Monday Press Conference: Lisa Stone

Women's basketball coach breaks down Tuesday's matchup with Illinois

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Can you talk about Illinois?

"(Illinois is) very different than the team we played last night (Penn State). (They are) very up-tempo, extremely athletic, will pressure passing lanes extremely well, gave Wisconsin fits last year bringing the ball up the court. But they've lost one of their great players in Aminata Yanni. She blew her knee out against Ohio State. In her senior year, it's tough. That's a tough loss, yet they played Purdue very, very tough last night. They are a great rebounding team. They are very quick off the dribble. They will spread you out, try to take you right to the rim. For us, it will be less quick hits, like Penn State played and more freedoms. So, our defensive ploy is to protect the paint, mix up some defenses. We cannot get in a running game with this team. We've got to be patient. They want to get out and get up and down the court quick, take quick shots and rebound. For us, we need to control the tempo. The pace of the game may be the key to the game."

In playing an athletic team (like Illinois) does the turnover factor concern you at all?

"Well, I think we've done a pretty decent job of taking care of the ball. Last night, obviously, three turnovers in the last couple minutes plagued us, but we take the positive from last night. We take that and have that driving force and that effort come back against Illinois. Angelina Williams has played every position. She can dunk the basketball at 5-9; that demonstrates her athleticism and plays the point. The team now, without Yanni out there will rely on her a great deal for some scoring. They are going to start this (Jere) Issenmann, if I can pronounce that correctly. I think she brings a calming force to their team. She'll now run the point which then allows Williams to play the off guard, another defensive assignment for Ebba Gebisa, who has done a fantastic job against some of our Big Ten's finest. Ashley (Josephson) matches up really nicely with Issenmann. Then Tiffanie Guthrie will be very similar to (Tanisha) Wright of last night. Stephanie Rich will have that call. With Guthrie, she's big on penetration, can hit the outside jump shot. They're smaller inside, starting a freshman, but (Erin) Wigley is…I like Wigley. I like the way she moves inside. We've just been watching film upstairs on her and she'll be big on the glass when that shot goes up. So, as far as a turnover standpoint, we have to make sure we're disciplined offensively, set good screens, go inside out, get a lot of people involved, because of them jumping out into passing lanes it's going to be important that we read our defense and take what our defense gives us.

Lisa, with yesterday's tough loss, is it good to have such a short span between these games so that the energy, hopefully, will carry over into this week?

"Absolutely. One, we don't have a choice, but two, I'm excited about it. As a player you always wanted to play games. Today's practice will be all Illinois. We're not even going to watch last night's game film. We'll do that when we have some time to and clip that and take the lessons from that. The lesson on effort and comeback and heart and character were displayed by our team last night. (There is) a lot to go on, great positives to go on and carry that over to tomorrow. I'm excited, I wish we could play today. It's fresh on our minds and we have to carry that over against Illinois tomorrow."

Jordan Wilson, prior to last night has not played many minutes, but last night she was really a spark and a force for you. Can you talk a little bit about how well she did and do you anticipate getting her in and giving her some more minutes because of how well she did?

"We're talking, potentially, of maybe even starting Jordan tomorrow. That's still yet to be determined until after practice today, but what Jordan brought us last night is what we're looking for — a threat from the high post, she had a couple jumpers up there. (She) gave us energy. She was ready to play from the warm-up. She came in the locker room, all on fire, got the team focused and brought a dimension that we really needed last night against a team like Penn State. (She) not only gave us a spark, but gave us some key rebounds at some key times, knocked some free throws down, but probably most importantly, really became a threat from that high post, took the double off our low post and allowed Lello (Gebisa) to go to work inside. If Jordan can bring that again tomorrow, that may earn her a starting spot in tomorrow's game.

(Kelly) Mazzante had an off shooting night (last night). Caity Matter had an off shooting night (in the OSU-Wisconsin game). Is this happenstance or do you really think that Ebba Gebisa is doing something that really is forcing that?

"Ebba Gebisa is one of the most intelligent student-athletes in the Big Ten. Her intelligence and her study of the scouting report allows her to be in position to contest shots. She contested very high. Ebba is a 6-3 guard; when you put your hands up she's at 6-5 or 6-6, it's difficult. Kelly Mazzante's quotes were, she was short. Well, she was short because we contested high. We got out and we contested shooters. I give Ebba a ton of credit for her defense against Matter and against Kelly Mazzante. Those are two great players that had sub-par shooting performances and I think Ebba's defense had a lot to do with that."

I know you don't like looking forward that much, but I'm going to ask you anyway. Do you anticipate maybe making some changes in the lineup for Friday's game? Maybe working on some different offensive sets or anything different because it's a non-conference game and every game is important, but do you think you might try something different for that game?

"It's a good question. I think it's important that we take this as another opportunity to play a basketball game, and we treat every game the same. Granted it's non-conference, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't mean as much to us. We've just lost three straight. We'd like to win three straight and try to turn the tides. A lot of people are proud of our team's effort and I'm the first one to stand in line there, but we want a ‘W'. With Illinois and then another game coming at home, it's a home game for us. To make changes right now would be determined upon how kids practice and how they play in games. Changing our offense at this stage of the game is not the answer. Taking what we have and making it better…we displayed some offensive continuity last night and I am encouraged by that. That's not the problem. Our field goal percentage is a problem, but we're getting good shots. We have to start taking the cover off the basket early, not put ourselves in a hole at 21-6 and have to crawl back, play well at home. I'd like to get a lot of people involved, there's no question, in every game, not just Friday's game and we're certainly not going to take that team lightly either. How we make adjustments depends on performance in practice and in games."

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