March 4, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp and student athletes KK Houser and Brittany Rayburn.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH VERSYP: What an amazing championship run. Nebraska takes us five overtimes. They beat us in three overtimes. Takes us two to beat them.
Just an incredible basketball game. The wills of both teams. And the biggest thing, they knocked down free throws like no tomorrow. But we did a great job on the boards and our defense is exceptionally solid.
We made the free throw when we needed it at the end of the game to seal it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Brittany, to finally get a championship during your time at Purdue?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: It's a great feeling. We said coming into this year with six seniors and underclassmen that played their butts off every day, it's just something that we came into this, we've been through a lot of adversity with this team, near death experiences and many injuries to fight through.
But we played through this and we came together as a team and it's a great feeling.
Q. KK, what kind of role did you have to assume today when they were taking care of Brittany a little bit and Moses a little bit?
KK HOUSER: I had to set my team up, and we executed our plays. We were getting Brittany and Courtney open.
The first half we didn't execute, but the second half I thought we did a lot better job and we executed our plays. We we're getting the people open that we need to.
Q. Brittany, you talked all season about this being a team. Today you and Courtney struggled from the field, but you get big contributions from KK and Chantel and obviously others. Just did sort of that theme for the whole season really pay off today?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: Oh, yes, I think that's what makes us the victors of this tournament. We have a deep team. Anybody any day can go off.
We're all very unselfish people. I mean, when somebody's on, we get it back to them. KK was on, and we needed it. And obviously it shows what great of an all around team we have.
Q. Brittany, can you talk about the job KK did defensively, five steals, what she did to determine the game a little bit?
BRITTANY RAYBURN: She determined the game in every game we played. She's constantly guarding their best offensive player. Whenever we put her on somebody, she locks them down and she makes it her job to help this team in any way she can, whether it's lockdown D or getting points, and she did an amazing job of that this entire tournament.
Q. KK, was this a bit of a redemption game for you, two part, from the first Nebraska game but also last night's game when you had some turnovers? I mean, you didn't have a turnover tonight in 39 minutes.
KK HOUSER: Really, I just gotta let the games go. The games I have high turnovers, I don't think about them the next day. If I dwell on it, it's just going to get worse.
I came in today thinking we have six seniors that I have to play for, we deserve this. So I just played hard today. I thought nothing of my turnovers.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. Sharon, just with KK, her floor game, obviously her defense was a big spark, but how she bounced back so quickly after yesterday?
COACH VERSYP: I think it was a huge key. We just talked. It's her turn. We've had different players we've all played great, defense, team defense. Sharing the basketball.
But certain players stepped up each game, and said you're going to be the one that steps up and carries us through today. And she absolutely did that. And KK's gotten stronger. Her leadership skills continue to get better and she doesn't carry one game to the next.
Q. Coach, I'm looking for something, some sexy way to define team, because I see 10 different players with rebounds, nine different players scored. Seven different players had assists and eight different players had at least 18 minutes. Is this team unique in that way; you have so many people that they just plug in and fit in wherever?
COACH VERSYP: It's been the history of our program this year. We've been very successful. Again, we keep talking about adversity and resilience and players that haven't been able to play so someone else has to step up. And when we're at our best, we have players stepping up and doing things left and right to help each other.
I think that's huge. And we're a true team. Like we talk we don't talk about individuals. You don't just see one face everywhere on our program. It's about the whole team.
Q. Can you just talk about executing late in the game you did yesterday, obviously the game winner here and then just overtime the mentality of your team late in the games and their ability to overcome?
COACH VERSYP: Biggest thing was we had one bad turnover, but other than that we needed to stay poised and make sure we got a shot. And it just comes back to being in tough games. We've been in a lot of close games. We pulled the majority of them out. The Michigan State when it went into overtime, we had a chance. We didn't get the shot. And then obviously when Nebraska beat us.
So those kind of stick in your mind, so we want to make sure we finish.
Q. When Moore kind of lobbed up that 3 pointer with about three seconds left, what were you guys trying to do defensively? What was your plan there?
COACH VERSYP: The very last one?
Q. In the second overtime.
COACH VERSYP: When we were ahead by 4?
Q. Yeah. When Moore tried to tie it.
COACH VERSYP: Well, what we did we switched every single screen. We switched, switched, they were trying to go to Moore, trying to go to Hooper. And KK switched. Chelsea switched. KK switched. Just stayed on that one side of the floor and we just had our hands straight up.
She had to launch it and we secured the rebound.
Q. The way Chantel took advantage of her athleticism today, and Connie said they really didn't have a matchup for her, and just how she took that game to the level where she was able to get the 10 boards and really impact the game down low?
COACH VERSYP: Chantel said that very last rebound: Coach, I felt like I was flying. I'm like: You were. And when she comes through there, I think her wrists were way above obviously the rim.
But she's very athletic, explosive. Didn't feel like she finished very well. Fighting for 10, maybe two layups.
We believe in Chantel, and she's a big reason why we keep growing and getting better. She's taking her outside shots, she can score down low. She doesn't have those weaknesses like she's had in the past.
Q. Can you just talk about the two plays at the end of regulation when Moses was blocking and the overtime when KK missed and sort of what you were looking for? I know the second one you didn't have Brittany in there. Sort of go through what you were hoping for on both those plays.
COACH VERSYP: First with Courtney, we were just going to have her attack the basket. If she didn't have anything, we were going to set a double screen and get Brittany on the back side.
Courtney ended up taking it, rather maybe attacking and getting it to Brittany, but there's a couple of seconds left. So we ended up having three on her, so we were trying to get around her, so it was more developing for her shot or Brittany.
The other one we were supposed to execute a plan and it blew up. KK got it and she obviously attacked and had an opportunity.
Q. What kind of momentum does this build going into the NCAAs?
COACH VERSYP: Great. When you can win three games in three days, you're just exceptionally excited. We put this goal down to be Big Ten champs, whether it's regular season or tournament champs, when we're in Europe sitting next to some water and enjoying that trip.
And I'm just so proud of this group. I just couldn't be more proud.
And now they can just really flourish this and take it. Now we have the NCAA hosting at home. So hopefully we'll get a good seed.
Q. From the first time you played them, and they hit some threes late, did you learn anything from that game or did you just play defense on the perimeter in late game situations better today?
COACH VERSYP: We just played better defense in late game situations, because we were switching, we played different defense than we did the first time. They weren't knocking down 3s, and then Hooper nailed it, and Moore. It's like here we go again.
But our defense is the key, and I think Chelsea Jones with her height caused a lot of problems. We were trying to get Hooper to put the ball on the floor and try to get some charges.
But I just thought we defended better. And then they started taking it to the hole when we had the mismatch of Moore against Chelsea, and our help side needed to come over.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Nebraska head coach Connie Yori and student athletes Lindsey Moore and Jordan Hooper.
COACH YORI: Congratulations to Purdue. That was a hard fought game. And they played a great tournament. And they deserve the crown. They played really well. They rebounded the ball really well.
I thought our kids fought really hard. I mean, I don't know what else we can ask of our kids, in terms of our effort, you know, playing 50 minutes after already have played three games previously, I think it says a lot about our kids' toughness. But Purdue was pretty tough, too.
So credit to them. And congratulations to their program.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Lindsey, you played 50 minutes. How exhausted are you? How hard was it to keep coming?
LINDSEY MOORE: It was hard. But, you know, we just wanted to finish this game strong. And so it's not like we could really let up.
I just had to keep telling myself that I'm not tired, and I have plenty of time to rest.
Q. Jordan, you feel like you were reliving a game about a month ago, West Lafayette?
JORDAN HOOPER: It felt a little similar. But I felt like we had this one, too. But, yeah, I guess.
Q. Lindsey, at the end of the one overtime, were you kind of trapped when you flung the ball up?
LINDSEY MOORE: I don't know what you're talking about. I don't really remember. What overtime?
Q. The end of the first overtime, you had the ball, then you got looked like you got trapped in the corner and just kind of flung. Second overtime. That was the last shot. You were trying to tie the game.
COACH YORI: We should have called a timeout. There were two to three seconds left. I should have used a timeout. That's my mistake.
Q. When you play a game like that, I know it's fresh right after the game is over right now, but when you walk out of here, isn't there a sense of pride in what you gave and what you did, because I think we'll probably know a lot more about Nebraska, those that are here, and we'll remember this game longer than probably a lot of other ones we've seen.
LINDSEY MOORE: Absolutely. I think it says a lot about the type of team we are, the fact that we can play four games in four days and go into double overtime and still be right there. We had plays down the stretch where if we had executed or done something differently, got stops on defense, the outcome could be different for us.
The fact we hung in there and being as young as we are, it says a lot about who we are and the type of ball club we are.
Q. Jordan, your thoughts?
JORDAN HOOPER: I agree. There's a lot of pride that comes from this. And I'm really proud of all this.
Q. Lindsey, let's go back to the shot at the end of the first overtime. There were three seconds left, right around there, after the shot. Did you think there was less time on the clock?
LINDSEY MOORE: No, I honestly should have taken it to the hoop with that much time. I shouldn't have forced the shot.
Q. Lindsey or Jordan, in the first half you guys were both driving to the basket a lot. Got to the free throw line a lot. Is that because their defense loosened up a little bit when they got in foul trouble, a lot of their players?
LINDSEY MOORE: I think we were just being aggressive, honestly, is what we were trying to do, just be aggressive, not settle for the outside shot. We struggled a little bit shooting it from the arch, just getting in, creating contact and trying to finish the old fashioned 3 point play.
Q. Jordan, are you tired? You're smiling.
JORDAN HOOPER: I don't know. I mean, the first two games I didn't play as much, so I guess I'm not tired in that aspect. But you're always tired after an overtime game, for what that's worth.
Q. Lindsey, do you guys feel comfortable when you're down by 11 there in the first half as you've done it all week long?
LINDSEY MOORE: I definitely think that we are. We're a type of team that we seem to come back from those deficits.
So we're just competitors, and we will keep fighting until we can get close enough and either come back from behind or get it close enough down to the stretch.
Q. Lindsey and Jordan, when you guys see your teammates not hitting the shots they have been this entire tournament, how much of, I guess, an offensive load does that put on you guys?
LINDSEY MOORE: You know, not really, because we were confident in each other. So we know that they're going to get the next one. It's not like we're going to stop passing to them. We're going to keep feeding them because we have confidence in each other.
So, if anything, that just means for us to be more aggressive and get to the foul line.
JORDAN HOOPER: I agree. It didn't take any confidence away from me seeing them not go in or anything. I'm still going to give them the ball when they're open. It doesn't put any more pressure on me at all.
Q. Jordan, at the end of regulation, you got that block. If you commit a foul there, they go to the line. Do you know how aggressive to be in a situation like that?
JORDAN HOOPER: I knew I wasn't going to hit her because she first went around my body or whatever and then I went to the ball. I knew she wasn't going to go to the foul line in that situation.
Q. Was that kind of a swat, a spike?
JORDAN HOOPER: It wasn't a spike, it was more of a swat, I guess.
Q. What was going on that you were able to really stop their inside game towards the end, when you're down by four at the end of regulation and then come back?
JORDAN HOOPER: I don't really know. I guess we just buckled down and we got rebounds when it counted.
Q. Lindsey and Jordan, what do you each think of when you walk out of here?
LINDSEY MOORE: Just how proud of my team that we are. We are young, and I don't think anyone expected us to do what we did. And I think it says a lot about the type of character we have on our team and we how love playing with each other, and I think you can tell that out there.
And we're very confident right now, and even though we lost, I still think our confidence is right where it should be, hopefully leading into the NCAAs.
JORDAN HOOPER: We have a lot of basketball left to play, and I'm happy moving forward from this.
Q. Lindsey, when you kind of smashed into the floor there, were you seeing stars?
LINDSEY MOORE: Yeah, those are always hard, especially when you're hounding to get a drag screen, but I just have to be more aware as I'm guarding the girl coming down the floor that those are going to be there. You just gotta get up and get back into play.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Connie, you get Rayburn, 1 and 9. Moses, 2 of 11. Houser becomes a little bit of an X factor for them. Is that just a byproduct of a lot of your defense on those two, or did she create a lot of openings for herself?
COACH YORI: She played well. And she did a lot of good things. Plus, she stole the ball and she got some easy baskets in transition, she hit some shots.
But I think overall I think the game was won and lost in the area of rebounding. I think that's really what was the biggest factor in the game. They scored a lot of points off of offensive rebounds, and we had a lot of offensive rebounds we didn't score.
But I thought KK played well. I thought Poston played well. They have a couple physical kids that can post us that provide some matchup problems for us. And we have Kaitlyn Burke who weighs about 115 pounds trying to guard Poston, and that's not a good matchup. They're smart enough to take advantage of it. They're a well coached team.
We definitely had some issues with some of their perimeter kids. But we did a good job on Moses and Rayburn, but they've got good players, KK is a good player, Poston is a good player, Howard is a good player. They've got good players. They've got a lot of kids who can score the ball.
One thing we don't have, we don't have many scorers as they have.
Q. How difficult was it, then, to match Poston's athletic ability and her desire to maybe get some of those?
COACH YORI: We really don't have a matchup for her. And she's an issue. And she can get it down low and she can we're guarding her. If you look at we're trying to put Hailie Sample, who is our bigger guard, on Rayburn. And then if Poston's in, that means Kaitlyn Burke or Lindsey Moore have to guard her. That's a bad matchup.
Then we switch our matchups, Lindsey guarding Rayburn and put Hailie on Poston, which helped us a little bit.
So you just gotta do what you gotta do. But they definitely had some options there that they could go to that they did a good job of going to.
Q. Coach, after Lindsey's kind of desperation shot at the end of the second overtime, what were you thinking about when you were staring off into space?
COACH YORI: I was thinking of stupidity on my part. We should have called timeout. We had maybe two seconds to get a shot. But I've also seen Lindsey hit that shot, too. So it's not like I haven't seen her make miraculous shots.
But, anyway, I should have called timeout.
Q. Overall now you guys have played through a tie in two games after five overtimes. Do you feel like these two teams are pretty well matched?
COACH YORI: Yeah, I think that's a pretty good assessment of the situation. Yep. You've got two teams that are two games and a lot of extra ball.
Q. So you guaranteeing like a four overtime when Purdue visits Lincoln next year?
COACH YORI: I hope they visit Lincoln. I don't know. Seemed like we got everybody on the road this year, top half of the league, if you noticed. The new guys on the block.
Q. You talked about the rebounding battle. Seemed like Emily did a pretty good job of sneaking in there, getting some balls and forcing the steal in the overtime. Can you talk about her impact even though she didn't score a lot?
COACH YORI: Emily's a tough kid. She's built like an eighth grader yet she's a kid that can rebound the ball, and she's really active. She's got long arms and she's got great hands. She can go get the ball.
But, overall, they're a more physical team than us. And pound for pound they have an advantage on us. And we knew rebounding was going to be a huge key. When it's all said and done, really that's the biggest factor in the game.
Q. I know this is moments after this game, but now that you've been through this Big Ten one season, just what comes to mind about the league, and maybe what your program what step it has to take for year two in this league?
COACH YORI: Well, first of all, I'm really proud of our kids because I'm pretty certain if they would have picked 1 through 12, you know, if they had a preseason poll to pick 1 through 12, we probably would have been picked 10, 11, or 12.
And so for us to be in the championship game, to go into overtime, I think that says a lot about the character of our kids and the toughness that we have.
We gotta get stronger. That's one of the things that we gotta do. We gotta get in the weight room. But we're young. When I watch other teams in warm ups, I'm like, whoa, they're physically stronger than we are.
So that doesn't mean we can't but that's also part of the youth. When you're not very old you haven't been in the weight room so much. Those are areas we can improve.
Q. Talk about you say how young you guys are. Talk about the leadership of Burke, of Hooper and Moore throughout this tournament today.
COACH YORI: Well, Kaitlyn's a great leader. She is as good a leader as we have in terms of her understanding of her role and understanding of others' roles and buying into our system, and she is a great behind the scenes leader for us.
And Lindsey does a really good job of leading by example. That's the kind of leader Lindsey is. She's going to go out and give everything she's got. And she's got phenomenal toughness.
And Jordan's a worker. We've got kids, our best players are hard workers. Anytime you have that, I think there's a lot of positives ahead for us.
Q. I know it's fast after a tough loss, but what case would you make to the NCAA Selection Committee and where do you think the Huskers should be placed?
COACH YORI: I don't know. I mean, I don't think I need to make a case. I think our resume speaks for itself. We've won a lot of games, a lot of games on the road.
So we'll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.