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March 7, 2015

Bill Fennelly

Seanna Johnson

Brynn Williamson


Oklahoma State  - 67
Iowa State  - 58

COACH FENNELLY:  First of all, I want to thank the Big 12, there isn't a conference in the country runs an event better.  Really, on behalf of our university and our program, I want to thank you for everything, and the people of Dallas.  It was a tremendous event as always.
As far as the game goes, it's pretty much the struggles we've had all year of when you don't have a couple people show up and make shots, we're going to get beat.  Oklahoma State's an outstanding team, they guard us great, but this game is about making baskets and we certainly didn't make even close to enough.

Q.  Seanna, when it's 20 and it looked like this may be a blowout, you seemed to really kind of take the game into your own hands and keep your team in it.  Can you talk a little bit about what was in your head and kind of that whole stretch there?
SEANNA JOHNSON:  I knew someone had to step up at some point.  I knew that if it wasn't one of the seniors, I knew that I was next in line, so I knew I had to help my team out no matter what, if it was a rebound, a basket, getting a stop or a steal, I just knew I had to step up in a big way.

Q.  I know you're disappointed, but can you say what it means to be able to come back like that, what does that say about your team?
BRYNN WILLIAMSON:  We talk about all the time in the locker room after games and stuff like this that we're not a fan of moral victories or anything, but the first thing we said in the locker room was that what we asked for everyone on our team before the game started was that we needed to have a bench that was behind us, and we needed to have players willing to fight.  To OK State's credit, they stopped us really well and things like that but we took 20 minutes off in a game and you can't win games like that, and we've been through that this season, we haven't learned how to finish games and things like that.  But like I said, it's all about the fighting.  Just seeing even a couple minutes of that shows the potential of the team but right now we're running out of time to prove it to everybody else.

Q.  Ladies, if you can both address, Nikki had an awful shooting night, I think she was 1-15 at one point.  When your leader is struggling like that, what do you guys say to each other and how do you handle that? 
BRYNN WILLIAMSON:  I tell her what she tells me every time, whether I'm 1 for 11 or 1 for 20, you got to keep shooting.  Every shot is going to be the one you don't take is going to be the one you're going to miss.  One for 15, it sounds really bad on paper but Nikki's carried us through so many games and I think people kind of lose sight of that.  She had a 30 point game at Oklahoma and comes back, great game against Baylor.  People lose sight of it whenever you do go 1 for 15, but you look at the second half, she came out, made some really big plays for us, that kept us in the game and got us back within striking distance.  So I mean, I'm not looking at this so negative for her but it was a tough shooting night and she knew it and she looked to her teammates and asked how they could help her.

Q.  Seanna, do you want to add anything to that? 
SEANNA JOHNSON:  We talked about it, we talked about we've got your back no matter what, no matter what it says on the paper, we're going to fight as a team.  I knew that we talked about it, when she went to the free throw line, she made her two free throws, I told her, this is a start.  So after she made her two free throws, she came down and hit two 3s that we needed that kept us in the game that got us back so that helped her.  As that helped her, it helped us as a team.

Q.  Bill, I'll ask you the same question, when your leader is struggling like that, what changes for you?  Do you just keep doing the same thing you've been doing or do you kind of make adjustments on that?
COACH FENNELLY:  There's not a whole lot you can do at this point.  Nikki's the kid that has the ball a lot.  We don't have a lot of people that can beat people off the bounce.  She had some good looks, I thought.  But for the people that have followed our team, this was kind of a microcosm of -- you know, Fallon starts, goes O for 5.  The kid plays 20 some minutes, gets one shot off, just kind of the way it's happened for us.  You know, obviously when Nikki's struggling the way she is because she's going to get a lot of shots, Oklahoma State's not been good for her.  She was 6 for 26 at their place.  Luckily for her, she won't have to see them again.  But their defense is very good.  They had 12 steals, which that's a lot in a college game, and they picked us a few times.  But defensively they have a great plan and they do a great job.

Q.  You mentioned their steals and I thought there was one in particular you guys had cut it down to 3 and then it was 5 at about a minute to go, you have the ball and Nikki loses the ball and 23 steals it and goes down and scores.  Basically, I thought that kind of iced the game.  Did you think that was kind of the dagger, I guess?
COACH FENNELLY:  Yeah, probably.  That play kind of ended whatever chance you had because we found transition but, yeah, you don't get a shot off, they picked us.  I think she had seven steals.  Brittney Martin, we know is a great defender.  We just made some really loose decisions with the ball.  We talked every single timeout, we told them don't dribble the ball around certain people, and to her credit every time we did it, she picked us.  That's a great addition to their team, that's changed their team.  I think the first time we played them, I don't know, she might have got in two minutes but that's a credit to their coaches, to their program that they made the adjustment they needed to make to make them a better team and they're going to be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament, they really will.  They play hard, they're physical, they've got some depth, but it's a very, very good basketball team.

Q.  Coach, was it more of what OSU did in the first half defensively that kept y'all from getting into an offensive rhythm and then weren't able to find yourself until late in the game when it was almost like a rush?
COACH FENNELLY:  You know, I think as coaches we never give -- it's always we didn't do this and we didn't do that, you don't give the other guy credit.  Their defense is very good but we missed some shots that we need to make.  We missed three free throws, which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but when you're struggling to score you've got to do those kinds of things.  Defensively I thought we weren't very connected in the first half.  But you've got to give Oklahoma State a lot of credit, they were the main reason we struggled and that's kind of been the pattern when we've played them this year.

Q.  Coach, how important were Seanna and Nikki with sparking that run?  And did you say anything to them and the team to get them going again?
COACH FENNELLY:  I thought Seanna made some really big plays.  I think Seanna is the most versatile kid on our team as far as scoring.  She's fast to the basket, got an and-1, got a defensive rebound, got a tipped steal.  Those are the kind of plays that excite the other kids.  Every timeout it was the same.  You're wearing an Iowa State jersey and you had better be damn proud of it and you had better compete.  That's all we kept saying.  Anyone can start things in life and anyone can finish it when it's easy, but when you're getting your butt kicked and you got a choice, you either bow up and compete and finish or you make an excuse why you couldn't, and I thought we competed really hard the last 10 minutes of the game and gave ourselves a chance, which is a credit to the kids.  You know, you can't -- you can't play very often down 23 in this league and expect to have enough left to win a game.

Q.  You mentioned Oklahoma State's a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.  Do you guys have a shot, are you in?
COACH FENNELLY:  I guess I would say obviously that's not -- it's like my beautiful bride sitting right there, it's like at home, I don't get many -- they don't care what I think at home.  I don't know that the committee cares.  I don't know if the committee thinks what my opinion is, but I think when you look at it, and I went through the mock selection thing in the fall, which was an amazing learning experience, but we tied for third in the best league in the country, we have some great wins, our strength of schedule and RPI, all those numbers are good.  I guess I put it this way:  I think we deserve the opportunity to play.  If we don't, it will be our fault, but we'll see what the decision is. 

Q.  Is she the committee at home?
COACH FENNELLY:  She is the CEO, the CFO, the boss, she's the boss.  Best recruit I ever got 32 years ago.  Lifetime, yep, she stuck with me.  Can you imagine that?
MODERATOR:  Well, congratulations on that.
COACH FENNELLY:  You'd better stop me right there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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