March 9, 2014
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with an opening statement by coach and then talk questions for the student athletes.
COACH CONNIE YORI: Well, it was a game where we couldn't make a shot, but yet we found a way to win. That says a lot about our mental toughness. We pursued the ball, did a great job on the offensive glass and gave ourself a chance to have more opportunities to shoot field goals.
We obviously got to the line from a variety of different ways and made a lot of free throws. So you don't always win -- every game doesn't come down to playing pretty, you got to find different ways to win and today we found a way to win, despite the fact that we didn't shoot the ball very well. And that's a credit to our players for their toughness.
I want to compliment Iowa for their toughness as well. They had foul trouble, they're playing four games in four days, and they hung in there in the first half when they didn't have some of their starters on the floor and that's a compliment to their program.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student athletes, please.
Q. Jordan, why were you guys able to have so much success on the offensive glass?
JORDAN HOOPER: On the offensive glass we just pursued the ball. We knew coming in they were a great rebounding team so I think we just kind of wanted it a little bit more, the ball. And I think that we just, like I said, we just went after it.
Q. Rachel, down the stretch there I'm sure both teams were tired, but what do you think made the difference down the last three or four minutes of the game?
RACHEL THERIOT: I think that just us being tough and getting rebounds and obviously, we hit a couple shots at the end. But just overall, we had good defensive stops and took care of the balls and made rebounds.
Q. Jordan, you talked about it yesterday, but now that you have won the tournament, what are your emotions and what does this mean to you?
JORDAN HOOPER: Well I'm obviously really, really happy that we won. Kind of feels like a long time coming. We have been coming since my sophomore year and we just couldn't get it done. And so to have this opportunity again and to be successful is huge. It means everything. So hopefully we just keep this momentum going into the next phase.
Q. Rachel, talk about coming out that second half, you nailed I think six or six points in a row or something, I could be wrong, but that was a major change I thought. Go ahead.
RACHEL THERIOT: I was hot, obviously, and my teammates got me the ball and we executed what we had to do. When I was open, I just took the shot. When I wasn't, I just passed it off, so.
Q. Jordan, Rachel obviously had 18 assists in one game and was named the MVP. From your perspective what does she do in this tournament that really stands out?
JORDAN HOOPER: She kept her calm, kept her cool and passed the ball like she knows how. I thought she did a great job of being a point guard and getting us the ball when she needed to and also taking the shots when she had them.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies, good luck in the tournament. Take questions for coach.
Q. With Iowa in foul trouble early in the first half did it become kind of a concentrated effort to drive the lane and draw more fouls or is this just, is that just kind of how the game played out?
COACH CONNIE YORI: Well, they played a ton of zone in the game. And for -- I'm sure that they had game plan to play the zone but I think they probably played more than they would have thought, based on the fact that they were in so much foul trouble.
Their zone is -- I thought that we got good shots and I really did. I think the shots, I would take them again, for the most part. But I think our ability to get on the offensive glass, I think that to continue to put pressure on them with their foul trouble. We got some offensive rebounds and got some fouls on that.
So we didn't necessarily penetrate their zone, but we did find ways to draw fouls within their zone.
Q. With Iowa coming at you late closing within one what made the difference the last four or five minutes?
COACH CONNIE YORI: We made free throws. We got stops and we made a lot of free throws. I don't know when we made our last field goal, I don't have it right in front of me here, but you got to make free throws in that situation, if they're going to foul you. And we were aggressive. Even though we were missing, we were aggressive pursuing the ball. Our ability to get on the offensive glass was a huge part of the game. Look at the rebounding numbers, that was pretty clear that that was a huge factor.
We, Emily and Jordan, we knew that shots weren't going down and they just kept going after the ball. And that's how we got to the line.
Q. Rachel did a lot of things for you obviously this weekend, what impressed you the most about her performance this week?
COACH CONNIE YORI: Well, she's just a really confident player. She's taking shots when she's open. Earlier in the year I had to remind her about not passing up shots. I still occasionally have to remind her, but she's being more aggressive looking for her shot. She's got a great feel on when she needs to make plays. That's unusual for a kid her age.
She knew that we were struggling and she needed to be the one that needed to take some shots for us. And she did.
Combined with the fact that she's a great passer, but today we needed her to score the ball.
Q. Can you address the significance of winning first conference title for Nebraska?
COACH CONNIE YORI: Well, we have had four cracks at it here in the last three years and not everybody gets a second chance or a third chance and in this case a fourth chance. It's a credit to our players for just being very, very resilient and coming into this tournament knowing that take one game at a time and try to win it.
But we have been in the league for three years and we have competed for the conference championship four times. So that says something about the consistency of our program. I mean men's and women's basketball, we're not just a football school any longer? All right? Okay.
Q. Hailie Sample had a double double and I think she had a charge on that three on one and took a charge on the three on one. How vital was that performance to win a championship?
COACH CONNIE YORI: Yeah, Hailie is a really good player. She doesn't necessarily score a lot, but she's a really good player in many ways. And she played all the minutes for us. We don't have her out there just filling in, she's productive in the things that she does. There's a reason why she's on the team. I was really pleased to see that she was named to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team. She's been doing that for four years and she doesn't get a lot of recognition and I think the coaches in our league are starting to realize that there's a reason why she's on the floor for us.
Q. After the conference season and the conference tournament are you looking forward to preparing for a different team than what you've been doing?
COACH CONNIE YORI: As always. It's the old adage that it's a grind and we have now played -- you play teams multiple times and it's always nice to see somebody new. So we got one break here, we got to figure out a way to stay sharp and yet don't wear our kids out. So we got a whole week plus before we find out who we play.
Q. After winning today and what you've accomplished, what type of seed do you think you've earned?
COACH CONNIE YORI: You know I really haven't thought about it. I'll look at it, I think now, but I haven't really put a lot of thought into it, so it doesn't matter what I think. It just matters what the committee thinks.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, coach, thank you.
COACH CONNIE YORI: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student athletes.
COACH LISA BLUDER: Just want to congratulate Nebraska on their victory. Proud of my kids. I'm proud of their effort. I thought we battled. We had to go through some tough situations with some foul trouble. It was free throws, team shots, 36 free throws to your 14 and then the box outs. So we gave up way too many offensive rebounds, hard to win a game with those type of numbers.
So unfortunate, but again, I'm proud of my team that we hung in there, especially in the first half when things were -- we had the severe foul trouble, hung in there and made it a contest at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Take questions for the student athletes.
Q. What led to such a poor start for you guys?
SAMANTHA LOGIC: I think what coach said. It was, they got to the free throw line 18 times, tough to be out-scored by 11 at the free throw line in the first half. Even in the first half we were shooting better than them, just they got put on the line, we put them on the line 18 times.
That's tough, obviously. With Dixon in foul trouble, you know, to even be in the game where Thea plays 18 minutes is huge, she's been leading us this whole tournament, so that was unfortunate, but we battled. Like coach said, could have definitely hung it up and so to only lose by seven in those situations is pretty impressive by our team, I think.
Q. For Ally, talk about how frustrating it is when a team takes two and three shots. They had a big offensive rebound night. Talk about how frustrating that is.
ALLY DISTERHOFT: Obviously, it's extremely frustrating. To get out rebounded like that, that's all on us. That's on our shoulders. Something we're going to definitely work on in upcoming weeks to shore up but obviously, that's a very frustrating part. But we were happy with how we handled a lot of adversity out there. We handled a lot of adversity. We never gave up.
Q. Sam, in the second half, Theriot really seemed to look for her shot. Did you notice anything different from what she was trying to do in the second half?
SAMANTHA LOGIC: She was just taking her shots. They were setting a lot more screens for her on the top of that zone. Some of them were tough to get around. So, she was looking for her shots there and a couple of them were, I mean, you're going to let her take a couple of those. She knocked down a couple of those tough shots, a couple runners that you're going to live with her making. Obviously, she's playing really well for them right now and a couple of those are just, just tough, tough shots. And some of them were over screens, but that's what good players do.
Q. How -- today, you got pretty significant contributions from Reynolds and Peschel, how crucial is that for you guys moving forward as you go forward?
SAMANTHA LOGIC: It's huge. Claire has played a lot this tournament. Kali has played some solid minutes, Kas played monumental minutes yesterday. But the minutes she played was great. But it's huge just knowing that we have confidence and we can hang with anybody, even when we had some foul trouble, but a couple players, three starters in the first half sitting out the last part there, it was huge. We have so much confidence in them and it shows you why today.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, ladies. Good luck in the tournament. We'll continue for Coach Bluder.
Q. You touched on it, but why the disparity in rebounds and the inability to keep them off the offensive glass?
COACH LISA BLUDER: We need to watch the film and check that. But we kept talking about going to make contact on the weak side and I think we'll find that they were just more aggressive going after the ball on the weak side than we were. Offensively, you do have the advantage that you know when the shot going to go up a lot of times and you can anticipate it and start crashing almost before the shot.
But at the same time we just, we need to be stronger in that situation and go out. And there was a lot of long rebounds and in that situation you got to go out and get farther away from the basket and make that contact and we just didn't get it done. We talked about it at halftime and we didn't get it done.
Q. Can you take us through the technical foul there.
COACH LISA BLUDER: Yeah, I stamped my foot and that was why I got my technical foot. Because I stomped my foot. Now I stomp my foot at my kids, kind of a habit I do all the time and I've never gotten a technical for stomping my foot, but today I did. And I don't think I had had one in 10 years, I don't remember the last one I had. Seems lake a crazy time to get one and I take full responsibility for that. It was a bad time to get it, and I apologized to the team immediately for that. Wish I could have taken it back, but it's almost a reflex.
Q. They got out to the early lead, how tough is that for you guys when you're playing your fourth game in four days to just exude that much energy to get back in the game?
COACH LISA BLUDER: No, I thought our -- you know, they got out to the lead and we had the foul trouble. Maybe we committed all those fouls because we were a little more tired. Possible. But I hate to use that as an excuse. I thought our reserves came in and cut hard and did a great job of battling. I mean Claire and Kali and Kathryn that first half, I thought they played so hard and got a little spark back into us that we took into halftime. And we got in halftime and we said hey, we're only down eight. With this many fouls, this many, this much disparity in the rebounds and at the free throw line, and we felt like that was good. We felt like that was -- that we were going to win the second half. We really did feel like we were going to win the second half because we thought it should be a lot worse than that.
Q. Your bench play, is there anything particular Claire did or just confidence and maybe comfort in Claire out there?
COACH LISA BLUDER: Her confidence has grown throughout this tournament. Claire's always been a really good rebounder for us, for her minutes played she does an excellent job on the boards. Hitting that three, I think, was a really special moment for her. She hit one at Purdue, she doesn't hit a lot of them. It was a huge moment for her. You think that gave her a lot of confidence too. But it's definitely something we can keep rolling with. I think with all of those guys.
Q. Looking ahead to the NCAA tournament, what kind of seed do you feel your team earned and what do you, for lack of a better phrase, feel the strength of your resume is?
COACH LISA BLUDER: I think the strength of our resume is excellence. We have great quality wins, we have a win at Penn State, a Top 10 team. We have a win over Purdue that was a top eight RPI. We have a win over USC that is playing in the title game of the Pac-12 right now. I could probably go on and on. We got a win over Boston College. I'm probably missing some right now. But I think we have an excellent -- we really don't have any bad losses either. Our only bad loss right now on paper is Colorado but that's because they got hurt. We lost a couple point game at their place when they were healthy and then they got a lot of injuries.
So, I think we have an excellent resume and I hate to predict seeds and those type of things, but our RPI was about 23 or something like coming into this and I know that's not the only factor, but it's a significant factor. And it only could have gone up since we have been here. So I think we deserve a high seed. A very high seed. I think we deserve a four or five seed. I think that's really legitimate.
Q. Do you think what your team kind of showed in this tournament and what they showed during the regular season that this could kind of be the year that you go deep in the tournament?
COACH LISA BLUDER: That's what we plan to do. We're planning to be around for a long time. We have home court advantage, we're going to use it. That's the goal. That is the goal.
THE MODERATOR: All right thank you, Lisa. Good luck in the NCAAs.
COACH LISA BLUDER: Thank you.