Teri Moren transcript from Big Ten Media Day

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Indiana head coach Teri Moren.
Coach, an opening statement.

COACH MOREN: Well, it’s an exciting time of the year for us at Indiana. And as he mentioned, we have three returners. We feel like we have some momentum. Anytime you win 20 games, winning breeds confidence. So we certainly have some momentum on our side.

We have a terrific player in Larryn Brooks, as most of you know. But we really feel like with our freshman class that we’ve brought in some perimeter players that can take some pressure off her and give her some much needed help.

We understand that we have a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of work to still be done. But we’re excited with the progress that we’ve made thus far with the new coaching staff. And we just look forward each and every day just getting better.

Q. Coach, the coaching change at Indiana, Curt’s leaving, was very sudden and very unexpected. How much work did you have to do with the players to get them past that sudden shock?

COACH MOREN: That’s a great question. It did. It happened suddenly. And one of the things‑‑ our priority number one was building the relationship with our players.
There’s no question that we are behind when we got there in August and a lot of areas. But our number one priority with the staff was to build those relationships with our players we needed to get to know who they were, what they stood for, get them on the floor, evaluate their skill set.
And one of the things I told them from the beginning is that we want them in our office as much as they could be in and out throughout in terms of between classes.

And they’ve done a great job. I think they wanted to know us as much as we wanted to get to know them.

But I will tell you one thing about young people: I don’t think we give them enough credit for them being resilient and them being able to adapt and adjust and move forward. And that’s what I found with this group, is that they were‑‑ although it was a sudden change and it might have been surprising, that they were ready to put that behind them and move forward with our staff and look forward to the future.

Q. This is probably one of the more heralded freshman classes Indiana has had in quite time, now that you have had a couple weeks to work with them in practice, do you see any of them starting, playing starter’s minutes at all?

COACH MOREN: It’s too early to tell. We don’t have any starters, per se, other than perhaps it’s going to be awful difficult to leave Larryn Brooks out of the starting lineup right now with what she brings to the table.

But to your point, Tyra Buss has really been great. I think the most surprising freshman for us thus far has been Amanda Cahill. She’s been terrific at that stretch four spot, but her ability to be around the ball, rebound and just make plays while we’ve been in scrimmage situations, that’s been a nice surprise. And I think Jess Walter will give us a lot of much‑needed minutes. Jess is one of those kids that does everything at game‑like pace and tempo, and that’s sometimes hard to coach. And she’s been great.

And Marra Muensterman from Evansville will find time at that combo guard spot at some point.
But our freshmen have been terrific. They’ve been extremely coachable. They’ve been eager and excited to get better, and all four of them want to be coached. And that’s been, like I said, exciting for our staff.

Q. I’ve never seen one of your teams play before. So could you maybe tell me your style of play and what you found in the gym so far with the talent that’s there, how it fits with the way you like to play?

COACH MOREN: Well, there’s talent in the gym. And I can tell you this, they like the offensive end a lot. Where I’m a little bit different is that every stop that we’ve made we’ve always hung our hats on the defensive end. And that’s really been our emphasis here beginning has really‑‑ we’ve spent a lot of time on that end defending and rebounding the ball.
This is a group like I said that loves offense. They love to shoot that 3. And that’s okay. But on the nights that the 3 ball is not falling we need to rely on something. What we’ve really tried to hammer home to our group is that we’ve got to be able to defend and rebound on the nights that that’s not happening.

So hopefully as we move forward with our program and our basketball team, I want our identity to be on the defensive end. And, like I said, that’s just philosophy. That’s what I’ve found to help us be successful and our kids in every spot, they’ve really bought into that.
So right now it’s not that our players at Indiana aren’t buying into that, it just wasn’t emphasized in the past, and that’s up to our staff to make sure that they understand that the defensive end is going to be as important and maybe more important than the offensive end.

Q. Will you try to institute your own offensive system, or are you trying to mix what the girls already know and what they’re familiar with?

COACH MOREN: Sure. That’s one of the things that we talked about when we took the job, that we were not going to try to reinvent the wheel with this group. The high ball screen or the wing ball screen offense that they have run in the past, they found a lot of success. They like that. It gives players a lot of freedom.

We’ve ran that at some other places I’ve been in. We haven’t gone away from that. The only thing we wanted to do as a staff is just make some subtle tweaks to it and then add in some of the things that we’ve done at our other places in hopes that we can put our players in positions to get high‑percentage shots.

We don’t want to rely on the 3‑point shot night in, night out, but right now our personnel is probably not going to allow us to really try to emphasize getting the post and getting the ball inside as much as I would prefer.

But that will be down the road with our recruiting. That will all change once we have some different personnel and we have a better balance I think to our roster. So we look forward to that.
But right now I think our kids are‑‑ we didn’t want to change a whole lot just because of the confidence that they have in that offense. And they’ve continued to be open, though, to some of those subtle tweaks like I mentioned to change a little bit of it.