Women's Basketball Media Day Transcripts

Head Coach Beckie Francis

Opening Statement

"It's tournament time. Our team is peaking at the right time. We have a lot of experience and our senior leadership is incredible."

How did you adapt to losing Brittany Carnago

"Our defense changed because Brittany blocked 87 shots last year. Her performance is close to what Keith Benson does for the men's team here. Without her, if we get beat on a back door cut, we are really exposed. We've spent a lot of time on working on denying the ball down low. Bethany, MJ, Hanna and Anna Patritto have done a real nice job on guarding the other team's best players. That was Brittany's job so we have had to do it by committee this year."

How your young team is ready for the tournament

"I really don't consider us that young because of our great leadership. We have a good amount of experience, Riikka is a fifth year senior and our freshmen haven't played like freshman. I have a lot of confidence in our team that we will do really well."

How the non-conference schedule has affected the team

"Playing the schedule and the teams we did have given me a lot of confidence in what we can do. Illinois and Penn State have like six or seven kids the size of Brittany Carnago. They just have them coming all over the place at you and we hung in there. We were basically blowing Penn State out for 35 minutes and the arena was dead. They came back but the fact we defended them for that long, gives me a lot of confidence we can do that in the tournament."

On the play of Riikka Terava


 

 

"She has played so well for us this season. She is just so steady. Saturday she had six assists with no turnovers. She is mentally strong and is the player that wants the ball in crunch time. She has an NCAA tournament ring so she knows what it takes to get there."

On what the exposure you get by getting an NCAA bid means

"It's hard to explain. Getting a bid is a reward for the athletic director, the trainers, sports information, all the people working behind the scenes to get Oakland on the map."

On playing Western Illinois

"Western Illinois is very well coach. Leslie Crane has been in the league for a long time. They are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They are going to battle defensively and we are going to have to work hard for our shots and points. Although we have beaten them pretty comfortable twice, they have given us a battle. They fight all the way to the end and are a pretty feisty team. But we have been a little feistier."

Freshman Bethany Watterworth

On playing in the tournament

"I've heard a lot about The Summit League tournament. I'm excited about it. We have a lot of momentum coming into the tournament and we will use that to our advantage."

Senior Melissa Jeltema

How the team has turned it around from the beginning of the season

"At the start of the season, we were still getting used to each other. We were trying to figure out how to play together. Right now, we are really playing well. Like coach said, we are ready for the tournament."

On being the team leader

"It's completely different from last year. Jessica (Pike) was the team leader and this year I was expected to fill her leadership role. I've accepted the role that has been given to me. I've really tried to be a good leader and lead by example."

How the loss of Brittany Carnago affected the team defensively

"Brittany is such a big force down in the paint. Losing her has made us play harder on the defensive end. We have put a lot of time in practice at working on getting stops and keeping people out of the paint. I think we have really adapted well."

Senior Hanna Reising

How the team has turned it around from the beginning of the season

"In the early season, when we were going through those tough losses, it really helped to pull us together. As the season has gone on, we are starting to know and accepting our roles. We love playing together and are having so much fun; we are really looking forward to this weekend."

On coming off the bench

"I've gotten very comfortable coming off the bench. I love coming in and providing that spark. My role has changed this year from the past few seasons and I've accepted that."

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