Women's Basketball preseason media day transcript: Gail Goestenkors
Oct. 19, 2010
Opening Statement: It's hard to believe it's another season. We're very excited as always to get underway. We've been working real hard. Obviously, we have some injuries that we are dealing with, and our numbers are a little down because we had a small team anyway. I think this team is going to be in the best shape of any team I've had because they have to be. They have no choice. I talked to Kathleen Nash, Ashley Gayle, Ashleigh Fontenette and let them know they're going to have to play a lot of minutes. They've embraced the challenge. We'll be a little small, but we'll be really scrappy. I really love this team. The chemistry is the best it's been, and we'll all tell you the same thing, Kat in particular, because she's been here the longest. She just loves this team. The way they care for each other, and the way they fight for each other, I think you'll see that reflected on the court. We're going to be very feisty and just work our tails off. Just a real scrappy team, which is the kind of coach I am as well, and I think they'll definitely reflect my personality.
On the difficulties of having a lot of players injured: It's been difficult. I've had injuries before, as every coach has, but these injuries are more than any other year. Tiffany Moore, who is going to play major minutes for us, she took a charge last week in practice, fractured her right wrist and had surgery to put a pin in her wrist, so she's in a cast. The injuries have caused us as coaches to be very creative. We understand sometimes if AG [Ashley Gayle] gets in foul trouble, if Anne Marie gets in foul trouble, there are going to be times where we have five guards on the floor, so we've had to be creative with what we're doing both offensively and defensively. The players have definitely rallied around one another, and it's whoever can play today, and we go at it. I'm really proud of them, and I really enjoy coaching this group of young ladies.
On the post position: We have two legitimate post players in Anne Marie Hartung and Ashley Gayle. Those two will play together some, and when those two play together, we'll have some nice highs, but those are our only two post players. Kat will play almost exclusively in the post this year. She played both inside and outside her first three years, and although I say she is going to play in the post, that does not mean she will be down on the low block, she will be a post player for us. We'll be running a lot of four-out motion or five-out motion. You won't see her inside anymore than you did before, but she will be our four player quite a bit of the time.
On Cokie Reed's injury changing the game plan: It's completely readjusting. We know Cokie had a really good freshman year, came on really strong at the end, and she was in great shape. She was in much better shape than she was her entire freshman year, so she kind of turned the corner. We were very excited about having both her and Ashley Gayle in that post position. We were going to be a power team, and Anne Marie, as a freshman, was going to learn from them and grow into that position. And also with the graduation of Kristen Nash¬-we thought she was coming back up until the end last year. We really lost two post players that, at this time last year, thought we would have this season. [That has] caused us as coaches to scramble a little bit, and say, "Okay, we have to change what we were planning to do, and do what's best for these young ladies to be successful."
On the freshmen seeing added playing time: Probably all of them out of necessity, but in particular, Chassidy Fussell is going to play significant minutes. She perhaps could start. Tiffany Moore will play significant minutes when she gets healthy. She has the potential to start, and Anne Marie will play significant minutes. Really, all of the freshman.
On the team's offense this season: We're going to be much more up-tempo. I keep saying that Brittainey Raven would have loved the offense we're now putting in because she loved to shoot quickly. But now, that's going to be our style of play. We don't want to slow it down, we're not going to pound it inside a whole lot, we're going to do some things defensively-some more pressing, trapping, some more zones to protect our bigs-but offensively, we're really going to look to push the ball in transition and score quickly.
On the team's best shooters: Obviously, Kat [Nash] is a good shooter. I've told her anytime she's open, she has to shoot. She has no prerogative to not shoot. We have to get her the ball. Ashleigh Fontenette, her shot looks exceptional, and Yvonne's [Anderson] has really improved as well. Chassidy [Fussell], she's a great shooter. Tiffany Moore is a great shooter as well. You just won't get to see her quite as soon. She might have, other than Kat, the prettiest shot on the team.
On if the team has had to change up its plans with having a smaller team: It was definitely plan B. It was something we would have looked to do some during the course of a game, go small, which we did last year as well. But now it's out of necessity that we will be a smaller team, and we understand as coaches, you have to find the advantages that you have. All of our players can handle the ball. Ashley Gayle, we don't want her hand on the ball too much, but the other four can all¬-and we're telling them, if you get the rebound, bring it down. Push it ahead because we want to look to attack. I think it will be tough for Kat defensively sometimes to defend a four player, but I know it will be very hard for other post players to defend Kat out at that three point line as well.
On the team's preseason conditioning: They know they're going to play more minutes, so they've embraced, as much as a player can, the conditioning. We've worked harder on conditioning, done more than we have my first three years, but they understand why, that it's really out of necessity.
On how she's evolved in the last three years she's been at Texas: I feel very strongly the Texas pride now. I think coming from the outside, you don't understand it initially, so it takes a little time to really feel it. Now, I understand what that is, and I feel it very strongly. Every day when we come out we're fighting for what we believe in and who we're going to be. It's not just as a team, it's as a university, as a state. There's so much pride here. I'd say that's one of the biggest things.
On if some people are impatient with the women's basketball team: I'm sure some are. I think there are a lot of people that want instant gratification. I understand that, that comes with the beast. It's the nature of the beast. However, we know, as a staff, and the administration has been wonderful, we're doing things the right way. Sometimes, when you do things the right way it might take a little longer, but it's long lasting. We're not building a team, we're building a program, and it may take a little time.
On what she expects from this season: I think we'll surprise some people. I don't think we'll be ranked highly because you look at our numbers, and it's going to be tough, especially within our conference. We're just going to take it one day at a time because we do understand that we have some issues we have to deal with that we can't change. It'll be exciting. Sometimes it will probably be frustrating because we don't have that depth, but I think this is going to be a good year for us. I think it's also setting the tone for what we will have next year as well.
On injuries becoming excuses for performance: One of our mottos is there are no excuses. It doesn't matter if you're injured or if you're ill, nobody really cares. They just care what the bottom line is. We never will make excuses. We'll talk about the injuries now, but once we're done with the media days, we're going to deal with people that we have. It's been that way in practice, and I think it'll happen today, where we only have seven players in practice. I say I don't care about what's going on, whether we have seven, eight, nine, it's who is here, we're going to play our tails off and find a way.
On Ashley Gayle playing more of an offensive role this season: We're going to miss Cokie's presence on the offensive end of the floor in particular. Ashley Gayle has worked so hard on her game, and she's improved a great deal. You'll see vast improvement in her offensive game. Are we going to rely on her day-in and day-out offensively? No, but she does need to help us, and I know she will because she's improved. She's also one of our best screeners, so I think we're going to use her a lot, bringing post players outside and screening, to get some of our guards some looks as well.
On the election of team captains: I wanted to wait until we had some adversity. I think it's easy to lead when you're just in the summer and in the preseason, and everyone is happy and everything is going great, but I think once you face some adversity, and I think it happened a little bit last year, and I saw some different leaders show up that maybe weren't our captains. I want to see who leads us through adversity before I name them captains. We're seeing who is stepping forward right now. We'll probably wait until the New Year to select our captains.
On new assistant coach Ronald Hughey: He's excellent, high energy. He's been great for our players, for this program. He's a tremendous recruiter. You'll see his energy on the floor as well. It's perfect timing for him because we need to be very high energy, very defense oriented and getting the tips and the steals so we can get our transition game going. I put him in charge of the defense. He's in charge of the post players as well. He's doing a great job. We're very fortunate to have him.