COACH FRESE: Yeah, you know, I think obviously, first and foremost, you can say just how competitive this league is, and when you look at all the games that have been taking place, and obviously Indiana tonight coming in after four overtimes last night, just from top to bottom, it's just an extremely competitive league.
Obviously tonight was a game of runs. Proud of the fact that we were able to kind of sustain through that. I thought we took great pride in wanting to advance and move on, for our seniors, for each other. I thought we had a tremendous collection of working for each other. Kaila Charles was sensational, how she continues to put the team on her back, defensively, defending Buss and taking the best player and trying to take them out, and obviously for Channise, her first tournament, I thought she was flawless with how she ran the team tonight.
Q. Kaila, it seemed like early on not much was working for you guys on offense and you were able to get points up early, especially at the end of the first quarter. What was working well for you that maybe you were getting some open shots? What were you seeing?
KAILA CHARLES: I think it's definitely my teammates finding me when I'm open and they're encouraging me to take shots. But in the beginning we were looking for the foul call, and then we just told each other we're just going to have to play through, it's going to be very physical, and once we got that mindset, we started getting to the baskets and getting shots, and it started opening up for us at the rim.
Q. In the fourth quarter after IU made that five-point play, you and Stephanie really were able to turn the momentum back to your favor. How were you able to do that?
KAILA CHARLES: I mean, it's basketball. It's a game of runs, so we just knew that we still have a lot of time and we can come back from this five-point play, so we just kept our head down and stayed positive and stayed in the present and not really worried about the past.
Q. Channise, your first postseason game and you knocked down those two threes. How much confidence did that give you?
CHANNISE LEWIS: It gave me a lot of confidence actually. I was just reading the defender. She was going up on the screen, and I just took my shot, and it went in, and the second three, my teammates found my open, and I just shot it again with the same confidence. It brought the fire to our team, and we just went on from there.
Q. Kaila, you talked about wanting to stay out of foul trouble and kind of working on that. When you do pick up that fourth foul late, what's going through your mind? Are you just saying, calm down, try to manage it?
KAILA CHARLES: Definitely because I don't want to get that fifth, but I tried not to worry about it. I can't get it back. I just stayed focused on what's ahead and just keep playing and then making sure I don't get that foul, that fifth foul by just being less aggressive, by being smart.
Q. You played a ton for Maryland. Last night these players, some of them, played 60 minutes. How much respect do you have for them?
KAILA CHARLES: A lot of respect. That's a lot. Playing almost three hours of basketball and able to come back tonight and play very hard, I really respect the team and the coaches and everything.
Q. Coach, I don't know if the tempo of the game was probably to your liking; how would you describe your satisfaction of winning a game that would be considered more of at times a grinder compared to what people think of Maryland basketball?
COACH FRESE: Yeah, you know, I think always that first game when you come in, obviously the beautiful thing is to be able to secure that double bye, but that team has an advantage that's been on the court one game ahead of you. It sometimes takes a while, I think, to get into a kind of rhythm. I think when you look at these scores right now across the board in tournament play, they're a lot of low scoring games right now. It's a lot more physical. They're allowing you to play, so I think a lot of games and scores are going to look like this in March.
Proud of the fact that we grinded it out and had to make plays down the stretch.
Q. Bri Fraser off the bench, 10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks. She was a monster down low. How big was that for you guys?
COACH FRESE: She was a monster. She was huge. That's the growth. When you look at a junior that's been here, done that, her energy was sensational. She had a huge presence for us, and that's what you've got to be able to have, especially when you're having difficult times being able to score. I thought our postgame really just gave us so much between her, Stephanie and Kaila all game long.
Q. You guys kind of went into half-court press, then into a full-court press. It kind of seemed like it extended most of the game because they had played 60 minutes, some of their players, to try and tire them out?
COACH FRESE: Yeah, we certainly wanted to keep them having to -- we wanted to wear them out even more. We hoped the fatigue would buy in mentally as well as physically on their shot. I thought their game plan, they were sensational driving the basketball, especially the first half, because they had little to no legs. I thought they had a tremendous game plan against us.
Q. Being your first game in the tournament, what do you guys look to improve on for the rest of it?
COACH FRESE: You know, our guard play has to improve if we want to go far. I mean, Channise is a freshman and stepped up and was big, but our vets from our guard position have to be able to bring more to what we're looking for. Just being aggressive, being able to allow us to be able to knock down some shots, which makes it easier from inside out.
COACH MOREN: Well, we're disappointed. I felt like this was a great opportunity for us this evening. You know, we just couldn't -- as far as our rhythm offensively, it seemed like nothing was easy for us tonight as far as getting into any kind of rhythm, which was disappointing, because we knew we had to put points on the board in order to beat Maryland.
We had several instances where we were not as good as we needed to be defensively, especially with Charles. She's a terrific player and a load to try to figure out how to stop.
So we're disappointed. I did feel like the first few minutes of the first quarter, us turning the ball over had a little bit to do with us being out of sync, and I just think that that kind of carried over throughout the quarters, even though we shot it fairly well in the first half. I thought that the early turnovers kind of put us in a funk quickly.
Q. Amanda, you were guarding Charles in the first half. She had a really good first half, hitting some 15-foot jump shots and got you in a little foul trouble. What was she doing?
AMANDA CAHILL: She's just really fast and athletic, so you have to kind of give her a step on defense, and then she was able to hit some shots. I don't know, I think I helped a few times in and they kicked it out to her and she hit some open jump shots, and we just didn't have our rotations very well.
Q. Tyra, what impact, do you think, if any, last night's length of game and yourself playing 60 minutes perhaps affected you? How did you potentially see that impact tonight?
TYRA BUSS: We didn't really want to think about that. Yeah, we played 60 minutes and our freshmen played a lot and Kym and things like that. We played a lot of minutes last night, and going into four overtimes.
We just wanted to keep telling ourselves that we weren't tired, that that wasn't an excuse for how we were going to do during the game, because with our adrenaline rush and we just wanted our bench bringing us energy, our fans were bringing us energy.
So we can't use that as an excuse. Yeah, we were a little fatigued maybe, especially towards the end, just because of the minutes that we logged last night, but like I said, we can't use that as an excuse.
Q. Amanda, at the end of the third quarter, it seemed like Maryland went on a little run and you guys kind of had a tough time scoring. Was that third to fourth quarter transition, what were you focusing on to try to get you back in the game?
AMANDA CAHILL: I think we were just talking a lot about defense and how we needed to get defensive stops and that would lead to offense and really tried to emphasize us sticking together, which I think we did, but we just had some breakdowns and didn't make plays down the stretch. We just kept trying to encourage each other and say that we could do it.
Q. Tyra, seemed like there was a concerted effort to get into the paint. Was that a game plan to slow Maryland down, a team that likes to play fast? What was the plan with the offensive approach tonight?
TYRA BUSS: Yeah, I mean, Maryland has a great transition. They like to get it out and run, so Coach just told us that we needed to take some smart shots on the offensive end because we can't go in there in the lane and get our shots blocked and fall and that leaves them 5 on 4 going back in transition.
I think that's what happened at the start of the game where we were turning it over and they were getting fast break shots, and that's just unfortunate for us because we just kind of wanted to settle in and make the right decision.
And so just to start the game, just like that, we didn't make the right decisions, and so we just kind of had to settle in, like I said, and our game plan was basically just take smart shots, and some of the game we did, but then often we didn't, either.
Q. With that five-point swing you guys had with about five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Tyra, you came out and hit a three out of the time-out. Did you draw up a play for that?
TYRA BUSS: Yeah, we did. We drew it up, and Amanda set a really great screen, and the girl tried to -- was pushing, Amanda tried to get out to me, and I happened to hit the three, and Amanda got fouled got. She got two shots and hit both free throws.
Q. Going back to that five-point play, obviously that was a big momentum boost for you guys, but it seemed like you guys struggled to get stops to build on that.
COACH MOREN: We did. Like you said, we struggled trying to figure out how to guard Charles especially, and then Channise Lewis got loose a couple times and knocked down two, I thought, timely threes that helped extend their lead a little bit.
Yeah, Maryland is a well-balanced team, and we knew that going into it. We did try to slow the pace down and try to take away their transition as much as we could.
But I would never say this in front of our kids: It just looked like down the stretch we ran out of -- we were running on low octane, and we didn't talk about that at all. We didn't want to feel like that was going to be our excuse for why our shots weren't falling or we weren't getting stops. But I thought you could tell, especially with these two kids, that fatigue was finally setting in.
Q. Was anything about your routine between last night's game and today's game different? Did you give --
COACH MOREN: Yeah, it was different, and we always learn lessons, right? I think the kids learn lessons in wins and losses, especially losses, and I'm a big believer in walk-throughs. Always have been, whether it's a noon start, doesn't matter, whether you've got your kids up 20 minutes, you go through, you just break a little bit of a sweat.
Last night I talked to Tyra and B about what they wanted today to look like, and they felt like getting rest was going to be really important, which I agree. But I do think that routine, I'm a big believer in that, and what I would probably do in hindsight now is I would have gotten to -- I would have gone to a gym and at least spent 20 to 25 minutes of our regular -- just a mini-version of what we normally do on game days. I think that bodes well for young people. I get it, four overtimes, never been done in the history of this tournament, but I do -- I am pro-routine. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably try to get those guys to the gym and just have a little bit of familiarity of our normal game day routine.
Q. You mentioned Charles; what about her game -- it's pretty solid, obviously, on both sides of the court, but what makes it so hard to stop her?
COACH MOREN: She's like a track athlete with hightops on. She's a superb athlete but has enough wiggle to get to the basket, but then she has the ability to pull up and elevate and shoot a true jump shot, and so that's what makes her so difficult, because if you back up, you back up, she's going to pull up and make you pay, and if you press up, she's going to make you pay because she's going to more than likely break you down and get around you.
We didn't have our coverage -- we didn't have enough people rotating. We blew a lot of coverages today, and she's a terrific player.
Q. For the third consecutive year you have another stressful encounter with the selection committee; how does this year differ from the previous two, and what's the argument that you hope that the committee listens to this year?
COACH MOREN: Well, I think the biggest thing is you look at our strength of schedule, and it's A. We've played some people, we've played some people throughout our non-conference in hopes that it would always prepare us for Big Ten play. But we have at least five top-50 wins, and this is a really good league, and it probably doesn't get the respect that it deserves, and that's always disappointing.
I do think we have an argument, there's no question. We have two great seniors in Tyra and Amanda that have put up a lot of points, and I think last night if anybody watched that game, they, one, were entertained by a really good basketball game, two great teams, Michigan State was tremendous, and just got to see a glimpse of Big Ten basketball at its highest level. And so I do think there's an argument there for Indiana.
But I would say that one of the things, the criteria is once you go out and play people, and I know you've got to beat people, but we have done that. We have gone out and structured our schedule for it to be difficult, and like I said, strength of schedule, A, that's pretty, I would think, noteworthy.
Q. Talk a little bit about last night, how Amanda, both these teams, their front court is tremendous and how she has to play defensively and offensively, last night just a huge three-point game, and tonight still coming out --
COACH MOREN: She goes 14 for 20 from the field, right? That's ridiculous, and nine rebounds, 38 points. She was certainly special.
But we've been -- you know, my staff and I have been so blessed just to have a courtside seat to watch her play for four years, and Tyra, just a tremendous player, probably, again, Second Team All-Conference. I think she should have been First Team. Not very many 4 men rebound 1,500 rebounds, 1,000 points, can stretch the floor the way she does. She's pretty unique stretch 4 in the Big Ten. By all accounts -- and I know I'm her coach, but I think she's the best 4 in the Big Ten.
Q. Kind of following up on Amanda, she picked up that third foul in the second quarter. Did you talk to her at halftime about the second half because she essentially played almost all the second half?
COACH MOREN: Well, I talked to her before she picked up the third, right; that's what I tried to do. You know, you've got to trust. You've got to trust your kids, and I trusted B, and she picked up that third, but she knew clearly -- we were actually in that same scenario at Michigan and came up short at Michigan. We went into the fourth, she picked up her fifth with seven to go. We were up at the time and ended up falling short.
So again, another lesson that you learn and a loss that you have to -- a kid like Amanda Cahill has to be on the floor for us.
Q. With her in foul trouble, you ended up switching Bendu onto Charles in the second half, and she kind of slowed her down. What did she do well?
COACH MOREN: Well, Bendu is more athletic, there's no question, she's just giving up some size and inches. But one of the reasons was we certainly didn't want B to be tempted to pick up any additional fouls. But we wanted -- going into it, we felt like we could put different people -- give her different looks with different types of defenders, and so that was part of the game plan. It wasn't to keep Amanda Cahill on her for 40 minutes, it was to put Bendu on her, and at times we talked about Jalen, but Bendu got the nod. But Bendu is just a terrific athlete, so it was just two really good athletes, I think, squaring off.
Q. All things considered, you're in a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, I guess that's pretty much where you would have wanted to be coming into this?
COACH MOREN: Yeah, absolutely, but I'd rather be in that locker room getting ready for whoever our opponent would be tomorrow. So disappointed -- you know, you're always disappointed. You're disappointed for your seniors especially. And you want those young kids to gain this experience, right. Jaelynn and Bendu, as I said to them, and can Keyanna and Lindsey Marchese, especially Jae and Bendu, what a great experience they've gotten this season with the amount of minutes that they've played.
But yeah, we gave ourselves a chance. Just like I said, I think we ran out of gas, and that's not a built-in excuse, and I would never say that in front of my kids, so don't print that. But I think we ran out of gas. We looked like it. We looked like we were tired at the end.