Weekly Coach Spence Interview

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/ on line 33. Weekly Coach Spence Interview Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 03/07/11 Madison Spence earned Second Team All-WAC honors and Jasmine Rutledge became the fifth Aggie in the past four seasons to be named to the Freshman All-WAC team.
Darin Spence: I think they're both very deserving. They've both had pretty good seasons in their own right and have added a lot to our season. We know Madison's story, she's been one of the best kids to come through this program in a long, long time. She's been that one dependable kid every single day. She's very deserving. Second Team is about where I thought she'd be just because we're the fifth place team in the league and that's where you're gonna have kids fall on the teams. There were some good players in our league this year that got on the first and second team and I thought they were all deserving. I was proud that Madi can now say she is one of, I think there's only one other, player who can say she was pre or postseason all four years of her career and that's pretty special.

Jasmine, she just was very patient this year. She sat and learned and watched and practiced hard and just grew daily and then when she got that chance to step in as a full timer she's done good things for us, just that energy kid. She's got a bright, bright future here. It's nice to have yet another freshman on that WAC All-Freshman team. That says that we have brought in some good young kids in the program over the past four or five years.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 02/23/11 Your thoughts on the past four game homestead, aside from the Hawai'i game you played fairly well, unfortunately your team was only able to come away with one win.
Darin Spence: The crazy thing is, here's the thing that sticks out to me the most. We're the only team in the league that had to play Louisiana Tech back to back like that. It's tough. We got up twice, competed really hard against them, especially the home game and gave ourselves a chance. I saw that letdown, just the emotional letdown coming when we played Hawai'i. We had beaten them by 20 points at their place. I saw it coming. That's one of those deals where the conference schedule wasn't very kind to us. I don't want to say we're not tough enough, but that's been the one concern I've had about our team all year long was our overall mental toughness. When you come out flat like that it's even moreso draining to keep plugging away. We even took a late lead in the Hawai'i game but I just think bouncing back off that LA Tech game just really took a lot out of us and we played flat. I thought we did a good job of picking it back up and taking care of San Jose and we turned right around and had to play Fresno State. There hasn't been a team in the league that played that kind of a stretch like we just played. I wish we could have pulled out one more win but we didn't. We've got a very drained, very emotionally beat up basketball team right now. Not to mention looking back at all the injuries. Going into the Fresno game, Kaitlyn Soto ruptures something in her calf muscle and Fresno State is not the team you want to go into when you're short on guards. We fought it, we hung in there and really competed but they're a better basketball team. All-in-all it's just an emotionally drained basketball team. That stretch was really really tough. That being said, you're still in a position where if you win the last four games you will almost certainly finish in the top four in the standings.
DS: Yeah, we've got a chance. That's pretty much all we can ask for and all we've been working for, to try to get in that top four. We would obviously need to take care of our business and obviously need a little help from some people but we've got four very tough basketball games. At Utah State, they've been playing very very well as of late, we beat them but our team hasn't shown great bounce back the second time we've played a team that we've beaten so that'll be an interesting game there. Utah State is probably playing as good as anyone in our league right now and they play such a different style that you don't see. We handled it pretty good in stretches the first time we played them so we'll see.

Nevada, they've got things going and they're playing at a pretty high level and both of those teams are trying to finish in third and fourth also. Those two are kind of in the driver's seat for the third and fourth spots.

Then we come back with Idaho and Boise State. We haven't had a whole lot of success against Idaho lately and Boise who will be trying to get into the tournament so everybody's got something to play for including us. It's a tough four game stretch.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 02/10/11 Your thoughts on the game at Louisiana Tech and the performance of freshman Jasmine Rutledge, 10 points and six rebounds going up against All-American Adrienne Johnson?
Darin Spence: Well we found out that LA Tech is back. I don't know if they ever went away. I'm sure some people did a couple years ago, thought they'd fallen off the planet, but they're good. They're really good. They're physical, they've got good talent, they've got great experience they're an older team, a lot of seniors and juniors, not much in the way of younger kids. They've got it going. It's interesting, you look through the history of Louisiana Tech sports and that women's basketball team has kept that boat floating for a long time. You walk into that arena and see three national championship banners and two runner up banners and that's five times, Final Four stuff. Now those banners don't come down and play the game but that's that tradition. They've got such a strong tradition and they've decided to recommit to that women's basketball program and they've got it going. There were a couple thousand there when we played, there were over 7,000 there a couple nights before when Fresno State played. The 2,000 that were there at that game, you'd have thought it was 7,000. You could tell that they'd had it going there for a long long time, just the energy and the atmosphere, the fans, the band, the cheerleaders, they all knew what was going on at the same time, it was a great atmosphere.

They're good, regardless of how we played, good or bad, and we did both in stretches, you're going to have to be really good to beat them, especially at their place. They're playing at a really high level of confidence and they're doing a lot of good things.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 02/02/11 Your thoughts on getting the road split?
Darin Spence: The goal is you try to go get the split. If you can win on the first night then you try to go get greedy and get two and get the Saturday game. The Thursday game at Boise, we played well and we played well because we shot the ball well. We got good shots, we took the ball inside-out, we reversed it and we put ourselves in good positions and we made shots. Any time you make shots everything else is going to go better. Even the so-called defensive-minded teams, you'd like to say we're going to go do defense first but human nature lets down if you can't make shots. We've been through those nights, especially road games, where we've shot high 20's and low 30's percents. It was really nice to see our three senior guards step up and do their part, that's what they're supposed to do on the road. We got a good win, an important win at a tough place at Boise State.

You bounce back Saturday afternoon at Idaho and Idaho has a really good team. Both those teams were picked to finish ahead of us in league play. We tied Idaho last year for fourth place. We played well enough to win the game at Idaho. I have never done this but I did after the game on the radio, we didn't get our calls. We didn't get our average of free throws. If we'd have just got our average number of free throws that we get every game, home and away, we win that game too. I thought we played well enough to win the game. I was extremely upset and frustrated over not getting to the foul line. We take the ball inside, post it up, nothing changes and we're one of the leaders in the free throw category in the WAC and we just couldn't get anything. You know something wrong when the opposing coaches and opposing team are joking around and laughing about that they set a new record for fewest fouls in a WAC game (5). I thought our kids did a good job of bouncing back from that Thursday game. The final score was no way indicative of how the game really went. I thought we had a chance. All-in-all we got out of there with a split.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/24/11 Your thoughts on Saturday's big win over Utah State, a very solid effort from your team.
Darin Spence: It was fun. The interesting thing is I asked our team after we played at Fresno, "Is it fun?" As a coach seeing us, what we've gone through this year, the tough schedule, the injuries, it just hasn't been a lot of fun. So let's go make it fun. From how we've practiced, how we've gone on road trips. And I don't mean middle school giggle fun, I mean in a Division I sense, enjoying each other's company, bringing out our best in practice and game and really trying to compete at a higher level. So we're getting there. We've been a little sharper, a little more focused. Utah State is a very good basketball team. There's not a lot that separates them from us or a lot of the schools in our league. On any given night it's just who has the fewest mental turnovers, the fewest amount of mistakes and who can capitalize on the other team's mistakes.

It was a game that we needed to win and I was really pleased with most of our players and how they grouped together and two of our seniors, Madi and Day Day were pretty focused and locked in for 40 minutes and we had others step in and do a good job. It was a good win for us.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/18/11 Your thoughts on the game against Fresno State on Saturday? Your freshman Jasmine Rutledge had a pretty solid game with 15 rebounds.
Darin Spence: We came out in the beginning of the game and I thought we were focused and we were into the game and then we didn't react very well when we missed a handful of really good shots that we got early in the game. Even off some steals, Day Day had some breakouts, we probably missed five or six shots within six feet of the basket and I think once that happened it kind of took the wind out of our sails and we got back on our heels for the rest of the night. They're an awfully good team and when you do that they're going to step up and make you pay for that. Jasmine Rutledge is a very active freshman and she's been getting better and better. Your team did have a couple of good stretches in the game, after they had their 8-0 run your team responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead back to two. After being down by 17 at half, you cut the lead to nine in the early moments of the second half.
DS: We did. We cut it to nine in the second half with Jasmine Lowe shooting free throws. She scored that night but just didn't have one of her better outings. She was 2-for-7 from the free throw line. You just think of the free throws that she missed and the two Tabytha missed, I think Kaitlyn Soto missed three, you've got nine points right there from the foul line and it's a different game and obviously a different shooting percentage. We did some good things, we played with some energy, we just found out that a team like Fresno that has won at a high level and has some experience winning, you're going to have to be really good, especially on the road. There were stretches where I was kind of disappointed and we just kind of let down, not in how hard we played, just our execution. We'd get good shots and we'd miss shots or we'd play a good defensive possession and we'd get a stop, we just didn't feed off the positive plays enough and when a negative play would come we'd kind of hang our head and not fight through it quick enough. That was the disappointing part right there. Your'e going to have to be really good to go on the road and beat the team that's a two-time defending champion in our league. You're just going to have to be much better than we were.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/11/11 Your thoughts on the successful road trip and getting the sweep with wins over Hawai'i and San Jose State.
Darin Spence: That's gotta be one of the tougher trips you can take. You've gotta leave very early, get to the islands, try to keep your focus, keep the group focused, play the game and then head back to the mainland and play a team that's not having a good year and you're fighting fatigue and all that stuff. It's a really tough trip. I was pleased with how our players pulled out two wins. The Hawai'i game, outside of a little lapse right before halftime that allowed them to get back into the game, looked to be one of the more complete performances of the season.
DS: We played well. I think it's a lot of the lessons showing up at the right time. Hawai'i has a really nice team. They've gone smaller so they have a lot more scorers on the floor, they're quicker and faster. I thought defensively we did a good job of taking their scorers away. I know their freshman post player has had some good games but can a kid like that carry the team? Can she do it night in and night out? That was kind of our game plan to not give her anything easy but really make her have to work for it and see if she can carry her team. Defensively we started to rebound a little better. I thought Day Day got some really big defensive rebounds for us in the second half which allowed us to get the ball back. Offensively I thought we executed well. First half we had a couple scorers going and the second half we had a couple other scorers going. I thought we showed a lot of balance.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 01/03/11 Your thoughts on the UTEP game?
Darin Spence: I went through quite a few emotions through that game. I saw the good in our team and I saw the bad in our team within that 40 minutes of game time. First half and even parts of the second half we executed so well on both sides of the ball and then we just did the opposite. I really believe, and this is no excuse by any means, this murderer's row, that gauntlet we went through those five games, we hit halfway through that second half the other day and we just emotionally we just fatigued, we just drained. That's not an out, that just what it is. I put the schedule together and hopefully it helps us down the road but I know it took a lot out of us. Because we played every game at a high competitive level, that's something that our kids have got to learn to play at that level and not have such roller coaster rides in games. Tough road trip, tough home games. I just think that it caught up to us and it took its toll on us. One of the bright spots from the game against UTEP was that your team ended up with 19 offense rebounds.
DS: That's great. It's something that this team is capable of, going after rebounds. The flip to that is we have to continue to get better on our defensive rebounding.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 12/27/10 Your thoughts on the Utah game?
Darin Spence: My mind goes in so many directions when I stop and think about that game. The first thing I noticed is how hard it is for those schools in those big conferences to get up every single gameday to play teams at that level. The people at our level, whether it's Boise State in football, TCU in football, don't have a real good grasp of what that means. You can play a team like that once or twice but we just tried to pull off three in a row and two of them were on the road. When we got back for the Utah game, Utah being a proven seven time in 11 year conference champion, that's tough. We didn't have the energy or the maturity to get back up for that type of an opponent for the third game in a row.

It was kind of like when we came back and we played Houston here. We had those three tough road games and we didn't have a whole lot of energy for that first home game against Houston. I just thought we were a little lackadaisical to begin the game and they're a good ball team. Records in this sport are so deceiving sometimes. When you're a proven winner like Utah is, they're going to get back to that level and they surely are.

I thought in the second half we settled in, we established our inside game. Tabytha started going strong and not avoiding contact like she was in the first half. We goto the foul line and started playing good defense and everything clicked. Once again we were competitive against a higher level team. From that aspect I was pleased but I just can't shake the fact that we had the two knee injuries to Camila Rosen and Danisha Corbett.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Spence Interview :: 12/21/10 Your thoughts on the loss to Arizona, another tough opponent in a game where you gave yourselves a chance to win late.
Darin Spence: Yeah we did and you're always wondering how your team is going to go compete against teams that are at that level. Arizona is by far the best team we've seen to date. They'll continue to have a good year. I was pleased, we got out there, we competed and we showed signs of being really good but the disappointing part is we showed signs of letdowns and mistakes at the wrong time. But overall there's a lot of good things that we can build on and move forward as long as our players take the right lessons from that game and apply it as we move forward.

It's still a loss though. No matter how good you feel about how you competed, we still got beat. That's something that we can't accept no matter who we play. It's something that we work hard to try not to do very much.  Continue Reading This Post >>