March 3, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with an opening statement from Coach Versyp, and we'll follow that with questions from the student athletes and do the question and answer segment.
COACH VERSYP: Everybody knows that it's survive and advance or you do go home, and we know playing our arch rival Indiana, with them having four seniors, they obviously didn't want their season to end, and it's always tough to beat a team three times. But I thought at the very end our defense is what prevailed. We were able to hit some key shots down low by Drey and free throws by Brittany to obviously clinch the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Brittany, did you feel a sense of urgency down the stretch when the lead was kind of big there, 13?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Most definitely. I think we all knew that we were not playing Purdue basketball. We weren't playing very good defense. They were scoring it well and we weren't scoring. That's what built the lead. I think we knew we had to step it up or we were going home early.
Q. During that stretch you're down 8 and then got it to 1, that steal and then the layup you made where you just kind of fought for the ball. Does that define maybe the last ten minutes of the game for you guys?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Most definitely. Like I said, we had to step it up on defense. They kept running the same play. And I just decided you're not going to keep running it.
It's a matter of fighting for the ball. We can't let the ball fly out of bounds. If I would have let it go, it could have been out on me, could have been out on her. Can't let the ref make the decision. As long as I kept fighting for it, it stayed in bounds.
Q. Drey, that play that Brittany made, in a game where you were not getting the loose balls, just for that play, maybe, was that kind of a spark for you guys a little bit?
DREY MINGO: Definitely. Whenever someone gets a 50/50 ball like that, that's a really good energy spark for our team.
Q. Brittany, obviously you know Indiana did not want to get the ball in your hands at the end of the game to shoot free throws, but, sure enough, you were able to get free off the inbounds. Talk to me about what you did to get the ball in your hands in that situation?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Coach set up a play where we had a double screen for me to go get the ball, and our screeners did an amazing job. They switched off on the first screen, and so Alex nailed the second person that switched off, and they switched off again, and it was just a matter of getting open. They did an awesome job of getting me open.
Q. Brittany, you had a chance to seal the Penn State game a week ago with free throws and missed. You turned out to win that game, but was that going through your mind a little bit before you shot these ones?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Yes. I believe I turned to turn Coach and said, That's not going to happen again. This game I knew it was going in. Coach got me the break with the time out, and that was really helpful. And I just couldn't do that again.
Q. Drey, I know the nerves, we're not supposed to ask the players about nerves because when you're out there playing you don't think, but is there any point in the second half where you look up and you go this is getting a little curious, getting a little scary?
DREY MINGO: No, I have complete confidence and faith in my teammates. I could see it in their eyes. They wanted it just as bad as I did. So, no, never nervous.
Q. Both of you, just your thoughts of facing Penn State again. I know that was a meaningful, important road win last time. But you've beaten them twice now this year, and I'm sure they know you just as well as you know them.
DREY MINGO: Definitely playing Penn State again for a third time, just gotta come out and play Purdue basketball.
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Yeah, it's hard to beat a good team three times, but it's doable. And I think just us playing them soon is really good for us because you turn around so quick. We had them scouted already. We're very aware of what they have and what they can do. And I think that's going to be helpful for us.
Q. Drey, was it a little unusual to play on the first day of the tournament, first time you guys have ever done it here?
DREY MINGO: No. Not really. I mean, we play, we play. Every time we step on the floor we have to play Purdue basketball. Doesn't matter what time or what day.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach Versyp.
Q. Sharon, the steal that Brittany made there mid court, was that kind of the toughness you wanted to see out of your team in the second half? Because they were beating you up on the boards pretty bad. But did that play kind of give you the toughness that you needed to finish down the stretch?
COACH VERSYP: Yeah, if you would have asked what would be the key play to the game, that was it. Because it was that extra getting after a ball, getting that hustle playing and being able to score a layup, and that definitely is what pretty much turned the tide.
Q. Having faced Jori Davis for four years, can you put it into some perspective what kind of player she's been down in Bloomington? You've had some great seniors come through your place, and she's done the same thing in Bloomington.
COACH VERSYP: Jori is a great basketball player. She'll be able to play obviously overseas, and, you know, playing in the professional ranks. But she's a top scorer in the Big Ten. She's very tough to defend because she's so physical. She can shoot the three. Comes off screens well. She's had an amazing career at Indiana. And you always have to put two or three people on her.
Q. Over the years, Coach, knowing maybe you're a little ticked off and I kept waiting to be something in the second half, but you seemed to keep your cool with them most times. Were you just stressing better defense, better defense, and not overreacting and panicking? Because the score, the margin got pretty wide.
COACH VERSYP: You weren't in my huddle.
Q. No, I wasn't.
COACH VERSYP: Oh, I had my moments, there's no question. But, no, on the sideline, you know, I'm their leader. I gotta be calm, cool, collected, be confident because they turn and look at me. If I'm feeling sorry for myself or complaining and doing all that, we're not going to be successful.
And that's what they've seen all year. I'm steady, they're steady. We're very confident. And we knew that we were going to pull this game out at the end. We've been in these games. And we knew that we were going to be successful at the end.
Q. It seems like every time all the time outs toward the end of the stretch there it was a mini battle going on, who wanted it more. Talk to me about what the difference was down the stretch, especially in those last two minutes, that ultimately saw your team become victorious.
COACH VERSYP: Well, we've continued to talk about that nothing that we have gone through this year in a game should faze us because of what we went through with Drey.
And we talk about you don't fear anything. We feared death and now there's nothing to fear. And that when we step on that court we are one, and that we can get through anything and handle that toughness.
So that's why we believe that we were going to be successful. They looked at each other. Great character. Great strength and great mental toughness is what's been able to get us through at Penn State and obviously to win the game today.
Q. I guess the same type of question I had for Drey. Does it change at all playing on the first day, or is that kind of a non factor?
COACH VERSYP: It's a non factor. You want to win a Big Ten championship so you have to play obviously one of those extra games. But it's survive and advance. It doesn't matter what day you play. I think that's the biggest thing.
And like we talked about before, just bodes well of four teams could have been 10-6, they were 10-6, and you never know what's going to happen and we have a tough conference.
Q. Did you feel like you had to win this game in order to become an NCAA Tournament eligible?
COACH VERSYP: I'm sure it helped. You know, everybody asked me that question. You know, I think our win at Penn State, that was kind of the statement game because they're a top 30 RPI. We've beaten two or three teams in the top 30, so that really helped us.
You know, we have not had a bad loss. And I know IU's RPI was like 155, so absolutely this helped us springboard to get into the tournament.
But I'm not an expert at it. Mike Carmin is, so ask him.
Q. How concerned did you get in the second half? And with the deficit where it was, those were the moments where you expect maybe a leader like Brittany to step up and take the reins?
COACH VERSYP: I expected Drey and Brittany. Those two have been playing great basketball. I told Brittany this is your time to shine. You played the most as a Purdue Boilermaker on this court. And she's capable of really damaging another team.
And I thought Drey's first half was amazing and the second half they double and triple teamed her, and we were able to get Brittany the ball a little more.
I think collectively Brittany did it by action. Drey was doing it verbally, which we missed for a while, and now the last three weeks she's been that I guess that spirit and that character and she's getting in people's faces.
And I think both of them together really forged it was a team effort but those two really helped us.
Q. You were even on rebounds at the half. But I think they outrebounded to start the second half like something crazy, 17-2 or something. Did you feel down the stretch you were able to step back up again on the glass a little bit and sort of helped you get back in the game?
COACH VERSYP: Definitely. That was a big key. We were double teaming Jori Davis off of screens. So obviously when you're shifting your defense, you're not always in the correct position. And, yes, our rebounding was not very stellar today.
But getting to the foul line was. And then at the end playing defense we secured the rebounds at the end where we really needed them. And it's not always it's always the timely rebound, and we were fortunate with that.
Q. Getting back to Jori Davis, what sorts of things do you feel like you have to do to keep her under control?
COACH VERSYP: Well, it's very difficult when she comes off screens, if you're not double teaming her, she has a very quick first step. She can take you again to the hole. She can post you up. She can shoot the three. She can shoot behind the three.
You just have to disrupt her and put a lot of different bodies on her. So Dee Dee had different length on her, Chantel is built a little bit different, we just tried to rotate people, and then our post players are trying to get out and disrupt her turning the corner.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Indiana's Coach Jack along with student athletes Jori Davis and Whitney Lindsay.
Opening comment from Coach.
COACH LEGETTE JACK: What a great game. It's an in state rival. I think we left it out there, both teams. I think the Hoosier Nation should be proud of both programs.
We watched a Reggie Miller 30 minute segment on the way up here, and we saw how the Hoosier Nation really embraced the Hoosiers and how they wanted Steve Alford to be that second round draft pick and how devastated they were when he wasn't selected.
That just shows you how passionate this state of Indiana is. And hats off to Purdue who really did an outstanding job tonight.
But our kids got better, and the record is kind of interesting to me, 9-20. I just thought that the kids that I have certainly don't want to lose, but if I had to trade any of them I'd rather take these 20 losses than lose any of them.
These two ladies here and another young lady that joined me before anybody knew anything about myself or our Indiana program, since they've come here, this really is an outstanding program and some great kids are coming in the future.
And we lost today on the scoreboard, but we absolutely won when we signed these three seniors, because great character kids that obtain unbelievable academic standards here at Indiana and graduated a semester early, two of them. I could not be more proud than I am of these young ladies.
They're going to be something significant. Just not on this basketball court anymore, except for this young lady here, she's going to play some more basketball for us. I'm so proud of being a Hoosier. I never thought I'd say that, because in '87 I was at Syracuse University when that young man hit that shot. But I'm a Hoosier and very proud of it.
Q. Jori, you're walking off the court the final time as an IU player. What sorts of thoughts are going off in your mind? What sorts of things are you contemplating in the last 20 minutes or so?
JORI DAVIS: Just that this is my last go around with the Hoosiers. I'll definitely be a Hoosier at heart once I leave here, but thinking about this is my last time being with these girls, my last time representing this conference, and I am just embracing it, win or lose. I just have to give thanks to God for letting me be at this point in my life, and now it's on to my next chapter.
Q. Jori, you got into foul trouble early and then came back in, played most of the second half with four fouls. Talk to me about what it was like playing under those circumstances.
JORI DAVIS: You know, it was a little frustrating. Wanting to go after that ball a little bit harder. But I just had to try and play smart. I had to give up a few things that I didn't want to give up and just try to play within the system, playing with four fouls.
But other than that, I think I just tried to stay focused and go as hard as I could, and when I have to back up, let my teammates have my back.
Q. In the context of a life what have these four years meant for you? In what way do you feel like you've developed? You didn't win as many games, didn't get to as many postseason tournaments as you would have liked, but you obviously got something out of it.
JORI DAVIS: I mean, I definitely feel like, you know, these four years have been great. I've learned so much from just the different people I've been around, from Coach Jack right here on my left. She's taught me so many lessons, through hard times and good times, she's always teaching us how to become better women.
But I've definitely grown as a woman as a whole. And then, you know, Indiana is a great place. I mean, the community, the way they come together as one unit, they're really a community. They're kind of built like a family. Like everyone around Indiana in the community, they know you, they say hi. Everyone's nice. And I just really learned how to give back a lot to the community and just become an overall better person.
Other than that, on the basketball side, I just have grown over the four years. You play so many games. You learn a lot from your coaches. You learn from playing at different stages. And I think overall it was a good choice for me.
Q. Both ladies, you're up by 8, 10 to go. Do you feel it right there? Can you feel like you got it?
WHITNEY LINDSAY: Yeah, I definitely felt the momentum was going in the right direction on our side. And when Jori had to sit for a little bit, my goal like my job was I focused mostly on keeping that pressure on Purdue and attacking and keeping the energy and keeping the five of us focused and having Jori's back.
Off the court and on the court we had to have her back at the end of the game because she did have four fouls. And when she was on the bench I had to create, keep creating that energy and that momentum.
And when she got back in, we had to protect her as well, but we definitely felt it was right there in our hands.
JORI DAVIS: Definitely. I told everybody, I think I was on the bench at that time, it was the fourth quarter. It was the fourth quarter, ten minutes to go, and we were up by 8. And we had them in our hands right there. We just had to continue to push.
And it was our last little bit of the quarter where we kind of lost it. But we definitely felt it, everyone?
Q. Whitney, you played all 40 minutes of today's game. Talk about the energy and emotion that kind of flowed through the team throughout the entirety of it.
WHITNEY LINDSAY: I think for me, it was just I had no choice but to have that passion and that energy. This is one shot. This is March. I mean, I think that was like the biggest motivation for me was the fact that it's March. And you win or you go home. And I think part of that has been in me for a while. And it just really came out tonight.
And I really felt like, you know, I needed to do this for to play hard for my teammates. I really felt like for Jori, you know, for my coaches, for Indiana as a whole. I mean, we went out there and represented our school very well tonight.
Q. Whitney, you talked a lot about energy, was there any sense of fatigue there in the last couple of minutes? Seemed like those last few shots you guys put up were kind of off the front of the rim, those kind of things?
WHITNEY LINDSAY: If anything, I think we were hitting it too hard off the I think we were really, really energized even at the end of the game, even on the bench, the talk, we were very passionate. And I didn't feel the energy let up one bit.
If it did for a second, someone was stepping up and making sure that it wouldn't slip. So I really felt I never felt fatigue one time. I think at times I got frustrated and I just tried to keep myself focused mentally, and it helped.
Q. Jori, what is the next chapter for you, besides class tomorrow?
JORI DAVIS: Right, the next chapter is being an adult. No more college life. No more depending on your parents. I mean, I definitely want to continue playing this game. It's a no brainer. I've been blessed with this gift and I'm going to continue to use it until he tells me it's time to stop.
So I'm definitely going to play and continue building my resume, my education and growing as a woman.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. Can you put into some perspective what Jori has accomplished in these four years? [Indiana men's basketball player] Jeremiah [Rivers] is going to get 18,000 people tonight at Assembly Hall. Unfortunately, her career ends here in front of friends and family. But what she's accomplished, four years, pretty special?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: Absolutely. You're not going to find too many people that come through your path as gifted and as articulate and as bright and as charismatic as Jori Davis.
Just unfortunately all the injuries that surrounded her career with Sasha being out and Georgie coming back from that knee injury and all these kinds of barriers stood in front of her, and she saw none of them. She continued to be the great person and great player and great gift giver that she is.
And whoever gets a Jori Davis at that next level is going to be a really happy person and team, because she's a better player with better talent.
Q. The last few time outs, maybe not the last few, the last five minutes, you seemed like you might have been as excited as anybody on your bench, you, the smile, the energy. I mean, I know part of it is to keep your team up, but just the smile. You seemed to revel in the fact that this team really came to play and it was win or lose, this was a thrill ride because they were really giving everything they had.
COACH LEGETTE JACK: I love this game. I love this team. I love this opportunity. And you know as a coach of a Big Ten team, your first and foremost thing is to win. And most coaches' mindset, and it's not just mine.
That's third on our list. The character that exuded out there, the mental toughness they exuded out there, and we went there four days in a row about the seven minute mark. We knew that seven minute mark has been our burden. And we've won that battle down the stretch.
We hurt ourselves in the first five minutes, if you will, of the second half. So we've gotten better. And as a teacher of young folks, you've got to embrace it when they succeed, even through the battle. That's what I kept sharing with them. You've won this segment, you've won this lesson, you've won this situation here.
They needed to hear that and they needed to know I sincerely meant that. The smiles were sincere, the challenge was still in front of us. It didn't seem to work out. We had had two break away layups that didn't happen for us. That was our time.
And maybe it wasn't supposed to be. I'm not sure. I just know that we put them in position of success and it just didn't happen for us.
Q. Down the stretch, probably the last person you want on the free throw line was Brittany Rayburn. Sure enough, she was able to get there. What did Purdue do to put her in that situation?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: Same thing we did to put Jori in that situation. For some reason Jori wasn't able to get to there. And so I'm not certain of that. You break away to get the ball. We tried to prevent her from getting the ball and they called the foul. It's unfortunate. She's a great free throw shooter and lights out. This is a kid that stayed in her backyard and learned her craft well.
Q. You talked about getting through that seven minute barrier that you guys struggled with this season. How much of a factor down the stretch was the fact that you guys are kind of trying to believe you can win? Because you've struggled
COACH LEGETTE JACK: We don't try to believe we can win; we believe we can win. We absolutely never went into a competition thinking that we didn't deserve success and wasn't going to go out there to earn it. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but don't misunderstand this thing, every battle we went in this year we absolutely unequivocally thought we could win it.
Q. Maybe not believe you can win, but this team is still learning how to win, something they have struggled with at times this year. How much of a factor was that process of learning how to win versus Purdue, which is a team that's had more experience in that department?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: I can't speak on Purdue on that mindset. This is the same thing I've done for the last five years. We teach the same lesson. We've done the same things. It's different when you have a Kim Roberson and a Whitney Thomas out there as opposed to not having them out there with that kind of IQ or innate ability to be successful.
So it's a lesson that you continue to teach. You teach them all the same thing. These are my kids, man, and we struggled having them learn the lesson. I wish I had more time, because sometimes you don't think some of them might be ready to be able to go out in that world and you want to continue to teach the lesson with that carrot of basketball in your hand.
And unfortunately it just didn't seem to work for some of them. And my hope is that we continue to work behind the scenes to get them to believe that even though they knock you down 115,000 times, even though you watch the film on Dr. King and how he just stood for peace and he died for his absolute belief and it doesn't always work out for but you don't go into the battle not believing.
Unfortunately we fell short. But the fact that we kept standing back up makes me proud.
Q. Not that the other team needs it, but the props to Brittany for the little 6 0 run and how that got them back in when it looked like you had them on the ropes. You expect big time players to come through. And I guess she did for them against you today.
COACH LEGETTE JACK: I'd like to talk about a Jori Davis, even through a double team she found a way to slither through that and make opportunities for ourselves.
And I've never seen somebody get grabbed and held and pulled and shoved as much as I did for this, with this young lady named Jori Davis. But she still found the way to be the leading scorer in the Big Ten over all the great players, through the double team, through the triple team, she stood up and continued. And that's the young lady I like to talk about. That's the young lady that I'm real proud of.
Q. As you mentioned earlier, the losses obviously weren't what you had in mind for this season. What can you learn from this to help your program going forward?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: We gotta learn how to continue to get better in that last seven minute mark. But I'm excited about the future of my seniors. But I'm really excited about the young folks that's coming to our future here at Indiana.
Because of Jori and Whitney and Andrea and Hope, a lot of people are really excited about Indiana athletics and Indiana women's basketball and we're getting people knocking on the doors telling us they can help. They're taller than what we have and their faster and IQs a little different. I think because of the seniors we have, the lessons stay the same but the talent is going to be a little bit different.
I want to thank the Big Ten for all you do. You guys put us on the stage and you make us have an opportunity to embrace this entire country by putting us on the network. This big stage is so important. We humbly hope that we represented you guys in a fine fashion, and we'll keep making Indiana better because this is the biggest and best conference in the country because of what our commissioner has done and what all you have done too as well.
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.