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March 1, 2018

Sharon Versyp

Indianapolis, Indiana

Rutgers - 62, Purdue - 60

COACH VERSYP: It was hard to get lanes. You know, and if we weren't knocking down outside shots, then that was going to be an issue, and they pressured us a little bit, but we couldn't get around them to penetrate. That was hurtful.

Q. Do you see this as a missed opportunity for this group?
COACH VERSYP: I think we're a group of fighters. We just have to learn to play with a sense of urgency a little bit earlier.

But we continued to fight. We have a lot of abilities and a lot of things, obviously, inside us that we can do. It shows a lot. I mean, we played a good basketball team today and both wanted this badly, but in tournament time, sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it doesn't.

Q. You didn't have very many turnovers, probably less than 10. Coming in you must have felt like if you could keep it low --
COACH VERSYP: Yeah, keep them off the boards, which we did. A few turnovers, we needed to score the basketball. They were able to go high-low on us a little bit easier today. We were supposed to front down low. We didn't one time.

But we had some opportunities, some looks we needed to make and finish around the basket. But no, we played the game that we needed to play, but we just came up with a loss.

Q. It was about this time last year that Oden sort of broke out. She had another big game here today. Does it surprise you the way she's able to carry the team?
COACH VERSYP: Well, she needs to. She's had the experience, and when you're a guard, you should be able to do that. You should be able to shoot the three or do pull-up jump shots. You've got to make something happen. She needs to play aggressive all the time, and all of our guards got to learn from that, as well.

Q. Do you think you're an NCAA Tournament team?
COACH VERSYP: I think we are. We have a great resume. Our resume is better than it was last year. But last year was last year. You know, beating four ranked teams in the Big Ten I think is tough. I think we're playing good basketball.

But I'm not the committee. If the committee talks about strength of schedule, we have one of the top in the country. If they are talking about winning and losing, we're like 5-5 -- we've won five, we've lost five. Other teams have lost eight out of ten. Those are the ones that shouldn't get in, or if you have a bad loss. We don't have a bad loss.

But I don't put my trust in any of that. We'll wait and see, but it's probably under -- 50/50. I feel we should be in, but I just understand the NCAA too much.

Q. Karissa has played in like six straight games, hasn't sat for a single minute. What is it that allows her to be so productive so consistently?
COACH VERSYP: Well, she's in good shape. You've got to be one -- if you're going to play a lot of minutes, you've got to be in the best shape. It's just not physical, it's emotionally and mentally tough, and she's had to grow quite a bit all the way through the season.

She's been very solid for us, been very aggressive. So those are the things that hopefully she'll continue to carry for us.

Q. What's the biggest growth that you've seen in her over the course of the year?
COACH VERSYP: I think the biggest thing is just, early on, not familiar with the point guard position, was trying to find her shots, then the next thing was trying to lead her team, and now she has kind of done that combination.

Being able to do both, and she has a great assist-to-turnover ratio, which a lot of players that play that position and play that many minutes as young as she is doesn't always happen.

Q. That's a lot to process for her in a pretty short amount of time. What have you seen from her just in terms of the relationships that she has with her teammates, kind of taking over that leadership role as a freshman?
COACH VERSYP: I think Keys has done a great job with her because Keys had to play 1 through 4, and people don't understand unless you play that position how hard it is and how much you have to understand game plan and understand angles in every one of your teammates.

I think Keys has done a great job of uplifting her, coaching her, and she's one that's accepted all those things.

Q. You talked about kind of the endurance that she has to have. What do you see her do outside of games that allows her to kind of stay in shape the way she is?
COACH VERSYP: Well, when you play that many minutes, you should stay in shape, but I think it's mental toughness. She also is in the gym all the time. Not everybody gets in the gym. She's in the gym working on her game and working on her shot.

Q. Talk a little bit about Keys and what she's meant to you and the program in the four years.
COACH VERSYP: You know, Keys has been one of the best, I think, in so many different ways, on and off the floor. Her character -- people can score a lot of points, but she's done it all -- she's scored points, she's boards, she's assisted, she's played 1 through 4. She has committed and been consistent and never wavered on anything that we've wanted as a freshman.

Sometimes when your freshmen come in, you question everything, you doubt -- you question coaches, you question everything. She never questioned one thing. And that's why she's been so successful from her freshman, sophomore, junior, senior season is she's just bought in. She had our backs from day one, whatever we wanted. We never had to fight our argue.

I mean, it was just easy. She was an easy kid, and I wish there was -- I wish many more of those type of young ladies can come through because she was very unselfish as a freshman, and I think that's a big key.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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