Monday press conference: Lisa Stone

Women's basketball coach discussed upcoming Big Ten Tournament

Lisa, what kind of match-up concerns or problems do you face when you go up against Indiana?

"Well, Indiana is obviously known for their defense and they have competed defensively the entire season. I think you can just even earmark yesterday's game with Iowa, 56-53 game and one we listened to. And, you know, when you look at what they do to other teams, it's a half-court game. It's just a grudge match inside. And, you know, we obviously have do some things that we're better at and that's a little bit more up-tempo.

"I think we match up very well. I think they've got a couple young players, Chapman is playing much better right now. If you look at what they did to us down there, obviously it's something that I'm going to make a big statement with in practice. That's the first time they scored over 70 points on a team, that was this year. Hawkins had four blocked shots before the first media down there. There's lots of statistical things we can go off of after our game there.

"Now we've only seen them once this season. Last year saw them three times. They're no different. There's not a magical change they're going to make. They're not going to switch out on screens. They're going to play fundamental, help-side defense. We need to be patient and find ways to score.

"But right now our question mark with our team is defense, our defense and our toughness. It's not so much how we're going to score on tough Indiana's defense. It's more about our defense. And yesterday we did a little bit better job against Purdue in switching defenses and doing some different things that put them in an uncomfortable situation.

"But we've got to get stops for the entire game, particularly down the stretch. We've got to rebound and make a bigger emphasis going into the Big Ten Tournament on the defensive end, because right now everybody knows everybody's offense. There's no storybook there. It's the fact that we have to lock down much more on defense.

"It's not an up-tempo game with Indiana. They're going to bring it up, pick you apart a little bit, try to go inside. Sarah McKay, who is 6-6 or 6-7, they'll try to go inside on our smaller post players. Valentin's their big scorer outside and they only have one in double figures. And, you know, it's not going to be a high-scoring game and we know that. We just need to have one more at the end."

Lisa, can you talk about Jolene's accomplishments, especially yesterday, and how she's maintained such a calm demeanor in, I mean, she really has carried the team in quite a few games this season.

"She's carried the team in every game, Tammy. Let's just cut to the chase. She certainly has. We ask a lot of Jolene. She has taken shots in situations that are more difficult than most people know. We don't ask her to put up big numbers. It just comes. And she's a great passer. She's been able to put in a lot more minutes and you would think maybe she'd be getting tired, but she's not. I think she's just revving up. She loves to play.

"Yesterday was one of her finest performances yet against a very good team with big guards. She kept us in that game and allowed us to be in a position to win. Unfortunately for us, we didn't have the ball in her hands. We needed to -- We turned it over and didn't get the ball to Jolene down the stretch. We had an opportunity down 2, late in the game was down 4, and we needed her handling the basketball.

"She's a special player. I can't say enough about her. She is completely committed to the team. Her accomplishments are spoken in statistics, but she's a very even-keeled kid that's just going to be better and really take this program where we want it to go."

Lisa, you've been steadfast in your belief that whether it's the 1st-place team or the 11th-place team you're playing, you believe you have a chance to win the game. This is going to be a pressure situation for some of these kids in some ways for the first time, I mean the one and done.

"You know what, I'm really counting on our upperclassmen to demonstrate some experience. I'm angered by the fact that a few games this season we didn't close it down. We were close enough and we were close to take it, but we didn't. And we need experienced players not only going into the Big Ten Tournament to help our underclassmen understand the special moment of tournament play. What's happened now is over. It's a brand-new season, the freshness.

We're going to go, Conseco Fieldhouse is, the atmosphere is unbelievable, I'm not one to be nervous about, one to generate some energy. Again, find some ways and we need our upperclassmen to grab hold of our freshmen and say we need you, you need us, and we need you we out there on the court. And in order to do that, that energy, that toughness that I'm hoping that we see is something we're going to need in the first game, because it is one and done.

"And, you know, every player's been in that in high school, your regional, sectional tournaments, etc., you lose a game, you're done with your season. We certainly want to pick up another win and continue to move on. And in order to do that we have to embrace the atmosphere of the Big Ten Tournament."

I guess what I was curious about, do you feel that on your roster every player is as confident as you are, or are they still getting there yet?

"You know, I wish they were. I wish they all were. Are we all the way we are? They will nod their heads and tell you that. They really will. And I want to see it. I think that's demonstrated in the way you play. I mean, I'm intense, I'm energetic, and I'm very confident, and that won't ever change. And that personality hopefully will be embraced by everybody. That's a perfect world though and I'm not sure that that's going to happen. But the long and short is that's the way I'mm going to keep going. And eventually that will take on the personality of the team."

Lisa, you mentioned your upperclassmen, most of which are your post players, who have been struggling. Are they lacking confidence and is their turnaround going to be a key to you guys going deep in the tournament?

"We have to score, obviously. We didn't score a field goal in the post yesterday. And that's a statistical fact. We have got to get production out of the post. It's not a confidence issue. It's right now the fact that we need them to step up. And it's not just the post. It's everybody. Our entire team needs to strap on their boots a little bit tighter and be as tough and play with an insurmountable amount of effort on Thursday so we can take one, move on to the next one."

Do you remember watching Pam Moore and Theresa Huff play and where does Jolene compare with those two?

"Theresa Huff I had the pleasure of playing against. Pam Moore, I've watched them. They're obviously great players. I like to put Jolene Anderson in the categories of like a Jackie Stiles, a Diana Taurasi. You look at some players, certainly Kelly Mazzante. Those are names that pop up to me, far more recent names to associate her with. The Pam Moores obviously, Theresa Huffs, go right down, Janet Huff, Faith Johnson back at the time, you go way back in the day when I was playing.

"Those are some people that started a tremendous liking to women's basketball here in the state, great athletes, still very active in women's basketball. And when you look at Jolene Anderson, that's going to be a name that people are going to talk about 20 years from now, 30 years from now as well. You can put her in those same categories. But she's a special player that has embraced the accolades without an ego, and that says a lot about her and her great character."

Stephanie Rich, in talking about Jolene last week, likened her to having the potential of a Lindsay Whalen. Is the key to Jolene making that jump to the next level her conditioning next year? I mean, is that something that you think is going to be key to her?

"I think you can -- There's not one thing. I think when you look at Jolene, she's 18 years old, and you look at where she's going to be when she's 22 years old. The fact that maturity, you know, embracing the city of Madison and the adjustment, she's adjusted very, very well. Between now and the start of next season, in off-season is where players are made, and conditioning is a part of it. It's not the only thing.

"Ball-handling, her ability to continue to shoot the ball, play defense, all of the integral parts of being a great player you are going to see. There's not one thing that you point out. I don't think there's really anything wrong with Jolene Anderson's game. I think it's exciting to see where it's going to go.

"And as she matures as a player and we continue to help teach her the game that she loves so much, because she loves the game of basketball. She loves to play. That's why there's no -- she's not tired. You know, we've got a game to play on Thursday and she wants to play more. In order to do that, if she has to log all 40 minutes, then she'll do it. In the offseason it's going to be important that she continues to work on her fundamentals, her conditioning, and the entire part of the game."

Coach, have you looked at the NCAA progress rates that came out today? Are you happy where youírre at? And how do you use those as a tool as a coach with your team?

"I think, you know, as we look at the APR right now it's something that obviously has been addressed to the coaches and we will embrace it as an entire university and staff. And we're aware of it. And I think it's, as you start to recruit and you look at the complete student-athlete, it's imperative that we continue to recruit the way we're recruiting and continue to bring quality student-athletes to the University.

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