Can you talk about Indiana. First, what you expect to see from them, (Jenny) DeMuth is obviously very, very good for them, but they are kind a team that is very similar to you right now.
"Well, there's a lot of similarities. One from the standpoint that (Indiana head coach) Kathi Bennett and I go way back. She was at (UW-) Oshkosh when I was at (UW-)Eau-Claire and we had a some great basketball games back in the day and I have a great deal of respect for her, her family's defense, etc. So we'll be prepared for that. Coach (Donna) Freitag knows Kathi as well. She is a great coach of the game and a great teacher.
This last week, Boston College and Ohio State—two ranked teams, two very, very good teams, we have a lot to take from that. At Boston College, I thought we came out strong, but didn't play as well as we needed to, obviously. But at Ohio State, we had our best defensive effort of the year, hands down. We watched them play Rutgers yesterday (on TV) and the fact that Ohio State being ranked is certainly well deserved, because of its record. But we rose up to the challenge.
The Big Ten (Conference) is very tough this year. With Indiana on the horizon, it gives us an opportunity to go on the road and take the good from what we've learned in these games against the ranked teams of last week. It was a tough week. To go 0-2 on the week is not what you're looking for, but I'm pleased with our team's improvement, we're getting better. Defensively, we're making a statement that we work hard, our effort is there. We just have to start putting the ball in the hoop.
But Jenny DeMuth and Cyndi Valentine, those are two great players. They score 36 of their points. Half of their points come from two players. They are very perimeter oriented. They get to the free throw line 27 times, 31 times in a game. We've got to play solid defense without fouling those folks and go on the road and hopefully pick one up."
How tough is it to start the Big Ten with two games on the road and how do you spin that to your team and try to get them motivated before coming back home Sunday?
"I told our team, every single game we play I'm going to be fired up to win. The Big Ten is an exciting season. Standing in the locker room, in front of our team before Ohio State, I was convinced. I was very, very convinced our team was prepared. They were ready. They had energy. They had focus. A lot of times when you're on the road, you have that type of focus. We're now on the break, all our student-athletes have to worry about is basketball and taking care of themselves. It's an opportunity for us to get better. Right now there are no studies, so there's more time to watch film, to have team meetings, to be together to learn more about each other. I think there's a benefit to being on the road, as well as when you come home. In the Big Ten you've got to protect your home court, and you've got to find a way to win on the road. To start on the road is tough, but it's the schedule that's in front of us. We're certainly going to respect those (teams) that we play, and prepare to win every Big Ten game we play."
Lisa, you've stressed defense a lot in the early season and said, when your defense is on, and clicking, your offense will come. It didn't come very well at Ohio State. What are your concerns with that?
"Our offense is there, we had four offensive rebounds row,
the cover just didn't come off the basket. I'm not concerned about that. I'm
confident in the fact that our kids can shoot. It's just that we shot
29-percent, that's not something that we're going to (work n) at practice. We're
going to try to improve on that, obviously. I think, (if) we shoot 39-percent,
it's a whole different game when you shoot 10-percent better. But I know our
players can…I talked to them. I talked to our starting guards. We've done some
special extra workouts with players because we have that time right now and
they're absorbing that. They want to learn and they want to get better. They
feel good about their performance, but no one in this room is about moral
victories. We want a W on the board, not that just, we only lost by this many.
Our mentality is changing and as soon as we understand that. We can feel good
about the things we've done well, but a moral victory can only go so far. We're
big on trying to improve and trying to put a W on the board and make a statement
here in the Big Ten."