Women's Basketball Media Day Quotes

Oct. 12, 2005

Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson

Opening statement:
“I think the phrase we might coin for our program right now is `What a difference a year makes.’ I think for us, we’re very pleased with the growth and progress our kids have shown, both athletically and mentally. Having had seven weeks to be on the floor with them, we’re very pleased with our young kids and their ability to grasp concepts and handle the transition athletically and academically. The growth in our recruiting continues as we move forward. We’re really looking forward to our television package and coverage that we’re going to be receiving within the state, regionally and nationally. We have received a lot of positive feedback regarding the Nebraska game from last year. We picked a pretty good day to play well. I think we’ve made progress, but there is a lot more work to be done. We certainly have not arrived. I feel like we have really moved forward and gotten some mobility in the 18 months that we have been here and are really building some momentum in all areas.”

“We’re thrilled with our three seniors — Kaylee Brown, Erica Hallman and Crystal Kemp. We feel like those three are primed to have great senior years. They realize we need them to have great seasons. We feel that Sharita Smith is our most improved player right now. Her vertical jump has increased eight inches. She has gotten stronger physically. Taylor McIntosh, who couldn’t bench the bar when she first got here, is benching 130 lbs. She looks different. Taylor was here both summer sessions and really bought into what Coach Andrea Hudy was doing. Crystal is as healthy right now as she had been prior to her injuries. Erica’s two biggest buddies right now are Ivana Catic and Shaquina Mosley. Those are her point guard buddies trying to get her to the wing. We feel like right now those two have a chance to move her there maybe sooner than we anticipated.”

On her goals for the season:
“Our goals are for us to improve our standing both in the Big 12 North division and certainly overall. A lot needs to happen for that to take place. Realistically, a shot at postseason play is within our grasp if we can stay healthy and compete well in our non-conference schedule. Certainly our administration is supporting this endeavor. I’m sure not too many teams have had a chance to play 21 games in Allen Fieldhouse. I think these goals are realistic for us. I think it’s something these kids should shoot for and something I don’t think we should be afraid to talk about. I think we have had that much growth, and I think we can still get better.”

On areas of improvement:
“We have done two things. We have improved the quality of our depth and we have improved our skill at positions where we need skill. Marija Zinic, the post player from Serbia, can knock down a 15-foot jump shot. She can pass. When we have Crystal low, you will have to guard (Zinic). Jamie Boyd is a much better face-up post player right now. Our position coach, Katie O’Connor, did a great job with her in the spring. We’re not going to ask her to sit in the lap of a kid who is 6-4 and score. Jamie won’t be able to do that in this league, but that doesn’t mean Jamie won’t be able to help us offensively. Skill at critical positions and playmaking at the guard position, and then our quality of depth, have all seen improvement. For us to play three or four kids 33 or more minutes is asking too much.”

On Taylor McIntosh:
“She has great athleticism and one of the highest verticals on our team. It’s almost at 27 inches. She can get to things. She combines great athleticism and a tremendous desire to get to the ball. There are a lot of kids that have that athleticism that really don’t have the desire to chase everything down, and she does.”

“Her shot is still a work in progress and not exactly where I would like it to be right now. It still isn’t as consistent as it should be. We’ll need her to rebound and defend. She is better at putting it on the floor and finishing there than she was last year.”

“Taylor McIntosh brings a tremendous amount of athleticism and a defensive presence. She has a big heart defensively. She finds a way to defend kids that outweigh her by 50 or 60 lbs. She is arguably one of our best offensive and defensive rebounders. She really takes pride in being a good player. She is a joy to work with. Sometimes kids ask questions because they’re tired and want to stop the drill. Taylor asks questions because she wants to get better. She really wants to be a very good basketball player.”

On Shaquina Mosley:
“We’ve had numerous meetings with the staff and talked about extending the floor defensively. We want to be more aggressive and try to create more tempo. We want to use Shaquina Mosley’s athleticism. She has great closing speed on people which helps make up for a mistake she might make. You can gamble a little bit more with her, because she can still at least force a tough shot.”

“She played for one the of the best junior college coaches in the country. When you’re out there in practice, you understand that this kid has a chance because of the way she has been coached. She can push in transition and she can grind it out in the halfcourt offense. She understands that. Sometimes you wonder how fast a junior college kid can help you, because their clock is ticking twice as fast. We were in a position that if we were going to sign a junior college player, they were going to have to come in right away and help us. Nobody had time for her to come in and have to sit and try to figure things out. She had some concerns, especially regarding if she was going to able to live up to being National Junior College Player of the Year. I don’t need her to live up to any title. I need her to run an offense and work to be one of the best defenders we have. She is a good leader. She’s very dedicated in the classroom. She’s a very personable kid. Her teammates love her, because even though she can make a shot, she will look for everyone else on the floor before she shoots. We don’t have to change much about her. She just needs to grasp the pace and intensity that one needs to be a contributor at this level.”

On Ivana Catic:
“Between Shaq and Ivana, Ivana is the truest point guard. I say that for her leadership qualities. She’s already barking at kids. She understands setting and running an offense. Defensively they both have a lot to learn. Offensively, I think if you were to ask the kids who can run the offense, they would say Ivana right now. That doesn’t mean Shaq isn’t capable. If they’re both on the floor, I think you need Ivana at the point just for her calmness. Ivana is already better than Erica was a year ago and should be because that’s her true position. She can keep us in an offense and run an offense much better than we were able to do a year ago.”

“I think you’ll see on Friday how much Ivana and Shaq will push the ball. They’ll run it right down someone’s throat. That’s how they play right now.”

On the recruitment of Shaquina Mosley:
“My last year at Virginia Tech we were recruiting a very talented post player. I had been out to see her three times. I had seen three different practices. Shaq was familiar with my face, but at Virginia Tech we didn’t need a point guard. We were heavy in that position. I liked her but we didn’t have a place for her. When I took the job here, it became very clear that we needed a point guard. Then I ended up going back out in the fall to talk with Shaq about possibly coming out here to play. The fourth time I went out there, she knew my face, but all of a sudden I was in different color gear. While I was at Virginia Tech, we had developed a relationship with her even though we really weren’t recruiting her. Karen (Lange) and I went back out in the fall to have a visit with her right before practice started. Her coaches said that she wanted to visit and that if she decided she wanted to commit, they would let her do that. We got her on campus and she could see that she was going to have a chance to play, and we ended up signing her in November.”

On the recruitment of Ivana Catic and Marija Zinic:
“It’s kind of similar to our recruitment of Shaq. While at Tech we had been recruiting a post player from Catic’s school in Wheeling, W.Va., in the previous year. Ivana was not there at that point, but we got to be familiar with the staff and the program. Once we got here, we knew that we were going to need another guard, preferably a kid that could play both positions, but at the same time add depth at the point. We have people internationally that watch kids play and communicate with us and we also utilize some scouting services. We hadn’t seen Ivana play yet, so I went up the high school and spent the afternoon visiting with her. When she walked in the room, she lit it up for me. I was really excited. She has an unbelievable personality and a very positive persona. She gives off a lot of energy. We brought her here and worked hard to sign her, and did so in November. We still knew that we needed a skilled post player. We knew about Marija, but she never came over to the United States. Ivana had talked to us about her as well, but we knew that Marija wasn’t going to do anything about it until the spring. We had lots of conversations with her over the winter, but she wasn’t going to have a chance to come visit due to her club team commitments. We finally asked her how she was going to make a decision about where she was going to go without having seen any of the schools. She says, `I must play with Ivana. Ivana is coming to Kansas, yes?’ We told her yes and then asked if (Marija) was coming to Kansas. She said, `Yes.’ We picked her up at the airport in August a couple of days before class starts, and that was her first day in the United States.”

On Sophronia Sallard:
“I think she has playmaking ability. Conditioning has become an issue with her. She needs to get in the type of shape that it takes to compete at this level. It’s not that she doesn’t work, unfortunately she just didn’t come to us in very good shape. Hopefully we’ll get over the hump to where she won’t be brain tired on the court. When she isn’t fatigued, she’s exactly what we thought we were getting. She’s a kid who has a great ability to knock down a pull-up jumper as well as get to the rim. She’s a fantastic passer. When she gets there conditioning-wise, she’s going to be very good.”

On Sharita Smith:
“Good thing for Sharita, she won’t be at the point. She’ll be better defensively than she ever was last year. Offensively, her mid-range game is much better. Last year, she would sometimes be going so fast that she would turn it over because she would be about to fall over. She’s gotten in control of herself. Her game is much more in control. Last year the game would just be moving too fast for her. Now you see that she is much more under control and a much better defender.”

On recruits coming in this weekend:
“This weekend we have five official visits and one unofficial.”

Player Quotes

Freshman forward Marija Zinic

On playing basketball in Serbia:
“My club team finished in second place. We were really good but we lost in the finals. Our season is a lot longer than it is here. I think college basketball is bigger here (in the United States) than in Serbia.”

On her relationship with Ivana Catic:
“I’ve known her for seven years, and we played together in high school. We played for the national team together. She is a very good person and an amazing player. She was one of the reasons that I came here (to KU).”

Freshman guard Katie Smith

On her expectations for this year:
“I’m expecting a lot of great things this year. We have a lot of great leaders on this team — Crystal Kemp, Erica Hallman, and Kaylee Brown are all great leaders. We’re excited to play together. It has been a really fun experience so far and I’m excited to start the season.”

On playing with Jen Orgas:
“Jen and I know how each other play, and we know how to pick each other up when we’re down. We work well together, and hopefully we’ll be able to play a lot together.”

Freshman guard/forward Sophronia Sallard

On her outlook for the season:
“I’m looking forward to the season tremendously. I expect some great things from the team, to work really hard and make big progress.”

On preparing for the season:
“We have been doing a lot of conditioning, and we’ve been getting a lot of reps in with the upperclassmen. It’s been going great so far.”

On the coach’s expectations:
“Their expectations are extremely high. They are already guaranteeing a successful season. They expect the new freshmen to be able to come in and do some great things for the program.”

Sophomore forward Jamie Boyd

On the upcoming season:
“We are looking forward to the season. It has come really fast, but we’re glad it’s here. We just want to come out and do the best that we can and come out every game ready to play. I think that our team will definitely step it up this year compared to last year.”

On entering her second year:
“I will definitely be more confident. I won’t be quite as nervous every game. I’ll have a better knowledge of what is going on at this level.”

On team chemistry:
“It’s really good considering half of the team is new and half is old. I think we are pulling together really nicely.”

Senior forward Crystal Kemp

On the team’s depth:
“It will be nice to know that whenever I am out there working hard that I will be able to have a break. We will be able to keep the momentum and not lose anything by substituting.”

On her connection with Erica Hallman:
“We are the only two from our freshman class that are still here. We have definitely created a connection on and off the court, especially with our inside-out game. We are happy that we will be able to play together in our senior year and hopefully we will go out with a bang.”

On the possibility of playing in the postseason:
“(Playing in the postseason) would be a change of momentum for our program for many years to come. That is what coach Henrickson is here to do, turn the program around.”

On the freshmen:
“They have brought a lot of intensity and hard work. They are working hard in the weight room and on the court. They are trying to earn their spot here just like everyone else has had to do.”

Junior guard Shaquina Mosley

On the transition from junior college to Division I:
“At Kansas, I have to find out what Coach likes and get on the same page as her. It is different, and I am learning a lot of new things. I am just trying to be like a sponge and take it all in. She is a great coach, and I am happy to be here at Kansas. I am very nervous (about making the transition) but I just have to get past that and play my game.”

On playing point guard:
“I have grown into that position, and I love that position. I couldn’t see myself playing anything else other than point guard.”

On playing along side Ivana Catic:
“Ivana and I are two different types of point guards. She has a great shot, so when we are playing together she will be able to move to the two spot. I can penetrate and kick the ball out to her. That would be unexpected because point guards don’t usually have great shots. She will give our team more diversity.”

Junior Guard Kaylee Brown

On her improvement:
“I have to wait and see until I get on the court. I feel like I have improved physically and mentally. I also feel like I have improved on my shot.”

On her role as a leader:
“It is definitely important because we came in with Bonnie last year and know what she expects. We need to be able to transfer that to the younger players.”

On the comparison of this year’s team to last year’s:
“Last year nobody knew what to expect because of the new coach. We didn’t know what her philosophies were. This year we know more about what she expects from us. Coach also expects more wins out of us this year.”

Freshman Guard Ivana Catic

On visiting during Late Night last season:
“I loved it. It was the best thing I have ever witnessed. It was a unique experience and I was speechless.”

On her reason for coming to Kansas:
“I want to make an impact here. I think with Bonnie’s style and my teammates, we could do it this year.”

On competition with Shaquina:
“It is better for me because I have somebody to learn from and somebody to compete with. For me to move forward, it is crucial that I continue learning and continue to be pushed.”

Sophomore forward Taylor McIntosh

On her improved strength:
“We are not required to be here both months during the summer but I stayed for both months so I could get stronger and get in better shape. It has paid off a lot. I am running with the guards during conditioning.”

On her improvements:
“I have gained more confidence this year and am playing harder and smarter. I feel more comfortable, and I will be looking for my shot more.”

On the competition for playing time:
“We don’t judge how much playing time we get. I am just going to keep working hard, and hopefully it will pay off.”

Junior guard Sharita Smith

On the upcoming season:
“We are going to have a very talented team. The freshmen are going to bring a lot more depth, and I am really looking forward to it.”

On her improvements:
“I have gotten better on defense, and I am able to do more of what coach wants me to do. Overall I feel I will be able to contribute more to the team this year.”

Freshman forward Jen Orgas

On the transition from high school to college:
“It is going to be tough, but it is also exciting at the same time. It is a new way of learning things, and expectations are really high here. I won’t be able to get away with things here like I was in high school. I am going to need to be bigger, faster and stronger.”

On playing with Katie Smith:
“We have played together since seventh grade and have created a lot of chemistry between each other. Knowing someone here makes the transition easier because we know how each other plays and what we are thinking.”

On the expectations of the upcoming season:
“I am excited to play in the Big 12, which is one of the top conferences in the country. It is going to be amazing competition, and it will be a new experience every time out.”