March 8, 2013
COACH BLUDER: Congratulate Nebraska on a very strongly, good played, well played game. They are playing very well, and we wish them the best in the tournament.
Q. Theairra, what were they doing out there defensively today?
THEAIRRA TAYLOR: They were dragging off me the whole game, clogged me up the middle. So pretty much that's what we were supposed to do, because we couldn't get inside because the shooters left me open.
Q. If either of you could talk about the impact that Jordan [Hooper] had, she's pretty much everywhere.
MELISSA DIXON: Jordan Hooper is a great player. She got started by getting a lot of rebounds and I thought she started getting her points, so we had a tough time stopping her today.
THEAIRRA TAYLOR: Yeah, she's a great player. She's coming off a lot of screens and we were just a second too late and she could get her shot off really quick.
Q. Talk about their rebounding, I know Coach was telling you to box out, what were they doing or able to get some of the contact on you guys?
MELISSA DIXON: We struggled with making contact right away, so they were not making over the back calls. So I thought we struggled with making contact on the box out.
THEAIRRA TAYLOR: Our box outs were just non existent, effort wasn't there. And Coach told us throughout the game, box out, box out, but we never made a change.
Q. Talk about the rebounding differential and how it hurt you early.
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I thought that was the thing that really got Jordan Hooper going. I thought the beginning of the game, that's what got her started offensively was going to the glass and getting the easy put backs, and then you get your confidence at that point.
So we are disappointed in our rebounding. They got 18 points, second chance points, that's a whole bunch and a lot of high-percentage shots, and those are paint shots. The paint points we gave up today were atrocious. You can't give up 38 paint points. That's too high a percentage of shots.
Q. Seemed like their strategy was to clog up the middle and get Morgan involved.
COACH BLUDER: Morgan is coming off a good game yesterday and Nebraska does a good job of help side defense. When Morgan did get the ball, she usually had about three people around her. You know, you need other people to pick it up, because if they take one thing away, they are giving another thing, another opportunity to you, and we didn't take advantage of the other opportunities.
Q. They say sometimes familiarity breeds contempt: Three games in a month against Nebraska, seems like it was very intense, a little chippy maybe at the end, is that just the result of so many match ups in such a short span of time against that team?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, and I think it's also the way the officials called it. They didn't call much early. When you don't call much early, games get physical.
Q. Early on, maybe a couple minutes left in the first half, it was a really tight game and everything just kind of went downhill from there. I guess what did Nebraska change to have so much success there the last couple of minutes the first half and beyond?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I'm having a hard time remembering now what they changed differently. I thought, you know, again, the offensive rebounds is what really got them going in my opinion. But that was earlier than that point. I can't remember every call to tell you what they did differently at that point.
Q. You didn't shoot a free throw until late in the game. Was that frustrating, it looked like at times that the players were getting frustrated and they were not getting the calls.
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, and I think we were getting frustrated. We got frustrated with the officials and it affected our game. It's too bad, because we all know, you can't crow the officials. You can't control the uncontrollable.
But yeah, you go to the locker room and you see Nebraska with two fouls in the whole 20 minutes. I mean, nobody is that clean; nobody is that clean in warmups. You can't be that clean in a game, there's no way.
Q. [Samantha] Logic had played every minute of this tournament up until her injury, is she all right and what can you say about the way she's played over the two days?
COACH BLUDER: She battled hard. You know, she probably battled a little too hard today, and made a few mistakes. Didn't shoot the ball as well as she's capable of.
But again, it's not lack of will or lack of effort by any means. But she'll be fine. I mean, you know, she's cut, she's bleeding but she will be fine, and we have a couple weeks left.
Q. With 20 wins, did you do enough in your mind to be in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH BLUDER: Absolutely. We have 20 wins; we have a 30 RPI, we have a strength of schedule of 20. In my opinion we are not even a bubble team in my opinion.
Q. I guess Sam started out the game really hot, had six points really early and was 3 for 4 and then went 0 for 9 the rest of the game. Was there anything that changed defensively that locked her down or shots were not falling?
COACH BLUDER: Nebraska is a good defensive team. Obviously she got their attention early and drew their attention defensively, but I do think that she made some tougher shots early, and sometimes when you make tough shots, you kind of think, okay, I'm going to keep shooting the ball.
Sometimes that's not a good thing. She made some tough shots early and then, yeah, struggled after that offensively for us.
Q. Do you think Sam at times ever thinks she has to become more of a scorer to become maybe recognized in the league, in addition to all of the other things she does?
COACH BLUDER: I've asked her to become more of a scorer, so it's not Sam's fault, at all. I've asked her to become more offensive minded and it's not to be recognized in this league. It's to make our team win.
I think we are better when we are balanced in scoring, and I think often times Sam looks for the assist more than the score. And I praise assists, I love assists, but I also want you know, if she has a good shot, I want her to take it.
Q. You guys did really well early on defensively, you were getting contested shots and they would miss it and get the offensive rebound, and as the game wore on they started to get a lot more wide open looks, what was happening there? Was it just frustration mounting up, fatigue or what was going on there?
COACH BLUDER: I imagine it was a little bit of frustration. I felt like our zone movements weren't very good. Especially to begin the second half, and that was unfortunate.
I think they got open, very good open looks in the second half, and you know, we need to be aware of shooters and we need to be where Hooper is and be aware of when to pass and close out with hands up.
Q. And then right before halftime, how much of a change was it for the team's dynamic going into the locker room after that 3 with like five seconds to go?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, that was a momentum definitely momentum for them. We were suddenly down 10. It sounds a lot worse and it looks a lot worse. Definitely having the momentum going into the locker room at halftime is an asset for a team.