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Feb. 20, 2013
Penn State Head Coach Coquese WashingtonQ: What was your general impression on the way your team played tonight?
A: I thought we played well in spurts. I thought there were some stretches of the game where we were pretty sloppy and didn't do a good job of controlling the ball. And some of that is attributed to Illinois and how they play. They try to make the game chaotic and they trap and scramble on defense. They try to get you playing faster than maybe you want to play. In fact there were times in the game where we could have played with a little bit more composure. Some of that was that we had some of our younger players out there and all those inexperienced players out there. And to put them out there against that kind of defensive intensity, some of that was to be expected.
Q: How big was it to get Penn in foul trouble so early?
A: Well it's huge. That changes the dynamic of the game for them. Certainly they get a lot smaller. We were able to control the backboard and we were able to get some stuff defensively with blocks and things of that nature. Anytime the other team's best player, or most impactful player isn't on the floor that certainly changes the game.
Q: Did you like the composure the team had to take great shots to help shoot the incredible percentage tonight?
A: Maggie hit it on the head. I thought we did a good job of making the extra pass, finding the extra person, not forcing things too much. Some of the turnovers, we penetrated too deep or didn't have good ball control or ball security. Illinois is a very good defensive team. They're very physical. I think it took us the first few minutes of the game to adjust to the physical nature of how they play. Once we adjusted to it I thought we were fine. We kind of got our bearings in and got going from there.
Q: How important is it for the team to get blocks and not drawing those fouls? A: Those are momentum-changing plays. When Candice comes out of nowhere and gets a block, or Nikki, or Tori, she was like a one-man defense at the end of the game blocking shots. Those are momentum-changing plays. Our team gets excited about those, and they very often lead to us going in transition. So it's exciting plays, it's exciting for the fans, it's exciting for our team, and they're momentum-changing plays.
Q: Can you talk about how your team kept its focus during the long game tonight?
A: Well, yeah it was a long game, a lot of fouls and a lot of stoppage of play. Sometimes it's hard to get a rhythm or stay in a rhythm with so many whistles and so many foul calls and the parade to the free throw line. I think the number of interruptions and the flow of the game can hurt you but overall I think we did a fairly good job of keeping our composure and playing through this game in such a herky-jerky game.
Q: You said Mia likes these physical games. What about these kind of games does she like?
A: Because she likes to hit people. That's what Mia likes to do. She likes to hit people, and she likes being hit. She was a football player in her previous life, I'm sure, or either a hockey player, one of the two. But she doesn't mind contact. So those kind of games when it comes out and it's going to be physical she goes, "Oh, okay it's going to be one of those games" and she gets going. I don't know ask her mom, on senior night she'll be here.
Q: Any early assessment on how Ariel is doing, she looked like she limped off the court.
A: Yeah, she just tweaked her ankle, she'll be fine.
#33 Maggie LucasQ: You guys shot 61 percent tonight. Can you explain why you guys shot so well tonight?
A: We made it a point going in this game to make the extra pass and that's going to lead to the most open shot. And we got a lot in transition too in the first half especially so there were layups so I think that was good.
Q: What went right tonight with the offense?
A: We just started making the extra pass. We calmed down a little bit. Illinois's style of play is to get you to make turnovers and take some quick shots. After the game got going, I thought we settled in a little bit, made the extra pass and then transition was clicking for us early. I thought Dara (Taylor) and Alex (Bentley) did a great job pressuring the ball and were able to cause a few turnovers.
#24 Mia Nickson
Q: Can you talk about Illinois's physicality on the court tonight?
A: They are a very physical team. They play really hard. They are probably one of the toughest teams in the Big Team physically, but they have always been like that so it was something we just had to adjust to.
Q: Mia, can you talk about the hit to your face?
A: It was my nose, off of a rebound.
Illinois Head Coach Matt Bollant Postgame QuotesOpening statement:
I just wanted to start off by giving Penn State a lot of credit tonight. They came out and punched us in the mouth and we didn't really respond and they kept punching us and they played great throughout. You saw flashes on tape of what they can do and today they really felt like they kind of put it all together and just played a great game. Coquese has done a great job with this program and those kids played with a lot of energy tonight and a lot of life and made a lot of great plays. They are a really talented basketball team and they were the better team from start to finish and I give them a lot of credit because they made it happen.
Q: You guys have been pretty good defensively this year. How does a team shoot 61 percent from the field?
A: Yeah, I think some of the foul trouble (we talked about that in the locker room) I think Charisma getting three fouls lost some of our aggressiveness because we came out of the gate fairly good and then we had some foul calls go against us tonight so I think we lost a little of our aggressiveness. I think we were a little shocked at how good they were. They made some plays and instead of fighting up against it, we kind of pulled back a little bit. I give them credit. I thought that Maggie was really good in the first half and hitting shots, and there were just a lot of good things and I think we were a little bit shocked and I give them credit for that.
Q: Coach, can you talk about the difficulty of playing for Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas?
A: I think that they are two of the best guards in the country. I had seen Bentley grow, I played against her two years ago at Green Bay and I just remember how much better shot selection she's taken in her senior year. In that game, I know she took a lot of tough shots and now she doesn't really take that many tough shots. She just makes great decisions and lets the game come to her. And obviously she's got a lot of better pieces around her but those kids, with playing against them two years ago when they were freshmen and sophomores...they've really developed in two years and now made this program what it is.
Q: How tough is it to play a game when the whistle is blowing constantly?
A: It is; it's tough. But we got to make adjustments. We said it in the locker room about being ready to adjust. Some games they let you play and call it tight and today they called it a little tighter and we didn't adjust very well. The refs didn't give up 95 points, we did, and so it's on us.
Q: Coach, what do you take most out of this game with moving forward? Do you just erase it?
A: Yeah, have resiliency. Don't let one game make it into two and learn from this but keep our swagger, keep our confidence. We've been really good on the road and have been a good resilient team in the past month and a half and keep believing and keep fighting and don't let this game affect Saturday's game against Indiana.
Q: How tough was it coming in back after playing on Monday night?
A: They had more energy and I don't know if that was from Monday night or why that is. If we had held it for a while and then lost it at the end, I think I'd be a little more inclined to say, "Wow, it was Monday night" but we never really matched their energy, so I don't think that it was from Monday night. I think that was just them playing on edge and coming in really confident.