March 7, 2013
COACH BLUDER: Very happy to come in here and get this win today. Puts us at 20 wins for the year. And I thought we did another good job defensively.
I think we played several very good defensive games in a row. Got to the free throw line; that was good. But I thought Sam [Logic] and Morgan [Johnson] did a great job for us on the boards.
And we're very happy to get this win today and to move on to tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Morgan, it seems like everywhere you went today, you were able to establish yourself inside and be able to pop it outside. So how do you think your versatility in your offensive game today really led to the team's success, because it seems like you were everywhere.
MORGAN JOHNSON: I think we did a good job calling plays and where I wasn't always on the block or I wasn't always in the short corner, just continuing motion, really helped to open me up.
And my teammates did a great job just finding me and getting me those open shots.
Q. Playing an opponent twice in that short of a span, how difficult is it to prepare for the same team again, or is it difficult at all?
MORGAN JOHNSON: I think it was extremely difficult. We had to change some of the things. We couldn't just keep the same thing. And we also had to be mentally prepared to get up for a team two times in a row. I think Coach did a good job telling us it was going to be a hard game and we had to come in here with all of our focus because they're a good team.
Q. Jaime, can you talk about the physical play out there and the way you guys were able to get a lot of loose balls?
JAIME PRINTY: Yeah, definitely a physical game, both teams were diving for loose balls and we really stressed in our huddle we wanted to get the hustle plays. But I think we also did a good job staying composed at the same time, of getting those hustle plays. So definitely a physical game.
Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow night you've got Nebraska. Talk about that a little bit.
JAIME PRINTY: I think now that we got this one out of the way we're really looking forward to playing Nebraska. We haven't beaten them yet, and I think it's going to be a great opportunity. So we're going to enjoy this one for a little bit. Like
Coach Bluder, said go over the scouting report and get ready to go tomorrow. We know it's going to be a tough game.
MORGAN JOHNSON: Like Jaime said, we haven't beat them, and I think it's easy to get up for a team you haven't beat. So just continue to keep our composure and focusing on the scouting report, come out prepared for anything.
Q. This is the first time that the Big Ten Tournament has ever been held here at the
Sears Centre. Do you think it makes it easier on you having to travel less distance as opposed to going to Indianapolis and being able to save up a lot of energy in terms of travel time in order to bring it out on the court?
JAIME PRINTY: Well, I guess so. We usually fly to Indianapolis, though. So we drove here, which was fine. We all like bus trips and have fun together.
But I think we were excited that it was here and had a new place, because we never have been here and we get to start something new. So we were looking forward to it.
Q. Jaime, you guys had quite a few turnovers, especially in the first half. And I guess was that just a product of how physical the game was, or was there something that Northwestern was maybe doing a little differently to cause that much trouble?
JAIME PRINTY: They were being physical, but at the same time it's kind of our fault. We need to take care of the ball a little better. And Coach Bluder stressed it at halftime, being composed and being strong with the ball because they're a physical team and I think we did a much better job in the second half.
Q. You guys got into the bonus early in the second half. How important was that for you guys to get to the line?
JAIME PRINTY: Definitely very important. We are a pretty good free throw shooting team, so we like to take advantage of that. When we realized that we were in the bonus, we attacked the rim a little bit and tried to draw a couple fouls because those are some easy points for us.
Q. You started play at 11:30 in the morning, which is a lot earlier than you're used to. Does that affect at all how you prepare?
MORGAN JOHNSON: Yeah, we didn't get our opportunity to come in and do our shootaround like we normally do. So we had a breakfast in the morning, and we just kind of -- I think we did a good job just continuing what we can do and keeping our consistency with everything else, our same pregame meal time and everything else.
So just knowing that was something that we and Northwestern didn't have the opportunity to do.
JAIME PRINTY: I was going to say we also practiced around that time so that kind of helped because we have to get mentally prepared for practice, just like a game. So that helped.
Q. Morgan, you guys really cleaned up on the glass for much of the game today. And I guess what was maybe a key for you guys to be able to have that advantage on the glass, because you had nine, Sam came in and had
11. I guess what was kind of enabling you guys to have that sort of success?
MORGAN JOHNSON: I think in practice this whole entire week we've been -- or two days, we've been focusing on getting those rebounds and knowing that they got -- they outrebounded us last time or we only outrebounded them by a little
last time. Knowing they're a good boarding team
and coming in with that mindset that we have to get every single board, and we just did an overall good job being scrappy in general and that included the boards.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. I haven't seen the final stats but when you look at the hustle type plays the steals, the blocks, seems like you guys had a lot of them.
COACH BLUDER: I thought we did have a lot of hustle plays. Northwestern has more steals than we do. But on the floor for loose balls, and we talked about that as a point of emphasis that we need to be tough. We need to be tough with the ball playing against a team like Northwestern who I think is physical.
You know, you can't back down to physical. And you've got to get on the floor for those loose balls. And I thought we did a nice job with that.
Q. I wanted to ask you, Northwestern had one less big because I think Popovec was out today, and you were wearing them down. And you were up 15 with about three something to go, and I think that's when you pulled Morgan. And then they cut it to five. Were you about ready to send her back in. Five or six, maybe it was six. I was thinking it was six.
COACH BLUDER: You know, I don't feel like we did. I feel like there's no rule we can't put Morgan back in the game if we have to. And we have another game tomorrow. And so we have to
be concerned about that. I wish we would have maybe done a few of the things with our reserves at the end. But I'm not wanting to change that situation.
I'm glad our reserves got in and had an opportunity to play on this floor and had an opportunity to be in this game today.
Q. Lisa, you get Nebraska tomorrow for the third time in a little over three weeks. First of all, people talk about playing two teams in a short time. You play them three times. Does that affect -- and secondly, what do you have to do differently to get, to beat them this time?
COACH BLUDER: You know, I don't really think there's any big advantage or disadvantage to playing a team rapidly. You know, for us coaches, it's a little less scouting. So it's a little less work sometimes.
For the players, they know the teams a little bit better. But again it's for each other, so it's a wash in my opinion.
For them, you know, they've beaten us twice. So they probably have a little more confidence coming into this game. For us we had that revenge factor. So again, I don't know that I make any big deal about playing teams in close succession. I guess, to me, I'd rather know a team and I feel like I know them better when I play them closer together.
Q. Samantha Logic had 11 rebounds today. That's phenomenal for a guard of her size. How important do you think it is to be able to have guards who can really get on the glass and not just get the defensive rebounds, but really clean up on the offensive glass? That creates a lot of second chance opportunities, which you converted on it countless times today.
COACH BLUDER: She's such a versatile point guard. And she does so many things for us on the floor that sometimes point guards don't do.
Now, Northwestern has a pretty versatile guard in Karly [Roser], and she's able to crash really well also.
But Sam's been like that forever. I mean, sometimes her and Morgan get in little competitive games as to who can get the most rebounds.
But it's pretty unusual, I think, when you have a point guard that leads your team in rebounds at times. But she's so physically strong and she's so smart, and she loves it. She loves getting those rebounds. And so it makes my job a lot easier.
COACH McKEOWN: I asked my four seniors to come up here and have an opportunity to celebrate, in all honesty, because they took a chance on me and Northwestern and a new program when they came in. And I'm just really proud of them.
They're the winningest class at Northwestern I think since the early '90s. And came to a program that had averaged two or three wins a year, and they've averaged 16 or 17 wins a year in their careers.
It's not about the numbers; it's more about what they've done for the program, commitment. Their blood is all over Welsh Ryan Arena and the Sears Centre too.
For Kate Popovec, got hurt Sunday in the game against Iowa, just outstanding captain, leadership that she's brought to us.
For Inesha Hale, who fought all year to overcome injury and had to have surgery, tried to come back in February, and just really proud of those two.
For Dannielle and Kendall, you saw tonight. We honored them on Senior Day for their careers. And just amazing what everybody at the
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Dannielle, can you go through that game and how you thought it went for you guys?
DANNIELLE DIAMANT: Like Coach said, it's a really hard-fought game. I think we left it all out on the court. And we just couldn't make enough plays to pull off the win.
Q. Seemed like today Iowa was really establishing themselves on the glass, not just for the forwards the guards. Can you go through the process of how you were really thinking about going stopping -- Dannielle, you had it great on the glass, but they seemed to outboard today.
DANNIELLE DIAMANT: I mean, was something that we've worked on all year, really, rebounding and boxing out and stuff. So, I mean, they did a great job crashing the boards. I mean, Sam Logic, she's the offensive leading rebounder as a guard, and I think she really proved that tonight.
Q. Dannielle or Kendall, could you talk about preparing for this game. A team you saw four days ago, especially with Kate being out, how difficult was the preparation?
KENDALL HACKNEY: It's always tough to play the same team in the same week. Iowa is a tough team. On Sunday [Melissa] Dixon got hot again. Twenty-one points in our game. We really focused on stopping her, and we did, but we let the post play kind of field their team today. And the rebounding, like we said, I mean, we felt pretty confident coming in.
We beat them early in the season in a great game, both ends. Iowa battled hard. It was a great game to be a part of. And a little bit of a heartbreaker for us and especially on senior day, but we just tried to fight hard and do the best we can.
We wanted to leave it on the floor today and do the best that we could because -- I mean, it's really all you can ask for.
Q. Turnovers affected you guys early and then again in the second half. Can you guys talk about how that might have slowed you guys down to start the game?
INESHA HALE: I guess turnovers has affected us, but we really just wanted to minimize that. That was part of our game plan and just really try to take care of the ball the best we could.
But today, and even Sunday's game, it really hurt us. But we just tried to really just get a hold of it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. There's a sequence in the second half, you got down four. Karly [Roser] got a break, and she was heading down the court. She was looking to see if there was a defender behind. Instead of finishing at the hoop, she stopped, she tried a jump shot. She stopped. She went down hard, and then Iowa came back made a transition three. So that was a five-point swing there. Do you think that was a key moment in the game in terms of changing it from what could have been a one-possession game to what was then a three-possession game?
COACH McKEOWN: I don't know if that -- it certainly played into it in the second half. But there's a lot of other plays that probably affected us not being able to score when we had to score at the right time.
But what hurts you when you have opportunities like that in transition, which we didn't get a lot of, to not score and then for them to get a three at the other end, that really hurt. We were playing from behind.
But I was really proud of our team.
Q. Maggie [Lyon] had a slow start. She missed her first seven shots. What was Iowa doing that kind of like --
COACH McKEOWN: You know, the game we beat Iowa couple of weeks ago in Iowa, you know, Maggie played great. Melissa Dixon had 21 points.
So we did a great job of shutting her down. And Iowa I think focused on shutting Maggie Lyon down, too, and took people off of other people to help on her.
And I think it's been a great growth experience for her, to learn how to play off the ball and when people are really focused on trying to stop you. But what an incredible year she's had.
Q. Coach, Karly [Roser's] a great player, but like her outside shot keeps defenders off her, are you going to work with her to get her offside shooting better? And if she does get that better, how even more of a better guard would she be?
COACH McKEOWN: Well, she's had a great year. And you see the growth between -- from last year to this year, and she's had to play probably too many minutes. And I think we've addressed some of those issues in recruiting.
But obviously, our goal in the postseason workouts will be to develop her at the three-point line and make her a threat from there. If that happens -- which I think it will happen because she's a great, great work ethic and passionate.
I think that's a challenge that we'll take on for the next six months.
And we have a saying great players are made April through October and great teams are made November to March. And I think this becomes a time for her. That's a great question.
Q. Coach, with Lauren [Douglas] in foul trouble today, you really forced Alex Cohen on the floor a lot. She stepped up big and really showed her progression throughout the entire Big Ten season. What role will she have to play next year without Kendall [Hackney] and Dannielle [Diamant]?
COACH McKEOWN: I was proud of her today and going back to where I thought she started in the Big Ten to have an impact. We beat Illinois down there, she had 12 points, 12 rebounds. I think that got her going.
And we played all year with two freshmen and two sophomores and two seniors. So I think going into next year, she'll have some confidence coming off of especially the Big Ten and what she's done.
Like you said, even today, where she was aggressive. And she's got a lot of work to do. But I was proud of her today.
Q. Bouncing off that, Lauren [Douglas] had -- when she was out there, she played great defense. Can you talk about how not having her the whole game --
COACH McKEOWN: You know, I mean, I'll kind of give you the big picture of this. And she's had an incredible year, too. We took a post player and made her into a shooting guard all year. And the growth that we see in her I thought was incredible. And not having her on the floor during that stretch in the second half probably hurt us.
And who knows, maybe might have changed the outcome today. But I think the future with her is really the sky's the limit and great kid, just really excited about her. But we missed her out there, missed her ability to score too at times.