March 7, 2014
COACH YORI: Sure. Well, I thought, you know, our execution in the second half was really good. We made a lot of plays in the second half and down the stretch when the game got tight. You know, we had a number of players make plays. I thought obviously Jordan [Hooper] had a great game throughout the game, and Rachel [Theriot] was a big part of that. I told Rachel I don't know what's up with one turnover. I don't get it. I mean, what's the problem? But any way, she, you know, facilitated for us, but you know, Jordan was the recipient of a lot of them.
But also we had some other players make some plays down the stretch. [Tear'a] Laudermill, three; Emily [Cady]; Hailie [Sample] had a chance to have an and one. We just had some kids that did some things. We tried to take away their strengths on their offensive end, and I thought we did a really good job for the most part on [Rachel] Banham, and I thought we stuck with our game plan. It wasn't always perfect. They had some kids who made some shots, but at the same time I thought the fact that we were scoring on offense allowed us to continue to do what we were doing defensively.
Q. Jordan, it was a two point game and then you guys pulled away the last four, five minutes. What stands out in that last stretch to pull away?
JORDAN HOOPER: I would just say probably, like Coach said, T's big three and Em's big three, they kind of got the momentum swung, I guess. And then we made some stops on defense, and I think that was the biggest key.
Q. Rachel, sometimes players will talk about being in the zone as a shooter. Did you feel like you were in a zone as a passer tonight?
RACHEL THERIOT: Yeah, you could say that. I mean, just finding my teammates and knowing that they can hit open shots and stuff and make plays.
Q. Their center was in foul trouble obviously most of the game. Why was it not maybe possible to capitalize on that a little bit more than you were maybe hoping for I guess?
JORDAN HOOPER: Well, they have great posts that can pretty much interchange, [Micaëlla] Riché and [Amanda] Zahui. They do a really great job down low. So I don't think it really matters which one is on the floor. They're going to pick up where the other one left off. That's why there wasn't any letdown when she did leave. Riché is great. She did come off the bench this year a little bit more, but she's a really great player, so I think that's why there wasn't any letdown.
Q. Rachel, can you talk about, obviously the last game against Purdue did not go how you guys wanted. What does it mean to go out and get momentum kind of back on your side as far as executing and getting a win?
RACHEL THERIOT: I think it's just one game at a time. Obviously that game just happened, put it in the past and just keep getting better as a team. I think right now we're just getting back to how we play the Nebraska way.
Q. Jordan, what's it like out there offensively when you can keep things around what Rachel's passing and you know coming off the pick the ball is coming to you at the right spot?
JORDAN HOOPER: I think that means everything to everybody. We know we're going to get the ball at the right time in the right spot because Rachel knows exactly where everybody is going to be. She can find -- even if it's not your pass, she'll find the next person, and that's pretty cool.
Q. Looking at Rachel's game, what about Minnesota's defense and also what she was able to do tonight, she's also had high assist games in the past, but tonight what enabled that? Was there a trend you were seeing with a lot of her assists?
COACH YORI: We actually didn't run as much ball screen stuff tonight as we kind of thought going into the game, but Jordan had it going we tried to take advantage of some other things. Rachel, that's been Rachel all year. I mean, 18 is obviously a little unusual. But you know, she's had a lot of games where she's had nine, 10, 11 assists this year. So she just you know, she's good in a lot of ways. She just really dissects defense.
Q. Coach, what was kind of the game plan to limit [Rachel] Banham, especially in the second half? I think she only had four of her 12.
COACH YORI: Well, I think Hailie [Sample] did a good job on her. You know, she's a tough cover. You know, we tried to take her strengths away. And I thought Hailie really kind of locked in on that. And I think two of the baskets that she scored was when someone else was on her, and in fact, maybe three. But you know, we just tried to take away her strengths. And you know, she's a really good three point shooter and she likes to use her right hand. And we tried to take advantage of those things. Hailie was very disciplined in what she was doing. We also played some good team defense. They set ball screens forward. You got to be able to defend those. We have a decent match up for her.
Q. When the player is hot shooting, you call plays for them to get open. With Rachel the way she's passing, do you have specific plays that you know she's going to get loose to pass it, or is that just the basic offense you're running?
COACH YORI: A lot of stuff goes through Rachel. Not all of it, but she gets her chances to be the facilitator in a lot of the things that we do.
Q. Looking ahead to tomorrow, what are one or two key things you have to do tomorrow to win again?
COACH YORI: Well, Michigan State is very physical. And you know, that's not necessarily our forte, and we're not a very big team. So we've got to figure out ways to guard their interior game and at the same time, you know, do a good job on their perimeter game. And what makes them tough is that they have a good inside outside game, and we've got to find a way to guard that. And you know, but we have, you know, at times found different ways to do that. But we're going to get back to the drawing board and get back to our banquet room and watch some film.
I do want to comment that I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament, and I think they've had a great year. They've had a great February. They've played well down the stretch. They got a win yesterday in the tournament, and I think you know, with the strength of our league and their RPI, I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.
COACH BORTON: I was really proud of our players for really battling tonight for the entire game. I thought we played a great 35 minutes. It felt like down the stretch the last six minutes of the game, you know, we missed the wide open lay up, we were down four, we missed a wide open lay up underneath, which would have cut it two, and I felt like it really affected our defense from there. We never got closer than that after missing that lay up.
I was really proud of our players for battling tonight, and got to give a lot of credit to Nebraska for putting a great game plan together.
Q. Stabresa, just kind of talk about your mindset coming off the bench and being able to do what you did tonight.
STABRESA McDANIEL: I just have to play with confidence. My team and coaches gave me a lot of that. We can't always depend on Rachel [Banham] and Amanda [Zahui B.] to do all the scoring, and they were playing awesome so I just drove off them and tried to attack and create others for my teammates.
Q. Rachel, just kind of talk about what they were doing to kind of limit you on your looks and what you're able to do tonight?
RACHEL BANHAM: Hailie Sample did a good job of face guarding me and playing over the screen. So even if I popped there, it wasn't very open. They did a good job of plugging the lane when I put the ball down. So they did a good job.
Q. Got to be happy with that bench play, 25 points, I mean, from -- history is you've got a couple of scores, but it must have been nice to see that effort from them.
COACH BORTON: It really was, you know, and Mikayla Bailey and Stabresa McDaniel have been out a lot of the season with injuries, and I feel like those two are playing their best basketball this time of the year. They're kind of getting in the flow. They're getting some confidence, and I thought Mikayla and Stabresa did a great job for us. I thought Micaëlla Riché did a good job coming off the bench and giving us some good minutes and giving us some offense when Amanda [Zahui] was on the bench, but I thought our bench played very well tonight.
Q. Pam, Connie said that she felt that your team deserved to be in the NCAA based on the strength of the schedule. Last night you said you felt you should be in. But tonight, have your thoughts changed in any way?
COACH BORTON: Absolutely not. I think we're a team that's got 20 wins. We're in the Big Ten. We're .500 in the league after the tournament here, and you know, we've won -- we've had a great February and a strong run here towards the end of the season.
Q. Obviously I mean, with Amanda's second score for the team, how detrimental was it tonight for them, early foul trouble and they keep her on the bench as long as she was?
COACH BORTON: Well, you know, I give a lot of credit to the rest of our team. We were in the game the entire game until the last six minutes. I thought Micaëlla Riché did a great job coming in and really filling a role and scoring for us inside and just really played smart defensively. I thought it really took Amanda really out of the flow of her game. She came in the game and scored a couple of baskets, but she didn't defend very well. She gave up a lot of points off of ball screen defense, didn't plug the lane like she was supposed to. I really thought Amanda really got her out of the flow, and I thought she really hurt us defensively tonight.
But she's got to play smarter, and I thought her second foul that she picked up was 94 feet from the basket going over somebody's back. Just got to play smarter so she can stay in the game.
Q. Do you think with her being a freshman some of the pressures of being in the Big Ten on this stage, she had I think three or four travel calls yesterday, a couple more today, some turnovers, not catching the pass down low, do you think some of that pressure is getting to her as a freshman?
COACH BORTON: I don't think it's pressure for Amanda. I think she handles things extremely well. I think she's mature beyond her years. I think she is a freshman. I think a lot of times she'll do things, she'll miss a pass, she'll travel, she'll miss an assignment defensively. This is a big game against a great team in the Big Ten, and Amanda has been consistent for us all year long, and she's going to make mistakes. You know, I think we can live with those. She needs to clean up her footwork inside. You know, sometimes she plays like a freshman, but 95 percent of the year she has not.
Q. Talk about Bre's [Stabresa McDaniel] game tonight. I mean, two games in a row she came in and gave some very positive things. She's also a freshman. Talk about her play tonight.
COACH BORTON: Well, I think Bre is just getting more confident as the season goes on and you know, she's only been back for you know, five or six games from a concussion and she's been out with a hamstring and she's been out with a lot of different things throughout the year. I think she's playing her best basketball this time of the year and she's getting better and better each and every day and more confident.
Q. I think the score was tied at 52, and it almost seems like you guys hit a wall. You talked a little bit yesterday about fatigue. Do you think there was fatigue coming in to that later part of the game?
COACH BORTON: You know what, I thought our kids looked a little more tired at the beginning of the game than they did at the end. I thought our kids looked great tonight. Their shots weren't short. They were running the floor. They were defending. Nebraska has got a motion offense that makes you run all over the place. I thought our kids looked great. I thought they came down and hit three huge shots. We were in their face. [Jordan] Hooper hit two over the top of us. Emily [Cady] hit one over the top of Mikayla [Bailey] when it was 52 to 52 and they went up six immediately. But I thought we battled back and tightened the score and cut it to a one possession game with about six minutes to go.