Postgame Quotes: Rutgers-Purdue
March 1, 2018

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Rutgers Quotes
Q. Tyler, can you just take us through that final play?
TYLER SCAIFE: I wanted the ball in my hands, so I went and got it, and KK set a screen.

Q. What does that say about your leadership skills and being willing to take that last shot?
TYLER SCAIFE: That I'm not afraid of the moment. My teammates believe in me, and so does the coaching staff.

Q. How good does this win feel today?
TYLER SCAIFE: It feels good, but we've still got a long way to go.

Q. I believe it was in the third quarter when you hit back-to-back threes. How important was it getting momentum for your team?
TYLER SCAIFE: It's very important. We needed that to win the game.

Q. Tell us a little bit, it seemed like you had a little bit of a shoe issue out there.
TYLER SCAIFE: Yeah, my shoe flipped off.

Q. Is it true that somebody had to run back to the hotel to get you new shoes?
TYLER SCAIFE: Uh-huh. Somebody had to go get my other shoe.

Q. How good does it feel to get that tournament win and kind of get a little bit of confidence in you?
TYLER SCAIFE: It feels good. I think the team needed this win so we can get back on the win streak.

Q. I'm not sure if you're aware, with your scoring performance today --
TYLER SCAIFE: No, I don't want to talk about that.

Q. You did move past Kathy. How does it feel?
TYLER SCAIFE: It's cool.

Q. Do you have loftier goals than that?
TYLER SCAIFE: Yeah, Big Ten Championship.

Q. Coach, can you just talk about today's win, how exciting that game was and how well you played down the stretch?
COACH STRINGER: I'll be all excited once we -- if you can imagine, I was like triple excited and nervous. I told them, you could have a heart attack watching that game, especially with us having that kind of a lead. And we've done this before, so it was good that we were able to pull it out.

Q. Talk about Tyler's play, the last play where she made that basket to go ahead. What did you see in that play?
COACH STRINGER: You know what, as I was telling her today, lots of people just shoot the ball in a given situation, but very few people have a shot called on them and they hit those shots. Those are the ones that -- the heaviest head wears the crown.

She was responsible for the make or the miss, and you're counting on her to make the right decision. But I think that she's demonstrated that throughout her three years; that she's willing to be the victor or the villain. And if there was anybody that I would rather have the ball, whose hands I would rather have it in, it would be Tyler. I'm not surprised.

It was good. You know, it was interesting because she made a lay-up with -- to take us to a National Championship with the WNIT, and she was a freshman, and as I saw her coming down, it was less than three seconds, but I just wanted her to do her thing. It was good.

Q. Getting the win today, you guys play tomorrow, obviously, and this is the 25th Big Ten Tournament. Can you just talk a little bit about what it means to be a part of the Big Ten Tournament and kind of be a part of this milestone?
COACH STRINGER: Well, you know what, I will tell you something about that, but I don't want it to be taken out of context, so I won't. I'll wait until the cameras are off.

It's special that it's the 25th, but I have a relationship with those kind of numbers in the Big East Tournament. It's special.

Q. How do you guys get ready for tomorrow, such a quick turnaround?
COACH STRINGER: They've just got to get some ice and bath water. One of the coaches is going back right now, so he's preparing. I think when they get a nice bath and get some good food in their belly, we'll have a chance to sit down and talk about it. Because that game is late, right? It's not an early game?

Q. No, it'll be the evening game, I believe.
COACH STRINGER: That's right. We're so glad because we've had those early games. Can you imagine, we would have had to get up at 6:00 this morning, and that's not good.

So they appreciate this, and it was good to see this team rise to the occasion when they had an opportunity to win a game that was so meaningful.

And all of them are important, but for whatever reason, this squad of mine tends to play even harder when they know that you win or lose, but any way you shake it, you move on to the next one, and you determine your own destiny. I think that they came out excited and anxious to play, and it was good to see.

Q. How important was defense in tonight's game?
COACH STRINGER: I think it was huge, huge. Every play -- I think every time a shot was taken that someone wasn't where they needed to be, I am much more conscientious of the shot, who wasn't covering what, what we knew they did, and did we do that right.

It was good that I think today for the first time, you might not believe this, but today for the first time I thought every possession we were very conscious of what we needed to do, whether we were showing low on screens or fronting the post or whatever, but it was key. We didn't let one possession go without us really working hard to do what we needed to do.

Purdue Quotes
DOMINIQUE ODEN: I never felt like, oh, we're never coming back to this game. I always felt like we had a chance.

Q. You've played well in this tournament two years in a row. Obviously you wanted to get a win today and keep going, but do you just like the stage here a little bit?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: They have really nice rooms here. I really like the floor, and it's just -- this is tournament time. I guess I kind of thrive in that because that's like the environment I've been playing in since I started playing basketball, so it's kind of different than just regular season where you play one game and it's done.

Q. That shot that Scaife hit, what did you think she might do, and what were you trying to do defensively against her?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: I knew she was going to take the shot because she's their go-to player. Our game plan was to trap her off the screen, and we were going to trap her, but she refused, and we still had two people on her, she just made a tough shot.

Q. It's going to be a long wait now until Selection Sunday, because you guys are clearly on the bubble, to see whether you're in the tournament or not?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: Yeah, it is going to be a long wait. It's going to be hard to be like, are we in or not, but it's also -- I don't want to stop playing even if we don't make the NCAA because this is Keys' last year, and I want to keep playing with her.

Q. Do you think you're a young team that needs to keep playing to keep getting better?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: I think it would be a good opportunity as a young team to get more growth, but I also feel like we grew a lot this year, so we just have to keep playing and see what happens.

COACH VERSYP: It was hard to get lanes. You know, and if we weren't knocking down outside shots, then that was going to be an issue, and they pressured us a little bit, but we couldn't get around them to penetrate. That was hurtful.

Q. Do you see this as a missed opportunity for this group?
COACH VERSYP: I think we're a group of fighters. We just have to learn to play with a sense of urgency a little bit earlier.

But we continued to fight. We have a lot of abilities and a lot of things, obviously, inside us that we can do. It shows a lot. I mean, we played a good basketball team today and both wanted this badly, but in tournament time, sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it doesn't.

Q. You didn't have very many turnovers, probably less than 10. Coming in you must have felt like if you could keep it low --
COACH VERSYP: Yeah, keep them off the boards, which we did. A few turnovers, we needed to score the basketball. They were able to go high-low on us a little bit easier today. We were supposed to front down low. We didn't one time.

But we had some opportunities, some looks we needed to make and finish around the basket. But no, we played the game that we needed to play, but we just came up with a loss.

Q. It was about this time last year that Oden sort of broke out. She had another big game here today. Does it surprise you the way she's able to carry the team?
COACH VERSYP: Well, she needs to. She's had the experience, and when you're a guard, you should be able to do that. You should be able to shoot the three or do pull-up jump shots. You've got to make something happen. She needs to play aggressive all the time, and all of our guards got to learn from that, as well.

Q. Do you think you're an NCAA Tournament team?
COACH VERSYP: I think we are. We have a great resume. Our resume is better than it was last year. But last year was last year. You know, beating four ranked teams in the Big Ten I think is tough. I think we're playing good basketball.

But I'm not the committee. If the committee talks about strength of schedule, we have one of the top in the country. If they are talking about winning and losing, we're like 5-5 -- we've won five, we've lost five. Other teams have lost eight out of ten. Those are the ones that shouldn't get in, or if you have a bad loss. We don't have a bad loss.

But I don't put my trust in any of that. We'll wait and see, but it's probably under -- 50/50. I feel we should be in, but I just understand the NCAA too much.

Q. Karissa has played in like six straight games, hasn't sat for a single minute. What is it that allows her to be so productive so consistently?
COACH VERSYP: Well, she's in good shape. You've got to be one -- if you're going to play a lot of minutes, you've got to be in the best shape. It's just not physical, it's emotionally and mentally tough, and she's had to grow quite a bit all the way through the season.

She's been very solid for us, been very aggressive. So those are the things that hopefully she'll continue to carry for us.

Q. What's the biggest growth that you've seen in her over the course of the year?
COACH VERSYP: I think the biggest thing is just, early on, not familiar with the point guard position, was trying to find her shots, then the next thing was trying to lead her team, and now she has kind of done that combination.

Being able to do both, and she has a great assist-to-turnover ratio, which a lot of players that play that position and play that many minutes as young as she is doesn't always happen.

Q. That's a lot to process for her in a pretty short amount of time. What have you seen from her just in terms of the relationships that she has with her teammates, kind of taking over that leadership role as a freshman?
COACH VERSYP: I think Keys has done a great job with her because Keys had to play 1 through 4, and people don't understand unless you play that position how hard it is and how much you have to understand game plan and understand angles in every one of your teammates.

I think Keys has done a great job of uplifting her, coaching her, and she's one that's accepted all those things.

Q. You talked about kind of the endurance that she has to have. What do you see her do outside of games that allows her to kind of stay in shape the way she is?
COACH VERSYP: Well, when you play that many minutes, you should stay in shape, but I think it's mental toughness. She also is in the gym all the time. Not everybody gets in the gym. She's in the gym working on her game and working on her shot.

Q. Talk a little bit about Keys and what she's meant to you and the program in the four years.
COACH VERSYP: You know, Keys has been one of the best, I think, in so many different ways, on and off the floor. Her character -- people can score a lot of points, but she's done it all -- she's scored points, she's boards, she's assisted, she's played 1 through 4. She has committed and been consistent and never wavered on anything that we've wanted as a freshman.

Sometimes when your freshmen come in, you question everything, you doubt -- you question coaches, you question everything. She never questioned one thing. And that's why she's been so successful from her freshman, sophomore, junior, senior season is she's just bought in. She had our backs from day one, whatever we wanted. We never had to fight our argue.

I mean, it was just easy. She was an easy kid, and I wish there was -- I wish many more of those type of young ladies can come through because she was very unselfish as a freshman, and I think that's a big key.