Caldwell Meets with Media for Season Wrap Up

LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell
LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell
Matt Dunaway
Matt Dunaway

BATON ROUGE – LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell held her postseason media press conference for the 2013-14 season Tuesday after the team’s second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.

Caldwell and the Lady Tigers finished the season with a 21-13 record before falling to third-seeded and No. 4 Louisville in Sunday’s NCAA Sweet 16 round.

LSU is scheduled to return eight letterwinners for the 2014-15 season led by Danielle Ballard and Raigyne Moncrief who have been All-SEC Freshman Team selections in each of the last two seasons.

For all of the latest news and information on Lady Tiger basketball, visit Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at along with @lsuwbkb and @NikkiCaldwell on Twitter.

LSU Women’s Basketball Media Session – April 1, 2014
Head Coach Nikki Caldwell

Opening Statement
“This year has obviously been an extremely interesting year for our team. When you look at where we began and the youth that we brought into this program and adding transfers – the thing I’ll say about this team is that they embraced everything that we’ve thrown at them this year. Through the travel, nonconference scheduling and the toughness of the SEC, it allowed us to have a very strong run in the NCAA. It took a lot of determination, it took perseverance but more importantly it took a lot of courage. If there were one or two words to sum up this team, I would say that we were very courageous in our efforts.”

On the three seniors and their legacy…
“Every year it’s tough because each class represents something special. Our senior class of Jeanne Kenney, Shanece McKinney and Theresa Plaisance – those three were special. It’s going to be hard to replace them because they brought something different to the table. Jeanne Kenney’s leadership and her ability to come back after injuries and be there for her team just says a lot about who she is as a competitor. To see the growth of Theresa Plaisance and Shanece McKinney – for the first year that we got here we had the leading scorer in the SEC. Theresa has become dominant for us as a scorer, and she’s going to go on to do great things in the WNBA and professionally. To see the play of Shanece and for her to elevate and accept the challenge of having to defend some of the best post players in the country and meet those challenges – we’re going to miss those three.”

On looking ahead to next year…
“We’re going to be faster and quicker. We will have the return of Sheila Boykin and Anne Pedersen, who swung at the four spot for us. That gives us a more guard-oriented look. With the addition of our transfers – Akilah Bethel will be ready and so will Ann Jones. Those two are two very quick and mobile post players. You can add those to the roster. We will swing Akilah Bethel as well where she will have to play with her back to the basket and go to her face up game. We have the addition of Stephanie Amichia who’s going to be a true freshman for us. She’s undersized, but the way she plays and how hard she plays – you cannot put limitations on her game because she’s a very dynamic player. Then, we obviously add Jenna Deemer who is a shooting guard. Our defensive scheme is going to be more 94-feet of pressure. We’ll have players that can play away from the basket defensively. We can do a lot of different things out of our defense whether we’re still running matchup, or we’re running man. I like the fact that we’re going to be very explosive in the transition game as well.”

On Raigyne Moncrief’s timeline to return…
“She will undergo surgery here in a couple of weeks. We’re not going to rush anything. We would love for us to be with us at the tip of the season, but she’s the type of athlete that you can’t hold down. I know she’s going to stick with her rehabilitation schedule. I know her attitude toward getting back with this team is going to be positive. That’s going to help her come back to us in a timely fashion.”

On Danielle Ballard’s role next season…
“I don’t want to put any pressure on her, but Ballard should be an All-American. She has that game about her. She has that leadership. What she’s shown as a sophomore and last year as a freshman, she’s only getting better every year. She showed a lot of courage. It takes courage to go into an NCAA Tournament knowing that you just lost one of your guards and someone you thrive off of. Then, you lose another one of the guards that you’ve played with since you’ve been here. She played for them. She took on more responsibility because they weren’t able to be out there. I’m glad she’s at the helm of our program, and she represents our program both on and off the court. She’s on time to graduate, and she’s doing what she needs to do to be a great representative of LSU.”

On Danielle Ballard’s leadership role…
“I look at Danielle as that type of player that welcomes that responsibility. At the beginning of the year when we didn’t know whether we’re going to have Jeanne, Danielle really stepped up being a vocal leader in practice which is not something she’s very comfortable doing. We kept putting her in that position, and you guys in the media do a great job of making her become that vocal leader for us. She’s somebody that we’re going to count on and expect that from. We’re also going to challenge our returning first-year freshmen that are going to be sophomores. Rina Hill’s going to be bumped up in that regard, and Raigyne Moncrief has to take on some of that responsibility. I like the talk of Sheila Boykin. I think she’s somebody that, with her story, she’s been such an inspiration to our team. All of them will have a voice. Just like Jasmine Rhodes said, ‘You never know when your number is going to be called, but just be ready to answer it’. As a group collectively, they will take on that ownership.”

On the fast-paced mentality going forward…
“We’re going to play to our personnel every year. My philosophy is still going to be the same no matter if you’re 6’4 or 6’1. You still have to defend and rebound the basketball. Offensively, I like the creativity that we can present when we have post players that can step away from the basket. That’s what (Theresa) Plaisance gave us. You could not just stay in the paint. You had to extend which gave us better spacing. With that being said, our players come in and I tell them, ‘Even though you may play point guard in high school, you may have to play the one, the two, the three and the four based on our transition game.’ I look for our team to be more up and down next year.”

On the status of Derreyal Youngblood
“She’s still suspended from the team. We’ll reevaluate that suspension after the semester.”




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