Jan. 23, 2013
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COACH BLUDER: A lot of good stuff going on Thursday night, I think we are even having ladies night, massages and manicures in the Carver Concourse, so if you don’t see me at the game, you know where I’ll be, I’ll be up top there.
Another Big Ten week. They are all important, as you guys know. Wisconsin is coming off their first Big Ten victory, a very convincing victory over Ohio State where they dominated them in the second half. At halftime, Ohio State is winning and then Wisconsin just dominated in the second half over Ohio State. So they are coming in off their first Big Ten win. We had a competitive game against them at their place. So we understand, I think that will help get our players focused when they see that they are just coming off that good win over Ohio State. Obviously Morgan Paige, is somebody, their leading scorer, that we have to concern ourselves with. The Marion native I’m sure will have a good contingency cheering her on. She’s somebody that we have to keep control of in this game.
And then going to Michigan on Sunday, that was the game that got us on our home court, and so going to their place is going to be tougher. They have, I think, been the surprise team in the Big Ten. They only have one loss now and that was a very close game against Penn State, a loss on Michigan’s home court. Michigan playing very, very well, and an opportunity for us to pay them back for the loss they gave us on our home court.
Q. You’ll be playing both teams for the second time, I assume you’re really familiar with both now. Is that just kind of a weird scheduling thing or what?
COACH BLUDER: It’s a weird quirk. You know, two of our games, our solo competitions, are already over with. We are never going to see Ohio State play and we are never going to see Michigan State again. And then, yeah, two of our games that we are seeing in dual action, right away. The one thing is it makes it easier on scouting; you don’t have as many games to watch.
But I think also for the players, it’s so close in their minds, they will represent the style of play easier, they will remember the types of offenses and defenses they run a little bit easier. So probably a little bit easier on the players and coaches to prepare for the game. But it is kind of a strange way the schedule is playing out.
Q. Have you ever asked why they do that?
COACH BLUDER: No, as I understand it, a lot of it is computer generated and a lot of it is based on basically facilities, when they can get facilities, some facilities, like Wisconsin has hockey to revolve around, so some of those types of issues, as well.
Q. With those being scheduled close together, does it make it difficult to put the loss to Michigan out of the players’ minds?
COACH BLUDER: I don’t think if I want it out of their minds. I kind of like having it there. I think it’s great motivation. I’m going to use it as much as I can.
Q. Melissa has been the spark off the bench; what makes her so successful in that role?
COACH BLUDER: Because she works incredibly hard. Melissa is one of the hardest workers on our team. And she embraces her role. She was in our starting role the first three games of the year, starting position first three games of the year, and for her to accept that she’s now coming off the bench, she has handled that beautifully. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a player handle this as well as she has where she keeps positive. She’s always has a joy about her no matter what. And I think that the way that she’s handled that role, has been really pretty neat. It has been very appreciated by her coaches.
But I think she plays so hard, and she’s kind of got that shooter’s mentality. She doesn’t know what happened that last shot and she’s putting it up no matter what, and you kind of like your shooters having that mentality. Miss two in a row, I don’t care, I’m putting up the next one. Make two in a row, I’m going to act the same way as if I’ve missed two in a rose, doesn’t matter, and I like that about Melissa.
Q. Are players like that when you recruit them or do you have to have them here before you know they are like that?
COACH BLUDER: I think that you have to have them the adjusting to the role part or the shooter’s mentality part? The shooter’s mentality, I think you can see that in a recruit. How they are going to adjust to their role, you have no idea about, because all of these players are stars coming out of their high school. Every one of them is a starter. They have never had to deal with not starting. So that part of you don’t have an idea about.
Q. What other games or what other aspects of Melissa’s game have you seen improving? She’s much more than a three point shooter I guess.
COACH BLUDER: She’s learned to take it off the bounce more. She used to be just really a spot up shooter and now she understands the value of getting to the rim, too. And with that, you have to become a better passer. If you’re going to start penetrating, now you’ve got to learn to pass the ball, which somebody that scores as many points as her in high school, she didn’t pass the ball too often. You’ve got to learn that when you start going to the rim, too.
Q. Wisconsin is really shorthanded, I think they have nine on the roster right now, do you try to push the pace and wear them down now?
COACH BLUDER: We are pretty effective with the fast break the first time we played them and I think that’s something we want to continue to look for against them. You know, they get back into their 2 3 zone pretty well and so it’s not easy to get that done, but we definitely want to I think look to push that, because it was successful the last time that we played them. They are shorthanded but truly, not a lot of people are playing more people than that, anyway. When we were down nine or eight on our roster, really, that’s what a lot of teams are really counting on anyway. Where I think it hurts you a lot is in practice and preparation for games and definitely Morgan Paige is having to play a lot of minutes, and that can get tiring as the Big Ten season goes on.
Q. Having as much success as you’ve had against Wisconsin recently and with them shorthanded is there any danger of there being a letdown or your players not preparing hard enough?
COACH BLUDER: I hope not. I think Jan Jensen said it best in our practice yesterday. When somebody asked her that on the radio show Monday night, she said: “I had not even thought about a letdown until you brought it up, thanks a lot.”
I guess that’s how we are looking at it is, maybe we should be thinking about that more, because coming off the Purdue victory, us coaches had not really thought about it a lot until somebody brought it up and I think that is something that we have to address with our team. Because certainly, coming off of a really good win like that, you’re playing at home, you’re comfortable; we have to be wary of that. We have to be aware of that game that they just had against Ohio State and I think that’s the best thing that could almost happen for us is that what brings our attention to it, I believe.
Q. Can you sense a letdown in practice?
COACH BLUDER: Sometimes you never know what’s going to happen from practice to game. We had a really good practice yesterday, a really good practice. So I feel good about that. But sometimes those don’t always go over into the game situations, either.
Q. I see you’re into Twitter. How is that working for you?
COACH BLUDER: Not extremely well because I’m not a very good person on it. I’m trying, and Coach Jensen has kind of made it a mission to get me to become better on Twitter. So I have my account set up, and that’s as far as I’ve got. I haven’t sent one Tweet yet. So I got the first steps and now I’ve got to get motivated on that. But I’m better at Facebook. I’m much better at that because I’m more familiar with it now. I don’t even know the process on how to Tweet yet, but I’m going to learn, so keep the faith.
Q. What can you learn about prospective recruits through Facebook and Twitter? Can you learn a lot about character that might turn you off on someone?
COACH BLUDER: Absolutely, and that’s why I think it’s an important tool for us to use right now. I think employers are using it as a tool. We certainly have to use it as a tool. You’re looking at Facebook and seeing a kid posting things that are questionable in your mind, it raises a red flag that you need to explore. Even just if they are down all the time and not positive and excited, and then obviously the social part of their life, too. So, yes, it’s something that we are evaluating.
Q. Do you let your players Tweet during the season; do you have any rules?
COACH BLUDER: We don’t have any rules on that, except for just make sure that any time you put something out there, you know, mom and dad are looking, Coach Bluder’s looking, and any small child in this state could be watching, so make sure it’s appropriate.