August 12, 2014
Champaign, Ill. - The No. 11 Fighting Illini met with the media today to discuss the upcoming season. The team took its official team photos, then sat down with local members of the media to talk about their expectations for 2014.
Kevin Hambly on the start of preseason:
"The girls worked really hard this summer so right now, it's really exciting to be able to start refining things this early. We're way ahead of where we usually are at this time, so there's more excitement about that than (anything else)."
Hambly on having a more experienced team:
"There's some things you can count on and you know what you're going to get out of the players. A few years ago, we didn't know what we were going to get out of some, so now we have an idea of what they can bring. They've added things to their game and worked hard at it. They have more confidence and more understanding about the game, and less questions about how kids are going to perform with the lights on, because we've seen them with the lights on."
Liz McMahon on the beginning of preseason:
"Really well. We've hit the ground running, because we've been working so hard all summer. It's really good to get back in the gym and focus on the team as a whole."
McMahon on her role as a senior leader:
"It's something I've worked on all through the Spring. It's just time. I have to lead, it's part of the role. I'm really excited to embrace that, and I'm really working hard on that, talking to the girls, and they've been helping me too."
McMahon on the team culture:
"The level of respect that this team has for each other is the highest that I've ever been around. So we know that if one girl deserves to play that's what the team knows, she's just as strong, so that's really something that's different."
Anna Dorn on the renovations at Huff Hall:
"I would definitely say that the facilities look absolutely beautiful right now. I know when we first came in and saw the court, I didn't even know what to say at first, because it was so cool. I think in a way, you can put the metaphor of how our team has evolved with how the facilities have evolved, in the way that as the facilities have taken a step up, so has our team, especially in terms of our team bonding. It's just such a blessing to be in a program like this that not only has beautiful facilities but that culture too."
Dorn on the team culture:
"I think for us our expectation is really to be together as a tribe. That's something we talk about all the time, playing as warriors out on the court. I think we still have a bad taste in our mouth of how we finished last year, we're not content with that, and all spring we've been pushing our own limits physically and mentally. For us, we're taking everything one day at a time, but we're aiming to get back to where we were in 2011. We feel that we've really come together as a team, and we feel that we have all the elements that are necessary to get to that spot, we just have to go out there and show it and compete well against good teams."
Morganne Criswell on the offseason:
"It's been really cool for our group, since January we've basically had our whole squad. We have a new member, Matti Bielfeldt, but for the most part we've been able to work with everybody. Since we've started preseason, we haven't really had to stop and break things down, so we've been able to focus on a lot of competition which is really good for us...In practice, we focus a lot on competition. We dont' have to stop drills and break things down to technique. We know how to play and we know how we want to play, so that's cool."