Postgame Quotes: Minnesota-Iowa
March 2, 2018

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 

Minnesota Quotes
MARLENE STOLLINGS: Well, we're thrilled to be playing in the semifinals tomorrow for the first time in 13 years at our university and only the second time in our university's history, so we're really thrilled and proud for our kids to have this opportunity to play another day. What a heck of a game, heck of a battle. Credit to Iowa, all the way down to the final second there, and heck of a performance by Megan Gustafson. She was just phenomenal in the zone tonight. We tried everything we could, but I'm most pleased that we're going to move on and play again tomorrow.

Q. You guys had to rely on your offense to get here but then it comes down to a defensive stand late. What was it like those last 10 seconds and the time-out as you're drawing it up and then as the play comes forward?
KENISHA BELL: I think we just had to pick up the intensity on defense at the last 10 seconds, 11 seconds. We worked in practice for stuff like that. We work on final-shot situations, and that's one of the things we do in practice where we have to play defense the last 30 seconds or the last 10 seconds, and this is where it came to play.

GADIVA HUBBARD: I definitely agree. We work on this at practice. Work on situations where we have to play defense for five seconds, 10 seconds at the end of a game, and we just had to focus on that, and that was what won the game.

Q. We talked before about you guys knowing what you needed to do to get to the NCAA Tournament; being well aware of it the whole way, does this feel now after this win like you guys should definitely be in the NCAA Tournament?
KENISHA BELL: Oh, yes. I do think we need to be in the NCAA Tournament. We've worked so hard, and like she said, doing stuff that hasn't been done in years. I think that this team can do it, and we've been breaking so hard for it, and this game showed it.

Q. Kenisha, do you think ahead of tomorrow, does this win perhaps take some pressure off or do you want to play with the same kind of edge into tomorrow?
KENISHA BELL: I just think we've got to keep coming with the same mentality. This is just another game that we have to win and pick up our intensity from start to finish. We didn't let up this game, and I think if we just carry that on into next game, we'll be fine.

Q. Coach Stallings, you've certainly known about Megan Gustafson and her abilities. What made her be so super effective despite all the knowledge and the film and the scouting reports you have on her?
MARLENE STOLLINGS: Well, I think it was one of those games where people talk about it, I'm a former player, I got to experience it, but way, way back in the day. I think she was just in the zone. The basket had to look like an ocean to her. We threw five different people at her. We also threw a secondary defender at her most of the night. She was working very hard for some of those, not all of them, but I just have to give her credit in that she played at a very high level tonight.

Q. We talked last week about you being open with the team with the NCAA Tournament. Same thing we asked Kenisha. Does this feel like what put you over the edge in terms of getting off the bubble?
MARLENE STOLLINGS: Well, we didn't put all that pressure on the team coming into this game. We as a staff knew it probably had some NCAA Tournament implications with it, but I certainly think that this win does get us into the NCAA Tournament, but I just want to make sure that we're not just happy to be in the tournament. Now you can play for seeding in the tournament, and we also are playing for a championship here. We came here with the sole focus of three games in three days, and we've checked the first one off, so we have to go back and regroup and get ready to do this again here very quickly.

Q. You guys are an offensive team, so to be up a point needing a defensive stand those last 10 seconds, as a coach what's going through your head there?
MARLENE STOLLINGS: Yeah, well, we were just imploring them constantly to put more pressure on the perimeter because Megan was just amazing. We just kept talking to our guards, Kenisha, Hubbard, Carlie Wagner and even Destiny Pitts, when the ball is in your area, you have to pressure, you have to pressure at a very high level right now because once it gets in there, there's not a whole lot more we can do right now. That's what I thought kicked in in the last minute or so of the game, maybe a minute-12-or-so was on the clock, but that steal that Gadiva Hubbard got was huge and then Destiny Pitts on-ball defense in the final seconds there on shot was really big, not letting the ball get in and then forcing a desperation shot at the buzzer.

Q. You mentioned Destiny; she's done a lot for you as a freshman. She opened the game 1 for 11 from three-point range. How impressive was it for a freshman not to get discouraged but to keep putting up shots, especially from long-range?
MARLENE STOLLINGS: Yeah, well, it takes a certain level of toughness, but I tried to take pressure off of her by just telling her, if you are open, shoot the ball. I don't care if you're 0 for 20 right now. If you are open, shoot the ball, because we know she can hit it. She's been deadly from three-point land all year for us and we're certainly not going to tell her to stop shooting at this point in the season. So if you're open, don't even think about it, let it fly.


Iowa Quotes
LISA BLUDER: Just want to congratulate Minnesota. I thought this was a really hard-fought game by both teams. I thought both teams played really, really hard out there. You know, you get down to a one-point game and you look at, you know, we're 19 possessions down. They have 80 shots on the hoop, we have 61. It's tough. It's amazing really that we were in the game. But really because of a really good shooting game, obviously especially by Megan, setting a Big Ten record, a school record. Really amazing. But Makenzie shot the ball well as a whole our team shot the ball well. We just needed one more defensive stop.

Q. Makenzie, can you kind of take us through the design of the last play and what you were kind of hoping to get out of there?
MAKENZIE MEYER: Yep. We were hoping to just get a fast break down the court. Kathleen did a really good job of getting past her defender and we were trying to get the ball to Megan if we had the opportunity, and I think she was covered pretty heavily, and Minnesota just had a good defensive stop, and we didn't really get a good opportunity.

Q. Megan, you've obviously shown the ability to have big games, but tonight was another level. What enabled you to have so much success offensively?
MEGAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I think yesterday I didn't contribute as much as I normally do, and so I think that kind of gave me a little bit extra motivation. I think I just have to thank my guards. They gave me great passes inside. I was able to really work on my feet and just get in good position, which helped a lot. I knew this was going to be a big game. Minnesota is a great team, so I just told myself that I need to step up.

Q. Megan, do you take any comfort in the fact that even though you had an early exit you have a little more time to prepare for the NCAA Tournament?
MEGAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, it's a lot better than last year's situation. We do know pretty much that we're going to be in the NCAA Tournament, which is really nice. I've never been able to be in an NCAA Tournament, so I'm really excited for that. You know, we're going to prepare next week to get better as a team, which is going to be nice to have that. We haven't had that in a while, and then just get ready to make some noise.

Q. Makenzie, the tempo of this game was much different than yesterday. This kind of tempo, where does it fit on how ideal it is for the way you want to play?
MAKENZIE MEYER: I think we play really well in a fast-paced game. Obviously we score well in transition, so that was nice. There were times I think today we started playing into Minnesota's game a lot more, and that's where our turnovers game. We need to clean up that part of our game.

Q. Have you ever had a player dominate a game like Megan did today?
LISA BLUDER: I actually have. I think Jan Jensen had 50 something against Iowa State, and I remember that very clearly, but that was a long time ago. That was back in 1991. It's been a long time. Been a long time, but yeah. That was an amazing performance, though. I mean, I thought Makenzie shot the ball well, too.

Q. Pitts for them really struggled early on and then she was able to hit some big shots. Was there anything defensively you kind of focused on early that maybe switched at all or just kind of relaxed that allowed her to get some shots to fall?
LISA BLUDER: Yeah, we had some miscommunication at the end and let her open for too many threes. We know she's a really good three-point shooter, and she didn't hit them early, but you know, a shooter is going to keep shooting and they are going to make them eventually. Statistics will play out for you, but unfortunately we didn't get those covered as well as we needed to.

Q. Everyone obviously had you in the NCAA Tournament. What do you feel are one or two of the best parts of your resume?
LISA BLUDER: Hmm, well, obviously I think we shoot the ball well. I think we're a really explosive offensive team. I know you didn't see it yesterday, but I think that we are. You know, I think Megan just deserves to be on the national stage. I think our whole team does. But certainly I think she's one of the best players in America, and I think that is definitely something that needs to be there.

But we're 24-7. We finished tied for third in the Big Ten. We had some really big wins. We beat Ohio State. We've had some really great wins. I think definitely we should be in the tournament.