Big 12 Hosts 2006-07 Women's Basketball Media Day

Oct. 18, 2006

Oklahoma City, Okla. –

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COACH HENRICKSON: Good morning, good to see everybody. A little bit about where we are. Seven returning, seven freshmen. I asked (Texas head coach) Jody Conradt at the conference meetings, “You have been through a season with seven freshmen, is there any advice you might give me?” and she looked at me and said, “Get out your cell phone, call three of them right now and tell them they can’t come.” I think it might be too late for that, Jodi. But I will say that I am glad I didn’t do that. I am excited about all seven. They have been very low maintenance, they have exceeded my expectations for intensity and basketball IQ and competitiveness and a couple that have emerged as leaders already. I am excited about that and I have respected our seven returning players for how patient, how — what good role models they have been for those seven kids and I’m excited about the chemistry, about the energy in practice every day and just feel like it will be very different, much different defensively and much better defensively, I will say. Also we have a lot of questions that need to be answered, and I don’t have a lot of answers until we will practice some more. The question I can answer is, Am I excited about them? Absolutely. Have we made improvements? Absolutely. We just got to figure some things out.

Q. Coach, who do you foresee picking up the scoring slack after losing your top three scorers? Any particular individuals?

COACH HENRICKSON: It will be by committee, so individuals — when you said plural, that’s exactly right. There isn’t one player. We have got Marija Zinic, the post player will got more touches to at the end of the year, she played awfully consistent down the stretch in the last six or eight games. Defensively we will create opportunities in transition. There is absolutely no reason for us to be last in defensive field goal percentage. We should defend, force tougher shots, rebound and run. For us to get on the offensive glass, guards going to the boards, we are bigger, more athletic. They have proven they are capable of doing that in practice. Offensive rebounding, we will get to the free throw line because we will put it to the floor more than we have the first two years, we have more playmakers. Kids can get in there or make a play or pass, a pass to a teammate or make a play to the rim. Those three areas is how we will score differently than we have in my first two years.

Q. How far along will the team need to be to be gelling at the start of the season. How much of a building process will this be in the early stages for your team?

COACH HENRICKSON: What’s good for us, all seven of those freshmen were on campus this summer. Some of them were on summer session as far as the returners. As far as playing pickup and getting familiar with each other, they are farther along than I thought. They have a decent sense. Now, offensively we just added a couple things in here recently. And it might be more of an issue for us because we are young, but we will continue to get better. Every day we understand each other better once we understand the system and have more structure than they had this summer in pickup. Defensively — I understand offensively with young kids that’s the hardest transition to make. Defensively we can teach defense early and often and we did. Last year I made the mistake and spent a lot of time on offense because I was mortified after my first year because we couldn’t score. Then I was mortified in my second year we couldn’t defend. Our offense will come. Again, I have players that will be more aggressive and get to the rim and pull up and take a shot.

Q. Bonnie, what did the WNIT mean for your team last year?

COACH HENRICKSON: Step in the right direction for us. Post-season exposure for the returning players, it is good to have conversations about building on that and taking the next step and understanding what it’s like to play in post-season; what it is like for the phone to ring and that you get that opportunity and the excitement that involves that contest and the excitement again to create that in Lawrence. We had a great run to start the year last year and created a lot of energy.

Q. Bonnie, talk a little bit about your success at home last year and I guess how you all would like to carry that over and maybe have a little more success on the road.

COACH HENRICKSON: Right. We certainly handled our nonconference season well and did a very good job there. And I was talking to someone yesterday, the best thing about that, it created a lot of excitement every time someone read in the paper we were undefeated. Most people don’t care who you play. To hear the women’s team was undefeated created a lot of excitement. We go on the road in Nebraska and Colorado, play well in Nebraska and don’t play well in Colorado, and it started to snowball for us. That’s where we have to develop mental toughness. I think we have that. That’s why this league is so good and so difficult to win on the road because the environment on the road. But for us to create energy and have excitement at home as much as Lou Perkins let’s me play at home, it is important to be successful at home.

Q. Can you talk about what Taylor McIntosh needs to do this season, what her expectations are?

COACH HENRICKSON: Taylor needs to go back to her freshman year. Taylor had a very, very good freshman year. For whatever reason she hit that sophomore slump. But I see the freshman Taylor McIntosh, and most people say, Well, good heavens, why would you want her to be a freshman? She flew around. She kept her feet alive and kept the floor alive and we didn’t get that consistently from here. I am not saying anything publicly that Taylor and I didn’t talk about last year. She recognizes she is a bright kid. She works hard. She wants to be a good player. She has worked in the summer on her high-post jumper, that’s a lot better than it has been since she came to Lawrence. And that was important for her to give us something, whether it is a catch-and-shoot or a rip-through to the rim and she has worked on that. For her to fly around and have the energy her freshman year, what’s different now, Taylor McIntosh her freshman year didn’t have leadership ability. She wasn’t confident enough and didn’t understand her role. With upper classmen, that’s understanding. But right now she’s a good leader. She has mother-henned the seven freshmen. She pulls them in, she talks to them and she is very good. She says the right thing because she does the right thing. And when you have seven freshmen, your upper classmen better do it right and take care of business because the young ones are looking at them about how are we supposed to act. If they acted like Taylor McIntosh every day, we would be happy.

Q. One more question for the freshmen. You said early on, some of them have been leaders. Who looks like they might make the quickest impact for you?

COACH HENRICKSON: Right now on the perimeter, the most promising right now — and that could change, probably the most pleasant surprise is LaChelda Jacobs who is from outside of Dallas. What’s been a pleasant surprise is her offense ability. Defensively we knew she would be very good. Very talented. Has a long reach. Has active hands on the ball, creates some opportunities in transition. But offensively she has been aggressive. She has better one-on-one skills than I thought she would have. Sade Morris has been a good leader. You start to hear her voice. She has actually played in the last week more confidently offensively. To have Mom and Dad last weekend on campus for Late Night, I think she might have been homesick. She has a different pep to her step since Mom and Dad were in campus over the weekend. Offensively and defensively she is a long linky kid and passes the ball well. Danielle McCray is a long linky kid as well. She had a procedure on her shin so she has been behind a little bit from conditioning standpoint. She is in full now but she just hasn’t had the reps defensively that those other kids have and you can tell. She will get it back. She wants to do a great job. And then Kelly Kohn, little combo guard from just south of Detroit, her father is a hall-of-fame high school football coach in Michigan. And I have said that since the first time I met her, that this young lady will understand the game because she has heard the talk from both sides of the whistle. Her brother was a football player. Her sister played at Syracuse and then transferred to Ohio University. She has had a lot of athletic experience. She has watched her siblings and dad for years. She does get it. She is a competitive kid. She is tough. She is not afraid to say something, Upper classmen might not be giving great effort, I like that. We need that. We have — half our team are freshman. We need to teach our freshmen. The kids will have to step up and be accountable for themselves and grab a couple others with them. She has been able to do that already.

Q. Bonnie, would you talk about the conference and the strength that it has this year.

COACH HENRICKSON: This year and every year. Obviously with what Sherri (Coale) has got returning at Oklahoma and then her freshmen, she has to be awfully, awfully excited and anxious to get started. The quality and depth she has with the five new kids and the strength she has inside and outside to build on their success last year. At A&M, an athletic team but disciplined team, very skilled offensive team that can use the press effectively and get up and down and score some points but be solid defensively. You got Baylor and Texas. Texas, I am sure, is anxious to get kids healthy. I talked to Jody not long on the road. I don’t need to talk about Jody’s kids, but I am excited about those kids being sophomores this year and Baylor has some awfully young kids, returning kids that are talented. It is, from top to bottom every night, a great league every night. Competitive. You have coaches. I told people on the road this summer all the time, what good coaches you have in the league. You better be able to adjust before you ever get into the contest at half time or in a time out. You better be able to make some adjustments. You better be able to adapt your style a little bit and better be able to play for 40 minutes. These teams are prepared in this league. They recruit great players and coach those kids. That’s what makes it a great game for fans to watch.

Q. Can you talk about Ivana Catic’s role this year? Is it going to change at all?

COACH HENRICKSON: She has more of a leadership role as a sophomore point guard. We need Ivana. She hit her wall her freshman year and kept bouncing off of it most of January and February. She made a commitment and went to Dena Evans point guard college camp in central Missouri late this spring and I think really grasped what we have been saying. Sometimes you might need to hear it from someone else and it was a great teaching opportunity for her and a great learning experience for her, and physically, but also intellectually, as far as really buying into what a leadership role she has to have in that position. I hear her voice more now and that’s important. Defensively, she has made progress. We have spent the spring and fall with her footwork. And she seems to be able to contain a little better than she did last year and that will be important in our defensive scheme that she has been able to contain. She has done a better job of that. It is nice to have her experience. She has a very good basketball IQ. She is a real coachable kid. For us early that will be very important.