Dec. 3, 2009
First of all I have to give Penn State a lot of credit, I thought they made tremendous adjustments at halftime. The went from a zone defense to a man defense and I think we had gotten kind of comfortable against their zone and they came out in the second half and went to man-to-man. Unfortunately for them they were in foul trouble inside, fortunately for us they were. I thought that was the difference in the game. We were also in foul trouble, we had 27 fouls, and usually we don’t foul like that. It was just one of those games, it was a battle to the end. I think it was a very well played game and it was one of those games where the players won or lost the game. That is the kind of game you want to play on the road. We didn’t make some free throws, we missed 10 free throws which I thought hurt us, especially some front ends of one-and-ones. Overall I was pleased with my team’s defensive intensity level and we made big plays when we had to.
Q: Can you look at in your defense in Penn State’s last possession?
A: This may sound funny buy we were just trying to keep the ball out of Alex Bentley’s hands. We really feel like she makes plays for them. We felt like throughout the course of the game our game-plan going in was to try and limit her touches. Because when she has the ball in her hands and she is attacking you on the dribble she is hard to stop, you saw that early on. Tyra Grant did a great job stepping up and making her free throws, I think we did a good job defending her (Tyra), but we fouled her way too much. But the last possession we knew Tyra was going to take the shot probably. We were just trying to make them run some time off the clock by picking them up and not letting them roll the ball to half-court. Basically we were just saying let them shoot a three we just didn’t want any fouls or any penetration. They took a shot we wanted them to take.
Q: Is that Ardossi’s nature to take the ball into traffic and take the big shot?
A: Interestingly enough she is our one senior. We expect our senior’s to make plays for us. She has had that kind of toughness and that go-to mentality since she has been here. We have just had other player’s around her that were getting those shots instead of her. When Alex went out early in the season Brigitte (Ardossi) became a go-to player and she has delivered for us, tonight she was hot, she had the hot-hand. There was no reason not to go to her. She had a mismatch we felt like. The player that was guarding her number 11 (Julia Trogele) had 4 fouls so we were just trying to go to her hoping she wouldn’t foul so we could get that shot off or foul us. That was the reason for going to Brigitte in that last play.
Q: Can you tell me about that alley-oop play?
A: We have run that for the last two years against the zone. We are not great shooters, we are great drivers, and we are pretty good inside. We have to be creative and find ways to get the ball into the paint against the zone. We have been running that for two years and it has been interesting. Some people can stop it and some people can’t. But I thought at half time they did a great job making adjustments. I thought they struggled to defend it in the first half but they made adjustments.
Q: How important was it that you were able to take away so many possessions through full court pressure.
A: One of the things we did with Penn State is we were able to slow them down. That is the thing that they do well. They score over half of their points in transition. Alex Bentley is great at pushing up the floor quickly on a make or miss basket. I think our press really slowed them down. They had to make two or three passes to get the ball across half court. When they came out of the press they had to figure out something to run. The reason we press is because we get people we don’t want shooting, shooting. It is hard to get your go-to players a shot because you don’t know whose hands the ball is going to end up in. So that is the reason we press. Their post players stepped up and made a couple big jumpers at the end. But those are the shots we want them shooting. The ball was out of Tyra Grant’s hands, the ball was out of Alex Bentley’s hands, so they were taking the shots we wanted them taking. Fortunately for them they were making them, unfortunately for us, the odds were against us. I think overall we did a good job of keeping them off balance. That is what we do, that is our defensive system. It wasn’t like we did anything different tonight than we normally do. I really believe in our defensive system. When it came down to a defensive stop I felt very comfortable of us getting a stop in the defensive end.