You were hoping the team would come out with a more competitive effort last week? Did they do that?
"I think we responded really well at Michigan. Our team came out and we jumped out to a 10-4 lead. We tried to break the game down into mini-games. Medias (timeouts), every four minutes, let's try and win this media than the next one and the next one. Unfortunately we didn't finish the half off as I would have liked. But we came out with a little more gusto. Offensively, we got some points in transition. They put their scramble defense on us and we turned the ball over at some crucial times. As far as being frustrated with the effort, no. It is important that we continue to battle and we keep our heads up. I told the kids after the game that I will not abandon them and I will not quit. We will continue to fight. But again, on accountability, we need to be accountable for things. We need to control things we can control. Catching the ball, staying on our feet, meeting passes and making free throws and the little areas we continue to address and strive at. We have another game coming up and it is an opportunity to come back home and hopefully play much better than we did last week."
You talked about accountability. Are the post players struggling? Are they struggling or not at the level they should be?
"Well obviously you want more production out of your post players. To preempt that, I could not be more pleased with the play of Ashley Josephson right now. She has taken her game to a new level. After the game yesterday, I took her aside and said, "Ashley I can ask no more of you. You are giving me everything you can." She is making tough shots and she is keeping us in the ball game. We are going to find her more shots. She has the green light to shoot it. She's on fire right now. She has taken her game from a freshman level to a senior level in one year. She is healthy, she is a competitor. She has bought in and she has given us everything she can. Now with that, that takes some pressure off the inside. When you are 6-7, 6-5, 6-3 inside and you have somebody shooting on the outside that should free some things up. Obviously we are not going to go away from our low post. We certainly need to get more production there and those kids know that. It is not a fact of people being down. We are all in this together. Obviously a win makes you feel real good. We still have got some opportunities to do that. We have five games to play and have an infiltration of positive energy. That can come with continued great play by Ashley Josephson. I thought Stephanie Rich played one of her better games yesterday. And Kjersten Bakke … Bakke gives us that tenacious ‘come to work hard all of the time' attitude. She works hard on both ends of the floor. If there is a shot up, she gets the offensive board and keeps things alive. That has to spearhead into the rest of people. It is not because a lack of effort. I think it is important that we keep practices spirited, positive, yet demanding and intense. Like our hockey team, after this Iowa game, we have a week to get ourselves back together and hopefully finish the season real strong."
Lisa, aside from the individual play, what are you pleased with that is happening as a team?
"I can't say enough about the rebounding. We are one of the top rebounding teams in the conference. When our defensive rebounding can show up every game, we can be in a position to win. If you look at our home games, in the Big Ten against Minnesota, Penn State and even Michigan at home, one that got away from us, and Illinois, Northwestern, we have done very, very well. Obviously those things need to carry over on the road. I have been very pleased with our performance on the defensive end. Outside of the Michigan State second half, I think we have given tremendous effort. I am not satisfied coming away with a loss. We keep striving for that. My attitude going in the locker room, being a kid down right now is not going to help. We have to continue to work hard and strive hard and find a way to pick up a victory. Taking care of the basketball, we have done an okay job of that. That can still improve. I am not going to go into the locker room and say, "It's okay, it's okay everybody." Because it is not okay, I want the end result to change. I think the way we present ourselves and the tone we give to our players during the game, pre, post and halftime. They listen, they nod and they understand. It is a foundation that is being built that we expect to be the best we can each outing. Each player has to do their part and each member of our staff has to do their part."
Do you re-shift your focus at all in practice this week especially going up against Iowa?
"With Iowa, in some regard there could be an advantage to
some extent. They play Tuesday against Purdue. One day rest and they come pick
us up on Thursday and we are at home. We're at home and we are going to battle
here and we are sleeping in our own beds. All of those kind of ‘hopefully'
advantages. A strong start, our start at Iowa the last time is certainly not one
we want to remember. You can't go through two (media timeouts) without scoring.
We have to put the ball in the net. We have to find ways to get easy baskets. We
have to get more people involved offensively and take care of the basketball.
They will pressure us from start to finish. The triangle offense is one of the
best in the country. Lisa Bluder does a great job teaching it. Their big three,
it seems like every team we play has a big three. You know (Iowa center Jamie)
Cavey has been doing great things, (Iowa forward Jennie) Lillis, (Iowa guard
Kristi) Faulkner, they have an inside-outside group and some young freshman that
have competed with some of the best (teams) in the conference. They beat
Michigan State at Michigan State and they played Minnesota very tough. They are
a great basketball team and we are going to have to bring a great game. As far
as changing things, no. As far as keeping people up and positive, there may be
more of an emphasis on that. We can bend but we cannot break right now. We have
to stay up and continue to coach this team and teach this team and lay a
foundation this season for next."