Monday press conference: Lisa Stone

Women's basketball coach discussed her team's recent performance and upcoming games

Lisa, you've had two games that have been close; the opening exhibition and a loss on Saturday. How do you work with the players now to get them to find a way to win? Mike Eaves has talked about it a lot; winning moments of truth. Is that the next step in the progression of this team?

"It certainly is. You know, and I've thought a lot about this and I've talked to a few other coaches from different sports, and it really comes down to in practice we have to put ourselves in those similar type of situations. For example, mini-games, play a three-minute game down three; a two-minute game up one without the ball; when to foul, when not to foul, how to take care of the ball. And also, by doing that in practice we, hopefully will simulate winning, and learning how to win, and playing to win, and, refusing to lose. Also to find out who wants the ball and whose hand the ball should be in at the end of the game. I have a good idea of that, and, right now we're still trying to find an identity.

"Unfortunately, our game on Saturday was very difficult. I don't remember being that angry after a game, ever, just from a standpoint of the wheels falling off and not executing the way we wanted to. So the more we can simulate those type of things in practice, to put our players in a situation where they have to learn how to win and have your backs against the wall and see who has confidence to win the game, and who wants the basketball; who plays together; who is smart in their decisions, etc. Those are things that, hopefully, we'll find out very soon."

I believe Marquette just played your former school (Drake). What are your impressions of the Marquette team thus far?

"They're well-coached. Terri Mitchell and (asst. coach) Jon Cain are very good friends with (UW assistant coach) Donna Freitag and I. And we spent a lot of time, actually we talk to each other here and there, and out on the recruiting trail. We recruit directly against them in many cases. Actually all four of these teams we're playing on the road were in the NCAA tournament last year and picked to go there again. So the bar has been raised, and they're all on the road.

"Marquette will play a combination of zone and man. They're very, very fundamentally sound. Their point guard, Carolyn Kieger, I recruited when I was at Drake, is a fantastic point guard, great leader, tremendous scorer. She's averaging nearly six assists a game already. They have a young post player. They're pretty young, actually. But to taste a second-round trip to the NCAA tournament last year certainly fuels the fire. And I keep telling our players once we taste success it'll breed more success, and that's what Marquette has. They're 4-0. They're at home. They've not lost in the Maguire Center yet. And it's a tough challenge for us. But we match up very well. I'm excited about it. I'm excited to get back out on the court today. I'll feel a lot better after practice today than I do right now. But I know our players have potential. We need to learn from film today. Again, as I had said with Mike's question regarding putting ourselves in those practice situations, hopefully we'll get better."

I know coaches treat every game equally, but is there any extra weight placed on a state game, in your mind, or how do you approach that?

"We're looking for a win right now. We're looking for some answers. We're looking for continuity offensively, and to repack our bags and this time bring along rebounding and defense. Those two were left at home last weekend, unfortunately. And, it's a close trip, so from the standpoint of travel legs and that type of thing it's not an issue. But every game's the same to me, whether it's this one or the last game of the season. We need to treat every single game as the biggest game of the year to me, and I'm trying to get that through to our players, valuing the ball and all those type of things. Things don't change from game to game."

Lisa, was part of the frustration Saturday in that it was upperclassmen who had the ball in their hands at the crucial times and didn't do the right things? And if that's the case, then do you have to teach that a little differently than you would if they were freshmen?

"Well, I think, I mean, you know, you look at our turnovers inside of three minutes; we had five turnovers inside of three minutes, with a one-point lead. And we broke that film down yesterday, and we'll teach the entire team. I'm not going to put a whole lot of weight on saying this was upperclassmen. Our underclassmen are learning from our upperclassmen, and our upperclassmen are learning from our underclassmen. You know, we need to understand and identify rules. I think a little bit better understanding who we want to have the ball in their hands at the end of the game. And that may be an upperclassman, it may not be. Those are things that we're still working through.

"And, not, one game does not a season make and not one play does a game make, and unfortunately we didn't finish the game as we wanted to. But those are things that, yeah, the game was just frustrating because we controlled that whole game. It was a game that we should have won. And no disrespect to Middle Tennessee State, because they hung in there, made some big plays down the stretch. We just simply didn't close the door and finish the game, and that's something that we have got to improve on, because too much of that happened last year. And it's a brand-new year and I'm not going to make excuses. We're going to address it and try to get over that hump."


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