Rene Portland Press Conference
Q: What¡¯s the biggest thing that concerns you about Agnus Berenato¡¯s team this year?
A: She¡¯s established a really good inside game. I think her team is very athletic. They penetrate well. They have a 12-foot jumper ability. They¡¯re 6-0 right now so they¡¯re feeling good about themselves. They just won a tournament. So, there¡¯s a lot of good things we need to be concerned about. They rebound very, very well because of their size.
Q: What is the reason that Kam (Gissendanner) and Brianne (O¡¯Rourke) did not start against St. Francis (Pa.)?
A: They have not started in the last few games. The lineup change happened during the (Paradise Jam) tournament. We just did not feel we were getting enough offensive power or defensive power. In those positions we just felt we needed to have more pressure on the ball. There were too many turnovers from the group that we had. They weren¡¯t scoring, not that Brianne (O¡¯Rourke) is a person we look to for scoring but Kam (Gissendanner) is definitely someone we look to for scoring. We were giving away too many points and not getting enough points on the board. A change had to be made.
Q: How do you think the mentality of the team has changed since the 4-0 start to the slide? How are they dealing?
A: They aren¡¯t handling it well. It¡¯s a positive sign that we don¡¯t handle it well. The next game, which is Friday, is going to be very important. I don¡¯t think they have assumed anything with a 4-0 start. I think they had some goals to stay undefeated here in the Jordan Center and we did meet those goals. This is really a time when you rally the troops together and everyone gets together and everyone gets to work and understands that it¡¯s doable. We just have to stay together, that¡¯s the biggest thing.
Q: What do you do in practice to keep everyone together?
A: They say the word ¡°together¡± all the time. I think Amanda (Brown) is a good leader. I think Amanda is demanding but their friend. I think that¡¯s very, very important through this whole process that she continues to do that. As coaches, we just have to keep working at it and just find a combination that is going to be successful and give this combination a little bit more time. We really have to evaluate the films. The three games were about our offense, last night was about the defense. When you give away that many points¡we¡¯ll attack one thing at a time and get it done.
Q: How much of the struggle do you think is mental?
A: I think a whole lot of it has been a mental approach but I also think a lot of it is scheduling you either live through or you don¡¯t live through. We played four games and then we headed down to Duke in their territory and that was very, very different for some of our players. Rutgers was very, very, good. I felt the next game we had an opportunity to get over a hump and we didn¡¯t get over the hump. Playing afraid to lose is not the way to play, you play to win. We need to continue to attack.
Q: What kind of lineup to you think you¡¯re going to be
A: I will be comfortable with point guard that runs our team. A point guard that has more assists sometimes than the person who fits the position. It¡¯s not a competition between the two girls (Brianne O¡¯Rourke and Mashea Williams), it will be a competition of what is best for our team and a point guard here at Penn State has always had control of the program.
Q: When the guards aren¡¯t shooting well, how difficult does that make it for Amanda (Brown) on the inside?
A: It¡¯s difficult for Amanda (Brown) to begin with because Charity (Renfro) is not an offensive threat and so they will double-team her. If the shooting percentage of the guards outside is so small everyone thinks they¡¯ll need to take care of her. We need to get into the gym and shoot the ball.
Q: Regarding Charity Renfro¡
A: Charity (Refro) has done a tremendous job defensively for us and we need somebody like that. She doesn¡¯t just help us defensively; she helps us on rebounds both offensively and defensively. I think she¡¯s smart about what shots she should take and what shots she shouldn¡¯t.
Q: Regarding rebounds and Pitt¡
A: We have goals of our own whether it¡¯s Pitt or anyone else that we would work hard today and tomorrow to do. Drills we typically do before a game to concrete that part of the game in their minds. I think we¡¯ve only been out-rebounded twice and once it was only by one so I think that will be a foundation to what we feel will be good for us.
Q: Regarding turnovers last night¡.
A: We had gotten our turnovers down to 15 which is high but they shot right back up to the 20s. We have to take care of the basketball. They turnovers aren¡¯t necessarily all coming from the guards. There are some turnovers coming from the post players too. The guards usually are able to take and especially this group which is a very talented group. They just need to shoot the ball.
Q: What does the Pitt-Penn State rivalry mean to you?
A: I think it¡¯s just like us playing St. Francis. We play Duquesne, Pittsburgh. This year we have a game down in Philadelphia. I think it¡¯s good for in-state. I know for a few years a long time ago we didn¡¯t play the game. Kirk and I played the game forever and then we lost it there for a bit. I¡¯m glad Agnus Berenato wants to keep it going. We recruit out of that area. I think it¡¯s good; we¡¯re both the big schools in this state. I think it¡¯s a good thing. We¡¯ve always had very good relationships with the coaches at Pittsburgh and that¡¯s what made it work. I do think it¡¯s a game that has to stay.