Nov. 8, 2013
Box Score |
Penn State Head Coach Coquese Washington
Q: What are your initial thoughts?
A: We have a lot of work to do. We're certainly a work in progress so we have to continue to find our rhythm and find our chemistry out there. There are a lot of new faces and a lot of familiar faces in different roles. I think each one of the players is still trying to figure out how to be effective on the floor in game situations. So we're a work in progress.
Q: You went to what looked like a four guard lineup in the second half. What were your thoughts about going to that?
A: They were playing five guards and it was really just putting our post at a disadvantage. It wasn't a situation where they were going to have a lot of success. So, we decided we would match up with them and play four guards and I thought it helped, especially with the press. Ariel [Edwards] was doing fantastic. It just allowed us to match up with them and defend them a little bit better.
Q: As the game progressed, the freshmen seemed to assume their roles a lot more smoothly. How important was the play of the seniors to help transition the freshmen into this opening game?
A: I thought the seniors did a really good job. I thought Keke Sevillian came in the game and was really a big spark plug. She really helped turn the game around with her pressure and allowed us to get in transition, creating turnovers and making them play faster. I think even when she didn't create a turnover, her energy really spread throughout the rest of the team. I thought that was big. Alex Harris came out in the second half and got some rebounds, got a really nice block and she gave us a lot of energy. The freshmen really did a great job of coming in and playing in spurts. I think that's what it's going to take. It's going to take them a number of games before they settle in to their roles and settle into how they're going to play. We're going to get a lot of contributions from everybody on different nights.
Q: You were moving people around a lot. How much does this game help you in finding the right combinations?
A: It was a struggle to find the right combinations. At different times, you'll think you found the right combination and then you'll have a little fatigue so you have to make some adjustments. To start we're going to be a work in progress. Depending on the matchups and who we play, I think that's what's going to dictate, in some respects, who's out there on the floor and what combinations are out there on the floor. But, the great thing is we have a lot of versatility. We can play small and we can play bigger lineups. I think it's going to be a game-by-game situation until we get enough games under our belt and our chemistry is a little more solid.
Q: You talked about playing a bigger lineup. What's it like having Candice and Tori out there 6-5 and 6-6 starting in your frontcourt?
A: It's good. I think it's an imposing front line. In a lot of situations it's going to help us. When you have those two out there and they're running around guarding people my size, maybe not so much. But I like our size. Not just with those two, but at times we can have a really big zone out there when you look at the matchups and lineups we can have on the floor. I just really like our versatility. We'll continue to tinker around with it, probably throughout the nonconference season.
Q: The press seemed to frustrate your team early on. Is that something you foresee that you'll be seeing a lot this year?
A: I don't know. You know when you play a team that is going to press a lot that the game is going to be fast. So, if we're going to press we'll turn the ball over a little bit. But when you score  points, then I don't know that it's so bad. I do think we have to exhibit poise against the press. Again, we had a lot of young players out there and a lot of miscues. But I think the more familiar we get with it; I think we'll get in good shape. We have good finishers and we have some pretty good ball handlers, I just think we need to display a little more poise.
Q: You were one point away from the school record. Talk about what that means for the ability for this team to score.
A: When teams press, one of the results is a fast-paced game and we like a fast-paced game. I thought when we did break the press we did a really good job. Ariel Edwards did a good job attacking; Kaliyah Mitchell attacked the basket. We did some good things. When you're in that kind of game and you're getting those kind of easy points, it does spread throughout the team and give the team a lot of confidence.
Q: You had 27 turnovers and 25 fouls. Is that just early season jitters? How are you going to combat that going forward?
A: There's an emphasis on fouls. Some of it is incidental contact and you just can't help it. I thought we did a fairly good job of not reaching. We worked a lot in practice on not putting our hands on dribblers and those kinds of things. We just have to get better at that. The turnovers: A lot of that is inexperience and the chemistry not being there. But the more we play together, that number will come down. I'm confident because we have good ball handlers and good passers. It's just a matter of us all getting on the same page and getting comfortable playing with each other.
#33 Maggie Lucas
Q: Maggie what were your thoughts about the season opener here? How do you feel like you guys played?
A: I thought there were a lot of positive takeaways. I think that everyone who came into the game contributed. Our freshmen played great and I thought they settled in once the game got going but we also learned a lot from the game and that's what we will be working on in practice to get ready for the next game.
Q: As the game went on how confident were you?
A: I was confident but, like you said, it was easy looks and a lot of that had to do with Dara's (Taylor) pressure and Ariel's (Edwards) pressure and Keke's (Sevillian) pressure. They were going up and getting steals and I was just getting easy layups off of the defense, so that's credited to them.
Q: It's been a long off-season, how does it feel to be able to finally get back out on the court?
A: It feels great. I love playing in front of the fans here at the BJC, I know my teammates do too. We were just itching to get out there and get the adrenaline going again. There's no feeling like it and senior year, I want to enjoy every second of it.
Q: How was it to see the banner go up before the game?
A: It's great just looking back at how hard we had to work for that, it's also a reminder that a lot goes into that. That was last season and we're focused on what we've got to do this season but it's awesome to see our hard work pay off and see that banner go up.
#15 Kaliyah Mitchell
Fr./Fr. Guard/ Forward
Q: Do you feel like as the game wore on you felt more confident? Do think it's the same way with the other freshmen as well?
A: Yes. I feel like as time passed by we got the feel for it and just took it as if it was a practice just to have our confidence and boost it up along with our teammates helping us out, talking to us, just getting us through it, it made it much easier.
#2 Dara Taylor
Q: How do you guys feel the chemistry was throughout the game?
A: I think it is continuing to grow. We have a new starting five this year, a lot of new freshmen, so each game and each practice is a chance for us to continue to gel and work on our cohesiveness. I think it's getting better they more we play together.
#23 Ariel Edwards
Q: A lot of transition buckets for you, you've only missed two shots tonight, 9-for-11 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Can you speak about that and how you felt today?
A: It's always good to finish well around the basket, that's a good feeling. But the reason why I was so open is because they had to pressure Dara (Taylor). They have to send two people every time to keep her from breaking out and getting her own finishes at the rim. That definitely helped me out.
Q: You handled the ball a lot against their press today. Is that something you anticipate or is that something you anticipate you will do a lot this year?
A: I think it's a possibility that that may happen seeing that a lot more teams will try to pressure us with the new 10 second half court rule. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.
St. Francis Head Coach Joe Haigh
Q: What were your thoughts in general about tonight's game? There was a lot of scoring.
A: Well that's the way that we play. I know Penn State likes to get up and running and they score a lot too. I knew there was going to be a lot of scoring, I was hoping that we could keep it close and hang with them for a while but the most important thing is I'm proud of the way our kids played, the way our team played, we played hard until the end, we didn't give up and our goal coming in here was learn and to get better. We have freshmen, so every time we put a freshman in, we knew there were going to be some issues going from practicing in our gym and going from a high school game to playing at Penn State against one of the best teams in the country. So we had to fight through that and obviously there's only so much you can do with the size and the speed but I was proud with how hard we played, I felt like we competed the whole time. In terms of the free throws, we've dealt with that our couple preseason games, scrimmages. When you let a team score 37 from the free throw line that takes a big chunk and then we're still not shooting the three very well. I think getting 42 [three-pointers] up was good, but we had some of our better shooters that didn't make shots today. It's encouraging for us, we knew we were going to have a lot of film that we could go off of and we got a lot of things that we can try and help our younger kids, our freshmen get better at.
Q: Are 43 three-pointers a usual number for you guys or is that even a little high?
A: Not last year, but it's the usual now since it's our first game so I'd say that's average. No, we're going to shoot a lot of threes, we practiced against it, we knew we're playing a team that's 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, we knew we weren't going to get a lot of stuff in the paint, so we practiced and I'm surprised at how many layups we did get. We had some kids go to the rim hard, did a pretty good job, but we told them before we're not getting anything in the paint so if you get in there kick it out. Obviously, we tried to shoot quick threes in transition when we can get open. If we get an open look I have no problem shooting that many of them. I don't like the percentage, we were 24%, I feel like we should be up around 35 to 40 percent, if we could get up in that area that would have made a pretty big difference, but yeah we'll shoot a lot of threes. It's fast, we're playing really, really fast, a lot of transition, we press all the time and we've got to do a better job at the back end. We gave up the huge run. Like our assistant coach said we played really well, we competed for 28 minutes, we were in the game and then we have to figure out what happened. I think it was like a 26-4 or 26-3 run or something like that so that hurts a lot. I think the national record for three-point attempts is 52 and I would expect us to hit that at some point this year, hopefully we'll make more than 10 when that happens. We did play an exhibition game, we shot the ball 94 times, we got a lot more offensive rebounds obviously but 75 shot attempts is a pretty good number for a game like this so we just have to make more of them.