Ohio State Quotes
THE MODERATOR: All right. Coach Foster will go first, and then we’ll have questions for the student athletes.
Q. Jantel, I know you’ve been in a lot of big games, but it seemed like a tug of war with Wisconsin today. Alyssa was hotter than hot, and yet both of you were hot. Can you talk about the back and forth and the ebb and flow of your emotions in a game like that?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think Wisconsin came out to play extremely hard. They were executing extremely well in the first half. Alyssa was hot, as you said. We had to figure out a way to stop that down the stretch. And I think once we switched up what we were doing defensively, that kind of slowed down as we got one minute mark. And we pulled through.
Q. What did you change up defensively?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: We just did a couple of things on the screen, setting a lot of screens. And the guards weren’t quite getting there in time, and just they drove us a lot off the dribble. So we wanted to take stay down on them and get a little more help off the screens a little bit.
But in the end we got the stops we needed and came out with the win.
Q. Jantel, could you talk about just you sat out some time in the first half with the foul trouble, and I think you (indiscernible) 3 of 9. Could you talk about what you were able to get going, especially in the second half?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I was trying to slow down and get lower on my post moves. And I think Wisconsin plays extremely hard and they’re going to do extremely well in the NCAA tournament. They were just playing extremely hard. And I think the fact that I wasn’t getting low, I just had to make some adjustments.
I talked to Coach Foster, just get lower in the post. And it started working to our advantage in the second half and I started getting fouls.
Q. Sam, can you speak to the emotion of the team over the last like seven or eight minutes of this game, and has it been this high in a game this year?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: We just needed to get stopped. Every time we met in the huddle we gotta get stops. It must have been said a thousand times tonight. They played great. They played great on offense. They drove us. Hitting shots. Wisconsin played really good. So we really just needed to grind it out.
Q. Jantel, what does it say for you guys that you were able to grind it out the way you ground it out?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think it just shows the greatness that our team has and the potential that we have to be an extremely great team. We pulled through the game. And I think the fact we dug deep as a team shows our poise and shows how tough our team is.
And I’m happy we won this game because Wisconsin, like she said, played an extremely great game.
Q. How nice is it to have a third option with Tayler kind of continually going to the rim and drawing fouls, somebody that can handle the ball and do things for you?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: Tayler does great. She does a great job (indiscernible) kick. She draws contact really well. I think she always gives energy, and I think tonight I think everything she did she really stepped up for us.
Q. At what point, Sam, did you guys realize you had to attack the basket and get the contact you were getting?
SAMANTHA PRAHALIS: Taylor did a great job of that the whole game. I thought she did a great job of that and nailing her foul shots. For me I think it was in the second half when I realized they were kind of staying with me. So I just had to take it and to see what that brought me and it brought some fouls.
Q. Jantel, I know Ohio State has had the bull’s eye on and you take everybody’s best shot. But there’s something about the tournament, wouldn’t you agree, that things seemed to go up a little more? People seem to play a little higher and they demand more of you, do you feel that coming into a game like this?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Most definitely. I think this tournament buys you an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. It just brings out the best in all players. And I think Wisconsin has been a good team this whole year even in conference play. And we just knew they were going to bring their A game. Everybody we played. Iowa tomorrow we know everybody is going to play extremely hard and we have to come in and match the intensity.
Q. Right before the game started, you bring them together, you say something, your face couldn’t be more serious. I’m wondering if you would let us know what that was?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I emphasized we have to get stops. We have to come out and match intensity because we know Alyssa Karel and Rae Lin, she’s a senior. She doesn’t want to go home they’re going to play extremely hard and we have to match the intensity and get stops and play defense, because when we played at Wisconsin I think we got beat off the dribble a lot.
We just wanted to change that. I think that was the point that needed to be made at the beginning of the game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. Nothing unexpected, but to have a 1 2 punch like that, what does it mean when they’re both clicking offensively?
COACH FOSTER: Makes it a hard team to guard. I think one of the things that this team has done all season long, we really get to the foul line. We’ve taken a huge number of we’ve made a huge number more foul shots than our opponents have attempted. And it’s a very, very significant number. It’s always something that we strive for.
And add Tayler to the mix. But the ability to take the ball to the basket, get fouled. To be strong in the post. Get fouled. It’s something that we preach and we have a bunch of players who are able to do that.
Q. I asked Sammy about the emotion on the floor. Does this team have a lot of that this year more so than maybe some of your former teams have had?
COACH FOSTER: Not even close. Yeah, a lot more. Yeah, a lot more passion. A lot more fire. A lot more juice. A lot more fun. We’ll get both.
Q. And, again, you can feel that yourself. So are you always thinking the comeback is coming?
COACH FOSTER: If you play hard and get stops, you’re going to win games and make foul shots. I think it’s an ingredient or combination of ingredients we’ve had all along this year.
When we reverse the ball and move the ball. And sometimes we guard ourselves. Sometimes we quick shoot. We’ll take any transition baskets but tonight they were getting back. And I’ve said before what I really like about this Wisconsin team and this program is the fact that they are willing to get after it and go up and down the floor and it’s just a much more entertaining style of basketball.
And a lot of teams in this league are playing it at the moment. It’s getting up and down. And it seems to be what the rest of the world is doing. And I’m glad to see that we have a dance partner. Guess what, we have another one tomorrow night.
Q. How this thing turned at the end, Alyssa just didn’t get good looks at least
COACH FOSTER: We started trapping the screen and roll pretty hard. And rotating defensively pretty hard. In the first half, they were beating us off the dribble. And we just I think it became more personal.
And we stopped reaching. We have some pretty quick feet. But when you start to reach for the ball and trying to make plays, at this stage of the season, you know, a good solid team like that, the second you reach, it’s over. They’re just going by you.
If there’s one thing kids know how to do today is to attack the basket. Put the ball on the floor.
Q. Could you talk about the Iowa game? I believe you guys beat them in a pretty close matchup in the regular season. Talk about what you’re expecting tomorrow.
COACH FOSTER: We won’t play zone. They move it and shoot it too well. We’ve got to make them earn their points, and we can’t wait until halftime tomorrow.
Q. Seemed like again Brittany had some good minutes for you without scoring. Was she the one on Karel towards the end of the game, too?
COACH FOSTER: Actually, I think Tayler might have been there a fair amount, Shavelle was there. And there were occasions when Brittany switched onto her. Yeah. But she was much better defensively in the second half.
And I think it’s a valid observation. It’s nice to see her when she’s not making shots come up with some plays. She also got a key rebound and went to the foul line because she went to the glass.
Q. Coach, did this team find something about winning both titles last year that it really liked?
COACH FOSTER: That’s a question for tomorrow. I can’t answer it right now.
Q. Jim, just a comment. With a physical game like you said it was up and down. There was only a total of 14 turnovers in the game. What does that speak to?
COACH FOSTER: That means we didn’t pass much. When you’re taking it to the basket as aggressively as both teams were, there’s not as much passing. And when you have kids that can finish and kids that have to be fouled to stop them getting to the basket, a lot of times that turns into a low turnover game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: And we will begin with comments from Coach Stone, then we’ll go to the student athletes.
COACH STONE: I couldn’t be prouder of my basketball team. They left it on the court. Played their hearts out. Season low of seven turnovers. This game was an Elite Eight game. Two very, very good teams going back and forth the entire game.
And I am proud of my entire team. The stat sheet shows some tremendous performances, but a tremendous team effort. We played solid defense. We got back. We rebounded the basketball. We got really good shots. Shot the ball well. We would have liked a few more trips to the free throw line.
But the bottom line is this Ohio State is a very good team. Their record speaks for itself. But our basketball team should be in that same conversation, because this is a very fine Wisconsin women’s basketball team, and I couldn’t be prouder of our players.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Alyssa, seems like I see you once a year here and you’re always playing like that. Just talk about your game. I know you’d trade career high, I guess, congratulations, for a win?
ALYSSA KAREL: Thank you. First of all, sometimes the ball drops and sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight I guess it was dropping for me. But I give a ton of credit to my team. They were giving me the ball when I was open.
But, again, like you said, I would give it all back for a win tonight. But we put up a good effort, team effort, and I’m proud of my team.
Q. We asked the Ohio State people to tell us what they did differently, trying to deny you more. Did you feel a little more defensive change against you in the last three, four, five minutes?
ALYSSA KAREL: They were playing tough D. I felt in the last four, five minutes of the game I was running off a lot of screens, trying to get open, but they were just kind of face guarding me, playing really great D. Keeping on tight on me. So they made it tough for me.
Q. Can you talk about the 1 2 punch that Ohio State has with Jantel and Prahalis? Obviously 29 27, how tough is it when you have a 1 2 punch? You can’t necessarily concentrate on just one person.
LIN ZASTROW: For me personally I’m usually post guarding Jantel. She’s a very physical and very good post player, knows how to use her body. When you have someone who can get her the ball, that makes it even harder. But they’re a great all around team and they have weapons from all over.
Like Alyssa and Coach said, it was a great team effort and it just didn’t go our way.
Q. Coach Foster spoke about how much fun this game was to watch in terms of just the style of play, back and forth. You dictated a lot to them for, what, 30 minutes. Could you speak to how much fun it was? It seemed like it was blow after blow, back and forth and high paced and not a lot of turnovers, a lot of trading shots.
TEAH GANT: Yeah, we had our season low of turnovers, which I think is great for our team. And we really wanted to focus on ourselves and make them play our game. That’s really what helps us stay in games.
So unfortunately we didn’t get this one this time but it was really fun to be able to play them again and just compete with them.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.
Q. It seems like people know about Lavender and Prahalis, but Hill was really big for them tonight, giving them another look, someone else who can take some pressure off of them. How much different does that make them, or does it?
COACH STONE: Certainly, Sam is great. Jantel is great. And Tayler Hill, don’t forget about Brittany Johnson and Sarah Schultz and the five more off the bench. They’re pretty good. They’re deep. Got shooters. Drivers. Tayler Hill, a freshman, I think is playing at a very high level. She’s one of the best in the league.
I mentioned last night, after the game, this conference should gain a ton of respect, because of the youth movement. If you look at the freshmen in this league, sophomores, and you bottle that up, our conference, the parity speaks for itself this year with our results. It’s fun to watch those young kids play.
And we’ve got Taylor Wurtz out there, knocked down two 3s yesterday. That’s great, in her first Big Ten tournament.
Tayler Hill had a really good game tonight. A very good player. Minnesota Miss Basketball, great defender. I think certainly Tayler Hill puts up big numbers, but she’s a really, really good defender. With Shavelle Little graduating, they’ve got another really good defender on the ball.
So they’re solid. They’re very well coached. We made adjustment defensively on how to guard Lavender. Jim, that’s how talented he is. He’s a great coach. He adjusted to it right away. H recognized it right away. I have the utmost respect for them. But I also think we earned their respect today as well because our kids played their tails off.
Q. Lisa, you’re in a new position. You’re sitting here now. You know you’re going to the NCAA tournament. What do you do for the next week or two until it’s announced?
COACH STONE: I wish the conference tournament was a different time. But the fact that we have an opportunity to get healed a little bit. We’ll take a few days off. And our players are such tremendous students.
I’m sharing that yesterday we had a long day, had to play until 8:30. We had a few that studied for five hours straight. That concerned me. That’s a lot of time to sit and study. But they have a lot on their plate. I credit them. It had no effect on their game. They played really well.
It’s a big time right now with tests. We’ll take some time off, come back, practice, probably Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Maybe Saturday morning. Take the weekend off. Come back, practice Monday and watch the show and get ready for our next opponent. But I think it’s really important right now to celebrate the end of the conference season and the Big Ten tournament season and prepare them for the next stage.
Q. Coach, could you gush about Alyssa for us. We don’t see her all the time. But against a really, really good team, and shot after shot, just impressed the heck out of us.
COACH STONE: Coach Foster just saw her out in the hallway. He teases the team, if you can’t guard her, maybe I will. But he goes I couldn’t get you either.
So certainly it was really very nice out here in the back room to wish her well. And our entire team as well. But Alyssa has a very, very strong pull up jump shot. It’s one of the best I’ve seen.
Her 3 was flying pretty well today as well. I thought she got to the basket, made her free throws. Her defense has improved immensely, which allows her to stay certainly on the floor out of foul trouble. But she’s a player that is a part of our offense. And the fact she got 31 today came within the conference of the offense. We weren’t running sets for her. It just got to her.
I thought Lin Zastrow, two games in a row right now. This is good right now going into the post season because she’s a very fine post player.
Teah Gant hit some big shots. People haven’t respected Teah’s outside shot. She’s been working on it all the time and that’s coming along. Goes on and on.
Tara Steinbauer, the fact is that we’re a team that plays team defense, and we play team offense. You saw that tonight with nice balanced scoring. Alyssa has a career, but she credits her teammates because that all came within the offense, not a set for Alyssa.
Q. The last few times that Ohio State has played you, Coach Foster has said he liked the style of play. I mean, from your perspective, what’s your take on that? What would you say your style of play is?
COACH STONE: We’re a defensive team. We want to play solid defense and play defense without fouling. We want to play defense, rebound, limit them to one shot. But I think the reason Coach Foster likes the game and I do, too, it’s just a competitive slug fest. And it’s great for the fans and great for our conference to see the athleticism and the style of play.
Maybe two contrasting styles, really slugging it out. And I thought it was a very positive comment when we played at our place. It was a fun game for the fans to watch.
He wants to score a lot of points, and we want to hold teams to a low amount (indiscernible). The fact we found some opportunities offensively to score. And I’m pleased with that. Again, I wish them well. They’re a very, very fine team. And the Badgers are excited about the next step for us as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.