March 2, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Nebraska head coach Connie Yori, as well as student athletes Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH YORI: Well, you know, when Jordan got in foul trouble to start the game, I thought we hung in there. And it was a reasonable margin at halftime. And I felt pretty good at half that we could get Jordan back and play a little bit better on both ends.
And that's exactly what happened. You know, our kids, I thought, showed tremendous toughness, being the team they had to play back to back, it's not easy we have very little preparation time.
But our kids were tough. And I thought in the second half, you know, between Jordan and Lindsey, those guys kind of took over there for a while.
Lindsey has the ability to do that. And for some reason she's played really well against Iowa this year in all three games. And she's got the ability to do that when she's hitting her three. And it sets up her penetration. And I thought that was a really big key to the game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Lindsey, you hit a long three at the buzzer going into halftime. Did you think that gave you a confidence boost either as a team or you personally with how you came out and played the second half?
LINDSEY MOORE: I definitely think it did. We kind of gained momentum from that even though it was going into halftime. It was a big shot. And the likelihood of that going in was really slim to none.
But the fact it did, I knew that good things were going to happen come the second half. I definitely think that gave us an energy boost.
Q. Lindsey, they were up about eight in the second half, and you guys kind of turned it on. Was there anything that changed or was it the back to back to back three pointers?
LINDSEY MOORE: I think it could have been the threes, but also I think we were getting stops finally on defense. They started going on a run and we were able to get stops, and that opened up our offense. Anytime we can get stops on defense and rebound and get out and run, we're a pretty tough team.
Q. Jordan, you go out two minutes into the game. What's going through your mind there? You come out in the second half and you put up I think it was 13 points in the second half.
How are you able to re-gather yourself to come out there and score that many points in the second half?
JORDAN HOOPER: When I came out it was pretty frustrating to get those first two fouls. But you have to stay focused mentally and know you need to go back and do what you need to do in the second half.
So, I mean, you don't really look at the first half at all, you just go out and play a new game.
Q. Your thoughts on the upcoming matchup with Ohio State?
LINDSEY MOORE: We're excited about it. They're a really good team, and whenever we play them I feel like it's always a really good game. They have really good guard play, but they also have some posts inside that can give us a run for our money.
So it will be definitely fun to see. It's going to be I think a fast paced game.
Q. Lindsey, can you talk about what you guys did defensively in the second half to slow down Logic and Wahlin? They scored a lot of points in the first half, but you guys kind of shut them down there after halftime.
LINDSEY MOORE: We switched our matchup on who was guarding her. I thought Hailie did a good job guarding her. She's a really big guard, so I think she bugged Logic a lot on that. And we were just more aware of where Wahlin was and making sure she wasn't getting anything open and no easy looks.
Q. Do you think you running so much on offense kind of tired them out when they were on offense?
LINDSEY MOORE: Definitely. We were moving the ball pretty well and getting it down to the lower seconds of the shot clock. So definitely moving it for like 20 seconds.
No one really wants to play defense that full 30 seconds. So making them play defense was definitely a huge key.
Q. Jordan, there were times in the second half where almost it seemed like the ball was attracted to you, whenever the misses would happen, the team was rebounding really well. Was that how you guys were set up in the paint? Was that Iowa's misalignment? What was going on with the rebounding margin there?
JORDAN HOOPER: I think we were just going to the boards hard. I don't know if it was, really they weren't, but we were just I mean, I was focused on getting every rebound, like Coach told me in timeout. She said, "Every rebound is yours." So I was just focused on getting every single one.
COACH YORI: Finally have a player who listens to me.
Q. Lindsey, during a run like that, at what point does it just stop thinking and turn into action, you let the adrenalin take over?
LINDSEY MOORE: We needed to get good shots, and at a point I was feeling it, and I decided to go with my gut instinct and get to the hoop and get easy stuff going for us.
I think that's when our best basketball is, when we're playing hard, we're getting easy looks inside, moving, and I thought like offensively we were a really good moving team.
Q. Lindsey, did you have a feeling in the first half when a lot of Iowa's points were from outside, a lot of your points were from inside, that you were going to be able to take control?
LINDSEY MOORE: You know, they started switching up more to man when they would miss. So knowing that, just to be aggressive, they were going to makes and misses, and on makes they were going zone, and then on misses they were going man.
So just knowing that and just pushing the ball and just being aggressive really is how I was trying to look, just to attack and not settle for outside shots.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. How much I guess guts does it take to sit Hooper for 17 1/2 minutes?
COACH YORI: Well, I think it's the smart thing to do. As long as we're in the game and the game isn't getting away from us, I think that's what you have to do.
And it would be foolish to bring her in when the game when the margin was what it was. And you have to gamble a little bit. But I think that's the gamble you've got to try to make.
Q. How crucial was it for (Emily) Cady to shoulder that offensive load in the first half?
COACH YORI: I just thought that Emily I thought Emily was really good. She is not playing at 100 percent. She's got a bad knee. And she's tough. I mean, the kid is tough as nails and can do so many things for us. And I just thought she really kept us in the game.
I thought Hailie Sample did a lot of really good things throughout the game. Two freshmen starters for us. I thought they were both really active and made good things happen for us.
Q. The final minute of the first half, very important, obviously. Can you talk about just the significance of getting it closer and then being able to bring Lindsey in?
COACH YORI: They came down and they turned it over. And we get the last look, and that's not a shot that most people work on, but the funny thing about Lindsey is she does that every shoot-around. She takes half court shots every shoot around. I've always said Lindsey is going to hit one of those one of these days because she loves to do that.
She doesn't always make them in shoot-around, but occasionally she does. But that was definitely a good break for us. And we had a couple of breaks. We had that and Hailie Sample hits a three in the corner, and that's her first three all year, when the shot clock is running down.
But that's part of playing tournament basketball. You've got to make plays.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the matchup next game against Ohio State?
COACH YORI: Well, we obviously are familiar with them. We just played them. So there's some advantage, I think, to having just played, but that's to their advantage as well. You don't have to go through a really extensive scouting report that our kids have to review. It's fresh in their minds. I think that's a positive.
But it's also a positive for Ohio State. But we're going to be the team that's playing two days in a row, and so I think to play a team that you're somewhat familiar with, I guess that can be a positive.
Q. Can you expand a little bit on Iowa switching from man to man and zone defense? Is that something you saw out of them before and did you tell the team anything in particular about that?
COACH YORI: Yeah, they did that to us in Lincoln. They switched their defenses. We saw that against Northwestern last night. I think our kids are starting to handle that better.
And when they I feel like we're getting better in our zone offense. We're a lot more productive. We're getting better shots and we're making more shots. And when you have a young team, to recognize defense, sometimes that's a challenge.
But our kids I think here lately we've seen several teams do that to us, so that definitely I think has played into our favor tonight.
Q. Coach, there are times over the last couple of weeks that the team really struggled offensively and periods in the last three games where the team has been able to score at will. What do you think has changed?
COACH YORI: Well, I think, I mean, a couple of things. I think when Lindsey makes the decision that she wants to be aggressive, I think that helps us. And I think there was a series Lindsey is not playing healthy. She's struggled with injuries herself and I think she played tentative for a couple of weeks, because she wasn't healthy.
And those are things that you may not be familiar with, and we can bring them up now because I think she's getting her legs back and I think her knee feels a little better than it did.
So that's I think when she's aggressive, I think it sets a tone for us. And she's also she made shots today. So that sets up the drive. And that knocks them out of the zone and that sets up opportunities to drive the lane and get into the paint.
Q. Having to play now a third game in three days, is it more mental or physical for your team?
COACH YORI: I think definitely there's a physical side to it. We play full-court defense. That is not easy to do. It's demanding. Generally the day after a game we do either nothing or very, very little to save our kids' legs. And to play three days in a row with the style we play, it's not going to be easy.
But I think we have a good toughness about us. So I think the mental is going to have to overcome the physical in this case.
Q. Coach, a little bit more of a general question, but how good is this league overall and how many teams do you think should get into the dance?
COACH YORI: It seems to me we should have seven teams in. I think Michigan made a great run in the tournament and played really good basketball today. And Iowa should be looks to me like we should have seven teams.
It's a great you look at the RPIs of the team the way some of them have played lately, the Michigan States, and I think we definitely played our way into the tournament, in my opinion. And I'm not on the committee, but I think we have a really good shot to get seven teams in.
Q. Lindsey had a great offensive game but she also had five steals. Can you talk about how important her defense was in this game?
COACH YORI: Well, Lindsey's a very underrated defender, I think. She's our best defender overall. And she really understands defense, and she understands positioning, and she gets her hands on a lot of balls. She deflects a lot of passes, and she was able to late in the game I think there's Logic that drives baseline, she gets out on the shooter on the corner and makes a steal.
I thought that was a big play. All of a sudden it could be a different game, they hit a three there and they get some momentum.
So she can make plays on both ends.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: Now joined by head coach Lisa Bluder and Kamille Wahlin and Samantha Logic.
COACH BLUDER: I want to congratulate Nebraska. I thought they played very good, especially the second half. And it's like we got up eight or nine and they just turned it on.
It's like that's when they turned on the engines at that point, and really did a great job defensively and on the boards. Outrebounded us by 10. And we can't afford giving up those opportunities. And Lindsey Moore and Jordan Hooper were outstanding in the second half.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Kamille, did you need to get more scoring, bigger advantage when Hooper was out in the first half? When Hooper was out sitting on the bench with fouls, did you guys need to get more points in the first half?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: Yeah, obviously she brings a presence to them offensively and defensively, she's good at rebounding, and we wanted to try and extend that lead. But they have a deep bench.
And, unfortunately, they made that three at the end also in the first half and cut the lead again. They're a deep team. And when their top player goes out, they're able to have other players step up.
Q. You guys are 1 and 6 against ranked teams. How concerning is that heading into the tournament where you're going to be playing good competition?
COACH BLUDER: I think we're 2 and 6, win over St. Johns and Purdue. Not taking any of those away from us, sorry.
KAMILLE WAHLIN: It is a bit of a concern, I guess, but it's one of those things where at the beginning of the year we weren't playing quite as well as a team. We were still trying to find our identity.
Today unfortunately we didn't step up in the second half. So it's one of those things where we still have to learn from those top teams and learn how they play and learn at the same time we have two weeks here where we have to get ready and hopefully for the NCAA tournament, and it's one of those things where you can't focus on it too much but you have to learn from it more than anything.
Q. Sam, what happened in the second half? You had the eight point lead and then things turned pretty quickly.
SAMANTHA LOGIC: Yeah, I think that we lost some intensity on the defensive end. Lindsey Moore just hit some big shots for them, and I think that it deflated us a little bit. But we can't let that happen.
I mean, Moore and Hooper, especially, they're going to hit shots. We just had to bounce back from it. And we just didn't this time.
Q. Kamille, was there a sense with your guys' history with Nebraska, the way they come on in the second half, was it kind of a "here we go again" type feeling in the second half?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: You know, they just seemed to be a team where they step up at the right moments. And it's kind of one of those things where we knew it was coming in the second half. We knew in the locker room. We said, `hey, we've got to continue to play hard, continue to battle. `
Even when they got that lead a little bit, it's one of those things where we just kept trying to get ourselves out of the hole. We went cold from the field. And they're pushing it hard in transition, and it was kind of one of those things that felt like déjà vu again.
But it's just the way it goes.
Q. In Lincoln, Neb., the zone in the second half that you guys went to gave them trouble. Here it didn't seem to give them as much trouble in the second half. Did they do anything differently, or was it just a case of shots going in as opposed to them not going in in Lincoln?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: I felt with Hooper back in there they attacked the high post really well. They also hit the short corner and drove to the basket extremely well.
And by them getting those in the paint shots is what opened up their zone a lot. We didn't clog the paint as well and we didn't defend that high post I felt like as good as we did in the first half.
So they definitely I think made some switches where they were going to attack with Hooper in the short corner and the high post when she was back in the second half.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, is Nebraska just a tough matchup for you guys?
COACH BLUDER: Not an easy match up for us because they don't have that true five. There's not a way that Morgan is going to guard Hooper. She's really a guard and a post body. And so she's just kind of some strange hybrid that's out there that's very, very hard to defend.
So we don't match up very well against them. And that's why our zone was really pretty good at their place in the second half. And it just wasn't as effective tonight. But they were more prepared for it.
Q. Coach, Kamille and Sam both had big first halves and Nebraska kind of changed the way they threw the defense at them. Could you talk about how that affected them?
COACH BLUDER: I thought the second half we didn't run our offense as well as we did the first half. Now, I'm sure some of that has got to do with Nebraska. And they intensified their denial in keeping track of our shooters and such. And part of it is us getting away from our system. We felt like kind of panicked a little bit when they closed the gap on us and then got ahead of us. I felt like we got away from what was working for us in the first half.
And we have a couple of freshmen on the floor. That's what happens when you have freshmen on the floor. But I also want to I think Nebraska does a really good job on the defensive end.
Q. This is the first loss in about a month.
COACH BLUDER: I don't like it.
Q. How do you feel about this team's chances assuming you make the Dance and what do you think are your chances you will make the NCAA tournament?
COACH BLUDER: I think we have very good chances of making the tournament. Our RPI is good. I don't think this loss is going to take us that far down into the RPI. We were in the 30s this week. Usually when you're in the 30s, it's pretty good.
Good chance. We're in one of the toughest women's basketball conferences in America. We tied for second in that conference. We played well down the stretch.
That's something that people look for. And we played very well down the stretch. We proved we could play without Jaime. I think that was important for us.
So I feel very good about our chances. I think we'll have a good contingency from the Big Ten representing us in the NCAA tournament.
Q. How big do you think the momentum changer was that play where at the end of the half where she dribbles it off her foot and Lindsey goes down and hits a three at the buzzer?
COACH BLUDER: That probably got into the psyche of our players a little bit. But we started off the second half OK. I felt we were resilient through that getting up eight through the second half. To me it was when they hit the back to back to back threes. That was pretty tough.
And when Hailie Sample hits a three, is that her only one of the year? That's kind of tough.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.