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March 21, 2015

Sophie Brunner

Katie Hempen

Charli Turner Thorne


ASU – 74
Ohio – 55

THE MODERATOR:  We have Coach Thorne, Sophie Brunner and Katie Hempen.
COACH THORNE:  First I just want to say I think Ohio is just a really good basketball team.  I thought we brought it at both ends and they never quit.  And even had one good run down the stretch of the game.  The way they execute offensively, shoot the three, get to the rim, you know, it really clogged up the paint.  We had 17 turnovers.
I'm really proud of our team.  It's been two weeks since we played a game.  We ‑‑ we got some shots up, shot the ball like we can shoot the ball.  And I thought our defense was ‑‑ in a team that we hadn't really played anybody with them, I thought Sophie was just sprinting.  We had to work hard and I thought we did.  I thought we had a complete effort from our entire team.

Q.  Sophie, the guards did a good job of penetrating.  Was there anything that you did to get open, or were you just waiting for the ball?
SOPHIE BRUNNER:  No, actually the guards did a really good job penetrating, so just an easy two footer.

Q.  Your thoughts on the win Monday night?
KATIE HEMPEN:  It was a great team.  And the preparation we had for this game was so ‑‑ I think the coaches knew what we needed to do, and Sophie and Quinn did a good job of helping.  They did a good job.  Our defense was what led to a good offense.

Q.  You shot 60 percent the first half.  The ball was moving well and you were able to find an open shooter.
SOPHIE BRUNNER:  Yeah, I think we just knew that we had to fake them out and move the ball for each other.  That's what we've been working on all week, and play well together and looking for each other, that's what we mainly focused on.
KATIE HEMPEN:  Our main focus was going from the weak side in and seeing the post.  Pretty much we knew they were going to, you know, kind of focus on ‑‑ we had to skip inside and inside out, and that's what helped us in the game.

Q.  I was wondering, you guys seem to play more cohesively this time.  What is it that you guy did during the last couple of weeks that helped you prepare for this game and especially you Katie with all your three pointers, pretty impressive.
SOPHIE BRUNNER:  I think we just got back to just focusing on playing together, and just finding that chemistry again, because we kind of got it away from it a little bit towards the end of Pac‑12 season.  We made eye contact, just the little things.  And I think we did well.  They showed up in the game.  We focused on trying to get consistent with the little things and had a good result.
KATIE HEMPEN:  Yes, exactly what Sophie said.  I think our teammates were helpful.  You're going to make them, they're going to fall.  And just their support is amazing.  And it's funny, because every time I catch the ball and shoot it, but I know that they can rebound it.  So kind of an ‑‑ they know I'm going to shoot it.  So it all works out.

Q.  Katie, in going back to the beginning of the game you guys seemed a little frustrated at first, but then you broke off in a huge 13‑0 run.  What was said in that huddle during that first media time that got you going?
KATIE HEMPEN:  I don't think we were frustrated.  We were just taking our time, like what are they doing?  Are we doing what we prepared for them to do?  And we just evened out in that first huddle.  Our coaches do great about what we should do.  We were mobilized after coming out of the first huddle.

Q.  Katie, it was a big challenge in preparing for this?
KATIE HEMPEN:  Pretty much just go one‑on‑one.  So you need ‑‑ I think the biggest challenge was getting used to their game.  We did a good job of it and I think we started to connect.

Q.  What are your thoughts?
SOPHIE BRUNNER:  Yes, a great basketball team.  They're tough.  They're going to try to outwork you.  You try to work for everything.  And you can tell that nothing really bothers them.  They just make things work and they'll run you and stay with things.  It will be a tough match‑up, but we're excited for them.
KATIE HEMPEN:  Just like Sophie said, they're a tough team.  It's going to be a fun match‑up.  It's going to be exciting.  Just great.

Q.  (Inaudible)?
SOPHIE BRUNNER:  It's great.  It's a fun atmosphere to play in.  We appreciate what we've been able to do here, and being able to host, and just really thankful.
KATIE HEMPEN:  Our fans do a great job staying in the game.  Whenever we make a good play they just ‑‑ it's awesome.  Their support is what we always want.

Q.  Can you just talk about how you were able to play a pretty complete game?  Was it being more rested, preparation?  Some of the away games you played late in the season you weren't able to do that.
COACH THORNE:  Yes, we hadn't practiced a lot the last part of the season.  Kelsey hadn't practiced very much.  It was amazing for us to get two weeks to rest up and get in the gym.  Get sharp defensively, that's what we did.  The first few minutes ‑‑ we haven't played in a couple of weeks, and they did exactly what we thought, and we weren't having to ‑‑ but, yeah, I think it definitely showed that our team has been working hard to prepare for the NCAA tournament.  And hopefully we'll build on it.
Our team is hard on ourselves.  We are not happy with our rebounding after this game, at all.  We're happy with our shooting percentage but not our turnovers.  We probably should have moved the ball better than we did.  There's a lot we can look at and get better for Monday night.
I think it's hardest not playing for two weeks.  We did have a game against our scout team on Sunday, so that helps, but that's not quite the same.

Q.  That run in the first half, was that kind of when you guys are at your best?
COACH THORNE:  It is.  When our defense is turning people over and we're getting easy buckets in transition, that's when we're at our best.  This team didn't really turn the ball over.  I thought we worked hard.  I thought our defense looked fantastic at times, against a team that's done a great job of taking care of the ball.  They don't pass a lot.  They take you one‑on‑one a lot.  They couldn't get to the rim and then they couldn't find teammates, and that was just ‑‑ our team was working really hard.

Q.  One run in the middle of the second half.  What allowed your team to be able to go on those long spurts that separated the lead?
COACH THORNE:  Well, you know, we also had a long drought where we didn't score down the stretch.  As coaches, that's what we remember.  Oh, my gosh, we haven't scored for this long.
Our defense.  Our defense is just like we just said.  If we're getting soft, I think our shooting was better, our efficiency was better, so I think great defense.
And our transition game, we like to play fast, and not just in the full court, but in the half court.  If we can get out and run a little bit ‑‑ our goal is ‑‑ they're a tough team, and they're going to play hard, we want to outwork teams.  We took advantage when they got tired and we put our foot on the gas, and this team is pretty good at that.

Q.  Obviously your team played well.  What are the main things going into Monday night's match‑up?
COACH THORNE:  You know, things that stood out to me, they were in motion about as well as any team I've watched this year.  You see how many ‑‑ it was a thing of beauty at times the way they just hit you with screen after screen after screen, and they come out ready to knock it down, and obviously 24 buckets from an All‑American.  We know who Promise is guarding.  She's a little rested today, not quite as many minutes.  She'll be fired up and ready to go.  And they have a Hall of Fame coach, and their offensive execution is amazing.
The other thing that impressed me is they bumped out.  They really bumped out.  And so I think, again, we're not happy with our rebounding.  We weren't making moves to get second shots.  Second shots are huge for us.  Those are a couple of things we'll be talking about and focusing on.

Q.  That last nine and a half minutes, is there more you want to see, or is that one of those times?
COACH THORNE:  That's what I was alluding to.  That's why I put the group in at the end.  They were pissed, excuse my expression.  These guys are the reason that we are here.  They got us here.  And they were very frustrated that we weren't scoring and letting the other team score, and they wanted to go back in.  So I put them back in for a little bit.  They weren't always doing the right thing, either, but, we got up almost 30 and we let up.  And honestly in the Pac‑12 it didn't happen very often.  I thought we refocused well.  It wasn't that we were just missing shots.  Our execution was really poor and we were turning the ball over.

Q.  You've been scoring in field goals for a fair amount of time.  And was there a point of emphasis on attacking the rim, if you weren't going to get the shots were you just going to take Ohio out of the game?
COACH THORNE:  We didn't think they were going to play us, and we wanted to take some perimeter shots and draw them out and go right inside.  Part of me was wondering if that was their strategy, because they just hammered us.  They were hammering us.  I was concerned about someone getting hurt, to be honest.  And they got in some foul trouble just coming over, but, you know, it's always our goal to go to the field goal line.  We're really good at that.  We didn't want to settle.  We didn't want them to sit in and settle, and I thought we did a good job of balancing that and getting to the field goal line.

Q.  You had a lot of great shooters in your time here at ASU.  Where does Katie Hempen sit on that list?
COACH THORNE:  We don't know; she's got another year.  I think she's right up there at the top.  She works at it.  I mean all of them do.  Bree was an efficient player, she didn't take a lot of threes.  She shot a super high percentage.
Katie, you saw her at mid-range.  It's exciting to see her game develop.  She's not just a three point shooter.  So I think that makes it more impressive what she's doing for us.  I think she has a chance to be our all-time best.  And I know she has the work ethic.

Q.  I think Katie said you guys share some similarities, and it's tough on top.  Do you see that, too, from the little bit that you were able to see today?
COACH THORNE:  Yes, we talked about that in the locker room.  I said did you see how tough they are and they said, yeah.  You see they play through stuff, nothing really bothers them.  That's what we saw in that team.  Our team knows.  Obviously I think that's where we are at.  They had an amazing season.  That's what we're used to.  We see that day in and day out in the Pac‑12.  But it was impressive.

Q.  Are you planning your squad ‑‑ is it a hungry squad?
COACH THORNE:  They are now.  They're waiting in the locker room for 30 minutes, they really want dinner (laughter.)  They're scrambling for snacks.  I think they found some waffles.
Yeah, I do think this team is hungry.  They really aren't satisfied just being in the second round.  I think they've worked really, really hard and they're going to show up Monday night and leave it all out on the court.  I think that they want to obviously ‑‑ at a minimum, surpass their last year's postseason.  And obviously ‑‑ and they really believe in themselves.
They've been hungry all year.  It's a tough question for me to answer.  Our team has been hungry from game 1.  And I think one of the reasons that they had the consistency is because we try to rest them up and they just come out and you guys see them.  And they play hard.  They get after it.  And I think something that is impressive about them.
So I expect them to stay hungry.  We talked about that at halftime.  This is their moment.  This is why they've worked so incredibly hard offseason and game in and game out to this point.  They know how meaningful this time of year is.  They do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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