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BIG TEN CONFERENCE WOMEN'S MEDIA DAY


October 16, 2014


Marlene Stollings


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Coach Stollings.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ Good morning.テつ I would just like to say that I'm thrilled to be a Gopher and really excited about this team that we have inherited.
Obviously Rachel being picked Preseason Player of the Year is exciting for us as well as her.テつ Amanda Zahui, returning post player, extremely talented.テつ And someone not many of you know about yet is Shae Kelley, a fifth‑year transfer that we picked up from Old Dominion, who is here with us today as well.テつ An extremely talented, versatile player that we're looking to do big things for us this year.

Q.テつ What kind of style of ball can we expect to see from your team?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ We want to play an up‑tempo style.テつ I'm big on offense.テつ And we like to play an exciting style that's fun for young ladies to play in as well as very exciting for our fans to watch.
We will run an opportunistic break, take early shots in our offense when they're available, and we will also run a variety of quick hitters to try to exploit defensive weaknesses as well.

Q.テつ What would be your biggest challenge in terms of taking over a team, and what player has helped you in your transition in that regard?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ I think one of the biggest challenges in taking over any program is just implementing your style and your system.テつ But our young ladies have been extremely coachable.テつ They've been a real joy to coach and our system is very different than what they're used to.テつ We've challenged them as much on pace of the game, fitness level and things of that nature as anything.テつ And they've responded very well thus far.
We're very pleased with the progress that they've made in those areas.テつ But I think just the changing of the system, implementing of the new system and them obviously buying into what we want to do and where we want to go.

Q.テつ What have you seen from Carlie so far and what are your expectations for her freshman year?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ Carlie has matured beyond her years.テつ Very talented freshman we have coming in who is a scorer.テつ And we love scorers.テつ And not unlike any freshman, she's adapting to the college level, the pace of the game, the physicality, just what it means to be a student and an athlete at the same time.
But outside of those things, she's advancing very quickly.テつ Her physical conditioning, level of fitness and all that is well beyond most freshmen that we see coming in.テつ Her basketball IQ is solid.テつ And just learning the game at this level and the intricacies of it will take a little bit of time.テつ But her potential is very high.

Q.テつ Coming in it had to be great to be able to know that you're inheriting a Rachel and Amanda.テつ Is there a third element, though, that really excited you about this team‑‑ two‑part question.テつ And then what is the one thing that you looked at that said you know what, this has got to improve?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ Thank you for the question.テつ It's a relief on some level.テつ This is my third head coaching job in four years.テつ A little bit unexpected in the profession but nonetheless very grateful for it and two previous programs had to come out of enormous holes if you will.
At Minnesota, we inherited, as you've said, some talent.テつ And I think that we want to even overachieve, if you will, with that this year.テつ Minnesota historically is a program that is well‑known in women's basketball.テつ And we feel it's a program that should be in the national spotlight annually and should be looked on as a top 25 program annually.
Our goal is to take it there.テつ And in answering your question in terms of other players, potentially, that could step in and help us with the progression, I think, Kayla Hirt is someone who is very experienced that we think can be somewhat of an X factor for us this year.テつ Some other young ladies, Mikayla Bailey, Joanna Hedstrom that didn't see a lot of minutes fit our system very well.テつ And their ability to score will show through in how we play.

Q.テつ You brought Shae Kelley, came kind of not with you but where you were last year.テつ I saw her last year in Columbus, but how does she fit with these kids and what is she going to do for you do you think to help you get your style in your place?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ She's our first signee and her game reflects the type of player that we want to ultimately bring into our system.テつ She's very versatile.テつ She's very athletic.テつ She can play a couple of different positions.
She can face‑up, step out and shoot the 3s.テつ She can take players off the bounce to the basket and is explosive in the open court as well as a solid rebounder.
So what she will bring is the ability to spread our offense and put a lot of pressure on the defense in who they want to guard or who they want to potentially double team.
I think it will alleviate a lot of double teams from Amanda.テつ I think it will also open Rachel up even more.テつ But it's going to be difficult to double team players like Amanda or even Rachel potentially with Shae on the floor as well.

Q.テつ I know you knew of Rachel Banham before you took the job, but having her every day in practice, what's that been like, and has she shown you things you weren't expecting?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ She has been a real joy.テつ I will say that.テつ We've had several meetings since my arrival.テつ We think her potential is I think even way greater than she saw in herself.テつ She's been very coachable and we've challenged her in some areas of her game to raise to her level, and she's responded.
I think you're going to see Rachel play at an even higher level than you've seen previously due to her work ethic and desire to have an unbelievable senior year and take this team to the NCAA Tournament.

Q.テつ Maryland and Michigan State have been voted 1, 2 in the conference by the coaches and the media experts.テつ Might you be one of the teams that is slightly under the radar and could pose a threat before all said and done?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ Well, we certainly don't mind being under the radar, being somewhat of an underdog.テつ Our expectations for the program are very high.テつ We certainly want to hang banners, want to win championships.テつ So that is our goal.テつ That will be our goal annually.
Those other teams are extremely talented and well‑deserving of the votes they received for that preseason positioning.テつ And I think that we're in a position where we have to prove ourselves and where we want to take this team and our kids know that and they've accepted the challenge of that.

Q.テつ With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland to the conference this year and you being a new coach, what's your take on that, and what adjustments do you see being made?
COACH STOLLINGS:テつ They've certainly helped make an elite conference even more elite.テつ I wasn't even born when‑‑ haven't been coaching as many years as Vivian has and wasn't born when she started coaching.
I have the utmost respect of the coaches in this league.テつ 20‑year veterans and basketball IQ in this league from a coaching standpoint is tremendous.
It's exciting as a younger coach in the league to be challenged night in night out going against some of the best and we certainly want to prove ourselves in that environment.テつ But it's certainly exciting.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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