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March 5, 2015

Matt Bollant

Amarah Coleman

Ivory Crawford

Jacqui Grant


Nebraska – 86
Illinois - 71

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by head coach Matt Bollant and student‑athletes Amarah Coleman, Ivory Crawford and Jacqui Grant.
COACH BOLLANT:  Give Nebraska credit.  I thought they were great at the start of the game.  Came on edge and made a bunch of shots and Romero especially start of the game but their four seniors I thought led really well and started the game with a great level of intensity and passion and we kind of got knocked on our heels and responded one time and cut it to 20 to 15, and then they stepped up, made some more plays.  And I just didn't feel like we looked quick and athletic against Michigan defensively and today we looked a step slow.  I'm not sure what the hesitation was or why that was.  But we just didn't guard very well at all.  And that was disappointing but give Nebraska credit because I thought they played great throughout the game.

Q.  Ivory, at the end of the game, even down 20, almost 30, seemed like you were still pushing and trying to fight and get back in it.  Is that just how you wanted to end it?
IVORY CRAWFORD:  In every game I want to give my all and lead by example, even don't matter what the scoreboard is, just keep fighting.

Q.  How tough is it to see your Illinois career end like this?
IVORY CRAWFORD:  I mean, I just gave my all.  I'm not really so disappointed.  I love my team and everything.  And I'm just grateful that I'm able to play on that court and everything after injury and everything.

Q.  Amarah, you knocked down some 3s early and had the jumper going and attacked the basket pretty well.  How do you feel you played during your first Big Ten tournament game?
AMARAH COLEMAN:  I feel pretty good about how I played.  But at the end of the day it's a team game, it's not all about me.  So we needed to come out and play defense as a team and we didn't do that.

Q.  Amarah, defensively what do you feel like maybe the team could have done a little better?
AMARAH COLEMAN:  Like Coach said, we were a step behind and we just needed to be more proactive on defense.

Q.  Jacqui, foul trouble for you and Chatrice how frustrating was it where you couldn't be out there?
JACQUI GRANT:  Especially at the end when we see Ivory fighting.  I've told you plenty of times we wanted to do this for Ivory because all the things she's done for this team and all the seniors and coaches.  I'm really proud of Ivory.  And yes it's frustrating, but it's me and Chatrice's fault for putting ourselves in that type of situation.  Again, being a step behind hurt and that's kind of why we got in those foul troubles or into foul trouble.  And it stinks, that's for sure.  We definitely wanted to be out there with Ivory.

Q.  And for Jacqui, Nebraska's bigs hit a lot of mid range jumpers, is that something you were expecting from them?
JACQUI GRANT:  Yeah, I mean we knew they were pretty good inside, in the 15‑foot range and we just didn't get out there fast enough.  We were a step behind and we weren't proactive and that hurt us, that really did.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Matt, obviously the way Ivory fought at the end, is that what you've just come to expect?
COACH BOLLANT:  Yes, that's one of Ivory's greatest qualities she keeps fighting and keeps battling, and she did that throughout the second half.  I wish we would have had more step up and play with her to make those plays and give us a chance to be in the game.
But Ivory doesn't hang her head.  She moves on from one play to the next and handles coaching and does a good job of continuing to play.

Q.  When Romeo's been in the starting lineup the last eight games, she's had games where she played like tonight and had games where she didn't make many 3s.  I guess what maybe did you see where she was able to get all those to fall?
COACH BOLLANT:  I thought she did a great job of doing her work kind of before she got the catch.  She shot them really quick.  And we didn't do a good job of finding her early, especially when she kind of got her confidence going and they passed the ball really well.  Give them credit.  I think they're one of the better passing teams in the Big Ten and move the ball extremely well and just did a good job of finding her, making the extra pass and I think that's one of their best qualities.

Q.  All three of Nebraska's bigs in double figures.  Obviously Chatrice and Jacqui on the bench defensively left you in the hole.
COACH BOLLANT:  Yeah, frustrated with just our ability to see kind of what was happening.  I felt like we were just a step slow and got some fouls, and because of that I'm not sure what the reasoning for that was, but we just weren't very good to start the game defensively and kind of got ourselves in the hole with fouls and it's hard to be aggressive and come out of it and that gave us problems throughout.

Q.  Bounce back from that first early deficit got down 10 and within 5, what did you think it was going to take to maybe have to do it again?
COACH BOLLANT:  Every time I kept talking about the defensive end trying to get stops and being more proactive and moving on the flight of the ball.  Seemed like the ball would move and we would move instead of getting five defenders moving on the flight of the ball.  Looked like we were having trouble seeing what was happening today.  Maybe a little shell shock that first half.  Part of that was Nebraska coming out and making some shots early, but we looked shell shocked a little bit defensively in the first half.

Q.  One more, because of foul trouble, have to play Kennedy more and she stepped up ‑‑ five points, five steals, some rebounds.  How important will these minutes be to her next season?
COACH BOLLANT:  I grabbed Kennedy in [practice the other day, and obviously graduate Brittany and Ivory, and she has the opportunity to step up and play.  She has all the tools to be a good player.  I thought all of her takes were good.  She had two of her 3s go in and out, and she was really active.  I was proud of her effort.
I felt like she kept fighting even though she missed some shots.  And she was really active defensively and had five steals.  Good to see that from Kennedy.  I think she's got a chance to be a really good player.

Q.  After you cut the lead in the first half to about five points or so‑‑

Q.  20‑15.  What did you tell the team once Nebraska started their hot shooting?
COACH BOLLANT:  I just kept‑‑ we kept trying to switch up defense, what we were doing.  Just trying to be more proactive and kind of see.  And they would make a pass and we would move, trying to get them to move.  When the buzz defense works well and our zone is when all five are moving on the flight of the ball.  And we struggled with that today.
We did that really well against Michigan and had done that pretty well against Purdue and some other teams.  But today in the Big Ten tournament we didn't do that.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

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