South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
On the play of Charenee Stephens
She has been trying to get herself back into playing shape (after sitting out three games in December with an injury), and she looked pretty good. We had her pushing through during practice, but that is the type of player that she is. If she’s giving us anything less, than she’s not doing her job. So she did her job and probably a little bit more than that tonight.
On having a more diverse offense the last two games – five players in double figures
It helps when everyone is a threat out there on the floor. Itis hard for anybody to guard us, and that’s what we’ve been asking them to do. I know we do set up Kelsey (Bone) and Valerie (Nainima) with a lot of shots, but at the same time other people have to be a threat out there on the floor and take open looks. We don’t say, “You can’t shoot.” You just have to take the right shots on the floor.
On how the coaching staff stressed to Kelsey Bone that it was” time for her to dominate”
It’s been stressed to her since the very beginning, from day one. I just don’t think she understood the magnitude of that. She’s a big body; she can score on the block. She wasn’t doing the little things early on, just being consistent and scoring down there. I think Valerie (Nainima) made her life a lot easier tonight where she just had to catch and out the ball in the while. Some stuff she is going to have to be Kelsey. She has great footwork, and she is just going to have to put the ball in the hole. She only missed three shots tonight. But the three that she missed looked good, they were close enough for her to make. But she is certainly going to have to assert herself like she has the last couple of games.
On the importance of dominating the inside game
They [Kentucky] had a strength, which was putting the ball on the floor and attacking us. Ours was a little closer to the basket. Whatever team was able to play to their strengths was going to win the game. We got 52 points in the paint. That’s with Kelsey; that’s with Charenee; that’s with our guards penetrating and getting to the hole with fast break points. That was one of the things we emphasized for the game.
On the value in limiting turnovers, especially in the second half
Turnovers were a concern because [Kentucky] pressures every pass. They are quick enough to do that, and they have to play that way so that people don’t really concentrate on getting the ball inside. That was a worry coming into the game because we do turn the ball over a lot. I thought that was a pretty good game as far as us taking care of the ball.
Freshman Center Kelsey Bone
On whether she expected to able get a lot of points in the paint
It has been stressed to me the past couple of games that is time for me to dominate, and get back to the Kelsey of old. I have made a few adjustments with the physicality I am facing and all of the different looks that I see. I really think that it all started to click today.
On five players getting double digits tonight
It really is amazing. It is forcing teams to either try to stop what is going on inside with Charenee (Stephens) and myself, or they are going to have to contain our guards outside. When they (the guards) are doing what they are capable of doing, it really opens up things for Charenee and me. You have to respect our outside shooting with Valerie (Nainima), and the driving ability of Samone (Kennedy) and La’Keisha (Sutton). When they are all clicking from outside, it’s like the parting of the Red Sea for us down low.
Sophomore Forward Charenee Stephens
On her role opposite Kelsey Bone
We really depend on Kelsey (Bone) because of her height. When I get in the game I am an undersized post, but I do give everything that I have. I think that I bring a different look with my athleticism. So, like we said, it’s time for Kelsey to dominate, and I am going to try and give as much help as I can. When my number is called I am always going to be ready, and just get the job done.