Women's Basketball Media Day Quotes

Oct. 12, 2004


Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson

Opening statement: “We’re excited to be very near the start of our season. We have been going through individual workouts since August. Since the last time I stood in front of you, we have made progress, as far as work ethic, consistency, skill development and conditioning. We really feel that we have made a lot of progress in the last six to seven months, but I am here to tell you that we have a lot more to make.”

“We are thrilled about our expanded coverage in the Kansas City and Wichita areas. We are thrilled about having 18 games on television. Those are things that our staff and our players are excited about. Those are elements that will help us in our recruiting. With reference to this team, the biggest issue is our lack of size. The positive is our athleticism on the perimeter. Now it is our staff’s responsibility to win each night. It won’t be typical of teams that I have had in the past, we are changing styles. Right now we are going to find any way we can to win. In time, we will build to where we can push and run every possession and spread the floor defensively. Right now, on any given night and considering our numbers, that might not be the best thing for us to do. We will have to be pretty flexible in how we play, our kids understand that. We have a tremendous attitude and work ethic as we learn to grow each day is one of our biggest challenges. I don’t doubt that these kids want to win. They are very competitive. My biggest task right now is to get them to understand how to win.”

On walk-on tryouts:

“We are going to have walk-on tryouts. We have discussed that and have had a little bit of interest.”

On KU’s roster:

“Believe it or not, we had 11 last year (at Virginia Tech) and one that couldn’t practice at all. We have been at 12-13 in my career, I have never been on a team that has had 15 players. That is where the male practice players are critical, they help you. We are talking about using them every day.”

On team leadership:

“That is an issue for us right now, because we have not had anyone emerge as a leader. So if that doesn’t happen, I will be that leader. I won’t sit and let them flounder, looking for someone. I don’t think you can put that tag on anyone. There are all kinds of ways to lead someone. We have some potential candidates in the group.”

On Big 12 hoops:

“We had the opportunity (at Virginia Tech) to play Texas Tech a few years ago in the NCAA tournament. Playing in this league will be very different –tremendous athleticism, tremendous size, great shooters and great defense. The most important thing for us is to take care of ourselves.”

On how KU will win games:

“We have to pressure the ball on the perimeter, making it hard for people to find their height inside. We have to be creative with traps and zones, trying to win possession games. We are going to make teams hit shots on the perimeter. We will have to understand a good shot and a bad shot and how to use each possession. Tempo and pace offensively will be very important for us. We are going to have to be opportunistic. If we can’t push it up, we will have to settle and use a half-court game.”

On rebuilding KU:

“At Virginia Tech, I was put in a rebuilding position. I can promise you that I am better prepared to do it now than I was then. I have more resources and commitment. It is never as good as it seems and it is never as bad as it seems.”

On building relationships with local high schools:

“I have had three different clinics already and we are having one at the end of the month. We have had a tremendous response, it has been very positive.”

On the extended television exposure:

“I think it is critical for us, the more that we can get this team and program out where people can see it. I can promise you that when people watch us, we will compete and play hard. Win or lose, we will play with class. We are headed in the right direction and we will do it the right way.”

On Late Night:

“I think it’s fantastic. It’s the right thing to do. Our players are excited and a little nervous about it. We don’t get to watch it but we will videotape it and we practice the next morning. We will have conversation about what happened. It is a step in the right direction so fans can see our players.”

Junior forward Crystal Kemp

On the transition to a new coach:

“It’s been very different. We didn’t have a hard time adjusting. But it was just so new, everything coming at us at once. It just took us a little while to keep everything under control in our heads.”

On conditioning:

“With coach (Andrea) Hudy, it’s been very different, but it’s been fun. But what I do like is that it has been different. Everything that we do has been a little bit different, it’s not the same thing every day. She has us working in the weight room every day, and as far as conditioning, she makes it fun for us. We’re working hard against each other, and it’s making us better.”

On her self-expectations for the season:

“I feel like I am getting to where I need to be. Being the biggest and tallest person on the team, I definitely have a lot of challenges. Coach (Bonnie) Henrickson doesn’t let up on anything. She is definitely trying to push me to work harder.”

Senior guard/forward Blair Waltz

On depth issues:

“We are obviously going to have to be in shape. It’s alright, because most teams usually only have an eight-person rotation. It’s going to be alright for us. I’m excited for the season.”

On being in shape:

“We get challenged every single day in individual workouts and in the weight room. I know coach Hudy and coach Henrickson have put us is the best possible position to be in the best shape we can be in.”

Junior guard Erica Hallman

On team chemistry:

“The chemistry is really good. We have ten players that want to be here, that’s the most important thing. We have been working hard as a core group, going out every day and practicing. When we play pickup (games) we have chemistry. Crystal and I have a pretty good pick-and-roll going on. Everyone is complimenting everybody else now. Our chemistry is better because everybody wants to be here and we are working for the same goal. We are all on the same page.”

On conditioning:

“We are in a lot better shape this year. We got Andrea Hudy in from Connecticut, and she is working us extremely hard. The coaches are pushing us to get in the best shape we can be in. Everybody is doing a good job getting in shape. You should be able to see a change in us.”

On playing at Late Night:

“It’s going to be a blast. Just being able to feel the Fieldhouse, it’s going to be fun. Maybe we can turn some heads and get some more people to come out to our games. I am excited about it, and I know my teammates are too.”

Senior guard Larisha Graves:

On the focus this season:

“I feel like we will concentrate on defense more this year. We’ve worked on everything so far from workouts with ball handling to helping each other on the defensive end. We are somewhat small, so we will focus a lot on defense this year.”

On personal preparations:

“I’ve put in extra conditioning every day, so I should be in better shape. My shooting should be a lot better. Coach Henrickson has worked with me on my shot, and it is really improving.”