Dec. 9, 2010
COACH BLUDER: I'm really proud of the effort our team gave tonight. I thought the defensive effort was very, very good. I thought Kachine did a great job on Kelsey. We have so much respect for her. The threes that she can put up so quickly. I just think Kachine did not let her have even a second to let her look for her shot. But it was really a team effort. I'm proud of the boxing out, the crashing that we did, I thought we took care of the boards. I'm thrilled with the paint points, that we were able to outscore this team 34-8 in the paint getting some high percentage shots. I think that was a key statistic for us. I'm just very, very thrilled with the team's effort tonight, especially on the defensive and rebounding end.
Q. Coach, how surprised were you with how much you were able to dominate the second half?
COACH BLUDER: You know, I liked the way we started both halves. I thought we did a really good job of focusing on the defensive end. When you think we held them to four field goals in the second half, three assists for the game, those are some pretty impressive numbers. Again, everyone was involved in this on the defensive end of things. But I just thought our team really stayed focused. I thought their intensity was very, very good for 40 minutes, maybe one of the best defensive efforts I've seen.
Q. Coach, this being the first time two teams have been ranked playing each other, what is it like to come out of here with a 22 point win?
COACH BLUDER: It feels really good. I mean, it really does. I mean, not only is it the whole Iowa/Iowa State thing, but also to add on to it they were ranked ahead of us in the polls, that we did it so convincingly. That really does feel good. I think it's a signature win for us in the fact it's the 15th ranked team in the country, getting that will I think make an impact on the Selection Committee.
Q. What separated this defensive effort from previous games?
COACH BLUDER: I feel like our intensity was really there. And I think that, again, we denied really well, and I think it disrupted their sets. They're a team that runs a lot of sets play after play after play. We wanted to get out and really deny and disrupt their timing and disrupt their ability to run their plays. We come out in the first half and have two 30 second clock violations in the first eight minutes, that's pretty good defense.
Q. Bill said they were not the only team that was going to get their butts kicked in this building.
COACH BLUDER: I hope not.
Q. Out of all the teams you've had here, how good can this team be?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I mean, the thing is that I thought our defense was really good tonight, our rebounding was good. There are some offensive things we can still get better at. That excites me. We can still get a lot better. I think the potential is very, very good. But we also know that there are so many things that can go into a long season. We've just got to enjoy every game, focus on one game, and not worry about that. But I hope that he's right. I hope that we can really establish a home court dominance like they have over at Hilton.
Q. The Big Ten really making a statement this year in these games with the Big 12. Texas goes down, Oklahoma goes down, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State. Talk about the Big Ten dominating the Big 12 in these games.
COACH BLUDER: I think it's important for our conference. We set up the Big Ten/Big 12 challenge. It was the Big Ten that initiated that. We asked if the Big 12 would consider having the challenge, and they agreed to that. They're ranked ahead of us. So there's only one way to go out to prove that you're as good or better, and that's just to go out and play them. It made everybody in the Big Ten play a Big 12 opponent, and that was good for us this year.
COACH BLUDER: I think it is definitely defensively and all around with the boards. I think at times our offense has clicked better games. But I would say all around this is the best game that we've played.
Q. Coach, how good is it to have such offensive balance?
COACH BLUDER: Again, Morgan great offensive game and defensive game tonight. She shot the ball well. It was so good to have Kelly back on track. We prefer to have five people in double figures, that's our goal. But it's sure nice to see what these guys did tonight.
Q. The fact you came out of these last three games 2 1, how important is that?
COACH BLUDER: The North Carolina game was a tough, tough game. But I told the team at the end of the year, that game is not going to hurt us. That loss is not going to hurt us, if there is such a thing as a respectable loss. I don't want to feel good about losing, but when you go into North Carolina and lose at their place, that loss at the end of the year is not going to hurt you. I thought we did some things in that game that actually helped us and boosted our confidence. Knowing we outscored North Carolina in the second half, we out rebounded North Carolina in the second half, to do that on their floor actually helped us.
Q. You have the nine day break now. Talk about your thinking on that.
COACH BLUDER: Well, this is so good for their finals, to have a win going into finals week. You just don't understand how important that is to them. It gives them more energy. They're enjoying life a lot more when you win than when you lose. They will do a much better job in finals. I know they will concentrate on them. They'll do a great job. Now that really has to become our shift and focus, that they've got to do a great job in the classroom. We have great students that want to do a great job in the classroom.