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March 2, 2017

Jonathan Tsipis

Cayla McMorris

Avyanna Young

Indianapolis, Indiana

Michigan State - 70, Wisconsin - 63

THE MODERATOR: We've got Coach Tsipis and Wisconsin student-athletes Cayla McMorris and Avyanna Young. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH TSIPIS: I think that game is reflective for 35 minutes of what we've been able to grow, not just since the last time we played Michigan State on January 24th. But throughout the season.

And I'm really proud of our group. To be able to come back, having the game yesterday and again the first half I thought we did a phenomenal job attacking. We did a great job, I thought, on the glass.

In the second half, I thought Michigan State stepped to another level and challenged us on the glass and we weren't able to respond the way I would have liked. But it wasn't anything to do with an effort or a competitiveness with our kids.

And it's always the hardest game, because only one team at the end, I guess two, walk away as winners. And as I told our team in the locker room, we have grown so much to just be able to compete and fight and put ourselves in a position to be successful. And we cut down on our turnovers. I thought we did a great job of getting the ball inside and working off of that.

And I thought that part helped open up things for our guards. And I think as we're trying to build our program at Wisconsin, you go through highs and lows. And I still remember on March 30th to be able to meet the team and see that excitement. And that's what I saw tonight from our team. And that excitement of we're going to go out there and show them.

And I still can remember, I tried to smile after the game because I still remember when Avyanna Young was interviewed right after I was hired, and she said what was the one thing that stood out and she said he has a nice smile. Hopefully I can continue to have coaching match how my smile is.

But I'm really proud of our seniors, of Avy, of Mikey Crall, of Taylor Kuhn and how they were able to navigate through the ups and downs and put us in a position where their legacy will be how hard they worked and that front end of moving our program forward. And I think that's the part that now falls on Cayla.

And I think Cayla showed tonight why she's an All-Big Ten All-Conference member, and that attacking part as we move forward. And there's nothing, I think, from this game that I look back and say our kids played a two-minute or three-minute stretch where they didn't leave it all out there. And as a coach that's what you can ask for is great effort and understanding of playing together on both sides of the basketball, and in the end not worried about individual goals.

And I think that's what they did. And I'm proud of them. I'm excited. They need a little down time. But this one is going to stick, I think, as something to help motivate us this spring and this summer to continue to build Wisconsin women's basketball.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the students.

Q. Avyanna, 17 points, 8-of-13 from the field. What were you doing that was so effective against Michigan State defense?
AVYANNA YOUNG: I was trying to beat the double team but my teammates really put me in a good position to finish at the basket. They led me to the basket when we played inside/outside. They fed us back the ball in the post instead of just they could have took it themselves and they didn't, and I really appreciate them for trusting me in being able to finish.

Q. Avy and Cayla, could you talk about the change from the first half to the second and how Michigan State pretty much kind of stepped up, especially Jankoska?
CAYLA MCMORRIS: Yeah, I would definitely say she did what she does best I feel in the second half. I feel like I could have played a lot better defense on her. I feel like we carried over our momentum, though, as far as still fighting and pushing. They just out-hustled us.

Q. Avy, you and Marsha have this great combination inside. Can you talk about how it's been being able to play with her?
AVYANNA YOUNG: It's been great playing with Marsha. Because I love her intensity, her aggressiveness. We just feed off of each other and everything just goes back down to trust. We trust each other once we pass each other the ball, dive, rebound. We knew we were going to finish. We were just there for each other.

Q. Avy, you talked about coming to Wisconsin was your dream. Can you talk about what your career has been like and the improvement you've seen this season?
AVYANNA YOUNG: The improvement is definitely growth in myself and with the team and just being able to grow as a person, and I thank Wisconsin for being patient through all my ups and downs and how everything happened. And I'm just happy that I was able to finish with the team and Coach and everybody.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.

Q. You talked a little bit about how this was going to stick with you. In the past, like volleyball, the end of their season, they put the score up on the scoreboard. Is that something that you're going to refer to, or is there going to be a new season next year?
COACH TSIPIS: Well, I think if you're a competitor, as a coach, as a student-athlete, it's what is driving you. And I think being driven as a team is knowing the position we put ourselves in throughout this game, and to be able to advance to the next round of the Big Ten Tournament. And an understanding of the work that it took to put us in that spot.

And I think that part individually knowing that we have people that grew their game through the season, I'm a big believer that teams develop throughout the journey and that individual players are able to put themselves where they can improve through the offseason. But I think that part of our kids being able to look at and say all the things we did to put ourselves in a position to be successful in this game, you know we took better care of the basketball. We didn't foul.

I thought we did a good job -- I thought Jankoska made a couple of really, really good one-on-one moves. I think Cayla, I think that's -- Cayla wants to be that defender. And I thought she made a couple of moves. I'm not sure there's a lot of people in the country that could stop that. But I think finishing possessions out. I think we can learn from that and use this score of how do you finish that part out.

And we talked about 37-30. That score at halftime. But again you hope -- if you're competitive, you hope you're getting somebody's best effort. And I think that's now the difference is going in to this spring, there's always that growth of learning your players and as they mature.

I think now that part of being able to reflect and see what we've done and move forward that we can be stronger. We can be better ball handlers. We can do those things and continue to put that part together and grow our team.

If that score doesn't stick with you whether you put it up on the scoreboard or in the locker room things like that it will be referred to. But it will also be referred to the progress we've made not just since we played Michigan State but since the Ohio State game at home, I think that part of growing off of that and knowing going into next year that we have to have somebody step up. And I think we're in the situation, even the last two nights, not having Malayna Johnson, I thought Kendall stepped up. And I thought with having Chelly Marble, how she played last night and stepping in the role today, having three assists, no turnovers, doing a great job defensively, with three rebounds, that part of advancing her game.

And as I told them, there's no room for settling. And my first year at George Washington we won our first conference tournament game and the next day I think we were excited to warm up to play in the second one.

I'll tell you what, tonight, our kids, as soon as we met last night and started talking about it, it was great to see that belief that they were going to execute things today to put us in a position to be successful.

And that's what you want a group to have that belief every time they step on the floor. And if they don't accomplish that, that itself drives you no matter what you're doing.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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