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March 7, 2015

Roshunda Johnson

Jim Littell

Brittney Martin


Oklahoma State  - 67
Iowa State  - 58

COACH LITTELL:  Thank you.  We're very excited to get this win.  We've got the utmost respect for Coach Fennelly and Iowa State and the program they have.  Very talented team that's been in the NCAA Tournament year after year after year.  I think our first half was probably as good a first half as we've played all year.  Clicking offensively, did a great job to hold them to 21 points in the first half.  The second half, I don't know if there was a little fatigue or we lost some focus, but we quit guarding as well as we were in the first half and they put a scare into the coaching staff, our fans and everybody else.  We had these two to my right step up and make big plays all night long.  Roshunda Johnson, I think -- she's a sophomore here and I think that's the best game she's played since she's been at Oklahoma State, was really good, got us off to a good start and down near the end of the game when the lead was slipping away, we went to Brittney Martin and she hit some big shots and really delivered some big rebounds on the defensive end of the floor.  So proud of our team, proud of these two young ladies and the way they performed tonight.  Very relieved to get 20 wins.  It was the first time in the history of the school that there's been four consecutive teams to get 20 wins, so that's a huge accomplishment for our program and we're very proud of that and it came at a good time.

Q.  Brittney, you got off to a really hot start and then finished the game so well.  How important was that for you considering the game you had against Oklahoma on Monday?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think I was just trying not to let that happen again.  People are going to have off games but that's something that I was kind of -- I guess it embarrassed me so I had to come out here and just play hard and hope that things went well, so I just had to play hard.

Q.  Roshunda, your matchup with Nikki Moody, she was 1 for 15 at one point, I don't know what her percentage was here, but why was that -- why were you guys so successful in being able to contain her?
ROSHUNDA JOHNSON:  She's a very good player, I just had to contain my player and knew that I had to play defense in order for us to win this game for my team.

Q.  Both players, can you talk about what you needed to do there after they cut the lead, your lead, to 3 points?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think we've done this all year, we get leads and we come back in the second half and I feel like we get comfortable.  I don't think it's on purpose but we just get comfortable with our lead, our 20 point lead, yeah, it looks good but when the other team is just shooting three-pointers, it's going to cut down fast.  I think we just get comfortable and I think we just had to pick up the defensive intensity and get back to what we were doing in the first half obviously to stop three-pointers.
ROSHUNDA JOHNSON:  I think it was all about just controlling the game and not letting them be able to come down and control the game, we just had to do what we normally do at practice.  The last minute you're up five and Iowa State has the ball and Roddricka makes the steal on the wing there, how big a play was that?  Was that basically the game at that point?  Talk about her defense because you had seven steals for the night.
COACH LITTELL:  It was a huge play and it just didn't happen tonight.  We were 2 and 6 playing at KU and we were down 23-8 in the first half and we put Roddricka Patton in, she energized us, we came back and won that game, we won five in a row and I believe we've won eight out of the last 11 with her in the lineup.  Not very smart on the head coach's part for not putting her in earlier, but her energy, her enthusiasm, her passion for the game has really energized our program, our fan base.  It's fun to watch somebody that enjoys playing the game that hard and I thought her steals were very significant.  She turned the ball over too many times tonight but she also got us 10 points in fast break transition.  And prior to playing her, we hadn't been getting easy run-out baskets.  So everything she's done has turned our program from being 2-6 to, you know, being in position to where we feel like we're in the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  Jim, you kind of addressed it there, but do you feel like after this win you guys have done enough to impress the committee to make the tournament or are you trying to stay focused on the task at hand?
COACH LITTELL:  Well, I mean, we want to play and win as many games as possible here and our focus is Baylor.  I've always been under the opinion that you don't worry about things that you can't control, and we can't control that.  History in this league tells us though that 9 and 9 has gotten you in and I think this win here helped us further our resume.  So I can't say on that, but I feel a lot better about it than I did 24 hours ago, I can tell you that.

Q.  Coach Littell, first half was basically the way you all put your defense's stamp on this afternoon's game.  Not allowing Iowa State to get into an offensive rhythm, doing what they normally do, which is what they did late in the game, got their 3s going, what was the effort, the mental state going -- coming into this game and putting in your defensive stamp?
COACH LITTELL:  Well, we've been -- I haven't looked at stats lately but I think we've been leading the conference in a lot of defensive categories this year and that's been the foundation of our program, defending and rebounding.  Sometimes we're challenged to score the basketball at times and we've won games 47-44, 52-48 and that's been the staple of our program the entire year.  As I said, the first half I thought we were as good defensively as we've been all year long.  And then we lost focus, allowed a lot of easy shots, but that's how we win.  We win some grind it out games, we win some games that aren't pretty, we have some ugly wins, but at the end of the day they're wins and that's how we have to play to be successful.

Q.  Did you tell them anything there toward the end when the lead had gotten cut?
COACH LITTELL:  Yeah, guard somebody.  Guard somebody, quit stopping the clock and fouling and sending them to the free throw line and let's get a good possession and get the ball where we needed to get it.  We did that at times.  We ran a nice set at the end of the game and Liz Donahoe's open and we throw a bounce pass between her legs out of bounds.  Those are things that are responsible for this bald head up here.  You can't make those mistakes against a good team.  We got away with it, but we quit guarding the way we guard in the first half and that may be that they were in more of an attack mode and it may have been a little fatigue on our part.  We're not playing a lot of people, so we're having a lot of kids log a lot of minutes.

Q.  Did you start trying to milk some clock there the last five minutes up nine, and if so, do you look back on that and say maybe that was too early to start doing that?
COACH LITTELL:  Well, you know, hindsight can be can 20/20 on it and I'm glad I did it now.  It maybe took a little momentum away from the game but they can score in such a hurry with the 3-ball that we wanted to use 20 seconds per possession on it and I don't know if it's the right thing.  I would probably do it again the way they play and how quick they can score, I wanted to keep the ball out of their hands as much as possible.

Q.  Jim, I know that Baylor and Kansas State haven't played yet but if you're playing Baylor, you guys haven't beaten them in I think five years but they enter this tournament on a little bit of a slump having lost a couple of their last games and you guys, like you said earlier, are pretty hot right now.  Do you feel like you're catching them maybe at the right time?
COACH LITTELL:  Well, I appreciate you pointing that out that we haven't beat them in five years.  I don't know if you can ever catch Baylor at the right time.  Great program, going to have a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament, have always played well in this tournament.  They've shown through some losses that some people are playing them close or beating them.  You know, we're just going to come compete and play hard.  It's a tough matchup for us.  They've got size, they've got Nina Davis, they've got some other players that are a very difficult matchup so we would have to play extremely well, but that's why you play the game and we're excited to play them again.  Very talented team that always seems to play very well in this tournament.

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