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March 1, 2018

Lisa Bluder

Indianapolis, Indiana

Iowa - 55, Northwestern - 45

Q. Why consistently do you get off to such a good start?
COACH BLUDER: You know, there's really not one thing you can point to or that we're really focusing on it, but truly there's not something you can read a textbook and say, okay, do this, X, Y and Z to have that fast start.

Really coming out, we're really ready to go right from the start, we're focused right from the start, but I wish we would have kept it going the rest of the game.

Q. What were they doing defensively when you started executing offensively most of those last three quarters?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, the first quarter our threes were falling for us. We shot the ball extremely well. They missed some easy ones. We were boxing out better in the first quarter, and in the second quarter we kind of stopped boxing out as well and didn't do that for the rest of the game.

They got too many offensive rebounds. Luckily they only scored six points on those 17 offensive rebounds, which is amazing. Basically we got a little bit frustrated with the way that our offense was running, so it wasn't a pretty win, but at this point, we don't care; a win is a win.

Q. Lexi hit two big shots late; how important was her contribution tonight?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I thought Makenzie really got us going early. Lexi really got us going late. Nice that both of them dropped their threes for us when we needed them and then made their free throws. Lexi did, as well. When they're going to collapse like that, it gives us the open three, and we need to be able to step up and hit them.

Q. I believe with about four minutes left, they cut the lead to five, you called a time-out. Was there anything you said to them during the huddle?
COACH BLUDER: You know, really lots of times, it's kind of a gut check sometimes. Okay, guys -- they understand what they have to do, and we came out and scored after that possession, too, or after that time-out, and I thought that was a good possession to kind of give us momentum going back in our favor.

But you know, I mean, I think it was just like, okay, let's lock down. Let's lock down. It wasn't anything that we changed defensively or anything like that. It was just a point of we got five minutes, you guys, let's go win this game, let's go play great defense. As long as we play great defense, we're going to win this game.

Q. Have you ever held a team to just within point in the first quarter before?
COACH BLUDER: I don't think so. I think that may be the first time I've ever experienced anything like that. That was pretty amazing. And thank goodness for that first quarter and that good start because we needed all of that to finish this game.

Q. How would you rate your team's defense in the last three quarters?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, disappointed we didn't finish the possession. I thought that we just weren't finishing it. That 14, she's a handful to box out. She's incredibly athletic, and she did a great job crashing the boards for us.

But for us, it's the defense, you've got to finish it out. I thought we communicated well in our screens. I thought we made them take some hard shots. They weren't getting really easy shots, and I think that's always good.

Q. You guys won without a huge contribution from Megan. How big is that for your team going forward?
COACH BLUDER: Yeah, I don't remember the last time we won a game when Megan only had eight shots. I think that was really different for us. And it's nice, actually. It's good. It's good for other people to understand that they need to step up in those situations and that they can. And so I think it's actually a really good thing.

Q. Was there anything different they did that disrupted her at all?
COACH BLUDER: You know, we have. We've seen everything on her, but I think it was really basically two people boxing her out every single time, so other people needed to crash. We kind of rely on Megan crashing for us, but other people need to get involved in that.

I think it was just an extremely physical game. It was just like beat her up and see what can happen, surround her every time she had the ball, and again, when that happens, okay, they're giving something else up; what else are they giving up? We need to take advantage of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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