This next stretch of three games has to be your toughest and most pivotal of the entire season. Can you talk about how tough this stretch is?
"Well, two on the road and one at home. I, like my peers that were just up here, take it one game at a time, simply because I know the strength of these teams and you've seen them on Fox and ESPN and everywhere else. Purdue was picked to win the conference by the media. They have their entire team back – four senior starters and a junior, and two great freshmen. Erin Lawless and Katie Gearlds are for real. They are great, great players. The tradition that Purdue has built is amazing. Going to Mackey Arena is a place that we look forward to going to. Like our wrestlers and our hockey team going into Minnesota, it welcomes back the Gebisas back home. They live about a block from campus. Hopefully that will help spearhead some things as well. So a homecoming of sorts everywhere we go and an opportunity for us to see if we can steal one on the road. To come back and play Minnesota…and then Michigan State is hot. They just beat Minnesota at Minnesota. A lot of things can happen. You play the game because you have another opportunity to play. If we can continue to get better and put ourselves in position to be competitive…we've demonstrated that at Ohio State we played a tremendous game against a team at that point that hadn't lost a home game in over 20 games. It's something we don't fear, but it's an opportunity for us to raise our bar. We've got to raise our bar. These are programs that have been at the top of the Big Ten and that's where we want to be. So to be there, we've got to play them and put ourselves in a position to be successful."
Ashley (Josephson) has played extremely well the last four games. She's averaging over 16 points in those games. Is there anything different that she's been doing or are the shots just falling now?
"I think a key think with Ashley is she's healthy this year. That's the key thing. Hats off to Greg Ehlers, our trainer. He has done great treatment with Ashley and she's healthy and extremely confident and much more mature…just her being able to speak to the media after a big game. She's quite a team player. She's into every game, on a win or a loss she takes it right to heart and is very, very coachable. She's playing with a lot of confidence, and she's hot right now from the three-point line. She's shooting well over 40 percent from the three-point line. We've got to find her shots. The only way we're going to find her shots, though, is to execute that high-low we were talking about – draw the defense inside so that we can get the ball out to Ashley. This young woman has taken her game to a new level and I'm real excited for Ashley."
Can you talk a little bit about what you can expect to face from Purdue?
"A very experienced team. A team that is used to being
successful in Mackey Arena. However, they started the Big Ten season off with a
loss to Penn State at home, a tough one. They're 16-2, they're ranked I believe
eighth in the country if I'm not mistaken. They play very well. Defensive
oriented, offensive oriented…they've got the whole package. Christie is a
tremendous coach and they play within themselves. Shereka Wright is their
big-time player, obviously. She's averaging nearly 20 (points) a game. Erika
Valek, her numbers may not be as high as they have been in the past, but I think
she's the glue to their team. When you have a point guard that can distribute,
can get out and get the ball to the right people, obviously that's great for
them. They're not real big but they play very, very well together. They're very
dangerous; you can't key on any one player. They're going to come out and play
us man-to-man defense the whole game. I'm going to expect a double-team on the
post, simply because that's where we want to go. But we have to establish
ourselves down there. We can't be afraid to throw it in to the low post, draw
the help and then see if we can find some open shooters. Tempo will be key…our
ability to continue to rebound and play defense and be in the game. Look at our
Penn State game. We have to go on the good and not look at maybe what has
happened bad in the past."