Wisconsin-Purdue Postgame Quotes
March 5, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll begin with opening comments from Coach Stone and then take questions for the student athletes.
COACH STONE: I'm very proud of this basketball team. They have an understanding of who we are. And we are a very, very strong defensive team that is committed to serving one another.
We love each other, and we do. We just do. That's how we play. We care a lot about each other. We're there for each other and I thought we made a statement defensively.
We wanted to make sure that Purdue played against a set defense every single time down the floor, and our players did a great job of executing that.
I also thought we did a really good job of limiting them to one shot. Rebounding was very, very good in the first half. They're a very good offensive rebounding team. And we did a nice job.
There's a little stretch in the second half I believe radio guy told me they were on a mini run, a 7 0 run. I remember at that time three offensive rebounds and one possession.
Outside of that, our players executed well together. They executed the game plan. My coaching staff did a great job on the scout.
And now it's time for us to rest and prepare for a very good Ohio State team tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Alyssa, Coach talked about how well you did defensively, but can you speak offensively and how you were able to get Purdue out of position to get the shots you guys got?
ALYSSA KAREL: Yeah, you know, I think the good thing about our offense, it's all about reading your defense, reading your cuts, reading what the defense is doing. I think that really keeps Purdue and any team we're playing on their toes when we're able to read our cuts well.
I think today we were flowing really well together. We were reading our teammates. We were reading our defense well. I think it just keeps teams guessing.
Q. Either one of the players, does it mean something extra to beat Purdue because of what Purdue has done for this tournament?
RAE LIN D'ALIE: I mean, no, they're just a team that we happened to get matched up in the first round. I thought we did a great job adjusting from the last time we played them.
Something that really sticks out here is zero transition baskets. That was huge and that was something that when we went there they got a lot of 3s and a lot of looks in the open court that really hurt us. We just got back and set our D, and I think that was definitely the game changer for us.
Q. Alyssa, there in the second half some big shots by many players, yourself, you had a few. Jamie off the bench, she knocked down a couple 3s at opportune times, kept the momentum going?
ALYSSA KAREL: I think you're talking about Taylor Wurtz. Taylor has she's been a tremendous offensive and defensive player for us this year coming in as a freshman.
And she has so much confidence in her shot and we have confidence in her. Whenever she gets an open shot we know she's going to take a good shot and knock it down. We're very confident in her.
Q. Rae Lin, how important do you think the start was in taking Purdue out of really anything they wanted to do and make them have to work from so far behind?
RAE LIN D'ALIE: The start, I think that was really important for us, especially. And we talk a lot about what we can do as a team.
And I'm just going to go back to transition D. For them not to be able to get in the open court, I felt that they were a little uncomfortable and our scout was amazing. We knew everything they were going to be running.
One of our assistants did an awesome job. And we understood that if we set our D it was going to be a different ball game from the last time we saw them.
As far as the offensive start goes, like Alyssa says, we were flowing. Everybody was sharing the ball. Everybody was touching the ball. We were just shooting with confidence.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. You talked about the defensive identity and that's been the case for two years, but over the last six games or so I think you're averaging more than 70 points. Do you think there's just a comfort zone with the new offense, or what do you attribute?
COACH STONE: I think what's happening, it's less about the offense, more about our players. You heard Alyssa, reading each other. I recall saying one time during a timeout that as an offensive player you're responsible for your defender. So if you're responsible for your defender and Purdue switched on on screens and you saw KK Houser guarding Lin Zastrow down the block and I have the ball and I can't see because Chelsea Jones is in my face, I have to find a way as an offensive player to get the ball to my teammate.
Then they brought the double. It sped us up. Disrupted us a little bit. But our players right now are flowing freely in a motion offense.
It's very hard to scout because it's not set. They're reading each other. And it goes back to my opening statement on how close this team is. It's on the court, off the court. They play team defense. They play team offense. You can look at I think a lot of people, and yourselves included, want to look at like your leading scorers, but I thought Lin Zastrow played some unbelievable moves today and big time moves on the baseline.
A couple she missed. I thought Teah Gant was remarkable handling the basketball when Rae Lin was in foul trouble. And Rae Lin's foul trouble might help us now because it cut her minutes down to 24. And then I just thought Jade Davis had a big day for us. And Taylor Wurtz comes to the Big Ten, gets two big 3s. And everybody got to play today. That collective unit transcends into offense.
But you're right, what's happening right now, we're getting high percentage shots. We're getting action toward the basket, whether it's off penetration or post touches. And we're taking pretty good care of the ball.
So I think it's a collective unit of one affecting the other in a positive way.
Q. I guess you kind of make it a point to kind of jam it into the post today on offense, with all the you guys have 34 points in the paint, 11 offensive rebounds.
COACH STONE: Definitely was part of the game plan. Get the ball inside. Their guard sped us up and turned us over the last time we played them there, and we wanted to make sure we were very tough with the basketball and we got the ball inside.
Our post players, and particularly Tara Steinbauer and Lin Zastrow, last year here in the Big Ten tournament, were very, very effective, whether it's against the Purdue zone or half court trap. We were able to work the short corner, high post and run some ball screen roll and high low looks, and it was very effective for us.
But definite emphasis was to get the ball inside.
Q. Just talk about how well you guys shot today. I know Versyp all week has talked about shooting well in the neutral court, talked about shooting over 50 percent?
COACH STONE: You've got to keep your team loose this time of year. You can overstress it. And all coaches, we cringe when there's a turnover, maybe a bad shot to lead the transition. Everybody on the floor needs to understand they're a threat and play with poise and confidence, and we talked about intensity, concentration and execution. Spells I-C-E. That was the word of the day.
And I thought we did that. We maintained our intensity from start to finish. We concentrated fairly well and we executed both offensively and defensively. That then helps relax. You're not going for eight, nine minutes without a basket. We got good shots. Shot selection was decent. The players understand they're all a threat and it just good defense turns to good offense.
Q. With the balance of the Big Ten with the record wins by many teams and all that, a comment on the seeds 1, 2, 3, 4, moving on?
COACH STONE: I don't know how you do seeding with as tight as this conference was this year. You would be second, third, maybe fourth in the league, and if you lost maybe five, six games ago you would be down to ninth. That's how tight it was. I think it says a lot about our conference.
There's great coaches. There's tremendous players, if you look at the All Freshman Team and freshmen in this league, this conference is on its way to great things, and I'm talking about this year and beyond. It's really, really exciting to be a part of this conference, because of who we are. The youth movement and the parity that has really started to be very, very visible.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: And we will begin by opening comments from Coach Versyp.
COACH VERSYP: I think Wisconsin obviously is one of the top three or four teams in the Big Ten. They've showed that they can defend. They can score.
For them to get in the NCAA and Lisa to be Coach of the Year, I think it's just fantastic. She's just an amazing job with the group and we wish them the best of luck obviously.
As for us, we didn't have it. They had it all and we haven't had it. And obviously we'll miss our three seniors dearly. And obviously I have two of them with me tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Fahkara, why were they so successful getting on top of you so early?
FAHKARA MALONE: Well, they just get it knocking down open shots and we were giving them open shots. We didn't disrupt their offense early or late in the game. They were getting whatever they wanted. So that is the biggest thing about them jumping on us early.
Q. Fahkara, they talked a lot about trying to slow you guys down in transition. Did you feel like they were able to do a pretty good job of slowing down you guys on the break a little bit, and then you had trouble getting them in the half court?
FAHKARA MALONE: It's not hard to stop transition if you're getting all the rebounds. And that's what they did. They controlled the rebounding the ball so we couldn't push it as much as we wanted to. The few times we did push it we were successful. But we didn't do it enough.
Q. Your program has won so much, and it's hard to say good bye. How much do you hope you still play? I guess there's a chance you could still play in the WNIT?
FAHKARA MALONE: I mean, as seniors we don't want it to be over. WNIT or anything, it's about going home, basically. We want to keep playing with this group as long as we possibly can.
Q. Jodi, Purdue's had such a history in this building, and you've had it, too. Is there any point in this game where you guys thought there was an opportunity to get back in the game?
JODI HOWELL: You think that throughout the game. You never give up. You keep fighting for it, and I think we went on a couple of runs there. But in the end we just gave up too much too early and they just picked us apart on defense.
Q. The fact that they shot so well just put a lot of pressure on you guys when you were on offense. Every time they go down, they take their 3s?
JODI HOWELL: Yeah, I mean, looking at the stat shot they shot 52 percent from the field and 48 percent for the second half. We just didn't hit our shots. And sometimes that's how the ball bounces. But nothing we can do about it now.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach.
Q. The fact that they were able to get in the lane, how much did that hurt you, hurt defensively?
COACH VERSYP: They got in the lane. They got down low. They just knocked down shots. I mean, they're playing great basketball. That's what you want to be doing right now.
I watched some of the games earlier. People weren't knocking down shots. And Wisconsin's in a rhythm. They're confident. All the players can put it on the floor and shoot.
Obviously, when you hit shots early, it's just contagious. But they were able to get inside/outside. And obviously anytime a team gets to the paint, it's going to hurt you.
Q. This would be an improper way to send these seniors out, and how much are you looking forward to perhaps getting a chance to continue playing this year?
COACH VERSYP: You know, I discussed in the locker room about the tradition and the pride of Purdue, and that these three have been a part of something very special, two Big Ten tournament championships, two Elite Eights. We've done some great things with them. You want to continue to play if you can. I think it's good for them.
And whether it's an NIT or not, if it can be, then you always can still have one team standing. Even though it's not the NCAA, I think it's a great tournament if you can get in there. And because of our youth, I think it's very important.
Q. Just how difficult was it to try and mount any kind of comeback getting behind like that, considering they were able to hit pretty much anything out there that they took, whenever you guys would pull it within 14 or 15?
COACH VERSYP: I mean, it's difficult. In tournament, it's very hard to get in a hole and try to pull it back. I think you saw that earlier, I think, with the Michigan/Northwestern game. Michigan came out was just lights out. They end up losing by 13 or 15.
It's difficult. But our kids kept trying. They kept they never gave up. Those are the big signs. But we couldn't put the ball in the basket. That's been our problem all year. And we don't have certain people shooting the basketball well. We're always going to struggle. We've got to get our legs back, hopefully, and see what happens in about eight days.
Q. I guess just kind of the way that Wisconsin rebounded in the first half and then you guys kind of made a comeback in the second half, felt like you guys won the second half, regardless of the score; is that a fair statement?
COACH VERSYP: Yeah, but we pretty much didn't do much in the first half. So at this stage you can't worry about winning halves. You've got to worry about winning the game. You've got to play a good 36 minutes. You can't just have one half or the other half. Again, I think their experience was huge. I think they stepped up and they've got some seniors and some great juniors. And I think they stepped up and nailed shots and they've been in tournament before. And they did some really good things.
Q. Do you think the youth showed at all in the first half when they came out and jumped off to a 15 2 run?
COACH VERSYP: No. We just didn't knock down shots. I mean, they were knocking down shots. We didn't get the ball to fall early, and I think that's been our story all year. So it wasn't any different today.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.