March 9, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening comment.
COACH VERSYP: We knew it was a tough game playing Nebraska in six overtimes. And today I think collectively this is one of our best games that we played all year, offensively, defensively, really followed the game plan, executed inside/outside. And I thought our defense in the first half was a big key to our success today.
Q. KK, at times over the last month, you guys have struggled against zone defenses. Can you talk about what the difference was tonight and how you were sort of able to attack Nebraska's zone in the second half?
KK HOUSER: I think we just finally started listening to the coaches. They tell us all the time: Have confidence, knock down your shots and then they won't play zone on you. But we were so hesitant in the past.
But finally started listening to Coach and just started feeling comfortable and we started knocking down shots.
Q. Courtney and Sam, just the last ten minutes of the first half, what really started working for you guys at that point?
COURTNEY MOSES: I feel like defensively we really picked up the intensity. We got a couple steals. We had some transition baskets. And the biggest thing was we were going inside and scoring and then we were also going inside and outside and scoring outside. Once started doing that, it's really hard to defend.
SAM OSTARELLO: I think we just stayed aggressive, and that's really important. We were playing to win, not playing not to lose, kind of like we may have done in the past, just kind of just not being aggressive, not going to the hole. And we changed that today and that showed.
Q. Sam, why are you guys playing with so much confidence right now?
SAM OSTARELLO: I think it's our team chemistry. We love each other. We don't want this season to end. We want to get as many games as we can. And I think that really shows on the court.
Our team chemistry, it's sky high. We do all this kind of bonding and everything. Maybe during the time, we're like, uh, another bonding. But because we spend so much time outside of basketball with each other anyway, but it really shows. We really love each other.
Q. Courtney, could you speak to KK's all around game today, especially on the defensive end, how she got six steals and maybe how she controlled things on the perimeter tonight?
COURTNEY MOSES: KK did an awesome job of drawing the tempo of the game. She's done it all year. And she was just hailing their pressure. They were pressing her the whole time. She did a great job of staying poised and getting us in the offense. She was finding her shot. She was attacking.
At the beginning of the game, it really got us going when she was driving and she was knocking down 3s and doing everything.
Q. KK, when they were in their man early and in the first half, you guys were really able to go inside. Was that part of the game plan? Did you feel like you guys had a good advantage inside?
KK HOUSER: That was one of our main themes of our game plan was to go inside. We had an advantage since [Jordan] Hooper and [Emily] Cady like to be more like guards, so we just wanted to get inside and have our post attack them.
Q. KK, last year in the tournament, kind of rose to the occasion against Nebraska. Obviously you're from Lincoln, but just kind of your emotions going into the game how you played against Nebraska during your career so far?
KK HOUSER: The beginning of the game, I tried to act like it was just another game, but it's Nebraska. I'm from there. I always want to beat them. I never want to lose. So I step on the court and I'm ready to go for 40 minutes.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. They got within 10 on a couple of times in the second half. What did you tell your team when they were sort of looking like they were going to try to get back in, close the game and push you guys a little more?
COACH VERSYP: When I called timeout, just talked about our poise. We said they were going to make a run. This is their run. We need to score and then get a stop. And when I called the timeout, I said we're going to come out of here and we're going to score the next basket.
And in the first half, we were making our layups; second half, we missed some. And that's how they were able to make some transitions.
So pretty much I had somebody step up and knock down a three after that timeout. And then that kind of just gave a little relaxation and everybody just kept playing and continued to force other people to take shots when it came down to crunch time.
Q. KK gave you a lot of credit there, but what did they do well against that zone defense that maybe they hadn't been doing here over the last month?
COACH VERSYP: They listened. They executed. They listened. Sometimes they try to force more against the zone, rather than just letting the game come to them and seeing the openings. And I think with April [Wilson] and KK knocking down some 3s and seeing that, they can't all sag in. They'll sagging off of a couple of our players, but just being able to execute and when they knocked down the shot against the zone, then just like anything, it kind of just gives them a boost of confidence.
But they're looking for the things that we've asked them to look for.
Q. You made Jordan Hooper disappear in the second half. What was the special attention?
COACH VERSYP: Drey Mingo. I was telling Drey she's not doing anything, but she did a lot tonight. Trying to motivate a kid. But the scoring wasn't coming for her. But I think Drey, when we played them the first time, Drey's length, she really chased her 37 minutes the first game. This time it was 25 minutes. We had her and Dee Dee Williams on her, just trying not allow her to have easy looks and contest a lot of shots.
We have a lot of respect for Hooper and Drey did a good job and Dee Dee, and just a collective team effort.
Q. The first half was pretty helter skelter there for a while. And with about seven and a half minutes to go, Moses and Houser hit back to back threes, gave you a seven point lead and started some separation there that you were able to go on to 11 points by halftime. And then how big was that at that time to get a little separation in that scoreboard?
COACH VERSYP: It had to happen at some point, 'cuz like you said, it was helter skelter. Everybody was just pushing the tempo, going up and down as hard as both teams could.
I said at some point we've got to settle down and be able to really execute and knock down some shots in the half court. But I thought it was a transition. Those 3s came in transition. I thought that was a big boost. We love to run. And when you got the two guards knocking down 3s, then the inside opens up.
Q. Just how big of a presence was Taylor [Manuel] inside and coming in? Was she was that somebody that you felt like would have an advantage against their post inside players?
COACH VERSYP: I feel Taylor has an advantage. Anyone that we play. We're like, you gotta get inside. You've got to post up. You make a difference. Whether they foul you or not foul you, they have to pay attention to you.
And there's two or three players on her. She continues to finish well. She's always in double double. She's always shooting 50 percent or more. And she gets upset when she misses any shots or any free throws. So you like that type of kid.
But it's tough, especially when we play Nebraska, because they don't really like to have that low post presence. And Taylor's it's just hard for people to get around her.
Q. Only 10 turnovers in a game with that pace. And when they went to the full court press there, how you at times continued to attack against that.
COACH VERSYP: Well, I think playing Illinois helped us with that. I said that on the radio. Just that frantic, being able to trap, being a 1 3 1, getting it to the middle and kicking it out and being able to attack. And I thought Sam did a great job in the half court when we came to the middle attacking, whether for her to score or getting it to Drey on the baseline.
Supposed to be accumulating knowledge, and it's continuing to work, thank God.
Q. What's the secret behind the third seed? This is like five for five, third seed, and the winner of the semifinals.
COACH VERSYP: I'm not sure it's a seed. I think it's just a group of young women that play at Purdue that have a tradition, and we talk about the tradition of everyone before us.
And they just take a lot of pride, and I hope we can continue to play well in March Madness.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Nebraska Coach Connie Yori and Jordan Hooper and Lindsay Moore. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH YORI: I thought Purdue played really well. Really, they kind of had a lot of the facets of their game going. They got the ball inside on us, and they drove it. They got their transition game going. They hit enough perimeter shots. And the game was decided by what I call the two elephants, and the elephants in the game were rebounding and turnovers. And we didn't really take care of either of those areas and, really, that was costly for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Lindsey, I think you guys had a couple of chances to get it in the single digits in the second half. What prevented you guys from making a run and were they doing anything specifically?
LINDSEY MOORE: I think we just missed some easy buckets inside. We had good looks at it to break into the single digits, but we just weren't able to connect on it.
Q. Lindsey, was there anything in particular they did against your defense that helped them in the first half, at the end of the first half, and then throughout the second half?
LINDSEY MOORE: I just thought their post play today was really, really excellent. They knew what they wanted to do, and they were able to really do it. They have a good post presence inside with their postups that they have. So I think they just did a really good job of executing that, and playing into their strengths.
Q. KK [Houser] had six steals in this game. How much does her pressure bother you guys in the back court?
JORDAN HOOPER: Well, I mean, it bothers us quite a bit. We can't get the ball advanced up the court, can't really do what we want to do in that facet.
But usually we can set drags between stuff like that and it releases pressure.
LINDSEY MOORE: She did a good job defensively today. She's a risk/reward player, and so she just was able to come up with steals and it was rewarded for her.
Q. Jordan, their playing inside was really strong. What did they do specifically? Is it positioning type of thing or are they just just have skilled big men?
JORDAN HOOPER: I mean, they get pretty deep position on us. We're not as big as physical as they are, and they can pretty much back us down and didn't really have an answer for that tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. What changes did you make after the first half when they shot like 54 percent? Seems like they shot a lot worse in the second half. Did you change anything or did you just emphasize some stuff?
COACH YORI: Well, we ran some more zone. We ran more zone in the second half early. And but then we still played a lot of man as well as the half wore on.
But we just got we allowed too many easy post touches in the first half. And I thought that was a big key for them shooting the percentage they did.
Q. Coach, the offensive rebounding numbers were pretty similar, but I feel like the rebounds that they got were more impactful, just in bigger situations. Did you feel that way, that they always got the one that matters?
COACH YORI: This is the elephants I'm talking about. The two elephants. Even though the turnovers weren't significantly different, the rebounds, offensive rebounds weren't significantly different, but they cashed in on both of those areas. They were able to, when they turned us over, it led to baskets. When they got offensive rebounds, they were able to shoot a high percentage there.
Q. How did you feel like they adjusted when it was a close game? You guys got out 21 20, how did you feel like they adjusted, or did you guys just not play well in that stretch at the end of the first half?
COACH YORI: Well, I thought they again, I'm kind of going back to they got the ball inside on us too much. They crashed the glass. And we didn't do a good enough job of boxing out. And they got some easy baskets there. And we got taken out of our offense a little bit. We weren't as efficient as we needed to be.
So I just thought Purdue played well. I think that's a big part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you, Coach.