Dec. 5, 2013
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COACH BLUDER: This is a big win for us. Especially having to battle back from behind and play with a little adversity when Sam (Logic) was out. Everybody contributed to this win. It was one of those wins that you just feel so good about because everybody was an important part. I thought that when we got down, we didn’t rush things. We kept believing out there the entire time, and that was a lot of fun. But I guess my biggest complaint right now is we’ve got to get our doctor to sew a little quicker (laughing). But other than that I thought we played a good game.
Q. What sort of difference do you see on your team with Sam (Logic) on the floor?
COACH BLUDER: Sam’s our leader. She’s kind of the heart of our basketball team. She’s so instrumental to have on the floor. When that happens, a lot of the teammates worry about her too. There was a lot of blood on the floor, and it shocks you to see that from your teammate, somebody you care a lot about. So my main message was take a deep breath, get it out of your mind, and I just said, Sam’s going to be really upset if you lose this game. So that’s kind of the message that I sent out to them. I thought Alexa Kastanek did a great job. As a freshman, it was the best game of her career so far.
Q. How big were her (Kastanek’s) threes there when you guys were struggling offensively?
COACH BLUDER: They were huge. We got to move her into the wing position there where she’s still a little more comfortable. She’s playing out of position, but getting better every game doing it. But they were big for us. This is her best game of her career so far.
Q. What do you tell the team when you keep cutting these ten point deficits down to five and responding right back?
I don’t know if we had a break in the action to talk at those points too many times. But, again, we keep believing. We believe. Melissa got the hot hand. That obviously inspires our team a lot. We shot the heck out of the ball. Bethany Doolittle, an unbelievable career high for her scoring. I love 28 assists on 33 baskets. This is great team basketball. This team just keeps believing, it doesn’t matter. You know, that’s going to happen. You’re going to have ebbs and flows to every basketball game. It’s living through those and not getting down and not panicking and doing things when you’re down that you’re not able to do because that’s when that keeps spinning out of control then.
Q. Will you face a quicker player than that tonight?
COACH BLUDER: I don’t know. She’s good. She’s very, very quick; hard to guard. Hard to stay with her and play player defense, even penetrating the gaps in the zone she’s good. So I’m not sure we’ll face somebody as quick as she is; she’s a good player.
Q. Are you surprised at all that you’re 9 1 at this stage?
COACH BLUDER: I love it. You always dream about these things, but I love where we’re sitting right now. Yeah, I mean, another thing, the passing, to take 13 turnovers only against this team that presses the entire time and forces so many turnovers and scores so many points off their turnovers, yeah, I was really happy with how we handled their press.
Q. Did you make any adjustments?
COACH BLUDER: We just stuck with the press break that we felt was working in the second half. We didn’t vary them. We stuck with the same one. We talked about focusing on it because we had given up too many points off the turnovers in my opinion in the first half, so I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half.
Q. How do you avoid a letdown against Idaho State?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, you’re right. And now I’m shifting my thought to that game as I sit here right now. We only have one day to prepare for that game as well. I really at this point don’t know a lot about them. I’ve spent all week getting ready for this game, and I’ve not looked forward at all, but my assistants have. We’re going to go up there right now and meet and watch film on Idaho State, and they’ll have me up to speed in a couple of hours on them, and we’ll be ready for them. We practice tomorrow at 10. I’m a little worried about their legs right now, so we’ll probably go a pretty easier practice, cover your ears, than normal just because we have only one day to get ready for them.
Q. What kept you within striking distance when Sam was in the locker room?
COACH BLUDER: You know, what kept us in that? Beth was outstanding the first half. We needed to keep getting the ball inside when she’s shooting the ball that well inside. I thought that was tremendous. They were using a lot of time off the clock too. Kind of walking the ball off the court and taking a lot and that might have been to our advantage at that point. When Sam’s in the locker room, that’s not so bad for them to melt some time off the clock. That might have been in our favor.
Q. What pleases you the most about the development here?
COACH BLUDER: Oh, my. It’s not really anything on the stat sheet that pleases me the most. It’s more their effort. It’s their attention to detail. It’s their focus and their camaraderie. So it’s those intangible things that make it the most fun to coach as well. Then they show up on the stat sheets in different ways, but those are the things that I’ve enjoyed about this team the most. I genuinely love being around them and they love being around each other.