getting it. We dug down, Butler went on a 16-2 run and we could have folded our tents and we didn't. We dug down deep and that shows some character, some courage and some ability to put it away and win. We have a difficult schedule ahead of us. Our opponent (Western Illinois) this evening beat Northern Illinois, at Northern Illinois this Saturday. So, it's a tough test for us. They've got a great player in Tiffany Cornelius, who averages 18 (points) a game, 12 boards and is a tremendous player. But I think we've got a great game plan in place. I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing this streak and picking up our third win tonight."
Lisa, the way that Jordan (Wilson) played so athletically and kind of a banger on the boards, you know that Kjersten Bakke gives you the same, but are some of the other post players going to have to step up and give you what they (Wilson and Bakke) give you for the success to continue?
"Without question. It's actually everybody, but Lello (Gebisa) and Emily (Ashbaugh), our two senior post players, are putting up numbers, but I'd like to see them, again, continue to improve, as well. We're going to get more energy out of Kjersten Bakke, now that she's healthy, back, ready to play tonight. Jordan (Wilson) gives us that great spark. I'm real pleased with our post rotation, right now. Our guards then, we need that same kind of energy coming off the guard court, so we can sub some people because we've got … some folks are logging 37, 38 minutes. With the schedule we're on right now, it's going to be imperative that we get some quality minutes out of our perimeter as well."
In that back court you've got just seven points on Saturday with Steph Rich and Ashley (Josephson). Do you need more from them, or did they do enough of the other things well enough that you could live with that?
"Well, when you're getting 13, 15 rebounds out of two
guards, that's pretty decent. It was a game that allowed Stephanie Rich to pick
up some assists. She had seven assists. Ashley (Josephson) hit some big shots
when she needed to. People know those two are pretty good scorers, and Ebba
(Gebisa), as well. We may be getting points from them on offensive rebounds, but
if we can free them up by establishing a low post presence, it's certainly going
to allow them to get more shots. I think it's impressive that our team has a
hero off the bench. Our leading scorer, in what normally would be Stephanie
Rich, but she had a great floor game without putting up big numbers. That's a
good thing to see, that we have a lot of different people contributing in