Nov. 7, 2010
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COACH BLUDER: I’m very happy. I thought this was a very sound first time out on the floor, going up and down against an opponent. For the first time out, I thought we did a lot of things really well. Almost five people in double figures. We shot the ball well in all categories. We had 27 assists on 36 field goals. That’s great. Great team basketball. We took care of the basketball. We did a good job on the boards, both offensively and defensively. I just thought it was a really good first effort. There’s a couple of things defensively we need to work on. We need to improve our zone. We need to work on containing the drive. But we’ve got three days before we tip off for real. But I think this was a very good first time out for us.
Q. Kelly, you had a 20 point first half. You really made them cry today. When was the first time you had a half like that, you were just on fire?
Kelly Krei: Probably not since high school, and I think junior year is about time to get going.
Q. Guards had 13 assists. They really passed the ball.
COACH BLUDER: We want to look for that. We want to pass the ball extremely well, look for the high percentage shot. That’s something that we stress over and over again as we want that assist leading to the basket. And they did it tonight. They did a good job.
Q. Lisa, is your team ahead of last year at this time?
COACH BLUDER: We are. And that’s to be expected with five starters returning. And last year we had so much turmoil with our starting lineup and our freshmen coming in. So we should be ahead of where we were last year, but we definitely are.
Q. 23 points off turnovers. Do you want to go up tempo whenever you get the chance?
COACH BLUDER: Yes. That’s something we’re really trying to stress this year a little bit more than we did last year is that we want to push the ball. And I thought we looked and really tried to do it tonight.
Q. Kash, what was it like going up against your old coach today?
Kachine Alexander: It was fun. He’s always on the sideline, I could hear him saying things. So that was fun. That was a good test for me, because, like I said, he knows me in and out. He’s the best coach to go against me.
Q. You’re not even close to 100 percent or how close? Another double-double?
Kachine Alexander: I would probably say roughly like 75, 80 percent. But I’m getting there.
Q. Morgan, a year ago this time you were waiting to have just a few minutes off the bench and learn a little bit. Then you became a starter. And here you are, a year later, a double-double your first game, just your thoughts?
Morgan Johnson: Definitely my teammates have instilled a lot of confidence in me. Definitely gave me the ball really, really well. So I have them to thank for that.
Q. Coach, with having three all-Big Ten guards, is Kelly sometimes lost in the shuffle?
COACH BLUDER: We hope she is. It’s hard to keep track of that fourth person on the perimeter. And this is what we really wanted Kelly to do this year is to not defer offensively but instead, when she’s open, step up and shoot the ball and shoot it with confidence and run the floor like she did today. So I’m really happy with what Kelly did today, because I think last year she maybe would have deferred and not done it until she had to do it. Now she’s doing it all the time. And I’m really happy with that.
Q. Kelly, did some of that start in the Big Ten tournament last year, do you think?
Kelly Krei: Definitely. I think my confidence shot up in the Big Ten tournament. I tried not to forget it throughout the summer and into preseason, and it was really nice to see my shot on today and my teammates were passing the ball nicely.
Q. Coach, only one exhibition game this year versus, in the past, a couple. Just the way the schedule worked out?
COACH BLUDER: Well, this is the second year we’ve done this now where we’ve had a closed scrimmage against Creighton. And so we did that last weekend, and so that was really good for us to be able to see that. But I think you get different things from both experiences. We want to make sure we keep at least one of these type of exhibitions. But going against Creighton is also very good for us.
Q. Morgan, are you more confident on the offensive end this year?
Morgan Johnson: Oh, definitely. My teammates have just really like I said earlier, made me a lot more confident. I have a lot more confidence in myself, in being a scoring threat and making people double in on me so I have more looks on the outside to give it back out to my guards.
Q. Does it help feeling stronger, hitting the weight room and your stamina and everything?
Morgan Johnson: Yeah, definitely. We’ve been working really hard all summer in postseason trying to getting bigger and stronger to get ready to go against those Big Ten posts.
Q. Hansen didn’t dress today.
COACH BLUDER: She should be able to practice tomorrow. She had an epidural done on Friday for her back. So she was out Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So Monday she can start practicing again.
Q. Was it just rotations, Coach, why Morgan only played 20 minutes?
COACH BLUDER: Yes, just wanting to get Jade and Kelsey both in at the center position. Really no more than that. Just wanted to give those other players some reps at the 5.
Q. How much did you see out of your sophomore center, considering they had one taller girl but not a lot of height?
COACH BLUDER: Not a lot of height. But you know something, I thought Morgan posted up aggressively. She set herself up for some nice slips in there. When she read how they were playing defensively, you know, they tried to double her. And she still shot over the double team. So I’m very happy with what Morgan’s done over the summer.
Q. What are your thoughts on Jade Rogers so far?
COACH BLUDER: I think any freshman, especially when you’re the only freshman, it’s such a hard situation coming into because there’s nobody else at the same level as you are. There’s nobody else to compare, you think you’re the only one going through all this correctiveness, you’re the only one being corrected all the time by coaches. So her learning curve is a little bit steeper than everybody else’s; but Jade’s so positive. She’s extremely coachable. She’s working hard to get better. And I thought she did a couple nice things out there tonight. But she can be more assertive and definitely has to work on strength and quickness, things like that, but we’re glad she’s a Hawkeye.
Q. Kachine, the crowd liked it, did it matter to you to get 100 on the first time out?
Kachine Alexander: I would say yes. That’s a fun thing to do, because not every team gets to do that. So I don’t know if I’ve done that before. I think I have. Maybe, somewhere in there, lost in the shuffle. But it’s always fun to come out and score 100; the crowd gets a little excited. It’s always fun to do that.
Q. Is that what a Top 25 team is supposed to do in an exhibition game?
COACH BLUDER: I think what you want to do is look to dominate. That’s what we want to do every time is we want to look to dominate in all of our categories and we really try to challenge them in the defensive end, and we met all of our defensive goals tonight. Now we’ve got to take it to a more athletic Division I team that’s going to shoot the ball better and be quicker and stronger than what we were facing today.
Q. Megan had a really nice summer. She said that’s the most she’s played since high school. Did that kind of carry over to camp when you guys started train and stuff?
COACH BLUDER: Last year she came in mid season as a walk on. That’s a tough scenario. So just being able to be with our team for this length of time is giving her more confidence. So that was she can shoot the ball, though. She likes to shoot.
Q. You’ve got to like that only 12 turnovers?
COACH BLUDER: I do, for this early in the year especially and that we pushed the ball. We did push the ball pretty well. Sometimes you push the ball, you get a few more turnovers. So that was very good to see. Only four the second half.
Q. Only missed four free throws?
COACH BLUDER: That’s expected. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’re a good free throw shooting team. Last year we were fifth best in the country. We expect to do that. We missed four, darn it. That’s not good. We’ve got to make them.
Q. Can you talk about starting the season on the road, some kind of a tournament. That’s not usually something you guys do, is it?
COACH BLUDER: No, it’s not something we usually do but we had to because of schedule. We couldn’t host our own tournament next weekend, because there’s a volleyball match in our arena. So we were not able to host that first weekend and forcing us on the road. Not wanting to have happen is your first two games be on the road. That’s what’s dealt us; we have to handle it.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about the teams you’re facing, Southern and who else?
COACH BLUDER: Arkansas State and Texas Corpus Christi are the other teams that are in the tournament. Southern is a team that won the SWAC last year, was in the NCAA Tournament. They return I’m not positive I think they return all starters from last year’s team. They’re an athletic team. They’re fast. They penetrate very well. They press. They play a little Helter Skelter, which kind of sometimes can force you into turnovers. So I think really going into that game we’ve got to go in there focused to keep our composure. We have to go in knowing every game we’ve got a target on our backs. We’ve got to be ready to handle that mentally as well as physically when we walk into a gym. We need to walk in with a little bit of a swagger. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Q. What does it mean to start the season with a road trip and how important is it to come out of there with a couple of wins?
Kachine Alexander: I like the fact that I like the fact that we’re starting on the road because that gives us a challenge. Being ranked 22nd, 25th isn’t easy. Starting on the road is definitely going to be a test for us, to prove how our summer and our preseason has gone. But it’s going to be very important that we come out with a 2 0 in that tournament.
Q. Kash, I know obviously you’re coming off surgery the offseason. How did you deal with that with your first game coming back? Did you try to take it easy a little bit, more or were you trying to go 100 percent like you were the last before the injury?
Kachine Alexander: I don’t really know any other speed. So I just go as I can, as much as like my body will let me. But, like I said, I’m probably around 80 percent, which has increased about the last week or so. So I keep pushing and keep being consistent. Coach is on me and my teammates are behind me.
Q. Were you satisfied with your performance today?
Kachine Alexander: I think so. I mean, coming out in your first game, being behind four months or so, I think that’s a good start for me.