Jayhawks Arrive in Little Rock, Hold Practice Before NCAA Tournament

March 17, 2012

031712aaa_634_7585303.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas women’s basketball team met with the media Saturday afternoon before taking the court for its first practice on the Jack Stephen’s Center floor in Little Rock, Ark., in preparation for its NCAA Tournament first round game on Sunday, March 18. The 11th-seeded Jayhawks will take on sixth-seeded Nebraska at 6:50 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

KU arrived in Little Rock Friday evening. Saturday the Jayhawks talked with reporters and a then a full-court, 90 minute practice followed. After practice, the team met with ESPN tv personalities Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe. Rowe is doing the play-by-play announcing for first and second round games in Little Rock while Fraschilla will be the color analyst.

Below is a trascript from KU’s press conference:

First Practice Day News Conference
March 17, 2012

HEAD COACH Bonnie Henrickson
On how the girls have adjusted to being in the tournament?
They have been good. Our charter flight was about 45 minutes and that is how we travel normal so I felt like until we got here and maybe until we got into the facility today because we went out to dinner and that felt okay, but probably when we got to the hotel and all the Jayhawks and all the banners and the welcome we got from the Hilton Hotel, which was fabulous, I think maybe they started to look around and think maybe this does feel a little different.

On how she changed her coaching philosophy after Feb. 12?
We had to reinvent ourselves offensively. Carolyn went down early in the K-State game, which was on a Sunday and then we had two practices to get ready for and went to Ames and played at Iowa State and then we had two more practices and then we had the biggest rivalry in college athletics in Kansas and Missouri and we had those guys coming into our place. At that point they were winless and licking their chops thinking that this was one they could get, but at that point they were in one and two possessions games at Oklahoma and at Texas A&M, so we looked at it as a snake pit game for us and I thought weathered it emotionally pretty well for us and certainly just trying to reinvent ourselves because there wasn’t one person in our program we could ask to replace Carolyn Davis overnight. Chelsea Gardner has done a great job, but all we asked Chelsea was to try and get better every day and we asked a couple of the young kids that if they had given us an aggressive play if they could maybe give us two more.

To ask Angel Goodrich at that point in the middle of February to try and do more considering what she had already done seemed ridiculous. We asked Aishah to do more, but we really embraced and talked about it on the bus when we got back from Manhattan, waiting to meet Carolyn in Lawrence, we talked for a longtime on the bus about being very, very clear about what we had lost with Carolyn, but to also keep in mind what we didn’t lose from a competitive standpoint, from a chemistry standpoint, from a being dialed in and playing great defense standpoint. We understand what we lost and it certainly wasn’t to minimize Carolyn’s injury, but to hang on to what we didn’t lose.

Has the number of upsets on the men’s side been an inspiration to you and your team?
Whether it is this year or any year there have been so many. We’ve said it all year that it’s not who you play but it’s how you play and that is in November, December, January, February and March and that is important. It is always about how you play and the toughness that you bring and the mental and physical part of it for everybody playing. It is either a wakeup call if you are a high seed and it can work the other way too, but I think it has an effect on both sides of it. I think our kids believe in themselves and are just real excited about the opportunity.

How your style of play and Nebraska’s style of play matchup?
Both teams love to run. If you look at points of emphasis and keys to the game it will be who will defend better in transition. They are 7-for-23 from the three-point line. Angel was trying to hide the scout, but she knows they are 7-for-23, she knows they were 20-for-25 from the free throw line in the Big Ten Tournament, she knows they scored almost 80 points a game, she knows all that but she is hiding it and that is a good point guard. That is a team that can put up numbers and put up big numbers in bunches. I don’t how many times that had been down double-digits and all of a sudden it is a nine point in a matter of a few possessions. They’ve been able to do that and put up big numbers and score from the 3.

On her emotions of being at the tournament?
Honestly as a coach you want for all of your student-athletes to have that experience on Monday and have the experience of coming in here and making this trip and being a part of this.

Angel Goodrich
What comes to mind when you think of Nebraska?
Well, pretty much them being in the Big 12 last year and how that came out last year. They were pretty good the last time we played them.

Anything that stands out about Nebraska?
Just them coming off a pretty good season, they’ve done well. They have Lindsey Moore and Jordan Hooper doing well this season. That’s pretty much what we’ve heard.

How excited are you for this matchup with Lindsey Moore?
I think it is a really good matchup, like I said she’s done well this season. Last year when they were in the Big 12 we got to matchup and she’s real good, she’s quick, she’s got a shot, and she can spread the defense. I feel like this is going to be a tough matchup.

What does it feel like being here at the NCAA Tournament?
I’m really excited, like Aishah said, I’ve been here just as long as she has and to finally get here is amazing, it’s a great feeling and I feel like we’ve done a really good job this season.

What do you think is most important about guarding the three point line?
It is very important, especially with a team like this because that’s their game, three pointers, and they put up like 20 three’s a game and if you don’t defend that then it’s going to hurt you. That’s really big, especially in the Big 12, a lot of teams shoot three’s in the Big 12.

What have you guys been working on for that?
Getting back and matching up and you get on shooters and don’t let them get a shot off.

Do you feel you’re being overlooked and does that motivate you?
I feel like it motivates a lot. Being overlooked, we’re the underdogs so coming in and we’re hearing we don’t deserve to be here. We really want to show we deserve to be here, we’ve worked really hard and we’ve continued to work hard. Being able to get this chance and opportunity we just want to show what we have.

Did you discuss any prior games from last year with Nebraska?
Like you mentioned last year they used to be in the Big 12 and last year we split. So there really is not any disadvantage there like them being over us or us being over them. Right now we’re just looking at them the way they are now with them being able to run the ball a lot and they shoot threes and they want to get layups. We’ve been focusing on that and just changing up our game plan to get a stop.

Aishah Sutherland
What does it feel like being here at the NCAA Tournament?
It’s great to be here my senior year and we haven’t been here yet since I’ve been here.

What have you been doing about the rebounding side of things in this matchup?
That’s always something you look forward to do is rebound, That’s a must need in every game.