March 5, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by the University of Iowa. And, Coach, we will go to you for an opening statement, then we'll take questions for the student athletes.
COACH BLUDER: This is an important win for us. You know, Penn State had swept us during the year, and we really felt we were playing a much better brand of basketball now than we were six, seven weeks ago.
We had to play them within a two week span. And so we thought we had an opportunity coming into this game, that we were playing better. And we've earned it in the last 12 games. And it was probably one of the more unusual games I've been a part of with Kachine Alexander getting into foul trouble so early. She hasn't fouled out in over a year. For her to foul out was pretty significant for our team.
But you know what, it's a good thing it happened and we won, because it showed our team we can win without her, and we can win without her rebounding, even outrebounded Penn State without our best rebounder.
Kelly Krei, I thought, did a tremendous job especially in the first half hitting those 3s. Obviously our balanced scoring was tremendous. Tyra Grant is an absolutely amazing player. She's just an incredibly tough player to defend. I don't know if you would call that we defended her, but we tried. And I'm proud of our team effort. We have five people in double figures. That's harder to stop.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Jamie, as a freshman coming in, first of all did the veteran players talk to the freshmen about what it's like to play here? And, secondly, was it more nervous for you than a regular game?
JAIME PRINTY: Yeah, they talked to us a lot about it, actually, just explained that it's so much fun. It's just a different environment. But I don't think us freshmen were nervous at all. We were just more excited to get here and get going.
Q. Kelly, when you saw Kachine go to the bench, did you know you had (indiscernible) you just take advantage of your opportunity?
KELLY KREI: I saw her go to the bench and I thought, well, I'll take a couple of shots for her, and it worked out.
Q. Along those lines, Kelly, was it tough before the game? I think you were misidentified coming out of the announcements. Did you feel kind of Rodney Dangerfield like?
KELLY KREI: It was just something that happened there. I'm not quite sure. It was funny. I got introduced twice. But, I mean, you've got to put those things behind you, and I think we did a nice job of that.
Q. Kelly, so they introduced you twice, you go out for a career high. This is pretty good.
KELLY KREI: Yeah.
Q. Get something in for having to introduce you twice next game, too, I guess?
KELLY KREI: I'll just have to carry that confidence into the next game. They're probably not going to do that again. I'm just going to have to pretend like they did, go out there and play.
Q. Jaime, playing your first Big Ten game and seeing all those fans behind you, helped motivate you throughout the game and just the fan support, how did the fan support kind of help you, I guess?
JAIME PRINTY: I absolutely love our fans. They help us so much. When we go on a run they're right there cheering. When the other team goes on a run they're cheering for us. So I think they're a lot of help.
Q. Jaime, what did you guys talk about at halftime and what did you guys do differently coming out of the half?
JAIME PRINTY: Actually, Kachine came in and was a great leader like usual and got us to huddle up. We talked about how we didn't play the best basketball in the first half but we were still only down by 2.
We just needed to come out the second half and play as a team and play stronger and get that energy back. And I think that's what we did.
Q. Was Kachine irritable at all at halftime?
JAIME PRINTY: No, she was really positive and ready to go and play. She was excited to go back out there.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, looking at Kelly's numbers, 40 percent shooting from the 3 point range but averages eight points a game. So a career high 20. I mean, she can shoot, I just take it it was the way the team goes, it's not that she's called upon to do it as much.
COACH BLUDER: She's a phenomenal shooter I think from 3 point range. It's effortless for her. She's just not greedy enough. You know, we've got a lot of good shooters on our team. Kelly has the personality she'll defer to somebody else unless called upon.
And I think she recognized that she was called upon in the first half, and she just took advantage that they weren't really playing her that hard.
Q. Let's go back to halftime again with Alexander on the bench, you were only down by 2. Talk about your mindset coming out there, and the team's, because at one point all these kids are pretty young. Talk about how you had to do the confidence and get your team back into this?
COACH BLUDER: We had all freshmen and sophomores on the floor for the majority of that first half. But we went into the halftime and we were excited. We were like we felt like we'd won that first half because without our best rebounder, without our best defensive player we're only down two points.
I thought Jaime Printy's 3 going into halftime was big, a nice momentum boost for us. But we were feeling very good where we were sitting without having Kachine.
Q. I know how you feel about free throws, can you talk about going 21, 22 at the line?
COACH BLUDER: I loved that we put the free throws down. We shot the ball as a whole much better in the second half. In the first half without Kachine we were a bit out of sync, didn't run our offense as crisply in the first half. In the second half we got nice cuts and back doors and we shot the ball better in the second half, especially free throw line, obviously 14 for 14.
Q. Can you talk about the difference, not only the scoring that Kach brought being back on the floor in the second half, but it seemed to change the attitude and the mood of the team, can you talk about that?
COACH BLUDER: She's the heart, the soul of our basketball team. And she leads with such emotion. And a couple times the officials had to calm her down. That's all right. That's Kachine. That's the way she's played all year. It's not just for that minute. That's the way she is all the time. She's trying to get her teammates excited and get them pumped.
And it's genuine. And it's just that she has so much love for the game. So I love that emotion. And we didn't tell her to back off either.
Q. You took her out with four minutes into the game, were you tempted to bring her back in or did you decide then that she was going to probably fit until half?
COACH BLUDER: We talked about it as a staff, if we can hang in there without her, let's not put her in there. We put five, six points in our minds and they did get up five, but it was so close at that time to the halftime, if they would have gotten up much more we would have put her back in.
Q. Doesn't get a lot of minutes, but Gabby Machado doesn't seem like the same player she was earlier in the year. Could you talk about how much you think she's developed?
COACH BLUDER: There's no doubt she played very well tonight. She had double figures. I think it might be a career high for her. I'm not 100 percent sure on that.
But I thought she had great moves on the basket today. She's quicker. She's deceiving quick with her first step. And she's just I think she's really playing a lot more confident right now.
And I heard her she even went over to our gym, our fieldhouse that's close to where the kids live, and got some extra work in during the week. It's pretty neat when you've got a freshman taking the effort to go to another gym to get some extra work on during the week.
I agree, I think she's playing much calmer. Not so much in a rush but taking her time. She had a lot of trouble with turnovers earlier in the year because she was rushing things. She's worked hard with Coach Jensen on her footwork.
Q. Coach, on the conference call you said you thought you might need one to get in, get into the NCAAs. You got one?
COACH BLUDER: We need one more.
Q. How much would two cement that to get to maybe 19 wins?
COACH BLUDER: You know, I think that this was an important victory for us to get into the NCAA tournament. But I'm not I don't want to leave it to somebody else's hands if it can be in our hands. So why not just go ahead and win another one.
And that will be our philosophy going into this game is just one at a time and try to get as many as we can to make a good statement to the NCAA selection committee.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
Penn State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: We'll go directly to questions for the student athletes. So raise your hand and we'll get a microphone to you.
Q. Tyra, how is this Iowa team different than the one you played back in January?
TYRA GRANT: They're a very competitive team. They had a bye. So they had fresher legs than we were able to have. They hit some open 3s. We just didn't execute our defensive game plan as well as we should have coming into the second half.
But I think we played fairly well against them in the first half. Just maybe the fatigue took a to on us, our legs going into the second half.
Q. Alex, you played in here the state finals a few times in your life. Coming in here you had to have a good sense of the facility and how to shoot. Did it help your confidence? Because you had a pretty good shooting day.
ALEX BENTLEY: I think it did help my confidence a little bit being familiar with the court and familiar with the rims. So I think it was an advantage.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions now for Coach Washington.
Q. Coach, you just seem like you were looking for a third shooter all day. And it never happened. You had a lot of people shooting the ball. Talk about how important it was in the sense of this game to have had that third shooter and how that affected the outcome of this game?
COACH WASHINGTON: I think it's always better when you're a little more balanced in your offensive attack. We certainly were yesterday a little bit more balanced than we were today. And certainly I think that would have helped our fortunes had we had a third scorer out there.
But I think, I mean, we scored 75 points. It's not so much what we did or did not do offensively as we just gave them too many points. We didn't defend as well as the second half as we did the first half. We gave them too many open 3s. And put them to the free throw line too much.
So I think it's more a function of us not executing defensively more so than offensively.
Q. Coach, when Iowa has a number of different scorers, how hard is it to keep track of a player like Kelly Krei?
COACH WASHINGTON: Well, you know, Iowa's a tough team. They've got shooters that can also put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. That's what makes them really, really tough is you have to get out and guard them and then they'll put the ball on the floor and go by you. And they did that to perfection the second half. We struggled to guard them in either man or zone.
And I think they got into a rhythm. They got into a flow offensively. Their confidence was high. And when your confidence gets high, everybody can make shots. Everybody can make plays. And it kind of had that effect for them. They had their key people, Wahlin and Printy made some plays and Alexander made some plays, and I think that gave their entire team confidence offensively that they could make plays.
Q. Tyra Grant, best I've seen her play in two years was today. Talk about how her on the floor talking to her teammates, keeping her everybody involved, the best defense I've seen her play in a long time today, talk about how important she has been to this program and has been for the last four years?
COACH WASHINGTON: Her compassion and her competitiveness have been top notch. And she did her best to will us to victory today. She would not go down quietly, and she constantly tried to pull her teammates along with us or with her, I should say.
Her impact on this program is incredible. She's going to go down in history as one of the statistically one of the top five players to ever wear a Lady Lion uniform. That's saying a lot because there's been a lot of great players that have come through this program.
So I'm just really thrilled that I've had the opportunity to coach her and I'm not surprised that she would have one of her best performances ever when the stakes were highest for her.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.