Women's Basketball at 2011 Big Ten Media Day
Oct. 27, 2011
Transcript of Felisha Legette-Jack's Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
Coach Jack: It's just a great day to be a Hoosier. I'm excited about this upcoming season. Why would I say that when I lost 68.7 percent of my scoring? Well, we didn't do too well last year with that percentage, and so we have five new players and a group of eight that's returning, and the energy level has created some synergy, and we're cautiously optimistic.
Q. How come you never passed the ball in college? I'm sorry, let's move on. (Laughing). This season obviously a lot of changes and you just spoke of losing a lot of your scoring, so who is, if you could pick two or three players that you're looking for to kind of pick up in terms of leadership this season, as well as being a scoring impact in a conference that's going to be very, very competitive?
Coach Jack: Oh, our conference is very competitive. My colleagues went out and got some amazing student-athletes to represent their institution. I had my best success as a coach when I had no idea who was going to be the scoring leader. When Whitney Thomas and Kim Roberson and Amber Jackson, those young ladies played for me, there was never an idea who would be that leader, that go-to person. They all collectively decided to come together, and whenever it was their time they'd show up.
Last year we all knew that Jori Davis was that person, that leader, that go-to person, and it really wasn't good for me. The year before that it was Jamie Braun. So now we're back at square one where we don't know who that person is. It's just a group of us that's going to just kind of roll our sleeves up, bring our lunchbox and put it down and try to go to work and just represent Indiana the best way we know now.
Q. Just wondering I guess when you were talking about having that individual that you start to rely on to score like Jori Davis, what's the issue with that? Do you think it's something where the rest of the team stands around and expects that one player to step up every night? What's the advantage maybe of having a team where you don't know who the leading scorer is going to be?
Coach Jack: Well, you have different weapons. We certainly went into that season last year thinking Sasha Chaplin was going to be a viable option, Georgie Jones was going to be a viable option, but they both had to nurse knee injuries, so there was just one person that stood. This year I think Jasmine McGhee knows how to put the ball in the air and get some things done and Linda Rubene, another junior college kid that's coming in, she hasn't discovered how to pass the ball, either, so it's fun in practice. But I think with this particular group, I think they like the fact there's no go-to or there's no one-woman show, if you will, and they really have a lot more fun this way. My hope is to keep this balance.
Q. In such a competitive conference, what do you see particularly with the personnel you have this year that has to be your strength, particularly if you look at last year what has to change, what do you have to do better overall?
Coach Jack: We have to score the basketball. You know, our mantra is our defense. I think that we do a tremendous job defensively. I think we held people to under 64, 65 points. That's not awful. It's not great, either. But we couldn't put the ball in the hole enough. Jori led the entire conference in scoring, but there was no second, third, fourth person, and so I think if we can score the basketball a lot better and distribute it around a little bit better, I think that we'll have a lot more fun for one. Our Hoosier Nation will continue to come out and watch us play for two, and I think we will win more basketball games if we put the ball in the hole a little bit better.
Q. In addition to Jori Davis, losing your point guard in Whitney Lindsay, how would you assess that position and what do you feel about the point guard position?
Coach Jack: Oh, that's critical. All my mentors always say when you have rookie point guards that you're going to struggle a little bit. But somebody forgot to tell Candyce Ussery that. We have a young lady coming in from St. Louis, who is a really intellectual kid that really understands that if you go out there and play, and they have five and we have five that we have a chance, even though she's a rookie. I think Andrea Newbauer is going to help grow her. Andrea was here last year but she had back surgery so we didn't really get a chance to see her. I think she's a real confrontational kind of point guard. Reminds me of a Lindsay Whalen, not nearly as talented as her yet. I think with her strength and her girth, she gets inside and gets to the free-throw line a lot.
So we have two point guards we are going to rely on. They're young. It's going to be fun. It's going to be interesting. I'm not certain what's going to be in my water bottle yet, is it going to be vodka or water? I can't tell you guys, you're the media. But you know, they keep me guessing and they keep it light, so I'm excited.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the freshmen and the transfers and how important they'll be this season in getting into that rotation pretty early.
Coach Jack: Well, it's hard to keep them back. I love what Quaneisha McCurty is bringing. She's a 6-5 kid out of Georgia who really runs the floor like a guard, can handle the ball pretty well. I think that right now her strength is her problem. Have to get her stronger. Jazz (Jasmine) McGhee is a phenomenal scorer. She has a knack for it. There's nothing conventional about what she does, but she knows how to finish the play and she knows how to get the ball in hole. Linda Rubene is that same kind of kid. And I love what Necole Sterling is going to bring. She's that kid from Virginia that's going to be the confrontational young lady, that's going to make people follow her because she has no fear. Then there's Candyce Ussery who is just a real methodical point guard that can shoot the three, but also get the ball to the right person. But her strength is going to be a concern at the beginning, as well.
Q. You mentioned the importance of having success in front of Hoosier Nation, and I know that was a struggle with the team last year, obviously losing the last seven home games. What do you tell the team in terms of building energy back on the home court?
Coach Jack: Well, what we decided to do this year with this young team was take them on the road. Our first three or four games are on the road, and I think it's a privilege to play in front of your home fan base, and we haven't earned that right to represent. So we're going to try to go on the road and become road warriors and work on our craft, and hope when we come back home that we understand what it's supposed to be like to represent your school at home. You have to protect home plate any means necessary. We didn't have that eye of the tiger, we didn't have that fight that I can say I was proud of when we played at home.
The road is one thing you can't really control, but home, you have to have a different kind of swagger, and we want to go and earn that right by going on the road early and hopefully we can do a better job this upcoming season.
Q. It's a conference full of guards. You just mentioned you have a 6-5 center. I know playing in the post is very dear and true to your own heart having a lot of success there. What kind of emphasis are you putting on playing that game from the inside out? And from a personnel perspective do you talk to your players about, this is a place where you could dominate because there's just not a lot of really aggressive posts this season? We don't have the big Jantel Lavenders anymore.
Coach Jack: Are you sure she's not coming back?
Q. I'm positive, I checked.
Coach Jack: I couldn't control that. We've always been a team that's built our house from the inside out, and we've really tried to emphasize that. We even had -- I'm still stuck on the Whitney Thomas era, but she was 5- 11, we believed that inside-out was the way you do it. I like what Sasha (Chaplin) is looking like in the gym. Sasha Chaplin is back and healthy, knock on wood. (Danilsa) Andujar is a confrontational post player and I love the way Georgie Jones is running the floor. We still have some great players in the
I love (Morgan) Johnson at Iowa, I love what (Drey) Mingo does from the inside out from Purdue. So we can't disregard that this conference still has to the really good post players. But I think we're always going to be who we are and we are always go from the inside out. Jazz (Jasmine McGhee) is going to shoot the ball, Linda (Rubene) is going to shoot the ball, but they'd better make sure they see our big kids before they let it go.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
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