March 20, 2009


Friday Practice Quotes
Kansas State Head Coach: Deb Patterson

Opening Statement
“Well, we are excited and honored to be here in Albuquerque. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us with Drexel, a very fine basketball team with the player of the year in their league and coach of the year and a team that has great balance. They have been very impressive on film so, the people of Albuquerque have been tremendous at this point in time and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

I think I saw a quote from you that Shalee’s (Lehning) game is not that of a classic point guard its just a little bit different. Can you expand on that?

“I think she is more of a throwback point guard that we like to compare her to players like Jason Kidd and kind of like that Oscar Robertson type of player that any night could pop for a triple-double or a double-double. Not necessarily just a scoring dominant point guard which I think you see a lot of in the modern game and today’s game. So, I think she is a little unconventional with respect to the fact that she can leave the floor as a 5’9” point guard with 12 rebounds and 13 points and 13 assists that you don’t see a lot of that in today’s game you tend to see point guards heavy with the scoring and quality assists numbers.

The other thing about her is as you watch her compete and you see her finish it at the rim, a lot of her finishes are rather unconventional. They’re very hard finishes. She doesn’t necessarily have athleticism horizontally; she finds a way to get to the rim and finish. She has got a very unique style and its very fun to watch and its been extraordinary throughout her career the impact that she has made in the league and now nationally.”

Coach I asked Marlies (Gipson) about what she went through in February What have you seen in the biggest difference in her game and what has made her able to score the ball the way she has been playing.

“I think Marlies (Gipson) just continued to fight through the emotional drought, that a couple of poor games could bring, two becomes four and it gets even heavier and the weight emotionally gets pretty tough.  I think the biggest difference in her now as opposed to when she was struggling is that she has really asserted herself. Every trip up the floor she is bringing a disposition of being a factor. A factor being a catch, and being a scorer. She was struggling. She was conceiting as a scorer, she was looking to give the ball to someone else. Part of that again was just our team as a whole wasn’t necessarily where I think we are, but we have changed and she has changes and you can see her aggressive presence and we are an aggressive presence as a team.

More than anything I think it was a change in her willingness to be aggressive and assertive and dominant every trip up the floor and the offensive end and I think she lost touch with that for a while offensively and lost a little confidence and hid a little bit off the catches and now she is not hiding anymore.”

I remember last season with (Kimberly) Dietz in that class and that was their second NCAA tournament, but they hadn’t been since their freshman year there was no guarantee of always getting back. Talk about this freshman class and the message that they are getting and what they are absorbing from their experience of trying to get back here again.

“Well, I sure hope they are absorbing every minute. It is an extraordinary experience and it is a very hard thing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and sometimes when you are young you are going through things that aren’t automatic. I think these seniors are communicating to them the specialness of it and I think the whole routine they are going through this year in being a part of this and it will be something in the future that they will grow because of it. It is very special. They’ve got great leaders around them and if their ears and eyes are open then they have a great deal to learn and when they see the quality of basketball everyone has to bring to the floor in this tournament it will send a message as well.”

Kansas State Players:
Shalee Lehning
Marlies Gipson

For Shalee, I know you had a triple-double since coming back from “mono,” but how tough was that to come back from?

Shalee: "I continue to improve everyday and I definitely feel that I am back on track right now into my recovery, but it was definitely a long process and anyone who has ever had mono understands how difficult it was and how tired you get.  I have had time to rest, and the coaches did a good job of giving me the time I needed to rest and using me in minimal reps in practice and this has allowed me to be able to play."

During practice, did the elevation have any effect on you Shalee, and do you anticipate having any problems with it tomorrow?

Shalee: "Actually it wasn't too bad this morning, so that's a positive thing.  It's good for me to see how my body was going to respond to that.  We've played in several venues where we have been in high altitude.  Even at Colorado just a few weeks ago we had to do it, so my body has pretty much adapted and adjusted and my teammates' as well."

Marlise, what has been the key to breaking out of your funk?

Marlise: "I think just coming into each game and not thinking about the funk I went through, and just coming out an being aggressive, and looking for the opportunities where I can help out my team.   And I think these past few games we've had, we've definitely worked as a team."

Shalee, looking back on playing driveway hoops with your brother growing up, I know he played football at Wyoming, has that helped you in being as physical as you need to be to rebound the way you do

Shalee: "I definitely think it had a lot to do with I kind of player I am.  My brother would block every shot and just tell me to find a way to get around him.  I was something that at a young age I didn't like, but at the same time, that's just life, it's part of it.  And so for me, I had to learn to play bigger and better in the back yard, and so it kind of transitioned as I've gotten older into college basketball."

For both of you seniors, can you talk about the pressures of this possibly this being your last game, with the win or go home

Marlise: "I think you can definitely think about that, but I think just coming into the game you just look to obviously compete at your best.  Just the fact that it could be your last game you want to take everything in and I am looking forward to it."

Shalee: "This has been the most amazing four years of my life and it's been an amazing ride and I have cherished every moment of it.  And for this to be my senior year and for us to be at the NCAA Tournament, it's awesome.  So we are not focusing on, could this be our last game? We are going to focus on going out to play our hardest, so as long as we leave everything out on the floor then we can live with no regrets.  So for us, it’s more of us going out to attack this game like we've attacked it all year,"

Marlise, in breaking down your opponent, what have you seen that you might be able to exploit, offensively or defensively?

Marlise: "I think we are just going to come into the game and compete how we have been these past four games, and we face a lot of different teams and that's just the great conference of the Big 12.  I think the key for us is to play as a team of five and the rest will take care of its self." 

You didn't see anything in particular that you could take advantage of?

Marlise: "No, we are just going to come out and play."

Friday Practice Quotes
Drexel Players:
Andrea Peterson
Nicole Hester
Gabriela Marginean

We don’t see a lot of two sport athletes anymore. How challenging has that been for you to play basketball and tennis at this high of a level and go to school as well?

Gabriela: “I think at the beginning it was really challenging, but it was all about being on time and being on a schedule. I couldn’t waste time on something that wasn’t related to basketball, tennis or school.”

You have accomplished so much this season being your first trip to the NCAA tournament and knocking off Old Dominion for the first time since forever. How hard is it for you guys to just happy to get here and want to mover forward? Is it a challenge to resist just being happy of being at the tournament? What is your hunger level?

Gabriela: “It is a great accomplishment to be here and to win the CA over Old Dominion, but that is over and this is a new season, so we are focusing on this game. We are just going to play our game and do our best.”

I don’t know which sport you started playing first, but particularly with free throw shooting. Is there a carryover from tennis, because of your ground stroke and perfecting a second serve, just the repetition?

Gabriela: “Yeah, it is just the repetition and a lot of practice. Everyday before practice I would just keep shooting foul shots. I have never actually thought about it though about its relationship to tennis.”

You have been through so much to get to this point. Can you tell your emotions about now as you enter the tournament for the first time and what you are feeling and what a big moment this is for you?

Nicole: “Overall, it is very special. I think I feel the same way the team does, just being excited and words really can’t express how we feel to get to this point because we worked so hard for it. For me personally it took me long enough to get here so I think I am ecstatic overall.”

You guys have played Colorado a common opponent as Kansas State. Do you take anything out of that? Are you able to see anything with the match up with Colorado the way Kansas State played against those guys?

Andrea: “All we take out of it is that we watch in film and that is all we can really do. We obviously know the style of play of basketball they are just like we are. We just try to continue to move on and watch film and just like Gabby said we won our CA and we take this as the next step and just continue to play basketball and just focus on Kansas State and just continue to play basketball like Drexel does.”


Friday Practice Quotes
Drexel Head Coach Denise Dillon:

Opening statement:

“We at are extremely excited to be here in New Mexico. Our match up against Kansas State we are pleased with. I am extremely proud of what our girls have done to get here. They worked hard throughout conference and then took care of business in the Southern tournament. I’m please with our efforts overall and looking forward to getting started tomorrow night.

How do you get your players to get excited to play in this match up?

“It was a short turnaround. We finished the championship game on Saturday and got on the plane Wednesday after finding out where we were going. The girls have been focused on the understanding the breakdown of the season. We talked about our preseason as the out-of conference games, the regular season was conference games, and the post-season is the NCAA Tournament. Our goal was to continue to play as much basketball as possible.

How has Gabriela been able to be so constant?

“It starts with her determination and work ethic. Her repetition to become a great free throw shooter is because of the time she puts into it. Everyday, she is in the gym doing extra to become a better basketball player. That’s how she has been so consistent. Her understanding of the game has gotten better. When she gets double-teamed, she’s able to get out of trouble and make the extra pass. She moves so well without the basketball. She is definitely the reason why we find ourselves in this position.”

How has the international flavor impacted your team?

“As soon as I started at Drexel, we were contacted by many international players. Because we are a city school and very diverse, you draw the international kids. I feel once you get one international player it helps draw some others. The door opens up once you get one of them.”

Does the two years Gabriela played here helped ease the transition to playing for you?

It definitely helped and she would tell you the same thing. Just the words we use and the different lingo of basketball helped a lot. She was able to adjust in those two years. When you see it with other international players, it may take them a little bit more time. She was an impact player the moment she stepped on campus.

Will you talk about the match up against Kansas State? Does the match up against Colorado earlier in the year help reduce the impact of being on such a big stage?

I think it gives us a little understanding about Big 12 basketball. Kansas State is so fundamentally sound and they are strong in every position. What we saw against Colorado may give our girls a little of an idea of what they may see against Kansas State. All we have seen of Kansas State is on tape. I almost feel when you see them face-to-face, they are a little bit bigger. They are similar in size. We had the opportunity to play up at Colorado and witness that atmosphere, along with some Big 12 basketball.