March 4, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll have an opening statement from the Illinois coach, and then we'll take questions for the student athletes.
Coach, we'll start with you. Some general comments about the game.
COACH LAW: Give a lot of credit to my team. They found a way to get it done. Got a little scary at the end, but we didn't get rattled. We took care of the basketball, got some crucial plays, Lacey and Lydia down the stretch. And we converted on our free throws and found a way to get a win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Jenna, is it the right hamstring?
JENNA SMITH: My left.
Q. And you've had knee trouble before, too?
JENNA SMITH: Yeah, I have tendonitis.
Q. The reason I ask is how much in pain are you and maybe you just built up a tolerance for little wincing pain, you can fight through it for games like today?
JENNA SMITH: I do treatment like two, three times a day. If I start struggling and my leg starts hurting, I tell my teammates, I'll tell Lacey, please help me a little more.
You have to push through for your teammates. This is Big Ten tournament. Single elimination, you have to push through all the pain and everything that you're feeling, if you're tired or if you're anything, you have to push through it.
But there's some days it hurts more than anything, but there's some days I'm great. Just day by day.
Q. Lacey, I guess is there a way Coach Law gets you up for big games? You guys always seem to perform in some big times?
LACEY SIMPSON: I just Coach don't need she does a great job of motivating us, but it's Big Ten. You win. You play another game. That's my motivation right there. So at the end of the day that's what I keep thinking about. You live to fight another day. That's what she's been saying. You live to fight another day. We took care of business today. So get ready for tomorrow.
Q. Jenna, is it hard not to think about what you guys did two years ago in this tournament when it's basically it's Indiana and then here comes top seed Ohio State again?
JENNA SMITH: We think about it. She was mentioning it to our seniors this year, it's our last one, we want to make another run like that. But we can't think about the past. We're in it now with new teammates and a lot of energy and lot of talent, and we have to make the best out of the opportunity now.
Q. Jenna, talk about I guess you guys got the rebounding Big Ten record today. Comments on that?
JENNA SMITH: I mean, it's nothing big. I'm here just to play the game with my teammates, try to get a championship. I'm grateful. I give it all to my coaches and my family and my teammates. But we're just ready for the next game.
Q. Were you in pain at all today?
JENNA SMITH: Not really until the end. I think we had like a long time on and a couple of my teammates had to help me out. They called me grandma. I felt a little old at the end. But, no, I wasn't in a lot of pain today.
Q. Lacey, you know you had the motivation coming into today, but do you have the confidence because of what you guys have done here in the past? Do you go into the game with more confidence?
LACEY SIMPSON: Yes, I'm very confident. I don't know what happens to me when it comes to this tournament. I'm ready to go. I've been ready to go since that horn hit at the Northwestern game. I've been ready.
So tonight I'm just going to eat my Wheaties and go to sleep and get ready for tomorrow.
Q. This was not a very good day, Jenna, for the teams that were 2 0 against everybody who was 2 0 lost today in the third game. So Ohio State won a couple of games against you guys this year. What do you need to do couple things you need to do to reverse that?
JENNA SMITH: I think we just need to come off on the jump and play aggressive. We start off slow sometimes. If we come out and play the defense we know how, play like we did today, share the ball and help each other on defense, it will be a good game and we can hang with Ohio State.
We have all the confidence in the world. We're all on a high where we won three games in a row. We just have to have confidence and come out and play the way we can.
Q. Jenna, what did you see from your teammates today? Because against Northwestern you didn't go very far into the bench. It looked like it was going to be more of the same today but more people got in here, hit some shots. What did you see from your teammates?
JENNA SMITH: I think everybody played with confidence. When you play with confidence it makes the game slow. You know somebody's playing outside defense and they've got your back, or if everybody's clapping, being positive and just helping each other out, I think everybody has confidence.
If somebody makes a mistake you just gotta keep playing the 40 minutes, make it up. If we all just stick together and have confidence in yourself and your teammates, our bench is amazing.
Q. I'm dying to know what Grandma thinks of facing Lavender again?
JENNA SMITH: She's a great post. It's fun to play against her. We're both aggressive and strong. Usually I come out and play 40 minutes. It's going to be aggressive. I know we're going to work hard to battle each other, but it's going to be a good game and you gotta come out and play.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach.
Q. What's been the biggest difference in your team in the last three games since the Michigan State game?
COACH LAW: Just we had to do some soul searching and I relieved my seniors from a lot of pressure, because I put a lot of pressure on them to be leaders and to take care of the freshmen.
And my coaching staff and I, we started doing some other duties just to relieve them. We just started like thinking about where we want to be, how we want to end the season.
And it's still not over and we just talk, had a very good talk and a lot of people regrouping themselves and my team, we started everybody, not just Jenna, not just my seniors, not Whitney too. Everybody, all 13. We just say I'm going to give what I can give, I'm going to bring my personal best. When we do that play and are playing together, we got three wins.
Q. I feel like I'm having a deja vu movement. Does Illinois always have to do things the hard way? I think I've asked you that question a couple times.
COACH LAW: With me, I just think I praise the Lord every day I continue and can't get down, find ways, go through a little stumbling block. We've lost some games, but as a coach you just gotta continue to motivate them, continue to teach, prepare them.
And right now we're trying to do it the hard way, and now there's energy. Our team now is so energized. They think we make this magical run, but whatever I can do to keep them motivated and confident and keep them prepared. Hopefully we'll get it done.
Q. Indiana had 73 shots. You only made 20 of them. How much of that was your defense and what did you do?
COACH LAW: We just started being a little more aggressive. I think the first two times we played them we were a little more passive. We weren't talking.
We were playing sort of safe. I just think that tonight we sort of dictated. We knew Jamie Braun was a great player and Jori Davis. First half we slowed Jori down and Vaughn got hot, and in the second half Jori Davis must have went in the locker room and had some Wheaties, and she came out playing extremely well.
We started dictating, giving them different looks. We threw a couple different defensive schemes at them just to keep them off balance.
I think it had to do with our defense, but they were hustling for every loose ball. They were really aggressive in the second half.
Q. We're not making too much out of Jenna here, are we, or should we, in terms of what we perceive to be a heroic effort playing in pain? It is that. She's had to go through an awful lot.
COACH LAW: I have utmost respect for Jenna Smith. I think she's one of the top players in the country. I've always said it. My first year I got here, people were trying to say, What? I said, This kid is special.
And the most humbling thing about it is that she would rather the team win than to get all these accolades. But every time you look at the stat sheet, she's in pain. She's constantly double double or finding ways to get her teammates open.
If I challenge her to come out on the perimeter, Okay, Coach, I'll work on that. Everything I've asked of Jenna Smith she's responded, and I'm so thankful. I thank God daily that I had the opportunity to coach her.
Q. What happened on that play near the end of the game where they went to the television and...
COACH LAW: Well, let me see, I can be politically correct with this one. They said that Karisma pushed her out of bounds. And one official called a travel and the other official said it was a foul.
So they went to the table to see what actually happened. They said that Karisma Penn sort of pushed her out of bounds.
Q. Coach, it's been a while since I've seen you guys, but do you have more tools now than you had when you played Ohio State the last time in terms of what you can do?
COACH LAW: Yes. I think the last time we played Ohio State Jenna was on one leg, barely hobbling down the court. Whitney Toone played extremely well, Fabiola Josil didn't play then, but she's playing with a great deal of confidence now. Kersten Magrum didn't get in the game much the first time but she's starting to play well.
So I just think collectively as a whole we have more offensive threats and defensive threats. Adrienne GodBold is playing better on defense. I think right at this time my freshmen are starting to feel comfortable playing and playing through their mistakes than we did early on when we played Ohio State early on.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with an opening statement with Coach Jack and then we'll go to the student athletes.
COACH LEGETTE JACK: We wanted that game so bad. We really, really wanted to win that game. I thought we had a great game plan. I thought we had the right karma. I just thought that we had the right thought process as far as what we were going to do to offset their tenacious defense.
We got opening shots. Just the stars wasn't lined up. It didn't seem to fall in our court. I'll tell you what, it's 11 teams in this conference. The locker room that I'm very proud to be in is Indiana women's basketball room, because at the end of the day as a coach you really have to win. You really want the win.
But more important than that, being a mother and a wife, I really want to grow young women. And I have some character kids on my team. I have some unbelievable students on my team.
I have people on my team that's going to be CFOs and CEOs of organizations. They're going to be working for one of you guys. You're going to be working for one of them, I should say, one day soon because they are really honorable young women.
At the end of the day basketball has to prevail and we have to continue to grow our basketball side of it. And at the end of the day I'm just really grateful that my coaches go out and bring in some unbelievable student athletes. We'll get better.
We'll continue to work hard for our Hoosier Nation. The season seems to be up and down. They seem to be all about the teaching and the moments and the learning. But we'll keep getting better. We're not going anywhere until we add to those five championships that our men put up there in that beautiful hall.
Our goals are big, our dreams are high. We're going to go out there and attain them.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Jori, how are you feeling after a tough game like that?
JORI DAVIS: Just we really wanted the game. We really had our hopes high going into the game, and, you know, we fought hard. We left it all out there on the court. And it's even more disappointing that we have to end this season for one of our seniors that we all played for this whole season. She's finished now and that's what hurts most is that we couldn't get this win so we could keep going on further into the post season.
Q. Jamie, can you the first half there you guys seemed like you had about ten chances to take the lead and couldn't ever quite get over that hump. Can you kind of talk about that?
JAMIE BRAUN: Illinois played really good defense. We weren't hitting some layups we should have been hitting and they weren't giving us a lot of second chance opportunities.
So they just played really tough D and we just weren't hitting some shots. So we kept it close but we obviously never got over that hump.
Q. Jamie, I take it you've probably seen enough of Jenna Smith in your career now. Thoughts on her game now?
JAMIE BRAUN: She's an amazing player. We all knew it. I knew it since I came to IU. She's a great player. You can only do so much to contain her.
We've done it in the past. We just didn't do it today. She played great and she did what she had to do to help her team win the game.
Q. What do you walk away thinking, Jamie? What do you take away from all this? Your ride? Talked about it being over, what do you take away from it?
JAMIE BRAUN: Just all the learning and growing I've had in the past four years. I grew tremendously from coming out of high school and all that. Take away a lot of friends from the team, from everyone that's come on the team and left the team already. And I've taken away good friendships with the coaches.
I'm only taking the positives out of this. We may not have hung up a banner or made the NCAA tournament, but we worked hard every day to do what we needed to do and just fell short.
Q. Jori, down the stretch there in the second half seemed like you guys were really struggling finally that last four or five minutes something kind of clicked in. What was the difference to making that last push at the end of the game?
JORI DAVIS: I don't know. The time was against us, and we really needed to take it to another level and that's basically what we did. We just continued to push through and take it to another level. Unfortunately, we didn't take it to that other level earlier in the game.
But our backs were against the wall so that's the only thing I can say really made us push forward more.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach Jack.
Q. Coach, you beat Illinois twice in the regular season. What was different about them or you against them this time in the Big Ten tournament?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: The shots didn't go down. We had wide open shots. We had wonderful plays. We've done the right thing. We got them to turn the ball over 25 times. We got 21 offensive rebounds against an amazing defensive team. At the end of the day, you've got to put the ball in the hole. And we just didn't do that in the first half.
And then we started really pushing and trying and the wrong kids started shooting the ball, panicking, it's a young team growing up. But at the end of the day the shots just gotta go in the hole. And they just didn't fall for us today. Nothing different.
Q. As you look back on this season, you have a number of sophomores and freshmen and juniors. What do you want them to take away from this season and what you learned?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: The hunger. I think the locker room today, they finally woke up and realized, wow, every possession counts. Every situation matters. And I think the light came on. And you can't let the light come on until you actually get it. We've been having a young team for so long. One senior returned last year.
It was very hard to adjust to a point guard leaving in the middle of the year like that. We adjusted, and we adjusted. But I think they realized: Wait a minute, what we have is all we have and what we have should be enough.
And the desire was there. I think it was suppressed. And it came out in the last four or five minutes in the game. They said let's give it and see what happens. And all we're going to do is do it from the beginning. So it's a learning curve. Learning curve.
Q. What do you want to happen between now and next December when the Big Ten season starts? What's the major thing or two that you want your team to you need to build on or you need to improve in?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: We've got to remember this moment. We've got to remember this moment. This is the same team for two more players that beat the No. 4 team in the country. This is the same team that played West Virginia at West Virginia last year and beat the 13th best team in the country.
What we have to do is believe that that's supposed to be us. Indiana has been in a situation for a long time for women's basketball where the belief has been minimum. Now we have to be consistent.
We know we can do it. Now the consistency has to be there. How do you do it? Continue doing what they do. They need to continue to stay in the gym and continue to work hard and our local talent need to stay home.
Our local talent stay here. We can get a lot better a lot quicker. But at the end of the day, what we have is enough. We just gotta continue to believe in ourselves and believe that we can string a couple games together.
Whitney Thomas, she showed what could happen if a local decides to stay home. Our hope is more make that decision to join the Hoosier family.
Q. Coach, Jamie had a big first half. And Jori had a big second half. But it looked like you struggled to get the two of them together as well as the supporting cast involved?
COACH LEGETTE JACK: I know. Can you believe that? Try standing in my position. I just think that we kept fighting. I just don't know I'm a firm believer. I just know that we tried to come. And they really wanted to come. And when they do come together, we are really talented.
But supporting casts, they continue their support. They did what they did all season. But when Jamie and Jori is on the same page, greatness seems to happen. Not just goodness. And we really tried to make it happen. We just fell short.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.