Head coach Kim Mulkey, Jhasmin Player and Rachel Allison attended Big 12 Media Day in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Wednesday.
Oct. 22, 2008
A transcript of Coach Mulkey's press conference follows:
PETER IRWIN: Welcome Coach Mulkey from Baylor University. Opening comments and then questions from the floor.
COACH MULKEY: Good morning. Appreciate you all being here. I'm glad I am here. It is bad weather. I don't have an opening statement. You guys just ask me any questions.
PETER IRWIN: Questions.
Q. You've talked about the returning players and the new players that you have, kind of that mix. Do you have a timetable for when all those players have to be on the same page?
COACH MULKEY: I wish I had a timetable. I've learned real quickly it's been a long time since I've had five freshmen and seven new-comers, I'm not sure I've ever had that many to begin with.
Every day is a challenge because you can't move forward until they're on the same page that particular day or that particular play or that particular offense. And I don't know when it will be. I know that when it does happen they could be a very special team.
Q. They tell me, Kim, Gail Goestenkors has come out with her own clothing line. When are you going to get your own clothing line?
COACH MULKEY: I'm not as popular as she is. (Laughter).
Q. Can you talk about how you fill in for Angela Tisdale, who is going to be your floor leader, or is that going to be something by committee or you see one person doing that? And could you talk about having Jhasmin Player back. That was such a tough loss for you guys at the time, especially, it came last year.
COACH MULKEY: Losing only one player off last year's team, expectations within our program are no different. But what you did lose is you lost an All-Big 12 performer. You lost our leader. You lost a young lady that was capable of scoring a lot of points for us from the point guard position.
What we will replace her with is Kelli Griffin, a sophomore who got significant playing time as a freshman last year. We have Cherrish Wallace, who is a freshman who will be fighting for some playing time and I could play Jhasmin Player at the point if I need to.
And it is good to have Jhasmin back. Her leadership ability on the floor is contagious. When she's on the floor, it's like the entire team picks itself up, because they understand Jhasmin has been in the program a while and she just has a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
Q. Can you just talk about the strength of the conference this year, five teams get first place votes in the preseason poll and Texas A&M and Elite Eight team is fifth. Can you talk about the strength of the league?
COACH MULKEY: Preseason polls never cease to amaze me in this conference. I go back to when Sophia Young was not good enough to get freshman of the year, and it amazes me when I watch how we as coaches vote and you guys vote as well, I don't know where we come up with some of the things we come up with.
It's a league where my opinion is going to differ from the next coach's opinion. And I think it's out of respect for all the coaches in the league and all the teams, this is just a league that year in and year out it's tough. It's tough.
And I go back to the year we won the national championship. I don't even know, we might have been picked sixth that year. It's great motivation for us because we're always picked pretty much lower than we think we're able to finish. So I'm sure A&M and all those guys will use it as great motivation as well.
Q. You've got a strong front line coming back, but with the two transfers who might be able to provide kind of an immediate impact for you, having Morghan, having Whitney, could you just talk about maybe the roles that they might have for you going forward?
COACH MULKEY: Well, if you go back to last year, guys, we were one game away from winning the Big 12 conference and basically we had seven players. And I look back and reflect on that year and the job those players did. It's pretty special.
Now you're going to add two players, one that has significant college experience in Morghan Medlock when she played at USC. She brings a toughness in the paint. She brings another body in there.
And she's going to play lots and lots. Now Whitney Zachariason transferred to us from University of Arkansas, but she will not be eligible until the middle of December. What Whitney brings is a post player that can shoot the perimeter shot face up and you can take her outside the paint a lot.
And we've got a freshman also in the paint in Ashley Field. So we've got a five-player rotation at the post that is a luxury but could probably be a headache for you as a coach because now I have choices to make.
Last year I didn't have those choices. We had to go with what we had.
Q. I know we just visited about Lindsay Palmer, but talk about her game and what she's going to bring to your program eventually?
COACH MULKEY: Lindsay Palmer is a perimeter shooter with great range. And as I tell all great the shooters, some of your best games may be the mere fact that you go stand in the corner and they have to guard you and worry about you so our posts won't have any double and triple teams in there.
So Lindsay spreads the floor for us offensively. She's like all freshmen in this will her toughest year in basketball because she has to learn a new system, she has to learn new things. Yet, at the same time she's got the ability to shoot the basketball and that's something that coaches always look for.
PETER IRWIN: Thank you, Coach.