Head coach Cindy Stein.
Oct. 15, 2013
Coach Cindy Stein's opening remarks
We are so excited about the upcoming season. It seems like it has come so fast. It feel like I was just being hired and we were trying to get kicking. Things are off to a great start. The focus has been keeping it simple. We’ve got a young team, so we’ve got to keep it simple in many ways.
We are concentrated on our defense right now probably a little more than our offense. Hopefully we’ll have a few plays in before our exhibition on the 25th. But we are really concentrating on our defense, and keeping it simple — one play at time. Catching the ball with two hands. Taking care of the ball.
We do want to push the ball up the floor, but we want to do that under control. We want to be all over people defensively, but of course we want to do that without fouling. We want to keep people off the free throw line. From an offensive end, we are attacking. We want to get to the free throw line a lot. Defensively, we are attacking, but we want to keep people off the free throw line, and we’re getting the kids to understand what that takes.
We are going to start with probably seven kids. I think seven kids right now would be our rotation if we were to start right now. I think Rishonda Napier would probably start at point guard for us. She’s looking very good there and taking care of the ball. She’s a very good leader. We’re moving Cartaesha Macklin to the off guard, which is I think more of her natural position. I think Jordyn Courier is playing extremely well, and she is someone that we will look to play on the wing and inside for us. Inside, I think we’ve got some opportunities. Azia Washington is looking very good. Dyana Pierre is looking good. Alexus Patterson is looking good. We’ve got some room there.
Those seven really have started to embrace what we want to do. They are doing extremely well, and we are just trying to get the rest of them the confidence they need to do all the little things right. That has really been our focus.
Everyone wants to know where I would predict our team. I have no idea. I’d like to say that we are going to be at the top. That’s always what you want. That’s going to be our goal. We are going after everybody.
We open up these exhibitions, I’ve said this before, but I don’t care about the score in these exhibitions. Do I want to win? Absolutely. We’re competitors, we want to win. But I do want to work with different groups. I want to get different rotations in. I want to get different people at the point guard spot so that we have some consistency there. That is probably our most inconsistent area. Then we worry about Wright State, our first game. Then it is all out for that game. But our exhibitions will be more about what we need to do and focusing on us rather than what the other team does.
We may play around, and we are going to try to play everybody. But that’s not going to happen every game. You want to do it early and see what people have, then you go into that November 8 game against Wright State, and get a solid core that we can get a good rotation with and go after people. That’s our plan.
I’ve got a great staff. They are great teachers, and really that is all we’ve concentrated on. We have been doing a lot of teaching every day in practice and getting our system down. We are not as far along as we would’ve liked. We are probably not as far along as some teams in the conference that have returning staffs, but that’s OK. We’ll get them there.
Q: You say right now you are not putting in a lot of plays. When you get things together, will you run a lot of set plays, or motion or what?
We do run a motion offense, but we will run quite a few sets. We like to come down and go right into a secondary break into a motion offense where we can just get things rolling. If someone stops us from doing that, we will run a couple of quick hitters that always go into our motion.
Q: You said you have those seven players right now. Is there anyone else that you brought in or anyone else that is starting to make that progress?
I think that everybody at different times throughout our practice has good moments. Our freshmen are a little bit behind right now from where I want them to be. We’ve got a freshman post player, Kim Nebo, that is really explosive off the floor. I can’t get her to run a play right, but she can rebound like the Dickens and she can catch the ball and score. Now we’ve just got to get her to know where she is supposed to be. She can make a lot of things happen. The rest of them are kind of in that learning stage as well. I think we’ll be there. From the veterans’ standpoint, I think it is some kids that don’t play with a lot of confidence. That’s something we’ve got to continue to build. Taking over a team that has only won a few games throughout the year, the biggest thing is working on their confidence and getting them to understand the work ethic that will get you to that level where you are feeling confident in what you do.
Q: Until you get to games, how are you measuring progress right now?
We take stats every practice and try to monitor that. We give our Super Dawg shirts so everything is a competition. We are monitoring their work ethic. We monitor their toughness — diving for loose balls, taking charges. Everything that we are doing in practice every single day, every statistic is given to them so they know where they stand. With the Super Dawg shirts, we’ve got an overall leader and we have a daily one. They like to wear those shirts. Just little things like that provide us some kind of competition. It’s just monitoring from that standpoint and seeing how much better they are getting.
Q: What do you like about your schedule this year?
I don’t like anything about our schedule. We’ll play it. We want to win all of our games. We are just trying to get ready for Wright State. Is there anybody we look forward to? We always look forward to the Valley. I’m not sure how much we are going to get tested because we are so concentrated on our own team. There is nobody that stands out that we want any more than anybody else right now. The main thing is not to beat ourselves.
Q: Can you talk about the overall athleticism of the group?
I think we’ve got some great athletes. We’ve got kids that kids that can run hard, run fast and jump high. Now we’ve got to make them basketball players. That is the key — taking care of the ball, making two-handed passes, making two-handed catches, making layups and being consistent at that. That’s kind of what we are getting to. You can only go as fast as you can if you are under control. That’s what we emphasize, and I think you’ll see that.