Monday Press Conference: Lisa Stone

Women's basketball coach discussed her ever-changing starting lineup and how she is guaging improvement

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Lisa can you talk about the dynamic that Bakke and Wilson gave you yesterday.

"Steph Rich goes out with an ankle. We had one guard out there with that being Ashley Josephson, a true guard. (Kjersten) Bakke has stepped up to the plate and is willing to do anything and I think that we have made note of her efforts throughout the entire year. Bakke makes Jordan (Wilson) better. The two of them really battle and the reason the two of them were in the line up yesterday was because of their rebounding abilities.

Now unfortunately for us we were out rebounded by the top rebounding team in the Big Ten and that's Minnesota. But we came back and out-rebounded them by I believe plus five in the second half. So we're making great strides, we're coming to battle, we're really getting after things, we're playing…this will be our third ranked team we play on Thursday with Michigan State… third in a row. It's rewarding to hear the opposing coaches talk about our effort and that we battle for 40 minutes and things of that nature. But we really want to see the results come out and our efforts be rewarded."

What's your belief as far as the starting line-up in concerned. I've never seen a coach use so many players and in some cases this season your reserves, who you have brought in, they almost do better when they're coming off the bench in certain games. Bakke especially and Jordan in some cases too and Ebba (Gebisa) yesterday came off the bench and did better. What are your thoughts on that or what are you trying to find as you're making so many changes?

"We're trying to find some consistency right now. Defense is there, effort is there, rebounding is there. We're having trouble putting points on the board. You're not going to win games in the Big Ten scoring 48 points.

I'm a pretty big offensive person and we're trying to find the best offensive continuity and consistency we can. If that's juggling the line up as much as we have to than we certainly will. I think you're going to see Kjersten Bakke more out on the perimeter just to pose a match up problem for our opponents. She gives us energy obviously and she gives us a spark whether she's off the bench or starting. Our players are not upset whether they start or not. I mean we talked about that after the game…does that bother people. Are you willing to play no matter when you get in there? They say that they are, whether that's their heart or not, I'm not sure. I've never in 19 years juggled a starting line up as much as I have, but we're trying to find answers. We're doing all we can to put ourselves in a position to be successful and I believe that we're getting better and whether that line-up changes every game that I don't know yet. If I can lock into something I certainly would like to. What it does is it makes practice that much more intense. People are battling; they want to get on the court."

Lisa, you've been so accustomed to winning, have you had to adjust the way you look at things and deal with your players to find the positives even in losing times?

"I certainly have, that's a great question. In fact at yesterday's post game in the locker room I told the team that I have never been under 500. That's not a selfish thing; I'm striving to get us over the hump. I feel that every game that we enter I really believe that we can win, no matter who we play. We've demonstrated our ability to rise up against some tough teams and defensively we're matching the game plan as far as trying to do our best against a Janel McCarville, a Shereka Wright, even coming into this next game with Bowen and Shimek inside. We have to put points on the board. Confidence is an issue, consistency, continuing to get better in the fundamental areas and you take the good from each game.

We talk about that as a team, take the good things that happened…we're a better team. I'm very much like Mike (Eaves) we're a lot better than we were in November. We're battling, we're competing and the results are not as we wish I'm not big on moral victories although there are a lot of good things to take…my attitude is very positive about our team. I believe in our hard work and we're seeing…sometimes success is measured in different ways and I feel that we're making some great strides. All of us would like that to be rewarded on the win column and hopefully that will happen soon. Now we're into the month of February and a lot of things can happen. Yesterday was a big upset day in the Big Ten on the women's side as well. Teams know that Wisconsin's going to come and we're going to battle for 40 minutes and I'm convinced that coaches will prepare for us because they know we're going to fight."

Lisa, when your not winning the games how do you measure that improvement, especially when its you since you're not used to being in this position.

"Well, you measure it on the fact that you held Minnesota 20 points under their average. You take a high scoring team and you keep them to 16-20 points below their average. We've got our turnovers down remarkably; we're rebounding with the best in the Big Ten. The ball is not going in the basket right now and that's a confidence thing. We're getting good shots; we're getting high percentage shots. We make our free throws yesterday and that's been plaguing us. We finally shoot 80 percent from the line and put ourselves in a position (to win). We only had six turnovers in the first half yesterday which kept us in the game. So little things…you've got to keep taking all the little good things and put them into a package and say these are the good things that are going to help us win. Everybody on the team, I've had phone calls from players today saying can I am come in I want to watch film with you I want to…They're still striving and they're thirsty and my job is to fill up their glass every single day. My glass is always half full, it's not half empty. I'll throw my shoulders back every single day and work as hard as I can. Granted I'm not used to it (losing) and I'm not going to get used to it. We're going to go after Michigan State and finish this season off on a high note. We need momentum in this month going into the tournament and then into the future."


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