March 22, 2014
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Iowa. Coach, if you'd like to make an opening statement.
COACH BLUDER: Just very excited to be here, as everybody is this time of year. When you're playing this time of the year, it's an unbelievable feeling. That's the way our locker room has been the last couple of weeks, just very excited to be able to participate in the national tournament.
Then it makes it more special to be on our home court. To be here in Carver Hawkeye Arena is extra special for us. We know that Marist is a great opponent. We're excited about playing them. We know they're kind of eerie similar to us in statistical categories. There has to be only a handful of teams in the United States that have five starters averaging double figures. Two of them going against each other head to head the first round of the NCAA tournament is quite unusual.
A great opponent. They've obviously been seasoned in the NCAA, nine straight years. This is nothing unusual to them.
Obviously a mid major, I'm very familiar with mid major having spent 10 years at Drake University. I know how special it is to make the NCAA tournament and take down a BCS type school. I know we're going to get their best shot, I understand that. I guess it's good we're not playing against Idaho first because corn or potatoes, right? How many times do you get that mixed up. It's really a good thing we're not playing against them first (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. What has been the focal point? A couple weeks since you played your last game.
Samantha Logic: Well, since we had that time off of games, we took a lot of time just to work on ourselves, fix up some things that were hurting us a little bit before. Just trying to get a little bit better on ourselves before we found out who our opponent was going to be. That's what we used last week and early this week before scouting out Marist.
Q. Marist has made their name in this tournament by scoring big upsets against the bigger schools. Is that a dangerous opponent knowing they've got nothing to lose tomorrow?
Theairra Taylor: I think any time you're in the tournament, the name nor the number on the side of the name matters at this time. It's just who comes to play their best basketball during that day. We know that, and I'm sure they know that. We'll get up for the game just as much as they will.
Q. Sam, you talked about the benefit of kind of a home court advantage. With the different court and different sights and everything, what is different about playing in Carver for the tournament versus a home game?
Samantha Logic: I think just knowing it's win or go home. It's win or you're not going to play anymore. Obviously that has a lot riding on every single game we could possibly play here. You just have to be ready to play for 40 minutes, otherwise you're not going to get another 40 minutes. THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. At this time we'll take questions for Coach Bluder.
Q. Marist prides itself on its motion offense. What have you seen by the way they run the motion and how do you defend something like that?
COACH BLUDER: I'm extremely impressed with their motion offense. The way they read screens, and Brian (Giorgis) is able to get them to read screens, is amazing. That's why I'm sure they're a lot better team in March than they are in November because it has to take a lot of time and a lot of work in order to get your players to understand the different reads and counters to how you handle screens. They do as good a job as I've seen anybody do with that situation.
Q. The different court and everything, does this feel like a home venue with everything so different?
COACH BLUDER: It still feels like home. I mean, I was just cleaning my kitchen an hour ago so it definitely feels like home to me. Yeah, even though this is a different place than we usually hold our press conferences, it's still our locker room, our court, our lighting. It's very familiar. I think there's absolutely an advantage to being able to play at home. How much, I don't know. But we didn't have to travel. We get the comfort of our own beds. We hopefully will have a few more fans in the stands than the other opponents. More than anything, it's a comfort level.
Q. Going back to Marist having five players in double figures, at this time in the year when it comes down to who makes tough shots, how difficult is that challenge to know everybody they put on the floor can score?
COACH BLUDER: It's very difficult. But I think we have the same threat. It kind of counters each other or negates each other. They're in the same boat with us. We have five players that average over 12 points a game. They have five players that average over 10 points a game. I definitely think it's a difficult situation for both coaches, but it probably negates each other.
Q. Facing a Marist team that's used to upsetting teams or taking bigger teams down to the wire, what kind of a challenge is that for you as a coach and players?
COACH BLUDER: I know my players are really smart and they watch a lot of basketball. They have utmost respect for Marist, not just from this week or knowing who they are. They've watched them play the last couple years, they know about the upsets. Just watching the men's tournament the last couple days, seeing all the upsets. If that doesn't get your attention, nothing will. They understand Marist is a good team. I have told them, but they don't need me telling them that over and over again.
Q. It's been quite some time since you've played a game. With this layover, what are the challenges of having so much time off?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, it's been two weeks. It will be two weeks since we've played a game. That's pretty unusual. We haven't waited this long since we tipped off to begin the year. I've always believed the Big Ten Tournament should be moved back farther so we don't have this big gap. We're not going to do anything about that right now. We try to give the players a little bit of time off, let them heal up from playing four games in four days in the Big Ten Tournament, and like Sam said, work on a couple things we need to work on as a team. This week has been business as usual, finding out our opponent, getting ready for our game. Once we hit this week, it's pretty normal. Last week is pretty unusual.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.