K-State WBB Holds Annual Media Day

Senior Branshea Brown answers a question during Wednesday's K-State basketball Media Day in Bramlage Coliseum.

Oct. 26, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. -
The Kansas State basketball teams held their annual media day on Wednesday in Brmalage Coliseum. Below is a transcript of head women's basketball coach Deb Patterson's press conference followed by student-athlete quotes.


Head Coach Deb Patterson
Opening statement…
“We are very excited about opening a new season in what we consider a completely new-look league. Competing in the double round-robin format is going to be a very interesting dynamic. It has elevated the challenge by about a million percent. It is definitely going to be an interesting ride for our program and for all of those in the Big 12. For those of us in the traditional North division, it will be a different transition to bang heads twice a year with those top-25 powers in the South division. It will be a great challenge and a new look for all of us. We will have to strap it up really tight but that is what this league is all about. This is unequivocally the toughest league in America. We are saying it and it is proving itself true by being the number one rated league in RPI the past four years.”

On Mariah White…
“Mariah (White) put in a great summer and put a lot of hours in the gym. A year ago she was our most physical perimeter defender so we will need that to continue from her. She is also a tremendous penetrator with her strong body. She is able to drive the lane and get to the rim. Last year, the light was red for her relative to taking perimeter shots, but this year we have turned the light on green. It is my hope that she will continue to grow into her comfort level with this system and more so to continue to contribute on the perimeter. I hope she can become confident when she gets that open look outside or when she gets that open jump shot from 15 to 17 feet. Also, I want her to feel comfortable to keep attacking the defense and to put herself in the position to where defenders cannot sag off on her like they did a year ago. The challenge for her is to step up and to make those shots that she might not have made a year ago or did not have the confidence to take.”

On Jalana Childs recovery from injury…
“Jalana (Childs) dealt with an injury that was catastrophic, and it took a long time for the diagnosis on that injury. Everybody heals at a different pace when dealing with bone fractures. We have the experiences where some student-athletes have a really short window of healing time, but others take a long time for that bone to heal. Jalana’s was one that took a long time. As we look in terms of her senior season this year, I think we have to give her a long window in the non-conference schedule to get back into step. She was not able to run up and down the floor in late September, so she missed the entire spring, summer and a better part of the early fall where she would have been able to gain that conditioning and her confidence back. She has taken some steps forward in September, but she has had a really long period of time where she has not been in the gym. However, she has been working very hard in physically rehabbing so she is able to come back. I do not think we can expect Jalana to come back and pick up right where she left off at the end of February because she was playing as well as any post player in the league those nine or 10 games before she got hurt. I think we have to look at Jalana and consider it very much like a comeback. The first month or two will be a feel it out period of time. We want to look at a majority of the non-conference for her to get back into step and not put pressure on her like we may have done in the past. I thought there were about four or five games last year where her or Brittany (Chambers) put the team on their shoulders possession by possession in the last eight minutes of the game to win the game for us. Jalana is not physically ready to be able to do that at this stage of the season. It was surreal that she was able to do it last year, and my hope is that we can find a way to become more balanced as a team early in the season despite of our very tough non-conference slate.”

On the playing time of Jalana Childs…
“At this point, I am not looking at pulling back her minutes. I think we need to pull back all of the responsibility that she felt last year where we demanded so many touches and shots from her throughout the game. I think we have to share the basketball and give her that time to get back into the game. She has had a really long stretch of not competing so it will just take a little bit for her to get going.”

On Brittany Chambers improving in her junior campaign…
“I think Brittany (Chambers) improved so much from her freshman to sophomore year. She is one of the most improved players, in such a short period of time, that I have ever seen at Kansas State. I look at her junior campaign and think that she can improve a little bit more as an assist-player. However, I do not want to take away her shot-first mentality. I think that is part of what makes her so great. There are so few players that walk into our program that want to be a shoot-first point guard and want the responsibility to make plays in double team situations where you are getting bumped all over the place. But I do want her to grow as an assist player and I want to see her grow as a leader, which I think she did very well in the offseason. She walks into the gym and is a better leader than she was a year ago and has more respect from her teammates. This is a player that is one of the best scorers that I have seen at Kansas State. She makes shots that just make my jaw open and make me wonder how in the world she made that shot. She has great courage and is very tough and feisty. She will break her teeth on the floor just to make a play. She has been our leading or second leading rebounder in games. So what else can she do? I would like to see her sustain her success and maybe grow in the assist category a little bit.”

On the youth of this year’s squad…
“I think our youth is in transition right now. They are very untested so it remains to be seen how they will fare. One young player, sophomore Chantay Caron, I have been really impressed with. She worked her tail off this summer and is now shooting the three very well. She is not a very traditional perimeter player, but she will be a player that we can move to the three or four spot. I look for her to have a window of opportunity that has expanded. We are going to need that production from her because we have a team returning that finished near the bottom of the league in scoring offense. We averaged around 60 points per game, and that was with nine or 10 points a game from Taelor Karr who was a top-30 scorer in our league. So we lost that dimension and we already struggled to score points offensively. We have to find answers on the offensive end of the floor, and we have to understand that Jalana (Childs) was playing out of her mind. When she was scoring 17 points per game and Brittany (Chambers) was scoring 30 points in some games, you have individuals that are performing at a very extreme level to help your basketball team, and you cannot expect that every time. We have to be better overall, offensively. Ashia Woods has great potential to grow into making an impact throughout the course of the season, but she is going to have to put a lot of pressure on her shoulders to play harder and to pick up the speed of the game in the non-conference because the conference games wait for nobody. I want to keep an eye on her and see how she is answering these questions in these early contests. With Tasha Dickey, a transfer from Arizona, I have been very impressed with her physical skills. I expect her to come in and have an impact early on in the season along with Chantay Caron. We also bring in JuliAnne Chisholm who is young in terms of experience, but she worked very hard this summer. She came into this program last year after four years of not competing and transitioned right away into Big 12 play. I think she is now more ready for the speed and how quick things happen along with having a better grasp for our system. Lastly, Haley Texada who is a natural one will look to play at the one and two. Haley is a lot like Mariah (White) and has a great nose for the rim. We will look for her to score on the penetration and is a great setup player. The question for us is where we are going to get those perimeter shots, and if we cannot find those we need to find ways to score in and around the paint.”

On the defensive play of Mariah White…
“Mariah (White) is just very strong and determined. She likes to get down in her defensive stance and just bump up against people. She will just dig in and use that athleticism she has, and it is really surprising because of the concerns with her knees. It is just great to see that strength that she brings. Because she is just so strong mentally and is determined that she is able to defend like she does. You cannot defend like she does unless you have a really feisty spirit and determination in your blood. She just takes pride in her defense, and I love it. I think she has a couple of other players on the floor this year in Tasha Dickey and Ashia Woods that will join her in this mentality in terms of defense, if they can earn some playing time by improving offensively. Mariah will love having these two to the left and right of her defensively, where we have always been a very good team.”


Junior guard Mariah White

On the addition of new players to this year…
“A lot of teams that start out with young players are not the same because they do not know as much. When you use the older players to help the younger ones, it really helps your team.”

On the new Big 12 scheduling format…
“It will be fun. It is a lot of competition, so I feel like we all have to step it up a notch and doing that will help us get past the Big 12 schedule. It will be a challenge.”

On the importance of the non-conference schedule…
“Our non-conference schedule is a good schedule. We have tough games like Marist and then Purdue who beat us last year. I think that playing those teams in the non-conference season will really help us later in the Big 12.”

On having to travel to all of the places in the Big 12...
“I like that idea. I like going everywhere, so it will be fun to travel.”

On how the makeup of the team is different this year…
“I think it will be pretty much the same as we saw last year. We have pretty much the same players and the same offense. It will be pretty much around the same thing.”

Increasing her level of confidence and taking more shots…
“During the summer I did shooting workouts. Four days a week, I had a shooting workout. They were about an hour each day. Now my confidence is much higher than last year. Last year, I felt like I did not want to shoot because I was afraid of messing up offensively. I am hoping to bring a lot more to the table than last year so that teams do not slack off and now they have to guard five players instead of four.”

On this team’s level of athleticism…
“I would say we are a lot better. Now we have a lot more players who are defensive-minded, and not just wanting to score and play offense.”

Senior forward Branshea Brown

On the team’s personality…
“I would say we do have a personality. It is a gritty personality. Everyone just has the desire to work hard and learn.”

On the depth of this year’s team…
“I feel like everyone brings something different this year, not that they did not last year, but this year, everyone brings something different to the floor.”

On the pressure placed on Jalana Childs and Brittany Chambers
“You could say that because everyone is looking at them to score since they were our leading scorers last year. All and all I would say there is pressure on everyone to make our playing in the Big 12 successful.”

On this season’s Big 12 schedule…
“It will be tougher, but we are up for the challenge.”

Junior guard Brittany Chambers

On receiving preseason recognition…
“It means a lot. It is something that I can contribute to my teammates because without them, I would not be here.”

On getting back to the NCAA Tournament…
“We have an unbelievably hard non-conference schedule that is going to force us to come out hard right away and we cannot mess around. We have to win at least nine of our pre-season games because the Big 12 is no joke.”

On the returning depth of the team…
“Experience is everything in Division I basketball. When you have players who played together, it is hard to grasp how important it is.”

On her personal improvement this season…
“I think I can improve for sure. Maturing as a player is going to be a big step, and one I did not take a step before as far as being able to see the court better. As a sophomore and freshman I was a good scorer, but now I need to get more people shots as well as scoring.”

On the scoring and creating shots for her teammates…
“I can definitely do both. I am not concerned about the scoring aspect. For a lot of the shots I do take, I could find other people to get easier and better shots.”

On playing with a target on her back …
“It will definitely be harder. Last year in the Big 12, Jalana (Childs) and I got double-teamed a lot, and they will probably do that for every game this season.”

On this season’s Big 12 scheduling format…
“I did not think it could get much more difficult than last year in the Big 12. But having to go to each Oklahoma and Texas school is going to add so much more toughness to our schedule”

On facing reigning National Champion, Texas A&M…
“It optimizes exactly what the Big 12 is. Baylor is ranked number one and (Texas) A&M finds a way to beat them. Each game, we play could be for the national championship. It is something that shows that any team could do it.”