March 8, 2014
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student athletes.
COACH YORI: It was a great team win on our part. We scored 86 points and Jordan only scored 15 of them. That means that we have a lot of contribution from others. The stretch that we had with Jordan on the bench in the first half was, I'm thinking as that's going on, I'm thinking that's what we're going to have next year and with a few more contributors coming in.
But we got contributions out of a lot of kids in that stretch when Jordan had two fouls. And as a coach you think, well should I put her back in, but we didn't need to, because the fact that our kids played so well.
So Rachel has been, yeah she's been iron woman for us and has just been consistent, really throughout the year. And Allie came in and gave us a really big lead in the first half and then Tear'a got going and she had that look in her eye. So really good team win and our defense was great. Our kids were really smart and they followed the game plan and executed it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Rachel, in the first half when you pulled away and opened the big lead, what led you to being able to pull away like that.
RACHEL THERIOT: Obviously, just coming from, I think it started with our defense, obviously, getting stops. And then everyone was making big plays for us and hitting shots. So everything was just rolling our way and I think we executed well.
Q. Can you discuss the year you've had and how your confidence has grown. To be able to put up a performance like that today?
ALLIE HAVERS: It's been a fun year and it's been really great talking about the stuff that goes into the game and stuff like that, so that's where it came from.
Q. Does it mean more to do this against Michigan State?
ALLIE HAVERS: It feels good, like, playing against Michigan State, but against anybody it would be good.
Q. Rachel, last night you obviously set the single game record for assists, it seemed like early in the game you were looking to score yourself, was there something you saw defensively that led to that?
RACHEL THERIOT: I just took what they gave me and sometimes it's me finding the open person and I'm also happy to take my own shot. I just read what they give.
Q. Rachel, can you talk about what it means to make it to the Big Ten championship game and kind of your thoughts on that.
RACHEL THERIOT: These past two years most of my experiences these past two years we have been competing for it and we have always been close, but haven't got it yet. So, especially for Hooper, this is her senior year, just to bring it on back for her, that's the main thing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. We'll see you tomorrow. Take questions for coach.
Q. How good was that first half going into halftime, what did you tell your team, obviously keep it up and that, but can you talk about the first half?
COACH YORI: We did a lot of things right. There was some details that we tried to clean up and changed some matchups in the second half. We needed to continue to stay aggressive but also play smart.
We were up 28 at halftime in a game before and I never think it's enough of a lead. So I'm always a firm believer that you got to come out and play well to start the second half in that situation. And we played well enough, not that -- we didn't let them score a whole lot to start that second half. We didn't necessarily get it going on offense though.
Q. What's it like to have a situation to have Allie come in and make a contribution and see how much growth she's had this year?
COACH YORI: Well she mentioned it. She is putting a lot of extra time in the gym to try to get better. It's nice to see an athlete's work pay off. And that's exactly what that was an example of tonight.
She spent -- she hits those shots in practice all the time. After practice she gets an extra 20 or 30 minutes of practice almost every day. Sometimes she's on her own, sometimes she does it with one of the coaches and she's just very committed to that. So I'm really proud of her.
Q. Going back to Allie, you talk about the work she's done, but what about her confidence level. She came in and one of the shots was early in the shot clock and it seemed like she -- has her confidence grown over the years?
COACH YORI: She's never lacked confidence. When she gets it, she shoots it. So, that's never been an issue with her. But she's a competitive kid. I think that goes back to her high school background, that she was a really good all around high school athlete who was a competitor.
And she won a state softball championship and think about a kid that played short stop at 6 5, she's an athletic kid and she's competitive. And then she pitched her team to state championship her senior year. And so you are talking about a kid that has played multiple sports and has been successful in everything that she's done. She's competitive.
Q. When you play Iowa tomorrow, both teams are playing their own game but what do you feel like you need to do against them to get a victory?
COACH YORI: Well Iowa is really hard to guard. They can really space the floor on you. They have got a really good interior player in Doolittle and then they have got four perimeters that can shoot it and drive it and they're a very, very challenging team to defend.
So if the game goes as we think it might go, it might be, there might be some scoring in this game. So we're going to have to find a way to score.
Q. How does your transition play help you out on offense?
COACH YORI: We definitely took advantage of some things that we do in transition to get the ball where it needs to be. We got -- we got a few steals that led to easy baskets. But we felt like that was an area that we wanted to try to take advantage of in this game. We got -- we don't have big bulky posts, so we got to be a running team and that's kind of who we have been and who we will continue to be as long as we go with this personnel.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.
COACH YORI: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach Merchant. Coach, we'll go to you for an opening statement.
COACH MERCHANT: Well, that might quite possible be the worst game we ever played. Give Nebraska a lot of credit though their upperclassmen and leaders really showed up and set the tone early.
And then it was just kind of a snowball effect. Kids that don't even really play in the rotation were double figure scorers. We didn't have good leadership from our vets, I thought a bright spot really this whole weekend has been Branndais. She really came through for us this weekend in both games. And you like to see that. We just need more doing that. But give Nebraska a lot of credit, I thought they did a really nice job with setting the tone and really punching us in the mouth and we just kept taking it. So I guess we, it is sometimes what you get sometimes in that situation. We didn't punch back, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Can you explain maybe why you guys didn't punch back?
BECCA MILLS: I think that we were just really flat in the first half and I think that we weren't disciplined and we weren't executing. And I think that we had the effort, we thought we were making an effort, but we weren't making the right decisions and defensive positions. We wouldn't be in the right positioning and so it wouldn't matter how much we hustled. And we weren't disciplined. I think that was the biggest part.
Q. Branndais, coach talked about your weekend here, how do you feel about what you've done in this tournament?
BRANNDAIS AGEE: Well, the first game I thought I did good and the second game it just wasn't enough. It was a tough loss.
Q. Becca, what else kind of happened? Was there anything that they did to you guys during that run, after Hooper picked up that second foul was when they took off. Was it more you guys or something they did specifically?
BECCA MILLS: You know, it was us, they came out attacking us and they were shooting the ball well and we weren't doing anything well to make a difference on that. They were beating us off cuts, shooting it in our face, but it was on us, it wasn't, they were attacking, we just weren't responding.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Take questions for coach.
Q. You said this might be your worst game ever, you weren't kidding, right?
COACH MERCHANT: No. I wasn't. Especially from a defensive perspective. I mean that first half was, I mean, as bad as you can get. We couldn't set a -- we just, we were awful. And it didn't matter what position, I felt like that our point defense was bad or whatever, the one kid we were guarding, we couldn't stop the backup. That's not a good sign. And it was bad.
It was -- you can't dig a hole against Nebraska. A 10-point lead for them feels like 30. So when you're down by 23 at halftime, 30 whatever it was, more than that, I guess, I don't want to look at the stat sheet, but it was bad. It's just, it just felt monumental. So the second half, you're within five, but when you're down by 23 points, you know, you lose by 30. And to their credit, they came out and they really stuck it to us and like I said, you think you either answer or you don't.
I don't think our upperclassmen vets were anywhere to be found, quite honestly. And that's what this game is about, to have a good showing for your seniors and juniors who have been here and done it, and they need to do their job. And we didn't get that out of them today. And obviously it affected what we needed to win the game.
Q. Any thoughts on calling a timeout when things were starting to spiral out of control there in the first half?
COACH MERCHANT: Yeah, I mean, I just felt like it was one of those things where watching it, quite honestly, you know, our kids were really making tons of excuses, quite frankly. I was just sick of it. So sometimes you got to learn a lesson and play through it. I didn't think it was going to matter. As bad as that sounds. Sometimes they got to take the heat a little bit and it wasn't about timeouts.
I could have called four timeouts and be down by 30 at halftime. I mean it just was the way it was. They need to fight through some things and I felt like that was one of those situations where I wanted to see what kind of grit we had a little bit, and see if we could pull ourselves up. Because every time we -- I mean a media timeout after media timeout. How many timeouts do you need? How many more can I call?
At that point I just felt like every time they came they had a reason for why they weren't performing or what was going on with the officials or each other or something. And I'm not going to add to that. I just -- sometimes you need to own up and be accountable and gut things out. And I don't think it would have made a difference, quite honestly. You get a media timeout every four minutes, you can get your self together at that point.
Q. Where do you go from here you got a week off before the selection show. What can you do?
COACH MERCHANT: Well, work. I know that. I mean, obviously, we'll have a day or two off, but we got to get back and work together a little bit better. I thought we were a little -- even in the first game we were a little bit sluggish. I think that we got back to some individual focuses instead of team focuses. Really work on execution in the quarter court. We didn't pass the ball with each other. Even in that first game a lot of our offense, even against Michigan, was really created off of rebounds, it wasn't a good flowing offense and I think that's something that we have to do a better job of.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Good luck, coach.
COACH MERCHANT: Thank you.