bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the wins over San Jose State and Boise State last week?
Darin Spence: We needed them obviously. We're trying to stay in that top group of the league race. Road wins are big, especially against the couple of teams we're supposed to beat. Doing it o nthe road is that much better. The home win with Boise, we hadn't closed a couple games out at home and let a couple slip. It was nice to see us develop a little bit of a backbone and finish off that home game and get the sweep over Boise. Boise is a good team. They've got a lot of experience, they've won the league title before. It was pretty gratifying to win that game and get the sweep over them. It keeps us in the hunt. We're fourth place by ourselves and we definitely control what's going to happen to us.
bc.net: Danisha Corbett has come off the bench in the past two games and has really provided a spark for your team.
DS: Well, you see that, I see that. Sometimes it takes a young person to really grasp that concept and of course it was not a comfortable thing for her. Young kids look way too much at whose starting the game, who gets their name announced in the starting lineup. It was something we had talked about doing even well before we did it and the reason we made the decision is we weren't getting enough production from our bench and we were starting to really get dissatisfied with Day Day's growth on the defensive side. At some point in time you've got to figure out and say, "this kid's a scorer, let's put her in a role where she can come in and focus on that and that's what the final decision came down to." Then we could throw the so-called defensive position role onto Camila Rosen who's really kind of good at that. She's got a pretty good understanding, she's longer and as she's learning the game, she has a chance to be a pretty good player as well. Obviously for two games now it's worked and slowly but surely Day Day is seeing the benefits of it. We'll just see how it keeps unfolding from here.
bc.net: Camila Rosen played 35 minutes against San Jose State and then 20 and was very productive against Boise. How does that change the dynamic of your starting group when you're inserting a post player for someone who's a guard and how does that change how teams have to defend you?
DS: Camila is a lot like Crystal [Boyd] where they can play different positions on the floor. Camila is just now starting to come around and figure it out and before her knee injury she was a player that could outrun people and outjump people and that's kind of slowly coming back. Her knowledge of the game, she has a pretty good basketball IQ and knows where to be and when to be and with her in that starting group we can let her guard somebody that needs to be guarded and it kind of puts a little bit more identity into Crystal, Madison and Jasmine as far as those three being the ones who need to score early for us in the game. Sometimes you can have too much out there, you have too many scorers and not enough people who want to do the dirty work. With Camila and Tabytha in there, both those two will do all that other stuff and they're willing to do it and sacrifice for their team. It's been a pretty good fit and a pretty good group to start the game off. At San Jose, Camila, she was kind of surprised and the 35 minutes affected her, she got tired because she hadn't been playing that many minutes. She's a kid that can play a lot and help you in different areas on the floor. As her game conditioning continues to improve she can play extended minutes. One night we might need her to play 35, one night we might need her to play less. We'll just keep an eye on it as we go.
bc.net: Next up you have your only two game road swing in conference play. You're at Hawai'i on Wednesday and you beat them pretty handily in Las Cruces but since that game they've been playing pretty well. They haven't won a lot of games in that stretch but they've been playing people close. Then on Saturday you take on Fresno State.
DS: They play so different at home. They're a totally different team. They're getting really good crowds there. They're playing a little bit smaller, they're not playing as many of those big kids like they were when they played here so they're getting out and playing more man-to-man defense, they're pressing, they're playing a little faster and they've got a couple guards that are pretty good scorers. They've have a lot more confidence at home. Of course having beaten them, they're going to want a shot at us out there and it's a tough trip. We leave in the morning, I think we get in there at 2:30 tomorrow. We'll practice tomorrow evening out there, play the next day and then we're on the 11:30 flight heading out right after the game. It's a quick trip and for all those who think going to Hawai'i is a pleasure cruise, they need to come travel with us and find out what it's really like! It's a quick turnaround but we've got to compete. It's a game we feel we should win but you've got to play well. You've got to make up for a lot of travel miles and being on someone else's court so you've got to be real efficient with the ball and defend solid and put yourself at the end to win the game. I think we're 3-1 over there in our four years in the WAC. We've had success over there and so we've just got to go out there in the right mindset of taking another step.
After that you go to Fresno and just kind of swing away and whatever happens happens. Fresno has great experience together, they've got a tough team. They're winning the games but seeing them on tape they're not quite sharp as what they were when they played here. It's a grind to play at that high of a level is pretty tough. I think if we can take care of Hawai'i, when Saturday gets there we'll go out there and swing away and see if we can't get one there as well.
bc.net: You hadn't been pleased with some of the defensive efforts in some of the halves that you've played recently. Heading into this week's games, what's your assessment of your team's defensive play?
DS: Well, we're still searching for that complete game and everybody else is too. It's an interesting situation that when this team is focused and they're in it together, we've shown just how good we can be. We can beat anybody. But then the opposite is true as well. It's just a daily grind to keep them focused and keep their attention span. I think we have a group that has a pretty short attention span and they lose focus pretty quickly at times so we've got to do something to jerk them back into focus and not just game to game but half to half. When this team is on the same page and deciding that they want to play, it's a pretty good group. We know every day we step on the court, we've got to just keep reminding them of doing the little things.