University of Iowa Basketball Media Conference
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
LISA BLUDER: Well, that feels a lot better. You know, I thought we came out and took control of the game right from the start. I thought the first quarter and fourth quarter were outstanding, but I really liked our start in this game. I thought our offensive and defensive intensity was great at both ends. I thought we pushed, even though we didn’t get a lot out of transition, I thought we got them on their heels quickly.
We really attacked their zone and got the ball inside for good shots against it, and that’s something we didn’t do the first time we played them. So it was really nice to see the team make those adjustments and really go after it.
Q. Turnovers cut down too?
LISA BLUDER: Yeah, yeah. Still not maybe quite where we need them, but that’s better and so that’s progress.
Q. What are you doing in the zone? Obviously getting Megan more touches inside, but what else?
LISA BLUDER: Yeah, that was one of our main things. We felt we took too many threes the first time we played them, and we did not get enough paint touches. We really worked the last four days getting those paint touches, not only getting the ball to Megan, but through penetration or driving the gaps or hitting people as they cut through the gaps. So I thought we did a better job of that, and we really controlled the boards. So didn’t give them any second chance opportunities. Held them to six offensive rebounds. That’s very good.
Q. You talked about energy in the press conference earlier this week. Was that a lot better today?
LISA BLUDER: I thought it was. I think the next big test is going against a team like Maryland and bringing that energy against a great team like that, because you’re going to need it. And then going on the road, because you have to bring that energy on the road. You’ve got to create your own energy sometimes. Here in Carver, we can kind of rely on our fans a little bit, but on the road we need to do it ourselves.
Q. There is another big game from Megan, 20 and 15, what do you say about that?
LISA BLUDER: I know. You look at it and you think, 20 and 15, that’s amazing. Fifteen rebounds is an incredible number. I think it’s her ninth double-double of the year. Megan’s playing well for us, shooting the ball well, nothing fazes her. She just kind of keeps even, nothing’s too high, nothing’s too low, and she just competes hard all the time.
Q. Coach, you mentioned how Illinois really came up strong in the first meeting. How important was that for you? Not only to stay with them and play well early, but you really put it to her early?
LISA BLUDER: Yeah, I thought we came out throwing the first punches. At their place, they definitely came out throwing the punches, and we were on our heels a little bit. Today was completely reversed in my opinion. I even liked the play to end the half. You have one second and Doyle creates a three-point free throw for herself.
But that mentality of always, there’s always time on the clock. We’re always playing. I thought that was pretty impressive.
Q. What about her shot at the end of the third quarter?
LISA BLUDER: Yes, nice, obviously, nice way to end the second and third quarter.
Q. What went into the Makenzie start tonight?
LISA BLUDER: I feel like Christina’s (Buttenham) numbers have been better coming off the bench than they were in the starting lineup. Giving somebody else an opportunity, we felt like we needed to do something different. But mostly, you know, it’s four days of practice, and who is practicing the best during that time, and Makenzie obviously responded really well.
Q. Is it better that you guys got to face them faster instead of having to wait?
LISA BLUDER: Yeah, I never know about that. It’s one of those things where it’s not an advantage for one team over the other. You know, it’s an easier scout because you don’t have as many games to watch. You only have three games to watch, so that’s a little easier on us coaches. But I don’t think there is any advantage. But maybe that sting of the loss was still there just a little more.
So maybe you’re right. Maybe that was still in the back of our minds a little bit more because it was still fresh.
Q. I felt like another good point of this game was no foul trouble. Especially from the underclassmen. Makenzie got three, but those were all later. Was that just the extra days of practice and more fundamentals? What was it?
LISA BLUDER: I don’t know. I’m not sure. I don’t know what the situation is. We played some more zone than typical, so maybe that helped too.