Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dribbles and bits with CAA coaches Brooks, Porter, Martin

Musings from CAA coaches Jeri Porter (George Mason), Kenny Brooks (James Madison) and Tina Martin (Delaware) from this week's league conference call.


On Taleia Moton, who is averaging 20.5 ppg, third in the CAA: We started her at point last year and that really isn't where she belongs. I joke and tell people she's an off guard trapped in a point guard's body. ... Now that we've allowed her to receive and create, it's been great for her.
Taleia Moton

On players the Patriots need to contribute more: Amber Easter (9.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) can give us more on a more consistent basis. She's a kid we believe should have double-doubles every night. ...While we're getting that occasionally, we're not getting it as consistently as we'd like to see it

Evelyn Lewis (4.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg): We've talked to her about more defensive rebounding

Janaa Pickard (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg): (After the injury last year): She's just starting to get her rhythm back and her conditioning back.

On consistency: We've been good in spots and moments, but we have not been good consistently as a group. 

There is a mental toughness that goes into being successful at this level and in this league. Every conference game other than Delaware, where we were outplayed from start to finish, we've lost the game after leading at the half:  a 10-point lead at William & Mary , a 15-point lead at Northeastern and an early lead at Wilmington.

The nights we rebound, we don't take care of the ball. The nights we take care of the ball, we don't rebound. ... There's a measure of mental toughness and when you look up at the clock and there's four or five minutes left in a tie game, you've got to value those possessions.

On bench play: We've started going to our bench more and it has enabled us to get some production. We have a couple freshman post players whom we like and a couple of sophomore guards who are getting better and better with each game.

On transition: We're really good when we run. ... We're really good in the open court. We've got to get back to talking about that and getting the stops we need and getting on the boards, because it does jump start our transition game.

On playing against W&M on Thursday:  We've got to do a better job than we did in the first game. (GMU lost 76-66 on Jan. 5) ... (Taysha) Pye was really good off the dribble. We've got to do a better job staying in front of her, contesting shots. ... We've got to focus on the right things, which is to maintain the focus we need over a 40-minute stretch.


Toia Giggetts
On CAA Rookie of the Week Toia Giggetts (of Lake Taylor High in Virginia Beach), who had a career-high 12 points and eight boards against Towson: She's gone through a series of weeks where's she's been up and down and you expect that from a freshman. ... She reminds me of a former player I had in Kisha Stokes.

From day one, she displayed a mentality she could help us in so many different ways. It was a matter of her understanding what physical condition she had to be in to play at this level and she's done the necessary work.

We seem to be in foul trouble quite a bit and she comes into the game and gives us another versatile forward.

On Kirby Burkholder (9.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg): Kirby had probably the best offseason of any freshman I've ever had. (She's gone) from a role player to someone we're really counting. ...She emerged as a shooter almost by accident. I saw her shooting one day in practice and she just knocked down three-pointer after three-pointer.

On changing Burkholder's mentality as she's not a natural shooter: Courtney Hamner never met a shot she didn't like. Neither did Dawn Evans. I think (Kirby) has gotten a lot better with her mentality, her approach. ... She does so much more for us, though. She's one of our leading rebounders, one of our leading assist leaders. She really stuffs the stat sheet.

Life without Dawn: (Tarik Hislop) is doing a wonderful job. Tarik is not a natural point guard, and she's transitioning over to the point guard spot. ... She got caught up in the last few games where she thought her biggest asset to us was scoring, and it's not. It's leadership. 

On playing high-octane Hofstra (No. 1 offense in the CAA, averaging 78.4 ppg) on Thursday: We've done a little good job defensively in the last six or seven games with the exception of the second half against Drexel. ... Now we play two of the highest scoring teams in the conference. It's going to be a battle. I don't know if it's going to be like the Patriots vs. the Ravens.....We don't want to get into a track meet with them. I think it's been proven that nobody is successful when they get into a track meet with Hofstra because they are so good at what they do.


In case you missed it, we gave you the details of Elena Delle Donne's injury earlier this week.

On playing Towson on Thursday: It's a big week for us. Starting out at Towson, we've got to rebound the ball and we've got to defend smartly. ... They are 7-0 at home and defending their home turf very, very well. It's one of the games where we don't stay over. We don't get to shoot there. ... I always dislike that scenario.

On playing Drexel on Sunday: Obviously, Drexel is coming in here and I think right now they're the hottest team in the CAA, the way they're scoring and defending.

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