March 2, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Ohio State head coach Jim Foster, as well as student athletes Samantha Prahalis and Tayler Hill.
Coach, would you like to start with an opening statement or straight to questions?
COACH FOSTER: Questions.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Sam, before this game you talked about getting everybody involved was important. Do you feel like you did that with the way Kalpana and Darryce and some other people played?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: Yes, I think especially in the second half there was a time Tay hit a couple of big shots, Darryce and K.P. had a couple of big shots for us. So at times I think our post players held us up a little bit. So I think we've got to keep that up.
Q. Tayler, in the first half, you didn't get many looks in the first half, but you came alive in the second half. Was it you were just taking what they were giving you?
TAYLER HILL: Yeah. I think it just came up ball reversals. We reversed the ball a couple times, and then I got a couple of looks. In transition I think I got some looks too.
Q. It got hairy at the end, Tayler. What let them get back into it, do you think?
TAYLER HILL: I think shooting the ball quick, and then we weren't transitioning to the 3 point line. We were kind of running back to the lane, a little confused on defense, and they got a couple threes.
So I think that hurt us for a couple minutes, but then we got it back together.
Q. Sam, did you expect this to be such a low scoring game?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: I don't know. Michigan kind of likes to grind it out a little bit. So that's the kind of game it turned into. So we just had to grind it out.
Q. You did I don't even know when you knew, when you broke the Big Ten assist record. Does that mean anything at this stage of the season?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: I mean, it's cool, but it will probably it's really cool, but it will mean a lot more after everything's done. I'm just focused on the next game.
TAYLER HILL: It's a great accomplishment.
Q. Sam, what did they do to make it a grind out kind of game?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: They packed the lane a little bit. I would say that they packed the lane a little bit and they made us play a little bit half court offense.
Q. This is a season low well, this ties the season low points for you guys, and you still won. What does that mean to you guys, that you can score a season low and still win?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: It's a good thing because we can score high and win hopefully and low, so to know that we can grind it out or we can get up and go up and down with people, it's good to have both. It means we're getting better in half court, moving the ball pretty well.
Q. Tayler, you scored 16 of your 19 points in the second half, seemed like once the buckets started falling for you they started falling for your teammates. How did it feel to personally see your team get back into it and take the lead and carry it through the rest of the game?
TAYLER HILL: I guess it's a good feeling. I think we got some stops and got key rebounds so that helped us transition, and I think they got us going for everybody. They started playing us on the guard. So Darryce and K.P. got layups down there. I think the stops and rebounds we got this game helped us transition to offense and helped us get easy buckets.
Q. You'll get either Iowa or Nebraska in the next game. From this game, what do you need to do better to advance to the next game?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: I think we need to keep our rebounding up. I gotta take care of the ball a little bit more and just keep moving it. Just be us. We don't care who we get, we just want to play well.
Q. In the second half you guys attacked on transition a lot. I know you were already halfway down the court wide open for an easy layup. Was that something that you were trying to do coming out of the locker room?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: Yeah, well, we got to get stops and rebounds for us to do that, and I thought we did a pretty good job, our posts did, even our guards rebounded pretty well and we were able to get a couple run outs.
Q. In the second half Michigan went on a 10 0 run, what do you do offensively trying to stop that and maybe score points?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: Move the ball. That's really it. Attack them when we can and move the ball. But if they're going on a 10 0 run, the bigger thing is defense, because they're going on a 10 0 run.
So we need to focus a little bit more and get out to the 3 point line.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. You've been talking lately about getting the posts engaged. And it seemed like that that not only happened but it also kind of probably saved you in this game.
COACH FOSTER: It's a reality of the ability to win all types of games. You have to involve all your players, and we just have this habit sometimes of taking quick shots.
And when we do that, we're very easy to guard. And when we engage our post players and don't do it, we're very difficult to guard. And we got it figured out and took care of our business, and I thought our defense was terrific tonight.
Q. What makes Michigan's defense difficult to score on?
COACH FOSTER: I think the tempo of their offense has a lot to do with their defense. They want to eat the clock on both ends of the floor. And you have to be patient. And you have to grind. They want it to be a grind game. And you've got to be willing to get your hands dirty.
Q. Late in this game, basically your defense actually your defense won the game. But you have two All Defensive players on your team. Each of them had a steal in the last minute. What kind of an advantage is that for you guys to have that kind of
COACH FOSTER: It's only an advantage if you take advantage of it. I mean, you have to have a mentality to be a good defensive player and to know when you're guarding your own, when you can help.
I thought we did a pretty good job of staying within the framework of our individual responsibilities except for a five minute blip. We had a couple of young kids out there for the first time.
And a learning experience for them. They'll be better at it tomorrow.
Q. And I think it's been almost two years now that you guys have beaten Michigan. Especially in the tournament, what does that mean to finally beat them especially in a game like this?
COACH FOSTER: It doesn't matter who you play today. Like winning today is important, because we paid for a hotel room tonight. I mean, we want to stay. We want to play tomorrow. We want to take care of our business on a daily basis. And it doesn't matter who it is.
When you get in these tournaments, you can't put too much emphasis on the game today, because the objective is to get to play tomorrow. If you get two up or two I think we know we lost to Michigan. I think you could tell by the attitude that we brought on the floor defensively that we weren't going to allow it to happen. And scored enough points to take care of our business.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Michigan head coach Kevin Borseth and student athletes Courtney Boylan and Carmen Reynolds.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH BORSETH: I guess it's hard fought. I thought our kids played very well. I was very proud of them. Got down there, start of the second half.
So I'll take one of your questions away from you: We thought the difference of the game was the start of the second half, and we came back and fought our way back into it and fell short.
But we're very proud of our effort.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Courtney, there were a flurry of missed shots and missed free throws around the 3 , 4 minute mark. Do you feel like you had your opportunity to get back there and just weren't able to convert?
COURTNEY BOYLAN: Definitely. I felt we had some good opportunities around that time. I believe we were down like six points, six, seven points. And, like you said, I had a couple of opportunities to make some free throws. Some of us had some good, open shots. But just didn't seem to knock them down at the time.
Q. For both of you, you guys struggled from the 3 point line, especially early. Was that their defense or was it you guys just not being on?
CARMEN REYNOLDS: They were pressuring us. I think we had to focus more on getting shots and rhythm.
But I think that was key, getting shots and rhythm. Sometimes we would take shots that were a little out of rhythm.
COURTNEY BOYLAN: That was a good answer.
Q. You guys held Tayler Hill and Samantha Prahalis again under their season averages like you did earlier in the season, and your defense played exceptionally well again today. Talk about that might like Jenny Ryan or Kate Thompson might have helped you keep the score extra low and made it more like a grind than a high scoring shootout.
COURTNEY BOYLAN: We had a similar game plan to the first time we played them, just to focus on stopping their key players and helping off on players who don't shoot as much. So I guess we were able to do that, but...
CARMEN REYNOLDS: Going into the game we know Prahalis and Tayler Hill take 50, 60 percent of their shots every single game. So you know you really have to key in on those two players, they're so talented, and that's what we tried to do.
Q. This tied Ohio State's season low points. Would you think you guys would have had such a good defensive effort and still not come out with a win; didn't you think your defense would be this successful?
COURTNEY BOYLAN: Our defense has been great all year. It's been I feel like it's been our strong point all year. And we, down the stretch, just didn't hit the shots that we needed to hit. And I think had we done that, we could be sitting here with a win.
Q. Brenae Harris, the freshman, she hits that 3 pointer from the baseline, and Ohio State is forced to take a timeout. What kind of momentum did that bring you guys?
COURTNEY BOYLAN: That was great. I love anytime our freshmen or people on the bench get a chance to come in and play, especially when they're successful.
That was a huge, huge shot that Brenae hit, cutting it from nine to six. It was huge. And had we capitalized on some more opportunities, that would have been great.
Q. After that timeout, they came out and they spent a little bit more, had a couple of missed free throws. Do you think after the timeout that might have been the game changer?
COURTNEY BOYLAN: I never thought we were out of it, no matter what. Even after that timeout, even if they scored a bucket, we're down eight with still three, four minutes to go. I mean, that's a lot of time. So I never thought we were out of it.
Q. Courtney, you finished with 10 points all in the second half. Was there a particular struggle in the first half with not getting on the scoreboard?
COURTNEY BOYLAN: I can't say it was a particular struggle. I think all of us would have liked to hit shots that we had taken in the first half or to start the second half. I don't think it was necessarily just me.
But looking back, I'm upset with myself, had opportunities that I didn't capitalize on that I think would have really helped our team.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Defensively, was that the game plan, to try to keep the score low and just do what you pretty much did out there today?
COACH BORSETH: Defensively, you've got two kids, Prahalis and Tayler primarily. We did a pretty good on Prahalis, all things turned her over seven times held her to 11 points. She was 4-for-15 from the floor, 1-for-7, so that was a good thing.
Looks like (Kalpana) Beach did a pretty good job coming through for them. Tayler, those kids get their points. So we held Prahalis down.
Defensively, I thought our kids did a really good job. You can't hold a team scoreless. It's not football or baseball, from that standpoint. But I thought our kids did a great job defensively, on one day prep or without even one day prep.
Q. You probably got a feel going into the game it's going to be tough on the boards. Do you feel like you battled there anyway?
COACH BORSETH: Yeah. I don't think that was I don't believe that was the difference of the game, in my opinion. That wasn't.
I think maybe the shot selection we took in the first half potentially could have something to do with it. But you gotta feel it.
We tried to get down inside that lane, but they kept challenging us from the arc. We had some good looks down low. Nicole (Elmblad) went down low and missed it. Nya (Jordan) went down and missed it.
We tried a few backdoor cuts, when we went after it with one hand instead of two hands, got deflected, went out of bounds. We tried to get it in there and the ball just wasn't going our way in the first half. And as a result you line up with 3 point shots that don't go in.
If they go in, it's a different conversation we're having here, but...
Q. When Brenae checked in late, I'm not sure if it was a coincidence, but you went on a 10 0 run with her defensively. Obviously she's giving you guys good defense. Talk about Brenae, what she gave you today during her time.
COACH BORSETH: Very good. I put her in initially and then I took her out and had to get her back in there. She's a great athlete.
She can make a lot of things happen, hasn't had much of a chance this year to show her wares, but she's a tremendous athlete. She really is.
Game experience is going to make her a whole lot better. She hit that three tonight, good to be able to see that, because that was a big three. And she was pretty fired up.
Q. You mentioned in the beginning of the second half, how did you see what happened?
COACH BORSETH: I went back and looked at it. I just got done looking at it. We traveled the first time we had it. (Rachel) Sheffer missed a three, Courtney missed a pull up two Sheffer missed a pull up two. Those are first four possessions. Didn't score on them. They went down and scored.
As soon as the game was over, looked at that, the start of the second half. It wasn't bad shots we took, they were good shots. They were shots that were taken in the lane trying to get inside.
And then we're making our comeback, how many shots did we have that one time? Remember that one flurry? Shot. Miss. Rebound. Shot. Miss. Rebound. Another shot. Miss. It was like, OK, what's going on here, is there a lid on that thing?
So I thought we gave it a great effort. I really did. And Courtney missed a couple of free throws and she makes those free throws. There's a lot of things in that game that could have changed the outcome. And I thought our defense did everything it could on that side of the ball to give us an opportunity. We just had to be able to knock some shots on the offensive end of the court.
Q. Do you think the pace of the game ever got too quick?
COACH BORSETH: Did I think the pace ever got too quick? Got too quick, we missed and went down and laid it in, when it got too quick.
That's playing with fire with those guys. You play with fire, you have Prahalis and Tayler running up and down that court, and they're getting those kinds of things. I think they caught fire in that stretch when we weren't making baskets. That's when it got a little bit quick for us.
Q. Do you feel like you've done enough for the committee?
COACH BORSETH: I hope so. I mean, we had a great year. We had a great preseason. We beat everybody from the major conferences.
We put 20 wins on the board. We finished 5 in our conference. Our RPI is good. We had a great strength of schedule. You know, we're a strong team. We're a very strong team. We feel we've laid our case, but at this point it's unfortunately not in our hands, it's in their hands. So we have to have a kind of wait and see scenario right now.
Q. Do you feel like, with your strategy, looked like they were trying pretty hard to get other people involved, which sounds like you were hoping they would do that. Do you feel like that sort of worked for you and then they were able to make things happen after that?
COACH BORSETH: When you're dealing with Prahalis and you're dealing with Tayler Hill, you don't know what you're wishing for, because those two kids if you think you want to get this, they take that. You think they want to take that, they get this. We were trying everything we could to concentrate on those two kids, and from that point just hope for the best and rebound, hope they miss shots and rebound. Those kind of things.
But I thought defensively it was we were very good defensively. I felt, yeah, there's breakdowns, but you can't pitch a shutout on every possession.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.