Press Conference Quotes

March 22, 2008

Photo Gallery Photos

Head Coach Lisa Bluder

Opening Statement
“We’re very excited about competing tomorrow. It has been a long time since we’ve beenon the floor. It seems like a very long time since the Big Ten Tournament, so we’rethrilled to be here. We’re excited about opponent tomorrow. We have nothing but respectfor Georgia and everything that they have accomplished in the past and their storiedprogram. We know they are a quality team, a great team, and with Tasha Humphrey oneof the better players in the United States. We’re excited about the challenge. We’re readyfor tomorrow.”

On defensive assignment
“I think it is a tough assignment. They are very balanced in scoring just like we are,maybe even more so. Anytime a team is balanced they are more difficult to defend. Youcan’t count on one person. They have that nice inside-outside attack. They shoot morethrees than we do and we think we shoot a lot of threes. I think this team is a verydifficult team to defend. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge tomorrow.”

On importance of starting strong against Georgia
“Anytime you are the underdog that is important. If you can have a good start in thegame it builds confidence in your own players and also diminishes the confidence of youropponent or makes them start to wonder. I think anytime you are seeded below anopponent the advantage is to have a good start to the game.”

On change from last year to this year
“The big reason is we are injury free this year. For the last five years we have beendevastated by injuries within our program. I’ve got two recovered ACL players. It makesa big difference when you have a full team of players and we had that this year. We hadno major injuries, so we are a very experienced basketball team. We have five senior andfive juniors. That kind of leadership is invaluable to a basketball team when you haveplayers that are leading and this is their last opportunity. They want to leave their legacyand we have that type of group. Even with our junior class, they have been startingbasically since their freshman year, so even though they are juniors they have a lot ofexperience behind them. It was a number of those factors–being healthy and having aveteran basketball team.”

Kristi Smith, junior, guard:

On senior urgency
“I think it comes along with being a senior. It’s their last go around and they just want todo the best they can for the team and themselves.”

Stacy Schlapkohl, senior, center:

On the feel going into the game as a senior
“There’s still that same excitement but there’s an added excitement because we’re in anew arena, playing a different opponent we haven’t seen before. Especially this time wecan see the end of the road we know what we need to do to get to the end of it to the FinalFour, so I think that adds to the excitement just giving it everything you’ve got for thelast time.”

On ACL injury
“I think the first year back you are still getting used to thinking `Is my knee strongenough? Can I make this cut?’ And then your body getting back, you were off for so longand lost basically all confidence in that knee. It’s about getting your body back into shapeand get your mind and body working together. The following year, you have gotten backin shape, you have gotten the confidence and the strength that you need back, so I thinkthat one extra year is crucial.”

Johanna Solverson, senior, forward:

On what changed for the team at the end of the season
“I think after the loss at Michigan State we were pretty upset, the coaches were upset.After the game we all sat in the locker room as a team. We’re so used to saying `Oh we’llget the next one, we’ll get the next one,’ but we had to stop and realize there is no nextone and if we wanted to make it into the NCAA Tournament, it starts now. We really hadto make a change and do the little things that make the difference like rebounding andplaying defense. We all took it as a team together and held each other accountable andworked hard in practice.”

On the team refocusing after loss to Purdue in Big Ten Tournament
“I would like to think we’ll go on a run after that. That loss there was pretty difficult inthe Big Ten Tournament. Having these two weeks with no games and just practice wehave really focused on the practice and been able to work on everything that we can. Wehave been able to get a lot of scrimmage time. We’ve been having great practices and it’sbeen very competitive.”

On comparison to Georgia’s Megan Darrah
“We don’t get to go against many people who are our size in the guard position and it’sexciting. We get to go against each other in practice. It’s always exciting to get to goagainst someone your height you still have to get low on defense. It’s just a differentmentality being able to guard somebody your own size. You know what they’re going todo; you figure that they are going to kind of play the same way you do. It makes for agood match up.”

On knee injury
“I’m feeling great and I’m ready to go.”

On senior urgency
“We always talk about it. Right now it’s one-and-done. We know we have to leaveeverything out on the floor every game we play. Our goal was to be one of 64 and make itto the Tournament. We’re hoping to go a lot further than that. We know that we have toleave everything on the floor. We can see the end of the road.”

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