Jan. 17, 2010
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley
On Kelsey Bone’s impact on the game
I thought Kelsey (Bone) played great. This is probably one of her best performances. I know that she didn’t score a lot of points, but the way that she scored will open up the floor for her to score some points somewhere down the line. We tried to get her to slow down a little bit and take a picture of what’s on the floor. She passed out a few times and just played at a different pace where she can do a lot more than just dribble down there and go through players. She’s playing at a good pace.
On winning the last three SEC games
It feels great anytime that you get three wins in this conference because we didn’t get to this point last year. It feels good the way we are winning. We are playing more disciplined basketball, I think we are out hustling people to get the wins. We are spreading it out as far as scoring. Everyone didn’t get double digits like we did the last couple games, but it is the timing that people are scoring. It was Val’s (Nainima) night. Val was pretty hot tonight. She hit some 3s, and we wanted to keep feeding her the ball, and Kelsey was having her way in the paint. When they have it going on like that we want to make sure that we keep getting them the ball.
On the team’s confidence level
As a coaching staff, we are just practicing better. We are staying on them a lot more. It’s easy for this team to take a break from playing on a high level. Their practices are intense. They may not be as long as they have been, but they are intense. We need to keep them on their toes because this team can relax at any second. Confidence is very important. I think that when you are winning your confidence is at an all time high, but also some complacency can set in. We have a day off tomorrow as far as on the court, but I’m afraid to take days off because we are playing at a high level and this team, when they get a break, they let it all hang out. They don’t think about basketball and as coaches we want them to keep thinking about basketball. We have a big week ahead of us with LSU and then Florida.
On playing LSU again so soon after losing to them to open the SEC schedule
It really doesn’t matter at this point. I like that we are playing them when we are on a three game win streak. I think we will take some confidence going into playing at their place on the road. I think we learned some things that will help us that we didn’t do so well on our last time out. Our team is so young, they take each game as it is. When you play against an LSU or a Tennessee the intensity goes up. I think our coaching staff has done an excellent job of getting our players to focus in on the task at hand, whatever it is. If it’s Auburn today, let’s just focus on Auburn, if it’s LSU on Thursday we’ll take care of them on Thursday. For us it’s just trying to keep our young team focused on the task at hand.
On so few turnovers in the game
That’s huge. We always point that out to our team. Before this stretch, we’d been averaging 20-plus turnovers, and that’s part of the reason why we’ve lost games or it’s been close. I thought we did a tremendous job of taking care of the basketball, except for one little stretch in the second half where we just didn’t play disciplined.
On the importance of Valerie Nainima’s two 3s to end the first half
The two 3-pointers were huge for her. We’ve talked to her about sometimes sneaking around the offense, meaning just make them forget about you by passing and not letting them think of you as a scoring threat. She is a scoring threat, so the defense has to honor that, but we want them to kind of not be thinking about her and then all of a sudden have her be more aggressive. We actually talked about that in one of the time outs in the first half because the defense wasn’t thinking about her. Kelsey (Bone) was scoring and Ashley (Bruner) was scoring, and she found some open shots and she did it.
Freshman Center Kelsey Bone
Becoming a more dominant player
I had to come out and win the inside game. Preparing for this game, that’s what I was trying to do. I’ve never played anyone (Auburn’s KeKe Carrier) that size before so it was something new. Being able to come off the side and dribble a little bit was something I knew I had to prepare for.
Starting 0-2 and now having a three game win streak
It feels very good. I went right into the locker room and wrote our record on the board. It’s great to see the tide changing, and to know we’re leaving the foundation for the program is very exciting. I know the record from last year, and it just feels good to see the tide changing. I just wanted everyone to know that we’re all contributing to this.
Junior Guard Valerie Nainima
On seeing so many open shots in the game
I’m not used to shooting wide open shoots, but I knew coming into this game that I had to make shots and have a big presence in this game. I knew I had to contribute.
Starting 0-2 and now having a three game win streak
It’s exciting to see everyone stepping up and having a whole team contribute.
Facing LSU on the road so soon after playing them at home
We know we need to go in there with the same energy. We know it’s going to be difficult anywhere away, but we want to carry over our energy and our improvements on a personal level and on a team level.