Kansas Turns Its Focus to South Carolina

March 24, 2013

Carolyn Davis answered questions from the media Sunday afternoon regarding the Jayhawks’ upcoming second-round NCAA Tournament game against South Carolina.

BOULDER, Colo. – On the eve of the 2013 NCAA Women’s seniors Carolyn Davis, Monica Engelman and Angel Goodrich along with head coach Bonnie Henrickson answered questions during a formal media conference before the entire team participated in a closed, two-hour practice at the Coors Events Center Sunday afternoon.

Below is the transcript from Sunday’s media conference:

Bonnie Henrickson, Head Coach:

On South Carolina:
“They’re very talented. Prior to the flight I watched of game of South Carolina’s and I watched one of South Dakota State on the bus ride. I was impressed with both teams. I didn’t watch the game live yesterday. I was in the locker room. Obviously I’ve watched quite a bit since then, and they’re very talented. They’re very good defensively and on the glass. They average 24 free throw attempts, which is the by-product of being really good in transition, having a really good post game, and offensive rebounding. If you’re going to get to the free throw line, you have to be good at those three things, and they’re really good. I think they’re in the top five in the country in points per game and defensive field goal percentage. That’s where they hang their hat. I think they’re really talented.”

On whether South Carolina’s defense, or their post game, poses the bigger threat in tomorrow’s game:
“I would say it’s a product of both. They can create so much offense from their defense, and get opportunities. Especially when they turn you over at the free throw line and extend it, you don’t get a chance to set up your half-court defense. Your defense is at its most vulnerable in transition. They were impressive, watching last night’s game against South Dakota State on film. [South Carolina] threw the ball inside and dominated inside. Their post game is very talented, but it’s a balance. Their perimeter players made great low-post entry passes. They threw it over the top. They’ve got size, length, speed, and quickness. Their post players can face, rip, and drive. [Ashley] Bruner is as good off the dribble as some of the talented players in our league. We turned Colorado’s [players] into people in our league. We’ve turned South Carolina into a combination of teams and players in our league. That helps our players relate when they haven’t seen Colorado or South Carolina at all this year. They understand and when we went into film last night, they were shaking their heads and interjecting their own things they saw.”

On the lessons her team draws from last year’s NCAA tournament run:
“I’m a firm believer that past success doesn’t dictate future success. The only thing’ I’ve addressed with our team from last year is that our defensive field goal percentage was 38.5 percent. We went through a stretch during the year when we stopped defending and stopped winning. The week and a half between the Big 12 tournament and here gave us a chance to clean some things up that we’d let go and gotten soft at defensively. I felt that showed a little bit last night and we were a little more balanced defensively. Those kids had an opportunity and made the most of that opportunity. I think they would say that gave them some confidence, but it’s a process. You have to focus on doing your job. Everybody’s job is different because everybody’s role is different. There are some things that everybody has to do, but I think we won yesterday because we played well. I’ve said it a million times. It doesn’t matter who you play. It doesn’t matter where you play. It matters how you play – this time of the year and all throughout the season.”

On how being grateful for their spot in the NCAA tournament helps the team:
“We have a tremendous amount of gratitude towards the [NCAA tournament selection] committee. All of the last four in the tournament probably feel like proving that they belong. I think that’s probably what you feel. You feel like you belong and you’re trying to prove that you belong.”

On whether the matchup between the point guards will be the difference in tomorrow’s game:
“This time of the year, the game is controlled by your point guard, because both teams’ point guards have the ball in their hands a lot. We ask a lot of our point guards. We’re both really blessed to have really good point guards. I think mine makes me look really smart every day. There are other pieces that contribute, though. We’re not going to break their pressure with one guy. Angel [Goodrich] is going to need help. Colorado got into her and trapped her. They got her to pick it up and spin a little bit, which is not very typical for her. I thought they brought great pressure early, then everybody calmed down a little bit. She needed help out of that. She needed guys to break, cut to the ball, and give her a better angle to get the ball out. It’s going to be a great matchup, and they both have a lot of responsibility, but their teammates have to step up and help on both teams.”

On what she is most looking forward to about tomorrow’s game:
“The excitement and the energy. The opportunity to play a great team that’s well-coached. I’ve known Dawn [Staley] a long time. I was on the sideline when Dawn was a player, and was on the sideline with her for USA Basketball. I’ve got great respect for her playing career and her coaching career. The job she’s done building that program has been impressive. For our players to have the opportunity to play a great team like South Carolina, and all the intangibles that go with that, are exciting. We’re all excited.”

On the job South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley has done with her program:
“To do what she’s done in the SEC, and the quality of the players she’s gotten is impressive. She’s surrounded herself with great people. Lisa Boyer I’ve known forever. I’ve known Lisa since I’ve been in the business. She’s got a great staff and she’s developed her players. As you watch those kids come in and go through their careers, it’s hard for me because I haven’t played them, but I’ve seen other people play them and she’s done a great job. She’s done it the right way, and she works her tail off and has a lot of pride in that program. The run they had in the tournament last year and what they’ve done this year so far has been very impressive.”

On the potential advantage of having a larger crowd tomorrow than South Carolina:
“We hope so. There are a lot of KU alums in this area and we had a few that were here last night. I think the weather hampered some of them. Western Kansas is loaded. I know our alumni group has reached out to build a decent fanbase here, so we’re cautiously optimistic that there will be a little more blue in the building tomorrow and that will be nice. I think the adrenaline and the emotion that a crowd can give a team is important, and I was proud of how our team handled it. It was a great atmosphere last night. I was impressed and this community should be proud for their effort in the building last night. They did a great job.”

Angel Goodrich, Guard:

On battle of point guards with South Carolina’s Ieasia Walker:
“We watched some film last night and she is very quick. She has a quick jumper and she can get to the rim. It is all about who can contain and get down. She is good. I respect her a lot. I am going to come ready to play with my team.”

On benefit of making a run as an 11 seed at last year’s NCAA Tournament:
“As far as last year we had a really good run towards the end. I think we were excited and just ready to play and show what we could do as a team. We played together and just had fun. That is what we like to do, play together and just have fun. This year is the same kind of mindset. That is where we get the motivation from. That excitement that we had, we want that feeling again. We are hungry for it.”

On Carolyn Davis:
“She brings a lot to the team. She gets double-teamed a lot and it opens the outside. Just having her out there and seeing her smile and working hard; it is great to have her back out there. I know she is enjoying it. It puts a smile on our faces to have her back out there. It is great to experience this with her. I know she is enjoying it a lot.”

On South Carolina:
“We just have to take care of the ball. We know they are known for their defense and their physicalness. We have to come out and be ready and focused. We need to be ready for their pressure. We need to handle the ball and play for each other and play together and not let the pressure handle us.”

Carolyn Davis, Forward:

On familiarity with the Coors Event Center:
“It has been a while. Looking at our roster I think only four of us have played here. It is really not that much of an advantage. Some of the younger kids were kind of nervous about the altitude. I wouldn’t say it was an advantage for us at all.”

On having the edge in fans:
“Every time we go on the road we look our circle we have and play for each other. No matter how many [fans] we have, whether we have five or 20, we are going to work hard and we are going to play hard for whoever we have there cheering for us.”

On Angel Goodrich:
“She is our leader on the floor. When she is on we usually are all on. She kind of sets the tempo and sets everything for us defensively and offensively. If she is pushing we know it is time to go and if she is playing defense tough she just kind of changes the level of the game for everyone. You want to compete at the level that she plays at. Having her play the way she has been playing and seeing how she played last year, it is really good for us as a team.”

Monica Engelman, Guard:

On contributing to the team after tough season last year:
“I still felt significant even though my role was a little bit different last year. I really enjoyed the experience and was very happy for my teammates. Know that I have a different role I am even more excited of course because I get to participate a little more. It is about having fun and doing what I can do and contributing as much as I can and be there for my teammates.”

On going forward in the tournament:
“We just need to remember that it is a process. We have to play together and take care of the things we need to take care of. Whether that is getting defensive stops or boxing out or being in ball side deny. It is about taking care of the little things and doing what we know we need to do in order to get the win.”

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