Q. How does it feel to get your first tournament win?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Yeah, I mean, it's awesome. This team has worked so hard all year, so I think it's only right that we come out on the victory side, and I think I'm just proud of everyone played tonight and how successful we were.
Q. Hallie just said that the tournament stage kind of adds an extra level of excitement. Would you say the same?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Oh, yeah, definitely. You could see it in how we played today. It's win or go home, especially in March, and we really need these wins, and I think we came out with a lot of energy tonight.
Q. What do you need to do moving forward, especially with how late it is, getting rest and all that?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Yeah, just get treatment right now, get in the cold tubs, take care of our body, and just tomorrow wake up with the mindset that Nebraska is a great team, and I think it'll be a great game for us.
Q. Can you tell me a little bit about the cohesiveness or the chemistry on this team?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Yeah, I mean, I think we're coming together. Our chemistry is building. With the bye week we've had, we've had a lot of days to practice and focus on ourselves, so I think our offensive execution is getting a lot better.
Q. What would you say is one thing you like most about playing in the Big Ten Tournament?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: I think just the match-ups. There's great players here and the atmosphere is awesome, but like I said, to be able to play against the best players in the country is really fun for me.
Q. What would you say about the senior class?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: I mean, I think we've come a long way, especially since freshman year. I think we're hard-working, we're experienced now, we've played in lot of games, and I think that helps us, especially in these situations, and I think we're pretty good leaders, especially Jill has a lot of energy and a lot of people look up to her on our team.
Q. Congrats on the win today. How did it feel being out there?
HALLIE THOME: It felt great. I mean, we definitely wanted to get this win. We've never gotten one here. Neither have Katelynn and Jillian, so it was definitely a big win. Being in the locker room for a long time after the four overtimes kind of gave us a throwback to the WNBA when we went into all of these overtimes, so we definitely had excitement, had a little dance party in here, and we were ready to go.
Q. How did you guys stay ready to play and come out with energy and all that?
HALLIE THOME: We just had our strength and conditioning coach keep us moving, and then we were watching the game, and just excitement. It's March, so it's always a fun time, so it's kind of hard not to be excited and be ready to go.
Q. Does the tournament atmosphere add an extra level of excitement?
HALLIE THOME: I think so. I think the stage -- I mean, it's definitely a big stage to play on, and I think everyone looks forward to this time, to be able to be in front of everyone and just have all the Big Ten teams here and see all the different fans and you'll walk through hotels and you see everyone and everyone is saying "Go Blue" or "Good luck."
It's just a great atmosphere, I would have to say.
Q. Last season you guys lost your first game of the Big Ten Tournament, so does this one come as a relief getting the first one out of the way?
HALLIE THOME: Yes, definitely getting one under our belt definitely helps us build confidence going further.
COACH BARNES ARICO: I was so happy for our team to come away with a victory tonight, especially for our seniors. I thought that we really set the tone early on in the game, and we really established ourselves. We established Hallie, going inside to her and getting her touches early, and played incredibly hard, won the loose balls, won the 50/50 balls, won the hustle plays, and I thought our toughness really came through tonight.
Q. How important was it on the rebounding battle to out-rebound them like you guys did?
COACH BARNES ARICO: Yeah, we talked about that a lot leading up to this game because we had a lot of offensive rebounds the first go-around, and we thought that that was an area where we could really take advantage of them and really get some put-backs, get to the free-throw line early, get them in foul trouble early.
So we emphasized that this week in practice, getting some offensive boards, getting on the glass and trying to get them in foul trouble early, and I thought we were able to do that.
Q. How do you prepare in one day for a new team, going in tomorrow against Nebraska?
COACH BARNES ARICO: It's difficult. Nebraska has had a great year. It's midnight. The game started after that quadruple-overtime game. That was a heck of a game.
So I think we just had an opportunity to work on us, get better this last week. So we've just got to go in locked in to that.
Nebraska is going to be tough to defend. They've got a great big kid inside. It'll be a great match-up. It was a great game the first go-around.
Q. What was the team atmosphere here in the locker room while that four-overtime game was going on?
COACH BARNES ARICO: It was exciting. We were actually cheering every single play for either team because we wanted the game to be over.
So there was a period of time where we were listening to music and dancing, then there was a period of time where we were cheering for -- there was a period of time where there was silence, probably the first overtime. By the second overtime we started dancing. Towards the third and fourth overtime, we were just cheering for someone, we didn't care who, even our rival down the street, to just make a play so we could go out and play a basketball game. It was a great atmosphere.
We knew coming into the Big Ten Tournament, our league has been so great this year that there were going to be games like there have been today with Rutgers-Purdue and Indiana-Michigan State. Just incredible, incredible games, and we just happen to be on the late end of that, but that was a heck of a game, and I think it represented our conference really well.
Q. So you just allowed them to be loose here in the locker room?
COACH BARNES ARICO: Yeah, it was a long day. We had two shoot-arounds starting at 9:00 in the morning, so I wasn't going to reprimand them for having a smile on their face at 9:00 when we started our day at 9:00.
We were just trying to keep loose, and we didn't know how long it was going to be on. We knew coming in that we had to be focused and we had to be ready to go and that this game was really important for us moving forward with the NCAA Tournament. So we were locked in to that, and I thought we came out ready for that, even after the long delay.
Q. Hallie said that you were really emphasizing her one-on-one defense coming into this week. Was that something you were happy with in this game?
COACH BARNES ARICO: Yeah, Teniya Page showed last night what she was capable of doing. She's an incredible player, as is Carter. I thought Jillian Dunston was outstanding on Page, really took her out of what she wanted to do, really defended her. Akienreh Johnson came in and played great minutes on her, as well.
I thought our one-on-one defense was tremendous. I mean, we held Penn State in the 40s, which is a great job. She had 38 herself last night. So I was really happy with the way that our team defended.
Penn State Quotes
Q. Coach, obviously a tough one tonight, but experience as a whole, kind of this whole week, what are kind of positives you guys can take away from either the game or just kind of this whole week?
COACH WASHINGTON: Well, I think for most of these kids, for a lot of these kids, it's their first Big Ten Tournament, and understanding the rigors of it. Playing back to back is tough, and just understanding that and experiencing that. That's one of the positives we'll take out of it.
Q. Obviously it would have been a little bit of a weird situation to start the game as far as the delay; is that something, as well, where they can kind of take that, the routine would have been off? Did that change anything?
COACH WASHINGTON: No, I don't think it changed anything. We were ready to play. Michigan is just a really good team, and they played well. You know, they were hitting on all cylinders, both inside and outside with Flaherty and Thome, and those are two experienced kids, junior and senior, and they showed their experience tonight.
Q. How have you kind of maybe seen this team grow, it's a young team, from the beginning of the season until now?
COACH WASHINGTON: Oh, they've grown a ton. They've grown a ton. Just their understanding of what we need to do and how to execute. The thing that we have to work on is just our consistency, and that comes with experience. That comes with just being out there and playing. That's the one thing we've just got to work on is being more consistent, being able to put games together.
Q. Do you have kind of a takeaway from this week?
COACH WASHINGTON: Yeah, I mean, I like our fight. I like our effort, and like I said, we've just got to get consistent.