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Jan. 17, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Head Coach Coquese WashingtonQ. How nice was it to see Nikki Greene play twenty seven minutes and see how successful she was tonight?
A. Nikki is an incredibly talented player on the floor and she can put up big numbers for us. She plays very dominant on both sides of the floor rebounding on the defensive end and being explosive and getting offensive rebounds around the basket. When she can play big minutes for us, I believe she is capable of putting up big numbers for us and that opens up things for other people.
Q. What do you guys do in practice to have this defensive pressure game in and
game out especially early in the game?
A. We work on it and it is not necessarily game specific although we do some of that but a lot of it is just our fundamentals and foundation of defensive principles. We try to spend a lot of time in practice reinforcing our defensive principles. The thing is when you go in games, you don't know how people are going to do and necessarily if they are going to execute the plays correctly or put in new plays throughout the season so our foundation has to be solid and I think it is getting better and better as the season is going on.
Q. How impressed were you tonight with your bigs, especially in the rebounding
A. I thought they did a good job in attacking the basket. Sometimes we can be a little passive and waiting for the ball to come to us and I thought we did a really good job of attacking the ball especially on the defensive end.
Q. Do you feel that this team is really gaining momentum as the conference
season is going along?
A. Yes, I think when you can string some wins together, you start to develop a little bit of confidence, so I do think our confidence is high but I do think we have areas that we have to continue to improve in. There are a number of areas where I feel that if we can get better and convert more in our transition offense and do a better job at the free throw line. If we continue to get better and continue to grow, then I will be really happy.
Q. Did you identify early to feed the ball inside and that you can really hurt them from the inside?
A. It's our size. Coming into the game, we look at our roster and our size and their roster and their size, we definitely had a height advantage in the post and also an athletic advantage in the post. I wanted us to come into the game tonight and really try to exploit that advantage and see if we could open up some things for us. Nikki played great for us and Mia got some good looks down low so it worked well for us tonight and work the ball inside out.
Q. What does Ariel bring to this team?
A. Ariel is athletic, quick, and she does a great job in transition of getting out and attacking the basket. Kia is her position coach and Kia has done a great job to increase and develop her assertiveness and her aggressiveness on both ends of the floor. With her length and what she can do defensively as well as what she can do in the offense in transition when she attacks the basket has been really good for us.
Q. How much do you feed off of the defense with them tonight forcing 24
A. We want to get after it and pressure on the defensive end to get some easy baskets or get some transition baskets. Dara Taylor has a huge impact on the game even though she doesn't always get the steal, her pressure a lot of the time leads to turnovers for our team and it's great to have a player like that who can really have animpact on the game defensively.
#54 Nikki GreeneQ: Nikki, can you talk a little bit how you go more action in the first half tonight? Did that kind of spill over in the way you played all game long?
A: Yeah, they were guarding Maggie and Alex pretty tough and so I just kind of tried to take advantage of what they were giving us on defense.
Q: Nikki, what was working for you so well on the boards? You have four post players combine for as many rebounds as their entire team did tonight.
A: Coquese challenged us before the game to outrebound them by eight-plus and we took it to heart and pretty much just crashed the boards.
Q: You got 20 bench points tonight. How important is it to get this kind of effort from your bench?
A: It was extremely good because when the starters aren't in, it means that our bench can contribute on the floor at any time so it's always a good look for our team.
Q: Nikki, how do you feel you guys are playing heading into Monday's game?
A: I feel like we're playing really good. Our chemistry is great. I feel like were on the same page. I mean, there are times when we slip a little bit, but then we're able time a route and then come out and bring energy and do what we do.
#20 Alex BentleyQ: Alex, how were you guys able to play so well defensively in the first half?
A: Practice. We're getting after it in practice. Coquese challenges us. She challenges us to push ourselves in practice, on defense and we compete on defense and it transfers over to the games.
Q: Alex, what does it mean to you guys to end up with 52 points in the paint this evening.
A: It's lovely because actually in the first half, Coquese was getting on us because we (the guards) weren't really playing smart offensively. Our posts could have dominated the entire game but we unfortunately weren't looking good in the first half so we definitely focused on it in the second half and you saw Nikki go off, Talia was getting rebounds, Mia was getting putbacks, so yeah, they were just big down there and they were big tonight.
Q: Alex, do you guys come into the game with the mindset of forcing turnovers
A: I mean, yeah, of course. Our defense is pressure up. We have Dara Taylor picking up in the backcourt and that girl is very quick; it is hard to get past her, so she's going to force a lot of turnovers. Our defensive principles are to pressure up, so we expect a lot of turnovers.
Wisconsin Head Coach Bobbie KelseyQ: What kind of problems did Nikki Greene give you guys this evening?
A: She's a big body in there, she's a big girl and she obviously used her God given stature to make it hard on us. Our big girl, she was sick, she was throwing up all morning and it didn't help that she didn't have her energy to really be a factor in there, but our kid is slight and Nikki Greene has some meat on her so she did a nice job of finishing with contact and our double didn't come quite fast enough so she did a nice job in there.
Q: What is your assessment of their defense?
A: They have always been pretty aggressive. They have the guards to really get out and make it hard for other teams, especially our team being young. Bentley and Taylor do a nice job of pressuring the ball with Maggie on the wing making you do something you don't want to do. We have counters for not being able to enter the ball on the wing and we didn't do a great job. Our guards kind of got rattled in the beginning and then settled down, but youth and inexperience sometimes, that doesn't go well when you are playing seniors and junior that know how to lull you into something and then seeing it and shutting it down or making you spin or and then swiping from behind and things of that nature so they did a nice job of rattling us in the beginning and it didn't help that our guards didn't settle themselves down. When you are getting rattled and pressure, you have to settle yourself down. I can't help you; I'm not out there playing. Again, they are young and they are learning and that's not always a good mix when you are going against someone like Penn State.
Q: What's your impression of Dara Taylor?
A: She's a quick guard and she pressures the ball really well. She uses her hands and feet well. She is just really athletic and we need some of that on our side. We are recruiting it, but it's not here yet so we will keep trying to find it.
Q: Coach, tonight was the most points you have allowed this season, where does this Penn State offense rank in terms of other opponents you have seen so far?
A: They are right up there. They are one of the top teams in the country and they use their abilities tonight to take advantage. We have done a nice job on other teams of shutting down what they want to do and take away their main scorer. I know Maggie only had 11 points, but we weren't giving her open shots. We didn't want to give her open shots. You are really asking for it when you let a player like that get going and we did try to key in and stop the main player, but again, when you have a team full of very talented players, it is very hard because we can't match up with what they have and what they are doing.
Q: How frustrating is it for you offensively?
A: It is frustrating. I mean you can tell from my face that I'm frustrated. But again, I can't come down on my kids. They are young and we don't have people that are out there that can help, it's not an excuse, but it's a fact. Our leading scorer is out, another young lady Ann Marie Brown, that could really help us on offense and defense tore her ACL. We have a Connecticut transfer that's not able to play right now, so you are talking about probably 30 points right there. Again, we can't work with what we don't have. We will play with what we have and maybe these kids don't get to play if those three can play, so not looking ahead, but again you are trying to get experienced winning, not losing and its tough when you are losing and there's nothing you can do about it. I will keep encouraging them to play hard.