IUWBB: Teri Moren on Big Ten teleconference

Here is what Teri Moren had to say on today’s Big Ten women’s basketball coaches teleconference:

On being voted to finish third in Big Ten conference:

There is no question that with social media and Twitter, they find things out before I do. Of course, it was something that had to be addressed, but we also warned them that preseason polls are good for media and for outside opinion, I guess, but it doesn’t really matter inside of our group. We realize that, again, last year was a very special season, certainly gave us, getting to the NCAA (tournament), a new appetite. Hopefully, we can build off of that experience. It certainly does give our kids some confidence. But what we realize is the Big Ten conference is very good, and, night in and night out, we are going to have to put our best effort on the floor. We know that and that’s just based on the experience we had a year ago, realizing and having an understanding of how difficult it is to get to the NCAA tournament.

On having a veteran group:

Our practices are so different. I said this, in my first two years, it was a coach-driven program, and now fast forward to going into Year 3, it’s a player-driven program. In between the lines, the voices I get to hear and be a part of every day with our seniors — Karlee McBride and Alexis Gassion and Jenn Anderson and (juniors) Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill — what they have been providing from a leadership standpoint is far different from what I had my first two years here. Certainly that helps, and, as I mentioned, we do have some new pieces. That veteran group is really trying to bring that young group along, and (grad transfer) Amber Deane, and trying to help them understand what we are trying to do offensively and certainly what our goals are defensively.

On what she means by “coach-driven” as opposed to “player-driven”:

It was every single day, Coach Moren and her staff bringing the energy, doing a lot of teaching, and now it seems like — I’m going to give you a great example. The other day, we were doing a shell drill, and Jenn Anderson is behind me and she is coaching one of my freshman up, and I stop the play thinking I was going to be the one making the correction, and i couldn’t even get anything out, Jenn was already ‘Coach, I got this. Let me do this for you.’ That’s what I’m talking about, the intangible things, what our kids are doing in terms of their communication and trying to help our new kids out has been something I’ve waited for. But we are to a point with our program where these kids understand the expectations and have embraced the process of getting better every day and not just for them, individually, but for our team. It’s been a nice thing to watch from a coach’s perspective.

On whether backcourt depth could increase Hoosiers’ speed on offense, allow for more pressure defense:

Without question, we can play faster. But here’s what I’ve seen at practice. We play the fastest, I guess, when the ball is in Tyra’s hands. We’re going to have to figure out how we can utilize (freshman) Ria Gulley and (redshirt sophomore) Tia Elbert, you know, and whether they are playing off the ball with Tyra or we are giving Tyra a blow, and you have Tia Elbert at the point position. We’ve scrimmaged a couple times, we’ve had officials in, just watching film — we are faster when Tyra has the ball in her hands and she is hitting ahead. But I do think the three of those kids are going to be able to play off each other, and there is no question, they are all going to get minutes. Then defensively, you are right, I think we can do some unique things in dead ball situations off the free throw line, just to keep other teams off-balance because we are faster than we were a year ago and we certainly have more depth.

On having expectations placed on the program, because of rankings, etc.:

One, we’ve embraced it. We’ve waited for Indiana women’s basketball to have expectations placed on it, so we are excited. This is exactly where our team and my players and our staff and myself, this is exactly where we want to be and we are embracing the expectations that come with doing what we did a year ago, but here’s the deal in all this. That’s in the past. In order for us to have any sort of shelf life, we are going to have to put a couple of years of being consistent with winning and hopefully getting into the tournament, and that is a really difficult thing. We’re not gong to get ahead of ourselves from that perspective, but we are excited to have the expectations. I don’t think that any competitor would ask that they don’t have that on them.

On scheduling a home game with Vanderbilt, now coached by former Indiana Fever coach Stephanie White:

It’s exciting to have Steph back in the state and I’m sure she’s done a tremendous job. Let me tell you this, there is talent there at Vandy. I’m sure she has already quickly put her stamp on what they are going to do offensively. I know this, they are going to play fast. So I’m excited for the opportunity for Steph to come back to Indiana and bring her Vanderbilt team and, hopefully, we’ll have a lot of Hoosiers, a lot of folks in Indiana that want to come out and watch both teams.