Kansas Women's Basketball Holds Annual Media Day

Oct. 11, 2011

  • Coach Bonnie Press Conference
  • K. Mays Interview
  • N. Knight Interview
  • C. Harper Interview
  • D. Breaux Interview
  • M. Engelman Interview

101111aaa_995_7024074.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – Donning its uniforms for the first time this year, the 2011-12 Kansas women’s basketball team gathered in Allen Fieldhouse to take team pictures and then meet with the media at the team’s annual media day. Players fielded questions first before head coach Bonnie Henrickson sat down to talk about the Jayhawks and their upcoming season.

Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson

Opening statement:
“It’s hard for me to temper my enthusiasm and my excitement. I’m really excited about this group and about the year ahead. With the trip to Italy and being on the floor in the summer, I know a lot more now than I probably would have, especially with the freshmen. When you’ve got five freshmen, it was good to get on the floor with them and see them in a college practice environment. The quality of basketball we got here was really good. Those young kids are forced to compete and learn how to play. Our calendar was different last year. If you look at the first game on the calendar, go back 40 days, then you get 30 days of practice in there, which started last Wednesday for our game against Western Michigan. We’ve been on the floor a little bit and it’s been exciting. I love their energy and their enthusiasm; they’re excited. It’s easier when you have so many returners back, but my excitement isn’t because we have everybody back. My excitement is, and will be, how we grow as a defensive team. If you look at our numbers, we were last in the league in field goal percentage. That can’t happen, so I challenged them this morning saying that was the worst defensive team I’ve put on the floor here. There’s no excuse because we’re long and athletic. We have to develop the toughness and the discipline. We also have to rebound the ball better. We have to get kids on the boards and get guys off the glass. We’re last in offensive rebounding and we’re last in rebounding margin. Offensively, Angel (Goodrich) has bought in to my mantra about being a scoring point guard in addition to making plays. She’s taken shots in our first few practices that she wouldn’t have taken this time last year. For us, Carolyn (Davis) is money. She catches it quickly and scores it quickly. Angel leads the league in assists, Carolyn leads the league in field goal percentage and Monica (Engelman) leads the league in three-point field percentage. We do have to shoot the three better, though. We’re last in three-point field goal percentage. We have to stretch the defense and get everyone out of Carolyn’s lap. If we clean that up and are as good as I know we can be and they buy into that, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”

On the 20,000 shot club:
“We challenged them this summer. We have the shooting guns that you can punch in the jersey number and name and it will spit out your receipt, so we challenged them to see who could get to 20,000. They had to turn in receipts by the time we left for Italy to see who could get to 20,000, and they all got there. It’s about repetition. Great shooters aren’t born, you’re made to be a great shooter.”

On which freshman she thinks will make the biggest impact:
“Natalie (Knight) got in the starting lineup after 10 practices to go to Italy. Keena (Mays) has been giving her a run for her money now, but Natalie makes open shots. She guards better than most young kids do and she doesn’t turn the ball over. She doesn’t make bad decisions, we just need to get her to be more vocal. She’s consistent.”

On Carolyn Davis expanding her shot:
“If you look at some of the bigs in our league, it’s all about matchups. Some of the big bigs, she’s got to get them away from the basket. Our responsibility is to make her as hard to guard as we can, and she’s bought in to that.”

On how Davis has handled the pressure of preseason attention:
“Pressure is when you’re not prepared, and she’s prepared to be successful. The scouting report is not going to change because of the watch list she’s on preseason. It will still be the same as it was last year in that she’ll be the focal point of everyone’s defensive game plan against us. Her foul trouble (last year) was on the road. She took a beating on the road and didn’t handle it very well; she fouled back.”

On the improvement of Angel Goodrich’s shot:
“It’s gotten significantly better. For her, it was for her to be ready to shoot the ball. She had a moment in practice today where she asked if she should’ve shot the ball. I said `Yes you should’ve shot it. You shouldn’t have thought twice about it, which is why you didn’t make it. It’s not about how you shot it.’ I talk to her a lot about her mindset. She still has to, when she catches the ball, be in a position to take a shot. She catches it and puts it on the floor to pass. She goes at a great pace to make a play off of it and pass it, but sometimes she can’t get her feet underneath her to take the right shot. She needs to put her body in a position to be able to shoot or pass.”

On if there’s a mental block about getting to the NCAA Tournament:
“We were two games away, but we laid an egg at Missouri and laid an egg here against Kansas State. We didn’t show up collectively or individually. You’ve got to play at a high level. What’s tough about this league is that you’ve got great players and you’re going to play in front of thousands of people; there are no nights off. You have to play on the road as well as you play at home. We have not matured enough consistently to do that.”

On the new makeup of the Big 12:
“I’m excited that TCU was added. I’m disappointed that Texas A&M made a decision to leave. I thought they were good for our league; they won it last year. Those are decisions that I’m not at the table for, but I think TCU will bring value to our league. I certainly hope Missouri stays. I’m from the Midwest originally, so we need more than the Big Ten as a Midwest league.”

On how this team compares to other teams she’s coached:
“It’s like the year we were picked preseason second in the league. It has that same bounce and excitement with high expectations. I remember coming back from the WNIT with all the girls that were returning, it feels like that to me.”

On the team chemistry:
“It’s really good. When you see one, you see most of them. Especially with the freshmen, if you see one, you see all five of them. With the new staff, we’ve got seven new people with the program. The time together in the summer and on the trip (bonded them). There’s such a big piece of that when you take an international tour. Part of it is the basketball, but also (there is) the bonding with the staff and the players. Those are moments we had that we don’t get here. It’s just more relaxed. They’re a fun group with great energy and great personality. They think they’re really funny, but they’re pretty funny.”

On expectations for an NCAA Tournament bid this year:
“The expectations are great, but I’ve had more conversations with them on how to get to that point. Where did we fall short last year? Numbers and film don’t lie. The expectation is still the same. You’ve got learn from mistakes. We have to be able to learn a lesson from last year and recognize, as a team, that we made mistakes and promise ourselves we won’t repeat that. There are no off nights in this league or you have no chance. You have to perform at a high level every night, both home and away.”

On the importance of an NCAA bid for the identity of the program:
“It is always important. That’s where we’re trying to get and what we work every day towards.”

On how she motivates the team to show up every game:
“We talk about it. We went through the numbers this morning. There’s constant communication. You build it into your practices, build it into situations and talk about it going into it. Now, it’s about being as good as you can be in tomorrow’s practice since today is already done. I read everything and try to find an angle, but at some point, players have to play. You have to just lace them up and you have to play. I’m not shirking my responsibility, but we have to compete every night to get it done.”

Junior Guard Angel Goodrich

On how she is recovering from knee surgery:
“I feel 100 percent. I’ve been going up and down with everyone and haven’t really had to do rehab or anything, so I feel good. I’m ready for the season to get started. I stopped going to rehab before the summer. I didn’t feel like I needed to go anymore. Like I said, my knee feels great, and I’m happy.”

On what she worked on in the offseason:
“My shot. As a team, we all worked on getting our shot better and quicker. One of our goals for this summer was that we had a 20,000-shot club where we had to come in and shoot 20,000 shots before we went to Italy. It took about a month (to reach the goal). Everyone got it. “

On the key to being successful in the Big 12 Conference:
“Defense. One key that we’re working on right now is getting our defense to apply more pressure and cause more disruption. Pressure will allow us get the ball and help our offense. That’s the key thing that we’ve been working on during the summer.”

On being more vocal as a leader this year:
“As far as being more vocal, I think I’ve improved. I think everyone has been more vocal as a team, pushing each other and helping the freshman get used to what we go through and what we can improve on. I think leadership has really grown within our team.”

Junior Guard Monica Engelman

On if Carolyn Davis’ ability in the paint helps open up the outside for her to shoot:
“I could say that for anybody on the outside. We always go inside (with the ball). If the guards can knock down the shot on the outside, it’s going to stretch the defense because then they will have to worry about inside and outside.”

On the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team:
“Defensively, we’re going to be more aggressive and running the ball more and pushing the tempo. Run and control the pace, push the ball up, and you get easy baskets. Angel (Goodrich) has been doing a good job of pushing the tempo, and CeCe (Harper) has been doing a good job when she plays the point guard position. Pushing the ball and getting people wide for easy layups is what we’re trying to do.”

On how the trip to Italy in the summer helped the freshmen:
“It was good for the freshmen. They got to get some court time in before we went. We had individuals and practices. Normally, they would have had to wait until around this time before we started having practices, so it was a good advantage for them. They got to see what they need to do to transition in a little early.”

On Late Night in the Phog:
“I’m pretty excited. I think we have fun dance skits, and then I’m looking forward to playing in front of all the fans and showing what we can do.”

Freshman Guard Asia Boyd

On how the freshmen are adjusting to the team after the trip to Italy:
“It was really good for us to come in so early and be able to bond with the team. Angel (Goodrich) and Monica (Engelman) had a big impact on me just because they taught me a lot of things I didn’t know when I first came here. I think coming in early is good for freshmen so that they can get acclimated to everything.”

On her potential impact on the team as a freshman:
“I just listen to my teammates and try to be positive. I really don’t know what I’m looking for because I’m a freshman, so I’m just trying to soak in as much as they tell me and put it into the game.”

On some of her strengths and weaknesses as a player:
“Getting to the basket and shooting the three-pointer are my two biggest strengths. I’m trying to work on my defense and staying in tune with everything because practices are longer now. I have to be more active and stay on top of everything.”

On making the 20,000-shot club:
“It was a team thing, so we all had to get our goal of 20,000 shots . I forget who came in first, but I was somewhere in the middle. I’d take about 500 shots in the morning and about 500 at night, so I was getting in about 1,000 shots a day. I tried to work on my mid-range and pull-up jumpers, trying to create more and get to the basket.”

Junior Forward Carolyn Davis

On being named to preseason award lists:
“It’s a great accomplishment to know that coming into the season, a lot of coaches have a lot of confidence in me. Your own coach can’t vote for you, so that means that other coaches feel I have the ability to be on that list. It’s an honor to be on that list with such great players. I share this honor with my team. They are there for me. They are the ones who get me the ball and make me look good. It’s an honor.”

On this team compared to last year’s team:
“I think we’re at a higher level already just because we’ve had that practice in the summer. We’ve had a chance to get the freshmen in the gym. We’re at an advantage. It’s good for everyone. I think we’re at a good spot for our team this year.”

On team expectations this year:
“Of course to finish at the top (of the Big 12), that’s always an expectation. To do better than last year is always what we look at. What our numbers were last year, what we did last year; we have to improve from there.”

On this team compared to her first couple years:
“I think what’s different is that I’m more in a leadership role. I was always a leader, a captain, but this year I’m actually an upperclassman. I have two years under my belt, and I can bring that experience to our young post players so that’s what has helped us a lot.”

Senior Forward Aishah Sutherland

On team rebounding this season:
“It’s great to get everyone to the glass, to get the guards to the glass. If everyone goes to the glass, it will give us another possession.”

Expectations this season compared to last season:
“Our expectations are the same. We need to go to the NCAA Tournament. We have to work harder than last season to succeed.”

On summer play producing an advantage:
“The summer always helps. We condition in the summer just to get us ready for this time of year. We had a shooting contest where we each had to shoot 20,000 shots. We all got to that. That helps us in season and late in season.”

Sophomore Tania Jackson

On improvement over the summer:
“(It improved) our team cohesion. We have five freshmen so I think it was a great opportunity for them to play with us and get a feel how we run. From high school to college, (this opportunity) really gave them the upper hand on playing at the college level that other freshmen in our conference and other conferences don’t get a chance to do. I think that was the biggest advantage that they got, or as a whole that we got.”

On expectations for this season:
“To finish in the top four of the Big 12. That has always been a goal of ours, to finish high in the Big 12.”

On biggest improvement as a team:
“I think our communication is a lot better. Last year, we weren’t that communicative. I think this year we have put a lot of emphasis on communicating, which could help our defense tremendously. I think that defense is something we need to work on as a whole.”