Head coach Gary Blair met with the media on Tuesday at the weekly press conference. Quotes are available below and audio is available through the link to the right.
HEAD WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH GARY BLAIR
"When we made this schedule, we felt like our program was at a point to play this type of schedule and not have to worry about winning and losing but, more or less, competing and trying to become a better team against top-10 teams. I would've loved to have had maybe one duck in there, but it didn't work out that way, so we're learning. We did not play well at Louisville and still held them to 49 points. We scored 45. In the first half we had 17 turnovers and shot 43%. All of a sudden we were lucky to only be down by ten at the half. We started out the second half going two-for-twelve, down by 14. We were lucky it was only 14 down. All of a sudden we put the big lineup in: Karla Gilbert, Bone, Peyton Little at the three, Walker at the two who had been doing a tremendous job on Schimmel the whole ball game, and Standish at the point. We went on a 21-4 run over about eight or nine minutes. We didn't substitute at all during that time. It got us back into the game. It was a ballgame we should've won. We had a three point lead with four to go when we were on a 21-4 run. We should've won it. Did we deserve it? No. We didn't deserve to win because of the mistakes. We turned it over four out of our last five possessions. The only possession we didn't turn it over, we fed the ball inside to Bone and she missed a contested layup. Those are the little things you have to learn. That's why this schedule was made. Could we have played a 'fool's gold' schedule and played three teams to get our young kids ready? Probably. Normally that's what I would do."
On the team making the comeback:
"The thing I was impressed with the most was Rick Petino was sitting right down at the end with his two grandkids. He stayed the majority of the game. He was right near our bench. I said 'maybe we are doing something to kid Petino out to see that ballgame because it was good quality basketball.' The fight in our kids was exceptional. We knew we were not playing well, but the fight was good. The competitiveness was good. We have something to build off of. We're working on execution. That's going to come with time. With as many young guards as we have it's got to get better. Most of my team that were not in study hall were there watching the men last night. They saw some things on how to pass the ball and how to set up your shot before the ball gets to you. People don't understand that. You set your shot up by moving without the ball. Elston Turner put on a clinic. Their guards were doing a great job of putting it in the passing pocket. We're passing the ball, but we have to reach for the ball with our shooters. When you're playing top ten teams, the defense recovers and you're not getting that wide open shot, you're getting a contested shot. That means your first shot offense goes down. Everything's a learning curve for us right now, but the run we made to get back into the ball game gave our kids a big lift. It's still a loss. I'm not in for moral victories. With that type of run, you're supposed to find a way to win the game."
On Penn State:
"Penn State won 82-71 over Howard who's picked to win their conference up there. I think they learned a lot about their team. Maggie Lucas is coming in here just like Shimmel. She'll be an All-American this year. She had, I think 25 in the ball game. Their point guard is 5'11" and penetrates well. We need to decide who to put Walker on because she can't be on every kid out there. Their strength is their guard position. They have a 6'4" center that got into foul trouble. She's very physical. I expect Penn State is a transition team where Louisville was not. Louisville was more of a half-court team. Penn State is going to run the ball. They're very well coached and they're very athletic at the wing position and particularly at the guard position."
On the team preparedness:
"I think it's very similar to the football team having to open up against Florida. You get better. Competition makes you better. Getting into the film room makes you better. Sometimes when you play lesser opponents, you do some things wrong, but they're not magnified as much because you can get away with your mistakes. When you play better competition, your mistakes are going to stand out. The learning curve is tough right now on our freshman, but so is practice right now. I promise you, we're turning the ball over in practice as much as we are in games."