March 2, 2007
COACH Lisa Bluder: I just want to congratulate Indiana on their win tonight. Obviously, we’re disappointed with the way we shot the ball, and like all year long, if we don’t shoot the ball well, we don’t play very good defense. Sarah McKay had a very nice game, she’s a tough person to stop inside, and obviously she’s had 19 against us and some real high percentage shots. You know, our three pointers were very uncharacteristically low and our three point shooting tonight, and that hurt us quite a bit.
Q. Kristi, why was the offense so sluggish tonight? It was obviously a struggle all the way through for you guys.
Kristi Smith: They played great defense, and like Coach said, we weren’t hitting from the three point line, so if our shots don’t fall, we don’t play very good defense. That’s kind of our downfall.
Q. Krista, what can you guys take from this year? Will the frustrations carry over to next year and will you be a better team?
Krista VandeVenter: This was definitely a learning year for us. It didn’t go as well as we thought it would have. We’re in kind of a unique position that we get everyone back. So I think that will be good for next year, but we’re just going to evaluate ourselves and work harder in the summer and we’ll have a better year next year.
Q. Kristi, did anyone do anything on defense that maybe caught you off guard as far as what you were seeing?
Kristi Smith: No, I felt like I was getting good looks, and I just wasn’t hitting them. But they (Indiana) didn’t do anything that I hadn’t seen before.
Q. Kristi, you’re 14-16 going home. On that note, how sour is that for you?
Kristi Smith: It’s very disappointing. It’s not what we expected, but we’ve just got to work a lot harder, and next year will be better.
Q. Kristi, can you talk about how difficult it was to be playing defense out there, and to suddenly see one of these crazy shots from Kim Roberson and go in?
Kristi Smith: She’s a great player. I felt like we played good defense on her, and then she’d just sling one back and it would go in. I don’t know.
Q. Why do you think your team, after starting the season 5 0, could never really get momentum after that?
COACH Lisa Bluder: Yeah, we just speculated a little bit on that, but we don’t have a tried and true answer that we absolutely know what the problem was with this team this year. I wish we did because then we’d be able to solve it, and we would have solved it before we got here.
But we do tend to lose our confidence quicker than we should. I think that is something that we’re going to have to work on. It’s a lot of mental toughness to me, and being stronger mentally when things don’t go your way. Obviously all year long we’ve struggled defensively, and we’re going to have to make changes on that. We know that, and the players know it. I think they have to challenge themselves a little harder in the off season, and I’m hoping that this hurts bad enough that they’ll want to do that.
Q. How surprised were you with Wendy (Ausdemore) not being able to come up with any points, and what was Indiana doing to keep her from being a factor in the game?
COACH Lisa Bluder: I was very surprised. She’s an excellent three point shooter and she’s done it all year long for us. Obviously when we don’t have that outside weapon, it hurts us.
But the at the same time I think Indiana did a good job of staying with her when the ball went inside. A lot of teams double off, and they really just let us have one on one post moves inside, and I think we needed to take advantage of that. If we would have taken advantage of that, then they would have had to start doubling off of our outside players and giving us more open looks.
Q. How do you work on mental toughness with the players during the off season? What sort of things can be done?
COACH Lisa Bluder: You know, we have a sports psychologist that works with our team, and she works with us as a team and she works with the individuals when they want to have help.
But I believe in that, I really do. I believe so much in positive thinking and believing you can do it. I think that it’s a great lesson for young women to learn at this time in their life because it’s going to serve them well for the rest of their life if they can learn it right now. So I think working with somebody like that is valuable. But also, I think confidence is gained by your work ethic, confidence is gained in the weight room. I think if you push through how hard you think you can work in the weight room, that really transpires into pushing harder on the floor than you’ve ever worked before. But I do believe a lot of it starts in the weight room in the summertime.
Q. I’m sure you were prepared for Kim Roberson, but talk about Indiana’s quality reserve minutes from Billington. She doesn’t usually play 26 minutes.
COACH Lisa Bluder: I mean, they had a nice balance tonight with a lot of different players. Sarah McKay to me, is somebody you have to spend so much time worrying about inside that it frees up a few more shots on the outside.
Kim Roberson obviously hit a great percentage against us. She has a very hard shot to defend because it’s kind of a slingshot from behind the head and she banks in the three tonight, so things were definitely going her way.
Q. Could you talk for a brief moment about the performance you got from Nicole (VanderPol) tonight.
COACH Lisa Bluder: Yeah, Nicole went from being a reserve player for us at the beginning of the year to being our leading scorer in the last game, and our leading rebounder, as well. Nicole is a good athlete but she’s not as gifted as a lot of kids, she just works so hard. The kid just works so hard in there.
You know, I’m happy for her. She’s a bright spot for us this year because she really developed, especially in this last three weeks, this last month.
You know, last year when Stacy went down, Megan took advantage of an opportunity and she had a great year. This year when Wendy went down, Nicole took advantage of an opportunity, and I think she really grew in her game and that’s going to help her over the summer.
Q. After scoring 103 points against Wisconsin and then 53 here, what Q. At the beginning of the Big Ten season you just seemed to be on a roll but then it just never seemed to happen. Was it one thing or…?
COACH Lisa Bluder: You know, we never were able to get on a roll. You know, looking back on it, I probably over scheduled a little bit in the non conference. I think maybe we should have scheduled a little bit lighter opponents. When you look around the Big Ten at some of the other non conference schedules that people are playing, they’re gaining a lot of confidence with their non conference schedule. I don’t think that we ever gained confidence with our non conference schedule. So that’s probably a mistake, but the bad part is it’s already done for next year, and it’s just as hard.
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