Oct. 14, 2009
Video of coach Frese's Press Conference
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
The University of Maryland women's basketball team hosted its annual media day Wednesday afternoon at Comcast Center, as head coach Brenda Frese and the players addressed local and national media for 90 minutes in preparation for the 2009-10 season.
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese
"It's always exciting this time of year for all basketball coaches, as we get ready for our first true start date, the practice date. I will tell you it's hard to believe how quickly and how fast I'm going into my eighth year here at Maryland. I'm extremely proud of the bar we've set and obviously the expectations that come along with that, year in and year out with our team and with our program.
I do feel like the theme this year is that we are going to be very young, obviously having nine freshmen and sophomores on a 10-player roster, especially with a team that is coming off losing two special seniors like we did with Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver. They were the all-time winningest class in Maryland history, the No. 2 and No. 3 WNBA draft picks, as well as the all-time leading scorers, No. 2 and No. 3, here in Maryland history. As we've seen in the preseason, those seniors and those All-Americans made plays look very easy for us last season. As we're putting in a lot of new things with this young team, we're finding that it doesn't come quite as easily as it once did, but I think the perspective to understand is that is a process, just like it was for Kristi and Marissa. You watched their careers develop before your eyes. They got to be a part of that process for four years and their senior years and the leadership that they were ready for prepared them in that time.
I am very excited about the challenge and the team that we have ahead of us. I think first and foremost it starts with some of the things that took place in the off-season and that was with bringing two new coaches onboard. In terms of our coaching staff, it's fun to have a coaching staff that is extremely hardworking, that is very, very patient to be here, working here at Maryland, from the area, as well as that they all bring a tremendous winners' mentality with them. To be able to have coach Marlin Chinn
come from Seton Hall, who brings a ton of Division I experience with him and the fact the he can recruit, he's on the floor, does a tremendous job connecting with our players and has extremely high energy. He's very positive, which we're going to need this year with our young team. Assistant coach David Adkins
, who came from Dematha High School and taught and coached with the boys, but by far, I would have to say, one of our best on-court trainers in terms of development of players. His resume speaks for itself, being able to work out Marissa Coleman
in her off-seasons, as well as Greivis Vasquez
. He just does a tremendous job developing young talent. Having the second year with assistant coach Tina Langley
- all of her efforts, her work ethic in recruiting is really unmatched in any assistant coach that we've had in this program.
When you look at our team, I think the first thing that jumps out at you is that there are going to be a lot of question marks this season and we are very unproven. The only way you prove yourself is by having game experience. For this young team, we're going to need to have that kind of time, luckily in our non-conference schedule, to be able to mold together, to be able to get us prepared for the rigors of the ACC. I don't expect any team in the ACC to be kind to us, given the amount of success that we've had against our opponents, but it's our job as a coaching staff to prepare our young kids for what to expect when you put on the Maryland uniform, what to expect when you have that target on your back. From our coaches' end, as well as our players, we're excited about the challenge and we're excited about the fact that no one is expecting a lot from this team. There's an extra chip on the shoulders of our players this season and I think that's evident when you look at our preseason and the preseason conditioning that we've had. The team has worked extremely hard. I think that bodes well for us in terms of this upcoming season. "
On if her approach has changed since the team is so young:
"My approach actually hit me about two weeks ago when I finally was able to get off the road and we were allowed to spend two hours a week in team practices. I was planning on putting in two basic plays. Got through the first one and realized there was no way I could go to the second one. It really kind of jolted me early in the sense of just how much slower you are going to have to go. We've had the luxury of having our veteran leaders. Our coaches were really teaching to ten new players most of the time, in terms of on the court. That's different. Usually your dynamics are having four freshmen, five freshmen, but really, you have to look at Anjalé (Barrett) and Kim (Rodgers) last year didn't get to start out at the beginning with us, so really, besides Lynetta (Kizer), you've got nine new players that are taking everything in for the first time. It shortens it. I think we have 19 practices before our first game. With the way the NCAA rules are, you're not allowed to practice in full until now. We've just got to take advantage of every minute we have on the court."
On how the team will play this year:
"I think the fun thing is we still want to stay up-tempo. With the point guard position they're competing for, with Dara (Taylor) and Anjalé (Barrett) and Lori (Bjork), they're all up-tempo. We want to stay, in terms of fast and transition and being able to get some looks early is going to be key for us. We've spent a large amount of time, we're actually ahead believe it or not, defensively than we are offensively. We felt like within this team, we really needed to get back to the basics and be able to defend."
Senior guard Lori Bjork
On the excitement level heading into the season:
"Obviously for me, I've waited a year for this moment, so I'm very excited. I think the team in general, when you have a lot of freshmen, you have a lot of competition for spots and that makes everyone better. It makes everyone excited to come to practice every day."
On sitting out a year after transferring from the University of Illinois:
"I think for me, personally, it was really valuable because being with the scout team, you realize that you put so much pressure on yourself as an athlete and all the sudden you miss a shot or you throw the ball away and no one really cares because you are on the scout team. You kind of realize to not take everything so seriously and have fun with it. It helped me enjoy the moments a little more and loosen up as a player a little bit."
On the things she'll bring to the team this season:
"I think, first of all, leadership and being able to address things and help everybody else know where they are supposed to be. Obviously, as a senior, I've been around the block and I know these things and hopefully I'll be able to share that with everyone."
On the challenge of mentoring so many young players:
"You have to figure out once you go from high school to college how hard you have to work at this level. I try to demonstrate that every day and show what it takes to be successful at the major Division I level. It's about having an attitude that no one is going to stop you and you are going to outwork everyone."
Sophomore center Lynetta Kizer
On stepping up in a leadership role in 2009-10:
"We have young post players here. They need to hear and see the things that we do here at Maryland as far as posting up and communicating on offense and defense. I'm just giving my knowledge that I have from my one year here and then myself learning from everyone and soaking it in together."
On differences in this year's squad compared to last year's:
"I think the expectations are such as where they were last year. We want to have a Maryland team that is going to go out and compete for 40 minutes. This year, we have a young group. It's going to be a lot of fun going out and playing."
On the addition of assistant coach David Adkins:
"He's been really great. His energy that he brings to the team and his knowledge of the game of basketball has been tremendous for us and it's definitely going to benefit us in the long run."
Sophomore center Yemi Oyefuwa
On her growth throughout the off-season:
"I have more of a grasp on European basketball, we traveled to Croatia and Serbia and it was different. I've got more of a grasp of perimeter play and now it helps me put my teammate's perspectives so I know what I can do to help them. It changed my perspective a lot."
Freshman center Essence Townsend
On benefit of team's youth:
"We all have developed together. We're a young team, some experience and some inexperienced on a college level. It will just prepare us as a team and I hope that we have a good future together."
Freshman forward Diandra Tchatchouang
On why she chose Maryland:
"I followed the team since 2006 after the national championship. I followed almost every game. I really liked coach Brenda Frese. It was a good opportunity for me to come here."
Sophomore guard Anjalé Barrett
On the learning curve with a young team:
"Once you get it, and we start picking it up, we can be a really good team. Once these girls pick it up, we'll be tremendous."
On who will be handling the ball:
"We've got a lot of ball handlers, everybody can play every position. It's not just one person playing this position, one person playing that position."
Sophomore Guard Kim Rodgers
On putting stamp on team:
"I think we're all really excited, we're young top to bottom. We've got the nine underclassmen. I think for everybody it's going to be a process of being patient with each other and feeling each other out. I think we'll be fine.
On what she's learned while at Maryland:
"Defense is key. we know that. Just learning how to be a leader, I've only been here a few years, but compared to everyone else, I've been here the longest almost, next to Emery Wallace and Anjalé Barrett. I think just being able to teach each other and to make sure that we're all willing to listen."
Senior forward Emery Wallace
On being senior statesman:
"I've been here the last three years and I get to see both ends of the spectrum. I've learned from leaders like Crystal Langhorne, Marissa [Coleman], Kristi [Tolliver] and Shay [Doron]. I'm just glad I can just display that to the younger players and help if they need anything."
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