Ohio State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: Straight to the student-athletes for questions.
Q. Jantel, what are you thinking right now in terms of you were down so far in that second half? How did you come back? What enabled you to come back and what are your feelings right now sitting there with a nut around —
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think we just – we knew we had to get stops. It was kind of like a non conversion or offensive end and they kept scoring. We just had to buckle down and say we were going to jump to the ball, you know, get defensive stops. Limit them to one shot. And I think once we hit like the four-minute mark everybody bought into that and started boxing out. We only allowed them one shot. And we played defense down to the end of the shot clock, and that’s when I think the game turned around for us.
Q. Are you surprised having the nut around your neck?
JANTEL LAVENDER: No, I know we’re a championship-caliber team. I know what we can accomplish and I know how good this team can be. Even though we were down, I know we have the ability to come back when we’re down in the game. And we showed that yesterday and we showed that today. And we just need to make sure we’re not in those positions in other games so we won’t have to come back so far and just start the game up-tempo like we played in the second half.
Q. Jantel, the final seconds, could you take me through turn, body contact, shot up, what’s going through your mind, whether you hear the whistle first before the miss or whatever, what do you remember from all that?
JANTEL LAVENDER: The finish was just running through my mind. I knew I had to finish. I knew it was biggie, knew the ball was coming to me and I had to be big for my team. No matter what it took I knew I had to turn extremely strong either get fouled or — my intentions were just to score the basket. It wasn’t even to get fouled. But I knew — I just wanted to turn strong and I got fouled. And I went to the foul line and I just took my time, took deep breaths and did what I did all night.
Q. When you heard the whistle, was there a second there where you’re thinking shot up, you didn’t make it, or maybe you saw it wasn’t going in and then you hear the whistle, that sense of relief when you hear the whistle?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Are you asking me was it a sense of relief when I heard it?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Yes, because it was, what, four or five seconds left on the clock. I knew something had to happen. I went into the defender extremely strong, so I knew it was going to be — I was going to finish or something had to happen. I just knew it was just going to be a foul or a finish.
Q. Tayler, question for you, just basically, again, you guys are way down. You’re 16 points down early in the second half. What enabled you guys to get back into this game and to get over the hill one more time?
TAYLER HILL: Like Jantel said, just us getting stops. We kept our composure. We knew we had to fight back. Iowa’s a great team. And our coaches kept their composure, too. That kept our main players, our leaders on the floor composed.
Q. Tayler, (indiscernible) eight points in the first half and 27. How much of a focal point was it for you guys to get the ball to her on the block in the second half?
TAYLER HILL: It was a big point. Jantel was working her tail off down there. She worked hard every time we got the ball down there, either fouled her or she scored. That’s where we were trying to get the ball. That was the main point.
Q. I don’t know, Jantel, whether you know this or not, but you passed 2,000 points in this game for your career. And does that even compare with being a two-time champion for this thing?
JANTEL LAVENDER: It’s an accomplishment. But I think with my fellow teammates and having this championship and taking this going into the NCAA tournament is a great feeling. And I don’t think anything can really override that right now. 2,000 points is great. But I still want to continue to get championships for my team. It’s not about the points, it’s about what I have to do that night for my team or if it’s rebounding, if it’s scoring, you know what I mean, passing under the double-team, no matter what it takes, it’s about winning for my team and playing for my team.
Q. Tayler, what did you learn in your first Big Ten tournament?
TAYLER HILL: That you gotta stay together as a team. No matter what happens. No matter if we get down. No matter if we’re winning we can’t let teams come back and we’ve always got to fight back to the very end. Like you said, it goes to the very last second. They played to the very last second. We had to play to the very last second. So just staying together as a team and playing together as a team. Listen to our coaches and doing the little things that they ask.
Q. Jantel, your thoughts when you’re down 16 points in the second half?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I mean, I was looking at the scoreboard, this is unbelievable. Something has to change. We have to get tough defensively. We have to get tough offensively. And just start playing. It was unbelievable for me, really. That was my feeling.
Q. Jantel, you guys really didn’t play well in the first half. And what are your feelings about that, that you got yourself, started to get yourself in a hole that way?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Just coming out and playing up-tempo from the beginning. I don’t know why we were down or not playing defense or jumping to the ball like we were supposed to. It’s definitely a learning experience. I think we’ll learn a lot from this and realize that we can’t get down like this in a tournament, because that’s really literally going to be the last game of our season. So I think once everybody really truly takes that in and understands that and we can’t play around or not convert on offense and not play defense well, you just learn a lot in this game. I think we’ll go into practice and realize that we have to have a defensive mentality from the beginning and not be offense-minded and think the offense is going to win this game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Congratulations. Questions for Coach.
Q. Coach, considering the fact that both of your top players were out for a fair amount of the first half, towards the end, what were your thoughts on being down by eight points at that point?
COACH FOSTER: I was surprised that it was eight points. I thought it would be a little more significant than that. We could not have played more poorly than we did. And even some of the kids coming in off the bench instead of sort of helping were sort of throwing gasoline on the fire. But games today are a lot different. With all the stoppages of play and there’s an opportunity to sit down and talk a fair amount of time and addressed. And if you’re coaching the right kind of kids, eventually they’re going to start to listen and get it figured out or attempt to. And I think that’s what we did. We preach all year long about certain aspects of the game. And there’s certain things we work on every day that we just weren’t doing in the first half. And the last 12 minutes of the game or so we did every possession, we sort of went from looks like the first day of practice when you’re still teaching to the finished product and what you hope it’s going to be. And I thought the last 12 minutes we were down in stances and we were communicating and we were rotating and we were taking personal responsibility. We started to take it personally that we were getting torched.
Q. Jantel, in this particular game, she had an advantage inside. And how happy were you with the way your kids kept finding her and giving her the ball?
COACH FOSTER: I think it was Chuck Daly, if the 2-play works, keep calling it. And we’re going to the well. And when she’s playing like that, you know, it’s a big ladle that keeps coming out of the well. You get rewarded for it.
Q. She tied for the most points anybody’s scored in a Big Ten tournament game. Considering the stage and the circumstances, would you say that this is her best game?
COACH FOSTER: I think it’s one of them. People tend — yeah, because it’s a championship game. But we had to win a game at Penn State her freshman year to win the regular season Big Ten title, and she decided we were going to win that game. So it’s not that she hasn’t done it before.
I think what separates it today in my opinion is we did it against a well-coached, highly motivated, hungry basketball team. And in the not too distant future that’s all that’s going to be left playing.
So I think this tournament has been good for us in terms of what we emphasized last week with no game. We had the bye, was defense. We were in the gym really working on defense, because I think that’s the only thing you can improve at this time of year. You can tweak something. You’re not going to change somebody’s shot. You’re not going to – but defense, you can get better. You can get better today and we’ll get better Tuesday, because now they understand what I was talking about. I’ll have a more captive audience.
Q. Coach, your thoughts on your last possession, the foul at 1.9, Jantel’s turn. How did you see it? Good call? What did you think?
COACH FOSTER: You know, yeah, because you’ve got to allow the player the opportunity to get the shot off. And the contact appeared to be significant. But I’m not going to evaluate that until I look at the tape. There’s several things I would like to see on the tape. It was just interesting. But it’s that time of year.
And I thought in the first half we were not mature in how we were dealing with that, and we were complaining. And it’s something that’s not even in your control. And you gotta get that out of your head. And you gotta grind. And that’s what I like best about us in the second half. We put that aside. We took what was turning into an excuse and made it disappear.
Q. On that last play, Coach, was it designed to go to Jantel all along or did you give Samantha the option to take that shot?
COACH FOSTER: No, it was going into Lavender. Now, if there was someone around her, like three people and we couldn’t get it, obviously we’re going to have to make a decision. But I didn’t have the stat sheet at the time. But I had a pretty good idea that her numbers were significant.
And they were struggling to guard her. So, yeah, if you’ve got a First Team All-American, you throw them the ball. If you’re lucid.
Q. Once she was out and calmed down a little bit, you got your come back started without Sammy, but she was a part of the comeback, she didn’t back down, close plays, the drive to tie it at 60. Were you confident she would rein herself in there?
COACH FOSTER: I’m happy that after that third foul that she — I had to take her out because she wasn’t — she was trying very hard to get her fourth, and it was a race to the scorer’s table. But once we got her back on the bench and brought her back to reality, I think that was a big spurt of growth for her going back out there. When you’re a really good player, you’ve got really good skills, you learn lessons at different times in your career. And hopefully she learned a couple of things today: You can’t be that demonstrative with the referees. They’re human beings. And you have to control your emotions if you expect to lead a team. And I think that last blip of time, I think she was doing all that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll begin with opening comments from Coach Bluder, then we’ll go to the student-athletes. Coach.
COACH BLUDER: Congratulate Ohio State on their victory today. Great team. Jantel Lavender is the Player of the Year for a reason, and she showed it tonight with her excellent play, and I feel bad for my team. I feel like we played hard. We didn’t get the victory and it hurts right now, but I think we’ll bounce back and be ready for the tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Kamille, what did they change defensively, especially after the half?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: You know, Ohio State just has really good defense. I think Shavelle Little has outstanding ball pressure. And they just got in the passing lanes, and they picked up their intensity on D.
Q. Kachine, at the beginning of the game seemed like things kind of started off better for you guys. Can you just talk about I guess your feelings at the beginning of the game, the way it started off?
KACHINE ALEXANDER: The beginning of the game I think we were playing team basketball. We were kind of just hitting most of our shots, making smart shots, getting in the paint, getting easy layups and things like that. I think that contributed to a lot of our easy buckets.
Q. Kachine, after your fourth foul, did you have to alter your game the way you wanted to play?
KACHINE ALEXANDER: I don’t know about alter but being smarter with my selections. I think I just had to be a little bit smarter.
Q. Kachine, you guys aren’t the biggest team in the world. How difficult was Lavender to contain inside?
KACHINE ALEXANDER: Like Coach said, she’s a Big Ten Player of the Year. She’s a great player. Like I said, she’s pretty big. But we tried to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible, but she got really good position tonight.
Q. Kamille, on that last shot, it’s obviously hard to get a shot 1.9 seconds left, but what were your thoughts about the shot you ended up getting?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: I thought I had a pretty good look. I thought Kelly threw the ball in perfect position. I turned around, I was probably pretty far out on that. Didn’t work to my advantage. But I just tried to get a good look and let it go in. Unfortunately it didn’t go in.
Q. Did it feel good going off your hands?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: It felt good, but when I saw it in the air, I knew it was off to the right.
Q. For either player, are you surprised that the foul was called with 1.9 seconds to go?
KACHINE ALEXANDER: In those type of situations it’s where the whistle is going to blow, sometimes they’re not. I wasn’t really surprised, neither one, because they were calling it tight throughout the whole game. So it’s just the way the whistle blows.
Q. Kamille, you guys feel like your body of work is good enough that the NCAA has to take you guys?
KAMILLE WAHLIN: Yeah, I think so. From what I hear from other people, you know, that we do have a good chance of getting in. So hopefully we proved ourselves in the tournament that we are capable of playing in the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach Bluder.
Q. Coach, I asked them that because we’re so used to NCAA tournaments here with the guys. And towards the end, especially it’s let them play. I’m just wondering if you thought maybe they should let them play at the end there.
COACH BLUDER: Obviously I wish she wouldn’t have made the call. I think it would have been a great overtime. And it seemed like after that game the way it was going it should have went into overtime. But, again, we knew it was going to Jantel. Everybody in the place knew it was going there. So it is what it is.
Q. Coach, you had to feel good getting Prahalis and Lavender both into foul trouble in the first half. What were your thoughts on that?
COACH BLUDER: That was to our advantage. But I don’t think we built enough of a lead at halftime, quite honestly. I think we have should have a bigger lead with their two guns on the bench.
Q. You came to town with doubts about where you would go after you leave. You leave pretty much assured that you’re going to go to the tournament, yet you feel, you sound like, a little unfulfilled?
COACH BLUDER: Just disappointing. You’re in this game. You have a 14-point lead in the second half. I think it was — 16. And you just feel like — I feel bad for my kids. I feel like they really deserve this.
And I’m not saying Ohio State didn’t deserve it. They certainly did. And they’re having that opportunity right now. But it just would have been really, really neat to see our players have this opportunity.
So, yeah, I think we played well here. I think we played well against one of the top teams in the country.
Q. Coach, you just commented about not building up a big enough lead. Had an 11-point lead, then Hill hit a 3, that cut it to 8 before halftime. Your thoughts on that 3-pointer. But also came out and went on an 8-0 run yourself, built up that 16-point lead, but still a lot of time in the game?
COACH BLUDER: There was a lot of time left in the game at that point. We built a 16-point lead when their guns were in. I feel like there was so much time in the first half that we didn’t convert on opportunities I thought we could have converted with those two on the bench.
Q. Seemed like early you were able to get a lot of good looks, especially Kelly there with ten quick points. What was working for you guys there?
COACH BLUDER: I thought we executed our offense very well to begin this game. And then the second half I don’t think we looked for our pitch opportunities, our penetrate and pitch enough. I thought we were trying to get to the rim a little bit too much. We weren’t getting calls. Sometimes you can draw a foul there, and that wasn’t happening. We kept trying to force the issue instead of really trying to hit our outside shooters a little bit better. I think we could have done that better in the second half.
Q. Considering how young your team is, how important is it for you guys to get to this point, played through this, and what will it mean to your team in terms of further post-season play and the future?
COACH BLUDER: We are young. You’re right. I don’t feel like we’re young anymore, because I feel like we played so much this year. But certainly they’ve not been through this experience. This is the first time most of them have played in a Big Ten tournament. The first time any of them have played in a Big Ten championship. So it’s going to do us a world of wonder for the future. It’s just going to do nothing but help us. So if we can get some games in the post-season, that would be even better.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the play of Kelly Krei, not only today but all weekend?
COACH BLUDER: Kelly had a nice weekend for us. And we pride ourselves on being a very, very balanced team, and I thought Kelly just had a little bit different gleam in her eye as far as offense for this weekend. And that was really nice to see, because I feel like she’s so capable and sometimes she just defers to other people because of her personality. That’s her nature is that don’t bring attention to me. But this weekend I thought she did a really nice job of trying to set herself for shots and not hesitating to shoot those shots.
Q. And also it seemed like Kamille seemed to hit a big shot whenever you guys needed it. Can you talk about her ability to hit those clutch shots all weekend?
COACH BLUDER: Big 3 again tonight for us. Hits two clutch free throws towards the end for us. Kamille is just an incredibly heady player. Very confident. I feel so confident with her out on the floor with the ball in her hands. But I think Shavelle Little did a nice job on her. I think anytime Shavelle plays that many minutes defensively, you know that there’s a lot of respect for that player she’s on.
Q. There were two bang-bang plays early in the second half with the two top point guards, a scramble, fourth foul on Samantha right in front of you, and then she takes a charge on Aleksandra Dobranic right after that. Not to critique the plays, but the swing of which guard ended up with four fouls was pretty big.
COACH BLUDER: It was big. I agree with you. And we were pretty happy with it. We thought it was going to go our way. So it was kind of a little bit of a shock when it went the other way.
Q. Do you take any consolation getting three players in the All-Tournament Team when you haven’t done that since ’01, had any players on?
COACH BLUDER: I didn’t even know that. Yeah, that’s tremendous. And I’m happy for all three of those players. I think they’re very deserving of it. Actually, that’s pretty amazing that we have three on there.
Q. I asked your kids, but are you pretty confident four from the conference will be in the NCAA tournament, Wisconsin and you guys and —
COACH BLUDER: I feel so. I think we’ll have four teams in the NCAA tournament. I feel confident that we belong there. It’s an obvious that Ohio State is going to be there and Michigan State and Wisconsin having such great RPIs and being in the top 4 in this conference, I think we’ll get four in.
Q. What’s it like seeing all the good young players? I think all ten players that started tonight will be back next year. A lot of good young players throughout the Big Ten we saw here. Do you feel good about the future of the league?
COACH BLUDER: I think that’s spectacular. I wish a couple of Ohio State ones would graduate. That’s spectacular and bodes well for our conference.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the perimeter defense overall. Lavender goes 14 for 25. But the rest of their team goes 11 for 37. If you could talk about that and just how that kept you in the game?
COACH BLUDER: We should have spent a little more time around Lavender, huh? She’s special. 35 points. We thought we were – at halftime we had a pretty good game plan to hold her a little bit. And I think even the beginning of the second half we still did a good job. But you can tell, that’s why she’s such a great player. When the game’s on the line she’s going to perform for you. And that’s what makes her so special. She’s so strong. She’s so talented. She’s got beautiful hands. She’s just – in transition they’ve got some great transition baskets to bring the score close. And you’ve got a player like Jantel Lavender running the floor like that, that’s a special player.
Q. I think the first time, when you played before, Hill was just sort of kind of coming into her own, she has 14 tonight. Does she make them different to defend when she’s contributing?
COACH BLUDER: She certainly hurt us in the first half with her 3s and we said the second 3 she made right before halftime was a good momentum for Ohio State, I thought, going into the locker room.
But, yeah, when you add that extra person, I think it makes Ohio State so much more difficult to defend, because you know it’s the big 2. But if you can add that third offensive player. I think that’s what makes our team good because we don’t just rely on two people. If I had two to rely on like that I probably would to do.
Q. You had the timeout with 46 to play and fresh clock, was the intent to go 2 for 1 at that point or just play for the shot?
COACH BLUDER: We thought if we got a quick good shot off the inbound play, we were going to try to get the 2 for 1. But if we didn’t get a good shot, we said, Okay, let’s run our offense.
We actually ran a play at that point to try to get a good shot. Obviously we turned the ball over and didn’t get that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.