Jan. 3, 2013
COACH BLUDER: Well, obviously a good win for us. I don't think we played our best game of the year, but we played well enough to beat another top 25 team. We had a little bit of adversity up there, up big, let them come back, but then Morgan hits two big free throws, we get a defensive stop to put it into overtime. I think in overtime, we were not going to be denied.
Theairra played outstanding, got to the rim, made her free throws, did a super job for us. It was fun. I've been waiting for everybody to have the opportunity to watch Theairra Taylor play like she did tonight. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, Ohio State, obviously a very good basketball team, has an outstanding player in Tayler Hill. They have one person in double figures, we have four. We're all about teamwork, sharing the ball, working for the good shot. We shot the ball well again tonight.
Q. Coach, it was a squeaker at the half. You're down by one. You come out and within five minutes you're up by nine.
COACH BLUDER: We felt like we were fortunate to only be down one because I don't think we played that well in the first half. We knew if we came out and played well in the second half, we could win this game. That's what we talked about. Let's play this next 20 minutes. Offensively, we're the kind of team that really tries to I think does a good job of identifying what's there. Tonight the three point shots weren't there. Morgan didn't shoot the ball as well as she has in the past, but we got the ball inside for some high percentage shots, especially when Ashley Adams went out.
Q. Coach, the last 10, 15 seconds of regulation, Ohio State has the ball. What did you tell your defense?
COACH BLUDER: Well, we were going to switch out all the ball screens because they were setting a lot of ball screens. We were going to try to take that away from them, try to keep pressure on the basketball, not let everybody have an open look at the end. Box out like crazy, get the ball back. We had to play defense for two different situations because we had the out of bounds situation as well where we had to defend them there well, and a third time when there was 0.6 seconds left. Our team dug deep in that situation. We had the ball, and we played better defense in that situation. I was happy for that.
Q. What kind of tone setter is this for the Big Ten?
COACH BLUDER: I think it's big. It's our fourth top 25 win, start 1 0 in the conference. We only play Ohio State once. Having them that one time is important if it comes down to a tiebreak situation. Just starting out the Big Ten with some momentum, that's really good for us, too. We had the opportunity to build on it with another home game on Sunday. I need to tell our team, This team is ranked ahead of us. We're going to keep letting them know we're the underdogs and we'll keep chipping away at it.
Q. This is your best stretch since when, in your mind?
COACH BLUDER: Well, we went 8 0 last year, that was Big Ten. It's always tougher to do that. 7 0 is nice. 8 0 sounds better next week (laughter). It feels good. Our team, there's great chemistry. They enjoy playing with each other. They enjoy working with each other. They come to practice, honestly we haven't had many bad practices. They're focused. They work hard. You don't have to work to get them up for practice. They're excited to be there. That's big. All those things sound like, Oh, yeah, that should be commonplace, but it's not always that way. So this team has been really fun to coach.
Q. What did you see out of Theairra tonight?
COACH BLUDER: Well, Theairra showed she can beat anybody off the dribble. She can elevate, shoot over people. She hit the free throws for us. She had a couple defensive stops at the end that were really important, got the ball back in her hands at the end of the game. That was clutch. She just had a really nice game. Again, I'm so happy that everybody can see what we're so excited about with Theairra.
Q. They run that three guard offense. Defensively, what kind of challenge is that?
COACH BLUDER: Well, you have to constantly be guarding that ball screen, constantly be getting ready for that. They're good at reading them. If you go under, they'll take the three. They attack them hard. We tried to change up ways we were handling the ball screens throughout the game. That is one little adjustment we made at halftime, how we were going to handle the ball screens. We changed it up to a way they hadn't seen yet. I thought our zone defense was pretty good, too, at times, mixing up our defenses, our players being aware of what we were supposed to be in. I was scared to zone this team. We did a decent job the second half and in overtime with that.
Q. Was this game a must-win for you?
COACH BLUDER: I think somebody asked me if this was a must win game for us. You hate to say when you have 15 more games to go in the Big Ten. It was an important game for us. Every game is going to be so important because it's a battle. That's why the home court is very important. Going on the road is tough in the Big Ten.