Ohio State Quotes
Q. Kevin, what's Asia Doss' status for tomorrow?
KEVIN McGUFF: Yeah, she had an ankle injury, and it's close. If we really, really had to play her, I think there's a chance we could, but we're trying to give her a little bit of rest. So she's day-to-day, to answer your question. We have a doctor here. He'll continue to evaluate her and she if we can get her out there or not this weekend.
Q. It's kind of a thin line to tread because you go after a conference championship or try to extend your chances in the NCAA?
KEVIN McGUFF: Correct, that's it, exactly, because we know if we rest her now, we can have her back 100 percent by the time we would play a game after this weekend. So we'll continue to evaluate, just kind of see how she does.
Q. Could you talk about just the way your team reacted to that? Alexa came out with a lot of fire.
KEVIN McGUFF: I thought we did a good job, Alexa in particular. But overall the group responded well and I thought today was a good performance, especially on the defensive end. Our kids played hard and competed. It's a good win. Rutgers is a very talented and they've had a lot of success this year. Overall good first day for us.
Q. Just the confidence level that you have in your team without Asia out there on the floor, I think the final score kind of reflected that, but just what was that like, having Alexa step up and the rest of the team kind of pick up the slack?
KEVIN McGUFF: Yeah, you know, I've got a lot of confidence in all of our players, certainly Alexa being one. She's a fantastic player. She's played a lot of hard, tough minutes over her career here, so my expectation is that she would play well, and she did, and I'd have the same expectation for tomorrow.
Q. Kelsey, you played a lot more on the ball today. How do you embrace that without Asia in the lineup?
KELSEY MITCHELL: Well, I was just telling the Big Ten reporters that it's a lot more difficult when our best defender is out, and with that being said, you kind of try to fill those gaps and those holes and start doing some other things, whether that be in the gap or being in help or apply pressure. Asia was always good for that. It wasn't a totally different role for me, but I did step out of my comfort zone a little bit.
Q. Kevin, it seemed like in the beginning you guys felt Asia's absence a little more on the defensive end. You only got like two points off of a turnover. Did you make any adjustments at halftime?
KEVIN McGUFF: Not really. We made a couple of adjustments in the zone, how we were guard certain actions, but I think it was just kind of indicative of a tournament where they played yesterday and they were probably just a tad more comfortable to start because of that. But kind of once we got going and got in a rhythm and got the game going the way we wanted from a pace standpoint, then I thought we looked really comfortable.
Q. Yesterday Rutgers was pressing and breaking Purdue all on defense. How were you guys able to break through their defense today?
KEVIN McGUFF: Well, one, I thought our defense was really good, and so they were -- they couldn't set up their press a lot because they weren't making a lot of baskets, especially in the second and third quarter. It's just harder to do all that when they're not scoring. So I thought that was the biggest thing. And then secondly, I think we have enough ball handling and a veteran group that can handle that type of stuff, especially with the ball in Kelsey's hands.
Q. How do you maintain that press that you're talking about without Asia, especially when you add instead of a guard you have a forward in there?
KEVIN McGUFF: Like I said, we played a little differently today. That was partly because Asia wasn't in there and partly just the matchup where we played a lot more zone defensively, and I think that was the right call for us today. That's not necessarily -- that doesn't mean we'll do the same thing tomorrow.
But I think we got it right today in terms of how we played on that end of the floor, the defensive end.
Q. Makayla and Stephanie had three fouls going into halftime. How much of a concern was that heading into the second half?
KEVIN McGUFF: Yeah, and it was -- a couple of them were silly fouls, just running people over, things like that. But one of the things I thought they did a good job with, they continued to play really hard and play the way we want them to play, and then they also came out of the locker room, and it really didn't -- sometimes that can have a bit of an effect on you mentally, but I thought they both played through it pretty well.
Q. Alexa, Mavunga and Makayla pick up three fouls in the first half. You got the spot start. You looked like such a happy player today. What was your -- what were your designs today?
ALEXA HART: Just to go out there and just pick up from where Asia started with her high intensity. Just go out there and just try to do whatever I need to do.
Q. You played so free and easy with two of your teammates with three fouls. I mean, that made you the only real big.
ALEXA HART: You know, I just -- I mean, I tried to talk them through it, like telling Steph, it's okay, just keep playing, and then just trying to pick up from where KK and Steph started off, just keeping their intensity up during the game.
Q. Kelsey, the Iowa team was flashing by when I was walking off the court. They looked very, very large. What would happen if you played Iowa without Asia? What are you going to have to do?
KELSEY MITCHELL: Same thing we've always done, stick to the game plan, apply to the game what Coach has for us to do, stick with personnel and just play the game for 40 minutes.
Q. Alexa, when did you know you would have to go into that starting role, and what was going through your mind when you knew you had to replace Asia and kind of step into the lineup?
ALEXA HART: We didn't really go over that until like yesterday when we were leaving, Coach McGuff came over and talked to me about it. But just to come in and just keep a high intensity level.
Q. Kevin, when you have someone like Asia who obviously brings so much energy to the team, what is sort of the mentality when she's on the bench and obviously she's not in that starting lineup?
KEVIN McGUFF: I mean, I just think she was really good on the bench today. She's very smart. She knows the game, so she did a great job talking to our players, kind of helping coach them through some things and just keeping the energy up on the bench. That's what she could do today. That's how she could contribute, and she did a great job of that.
C. VIVIAN STRINGER: I feel like we went through a grinder, so what else can I say? I think that the easiest thing for me to do is to go past this and act like it didn't happen, but to give a great deal of credit and recognition to the outstanding play of Ohio State. I thought that they played brilliantly. I thought that we were calm at first and tried to exploit what looked like was their weaknesses, but honestly, we were just overpowered. I thought that when you have four people that score in double figures as efficiently as they do, they're a tough team to beat. I'm sorry because we've been having games like this where we have maybe one person that's scoring in double figures, and then we have a most difficult time getting -- just getting the second and third scorer, and you can't win a basketball game like that. I don't know if you know of any team that's kind of -- that kind of discrepancy. It just can't happen. You've got to have people that can flat-out get it done, and we didn't do that.
Q. What's the message to the team in the locker room about things are a little bit uncertain with the committee next week? What was the message in the locker room to the team?
C. VIVIAN STRINGER: Well, I thought that -- I wanted to try to hone more on the positives because we have had tremendous growth, and I think that's rather obvious by our record. That doesn't necessarily mean that that's enough to do -- to get done and the invitation that we would like to have to the NCAAs.
The greatest thing that you could ever hope for is to be able to control your own destiny, and long story short is you have to be grown ups about that. We had a chance to control our destiny, we have had a chance throughout the year, and we have to accept whatever it is and let that be a lesson in life. And I'm hoping that we have an opportunity to play at the NCAA because I do believe that we are really unique in our style. We can be probably the most -- the most unique to any team that's out here.
So if I were another team, I wouldn't want to play us because I think that a lot of teams can fit in the category of a great deal -- I'm talking about skill and all the other things, a lot of outstanding skills and well-rounded and the whole thing. But I think that the kinds of things that we can do and hopefully will work in the next couple days, I think within our arsenal we have the capability of doing a number of things that can be nerve rattling to anybody that we're playing.
So we've just got to keep our heads up. We've done this to ourselves. Be grateful and happy for the opportunity, should we get it, and take advantage of it. So I'm pleased and accept whatever is happening.
Q. After yesterday's hard-fought game, does the quick turnaround have anything to do with today's performance?
C. VIVIAN STRINGER: You know what, I think it matters, don't you? I think it matters. You have to get up at 5:30, 6:00 in the morning. I think it matters when you don't have a chance to even go and walk through the patterns of another team, know what I mean, especially a team like Ohio State. I think it matters a great deal. We had to work extremely hard in the game we played yesterday, and I mean, if you think about it, every team, football, basketball, ice hockey, it matters what kind of rest times that you have between the times that you're playing. It would have been better, honestly, had we had a later night, just giving us a chance to sleep a little bit longer. But as I was sharing with the team, it's not just us. I mean, it's not me, because all the coaches have to prepare games, because you want to so badly cover everything, then we're operating on very little sleep. And yet because we've got to be able to present that to the team, and so the question would be, would it be better for us to actually practice and go through the things that we know that they're going to do, or can we just show a tape, talk about it, and save their legs, and that's what we chose to do. I think it matters.
But honestly, the reason why this is so good is because it prepares you best for the NCAAs. Most people, they haven't played at that level, don't know. But as you know, in order to win at the NCAA level, the team has to be extremely flexible, and they don't complain about anything. It's like, what's next, what's next, and they're able to retain information. They're so grouped in their desire to be the best in what they do that it's very easy for a coach to present things and be able to change things. They're upset if they don't get what they need.
This is good. You know, I wish we could have won another game at least because that would have been better preparation for the NCAAs. But I think the closest we came to that was in the WNIT, and Tyler knows about that because we went from city to city and one game after the other, but the NCAAs is a little bit more rugged than that.
Q. Tyler, you sat on the sidelines last year the team only had six victories. What in your personal opinion has been the biggest growth from last year to this year that you've witnessed?
TYLER SCAIFE: I just think we -- this season, this off-season we really practiced hard, worked hard, and you can kind of tell because now we've got 20 wins.
Q. Tyler, what are kind of the emotions going through right now fresh off that and the possibility that this could be the team's last game?
TYLER SCAIFE: Well, we don't think like that. We definitely think we're going to be going to the postseason, so we're just ready to take a couple days off and get back at it.