Maryland coach Brenda Frese conducted a media conference call this morning in advance of Monday’s game in Hartford against UConn.
Here is what she had to say:
On playing in “Jimmy V” cancer awareness game on ESPN2
“We are extremely honored to be a part of it. We are coming to Connecticut for the first time, having come off a hard-fought win at Nebraska. We battled and played hard. We’ve dealt with adversity by losing two kids to ACL injuries, the most recent Laurin Mincy, who went down in the Nebraska game. We are down to eight players, but we couldn’t ask for eight better in terms of coaching and attitude. We are going to need that against a very deep and talented UConn team.”
What she plans to do in the backcourt
“We haven’t practiced yet [Friday], so I will know a little more after we do. We are going to give three freshmen a lot of experience. Chloe Pavelch, Tierney Pfirman and Katie Rutan, the transfer from Xavier.
“It’s not going to change who we are or what we have to give. Laurin was our best defensive stopper, someone we could match up with a point guard. That will be difficult to overcome and she was playing extremely well, shooting threes and slashing to the basket. It made her difficult to defend.”
What Jimmy V means to her
“It means a lot to play this for me. For me, in terms of my son, Tyler, who is fighting leukemia, it will give us a chance to be in front of a national television audience and bring awareness to all of those who are battling cancer. We feel fortunate to be a part of it.
“He is doing really well. He has one more year of treatment. He takes his medicine every single day. It’s a 3 ½-year treatment he is receiving at Johns Hopkins [in Baltimore]. He will be done with medicine in Dec. 2103 and then will go 1 ½ years after that to be ruled cancer-free. All signs are great. He is not showing any signs of it.”
On senior forward Tianna Hawkins
“Tiana Hawkins has been sensational. She was the 125th ranked player coming out of high school and now she leads the nation in field goal percentage. She never takes a bad shot and she hasn’t just been taking lay-ups. She has range all the way to three. She has an inside-out game and has been a tough, aggressive rebounder having a tremendous season for us.”
On All-America senior Alyssa Thomas
“For Alyssa Thomas, this could be her greatest season in terms of leadership and what she will be asked to carry. She will need to do that every night now and she wants the responsibility and is more than capable. She doesn’t need to prove herself. Everyone knows who she is.”
“You talk about the points they score and then look at their three-point shooting percentage. You just need to find a way to slow them down in terms of running and pressing. Hopefully, the way we’ve been able to defend inside with our size, we hope to make them take more difficult shots.
On the future playing against UConn in regular season
“We’d love to continue playing UConn. We hope they would be fun matchups. This could be the deepest team I have ever seen. And no one is playing heavy minutes, either.”