K-State Women's Basketball Addresses the Media on Monday

MANHATTAN, Kansas - Kansas State women's basketball head coach Jeff Mittie and members of the 2016-17 roster spoke with the media on Monday at the Ice Family Basketball Center. The following are transcripts of the head coach and player quotes.

Kansas State Head Coach Quotes
Head Coach Jeff Mittie
On coming into the season…
“Our group had a good off season, but as we get into this grind of every day we will see how we respond to that, and certainly coming off of last year we want to use that momentum. This team has to create their own identity, and this team has to have their season. Last year was a step forward, but last year is over with, and now with our group this year I think our veterans, we have a veteran group that has been through it. We have a veteran group that has continued to improve. I have liked the way they have worked. I have felt like, the newcomers that have come in have added some things that have given us some exciting things to take a look at on the floor. So those things have all been positive.”

On last week’s scrimmage…
“We scrimmaged this past weekend (10/7-10/9) we were not very good on Saturday, we were pretty good on Friday and we were good on Sunday. Saturday was actually our worst scrimmage day. We actually played much much better on Sunday, which we went three days in a row to try and see how we would handle the fatigue.”

On #ringteam…
“That is all those young people on Twitter. You know that has been kind of a recruiting thing with our group. (Assistant coach) Jacie Hoyt kind of came up with that hashtag with our top recruits, so obviously we want to go to the NCAA tournament every year. We want to win rings. We want to win championships; that is where that came from. ”

On newcomer’s depth and abilities…
“I think that is going to be very interesting, a couple things that the two power forwards (Eternati) Willock and (Peyton) Williams are both talented players. I like their ability to pass the basketball. I like their ability to improve our rebounding. We were one of the worst rebounding teams in the country. Hopefully they did not add anybody to Division I because we would go backwards from a year ago. That (rebounding) is an area they can help us. Mercedes Brooks is a good solid rebounding guard, a good athlete and can defend. (Karyla) Middlebrook averaged over four rebounds a game at Alabama, a year ago. She is a quick to the ball player, excellent one-on-one defender, but she rolled her ankle a week ago, so she did not get any of the scrimmage time this weekend. We have been very cautious with her, we want to get her back a hundred percent, and we will see when we get her back. I think we will get her back sometime this week. It was not a severe ankle twist, but it was significant enough to sit her for a little while.”

On Kindred getting off the ball…
“We have not had a chance to look at this. We did get a little bit during the summer, but I get them two hours a week, so two hours a week is not enough to take a look at. We spent the summer working on pace, tempo and transition, so that was one of the things we felt like Middlebrook would give us as a point guard and allow Kindred to get up the floor. Middlebrook rolls that ankle like the second day of practice and so we just have not gotten a look at that. Hopefully we can get a look at that in the next week or so. ”


Kansas State Player Quotes
Senior guard Kindred Wesemann
On the ceiling for the team…
“We don’t have a ceiling. There’s no ceiling, I don’t feel like there’s a ceiling for anyone in the nation right now at this point. I’m just excited to get out there and play, and give everyone a run for their money, and if not, just kick them to the curb. I just want to win and I want to have a great year, so that’s what I’m excited about.”

On goals for the team this year…
“Get to the NCAA Tournament again this year is a good one, and get further into it. We all enjoyed the little taste that we got, but we want more and we wanted more as soon as we lost that game. We’re ready to get back there. We just have to keep working in order to get there.”

On leadership of Breanna Lewis
“She’s been a great leader. I feel like she has become more vocal than she was our sophomore year. She didn’t really say a lot, but when she did it meant something, and now she talks a lot more. On defense, that’s the biggest thing because she is the center of our defense, and she can see the entire court, whereas I’m in front of her and I can only see like 20 percent of the court, and I have no idea what’s going on behind me, and I just have to trust her. She’s talked a lot more over this summer and this preseason than she’s ever talked before, so I’m really proud of her.”

On the confidence the team has…
“I’m pretty confident in our team. I’m really excited for our newcomers, and I think they’re going to help us out a lot. Eternati (Willock). Peyton (Williams), and Mercedes (Brooks), and also Karyla Middlebrook, she’s going to be a big asset to our team. We’re going to be hard to guard, I think, so I feel like we’re hard to guard in practice, but we aren’t playing any Big 12 teams in practice. So I’m really excited for our entire season and team in general.

Freshman forward Eternati Willock
On the tight-knit group Eternati is becoming a part of…
“They have been more than helpful with anything. They are just there and have my back all the time. I did not expect that at all. I thought it was going to be like ‘freshman, get fresh meat, do this,’ but they are not like that at all.”

On her style of play…
“Rebounding is one, and assisting. I love to pass to the bigs or pass to the guards when they’re open, and I feel like I have a couple tricks under my sleeve. Going from the high post is one of my main scores or when I face up, I can read the defense pretty well.”

On how good Breanna Lewis can be this year…
“She’s going to be amazing, even against our practice squads she takes it to them all the time. We have a 6’7” guy and he blocks her some of the time, but most of the time she takes it to the hole. She’s a great player, she can catch the ball really low. I didn’t think she could get that low when it is a bounce pass, but she does really well in finishing and she has great hands.”

Junior forward Shaelyn Martin
On the experience last year gave her…
“Especially since we’re picking up the pace so much it takes a lot of repetition, and I have had those reps day in and day out for over two years now. So the little questions that don’t make sense to the newcomers make perfect sense to me. So I’m like ‘if you guys have questions, come up to me, come find me, I’ll help you, you want to work on something after practice, I got you covered.’ After some individuals some days I’ve gotten the board out and drew up the positions for Eternati (Willock) and Peyton (Williams) just to give them an idea because I know it is a lot for them to take in, so I think my experience has helped a lot.”

On the impact of the newcomers…
“I think there has been a big stride between summer and now because all freshmen come in very timid and not really sure, and they are afraid to make mistakes. I think we’ve gotten to the point where they realize you’re going to screw up and it is okay. We still do it as juniors and seniors, so as freshmen we know it’s going to happen. I’m really excited to see what they’re going to bring. They definitely are leaps and bounds from where we started off. ”

On what Shaelyn worked on in the offseason…
“I feel very confident in everything I worked on this summer. I’ve worked a lot on footwork and my shooting to become more of a threat on the three-point line, and that has shown a little bit in our scrimmages from the past week, so I’m feeling confident there and I’ve also been working on different finishes because I can get to the rim, but I’m just a little undersized for my position, so I just need to find different ways to finish and get on the board.”

Senior center Breanna Lewis
On improvements from last season…
“Just building off of what I have done last year and just continue to improve. The main focus is improving my free throws first of all. So that has been what I have been focused on since last year. I am not going to say I am going to go out there and just shoot three pointers. I try to get some free throws in after practice. I would not put a set number on it.”

On team improvements…
“It is a new team, and I feel like the people who were here last year, we just focus on helping the newcomers and helping them get better to just show them the level we need to be at, and play at. I feel like we have just been focusing on getting better each day and just improving each practice, each scrimmage we have. ”

On the newcomers…
“I have seen a lot of great things. They are adjusting really well, and probably better than I would have my freshman year, which is exciting to see. This is my senior season and I want that from them. They have been doing well in adjusting from my eyes, but I feel like they are going to be a great addition to the team.”

Junior Guard Karyla Middlebrook
On deciding to leave Alabama…
“It was actually a really last minute decision, my parents actually called me and we had a conversation and they just really wanted me closer to home, because being so far they never really got to come to any of my games. After about probably two hours on the phone, I made the very tough decision that it was probably best if I decided to come back closer to home. It was probably the beginning of April that I made that decision.”

On choosing K-State…
“It was K-State because of a lot of things: for one, the team. I feel like I can add value to the team and they could help me become a better player. Coach Mittie and his staff, and the interest that they showed in me as soon as they found out I was opening my recruitment again. They (K-State) are only two hours away from my house. I did not want to drop from a Power 5 conference, so being in the Big 12, which is arguably one of the best conferences in the nation, so I wanted to make sure I was still competing at a very high level. So that was probably one of the main things that went into my decision in coming to K-State.”

On working with Breanna Lewis and Kindred Wesemann
“I got to watch their games in the NCAA tournament last year, so I got a little feel for how they play and their players. I have never played with someone that is 6’5” so that was intriguing to see. Me and Kindred, we have known each other since second or third grade. We played together in high school for one game at the Mo-Kan All-Star game, so that was fun. I knew that we played well together and it would be a special moment if we got back on the court together. That moment was great. Kindred, kept saying ‘yes, now I do not have to dribble the ball as much.’ She is a great shooter so I love to be able to come down and look for her. But, we have a team full of great shooters, so it has been great being here.”

On best parts of being a point guard…
“For me it is definitely getting assists, being able to create for somebody else, and dish it out and watch them score, and how happy they get to see that ball go through the net for them. I love to distribute. That is my thing, and just running the show and making sure everyone is on the same page.”