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March 2, 2018

Bill Fennelly

Bridget Carleton

Emily Durr

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Iowa State - 74, Texas Tech - 49

THE MODERATOR: Coach, your thoughts? Congratulations.

BILL FENNELLY: Thank you. Very, very proud of our team. Been a few years since we've won our opening round game in this tournament. So the best part about it is the coaches get up really -- get to stay up really late tonight and I get to coach these guys one more time tomorrow. Very, very proud of them, fun to win, have a lot of respect for what Tech has gone through this year. They handled themselves really well and I thought competed hard. We're excited to play again and looking forward to a great Texas team tomorrow.

Q. Emily, it was a goal of yours to win a postseason game. How did it feel to get the win over Tech tonight?
EMILY DURR: Feels really good, beating a team three times in a season is always tough. Like Coach said, credit to Tech. They've been through a lot this year and it's kind of a sigh of relief. It's my senior year and it's always good to get the first one out of the way and we're excited to play tomorrow.

Q. Bridget, you guys forced 12 first-half turnovers. Was that something you were trying to emphasize and obviously it allowed to you get out to an early lead?
BRIDGET CARLETON: Yeah, our focus was to keep it out of the paint. They have big post players and they are able to finish. So our focus was try to clock it up and make them shoot the outside shot. So we were able to get some tips when they did try to pass it in there. I think that is credit to our defense and from Emily and our other guards.

Q. Emily, you've played Texas twice, one was competitive, one maybe not so. What's it going to take tomorrow to beat them?
EMILY DURR: You know they're a great program, one of the best programs in the nation. They have a lot of size and they're very athletic. But our coaches are very smart, and I'm excited to see their game plan for tomorrow.

BILL FENNELLY: You're a senior. You get to play. You don't get to say that!

EMILY DURR: So I'm excited to see what he has in store. He's a mastermind. We're excited. We want to play Texas out of anybody, I think, and like you said, one time it was competitive and one time it wasn't. So hopefully tomorrow it's competitive.

Q. Bridget, can you answer the same question?
BRIDGET CARLETON: We're excited to play against Texas again. Like Emily said, they're a great team, great program, great coach. But they're always fun to play against because they bring every game and they bring great players and it's fun to compete against some of the best teams in the country and that includes Texas. We're going to give it our all and work as hard as we can and see what we can do.

Q. I think you guys have made a 3-pointer in like 10,000 straight games or something like that. Do you enjoy the culture of Iowa State basketball where you just wing it, you go from ocean-to-ocean? That's what you're known for and it works! You made a bunch of 'em tonight. Talk about that.
BRIDGET CARLETON: I think it's a fun system to play in. We have shooters all over the floor. Our post players can even shoot the outside 3 and that's fun to be are a part of when 1 through 5 can knock down a 3-pointer, and Em and I like to shoot 3's so we fit right in. It is a fun system to play in and it gets the crowd into in at Hilton. They love 3 pointers, so it's energizing and fun.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, congratulations. Thank you. Questions for Coach?

Q. Coach, what can you say about Bridget and Emily's play tonight and how they led the team?
BILL FENNELLY: Well, we talked before the game. I talked to Claire, Bridget and Emily, and I said this is the kind of game that your experienced players need to win. There's a lot of nerves in this game. You want to get through the first one, but Emily and Bridget have carried this team a lot the last -- since February.

They played a great game. They're very skilled kids. Obviously, we run a lot of stuff through them and with them, they play off of each other very well.

Emily is having a great finish to her career at Iowa State and obviously Bridget is a tough match-up and one of the best players in our league.

Q. Coach, I have to ask, match-up with Texas tomorrow. Competitive the last timeout. What's it going to take?
BILL FENNELLY: We're going -- this is a situation where we're -- if it was an NBA playoff, we can't beat 'em 4 out of 7. We gotta try and beat 'em once. We gotta shoot the ball great. We've done a decent job of not turning the ball over for a pick six like I like to call it. We have to defensively rebound the ball. Hopefully they will have jitters, first time on this court. But for our -- I told our kids we're playing one of the best teams in the country and in one of the best tournaments in the country and we're just going to let it rip. We're just going to go play. You can't overthink it. There is no practice tomorrow, no nothing. So we gotta bring, obviously, the best we can and they gotta help us a little bit. It will be a great -- it will be a challenge I think our kids are looking forward to.

Q. You guys have character 3-point plays, you just turn 'em loose?
BILL FENNELLY: I tell 'em, shoot it before you throw it away. That is kind of the way we started. The 3-point shot is an exciting thing for women's basketball, even the officials get excited and raise their hand. I was an assistant at Notre Dame and we used to call it 3-point Jesus, not touchdown Jesus. It's just part of who we get. The kids we get. We're not going to get the big athletic kids that Texas or Baylor get. So we gotta do something else and try and get 3 for 2. It's something we have believed in for a long time and we haven't shot it as well as we have in the past this year, but we're going to keep throwin' them up there and see what happens.

Q. Coach, UConn is an elite basketball team. Can you, in your opinion name the others that you consider elite basketball teams? Can I rephrase? Programs.
BILL FENNELLY: Programs. Notre Dame, Texas, Baylor, Louisville, South Carolina, and I would say Mississippi State is knocking on that door, and then obviously Stanford, I think are the teams that have been there every year. They do it right, Hall of Fame coaches. They get great players. They aspire to be National Championship caliber teams. I'm sure I left someone out, but those are the ones that -- I vote on the top-25 poll and it's kind of -- Connecticut No. 1, you kind of -- the first eight or nine are pretty easy, usually, but all great programs, great teams.

I honestly think Baylor and Texas have a legitimate -- I think Baylor had a really good chance with Christy Wallace healthy, but I think Texas and Baylor teams are honestly Final Four caliber teams. I really believe that.

Q. To follow up on --
BILL FENNELLY: Nice to meet you.

Q. Nice to meet you, thanks for talking to me the other day.
BILL FENNELLY: My pleasure.

Q. To follow up on that, do you feel that the sport is in a position where it needs to find some more parity?
BILL FENNELLY: Yes, we do. I don't know how that happens. I think for the casual fan, when you see match-ups where highly ranked teams respect kinda beatin' each other up and there are mismatches that you don't see on the men's side, I don't have the answer to that. It's not their fault. It's our fault. We gotta get better, with what Connecticut and all those guys are doing. They're doing what they should be doing; but, yeah, I think for the sport to find another level, it's gotta be that way. Whether you look -- you look at the NFL, you know, teams last in the division and then they go to the Super Bowl and men's basketball, the March Madness of it. I hope it happens. I don't know that it will happen in my tenure at Iowa State, but it needs to happen, Scott, it really does.

Q. Coach, this is a young team. Can you talk about what getting the win for them was like and having them contribute to postseason play?
BILL FENNELLY: I think it's huge. That was probably -- the two things that we talked about as a staff was we wanted -- really we were hoping that Emily and Claire could win a postseason game in the Big 12 Tournament and then obviously what it does -- it means one more game for our kids against a great team, one more day to prepare, you can't simulate that in practice, playing against Brooke McCarty, Ariel Atkins. You can't simulate that. Our kids are going to get to do that tomorrow and it shows what you need to do to play at a higher level. There is absolutely nothing bad about it at all. It worked ought well, is and I'm happy for our kids. Our record is not great, but it's been a group that's been fun to coach, fun to be around. I just hope that this is a way for them to finish with a smile on their face, whatever happens tomorrow or beyond, who knows.

Q. Coach, could you just talk about what this event was like when you first came into the league and how it's grown?
BILL FENNELLY: When I first came in, it's very nice everyone called me "The Dean" which means I'm the old guy. We were in Kansas City and then it split to two separate venues. We've been blessed to have great venues. The Big 12 runs -- I will say this, from the day I got beau the league the Big 12 runs this event better than any event in the country. It's incredible how much they put into it.

I'm a believer that the tournaments should be together. I've said that many times. The vote was usually 9-1 in the conference meetings. But I think it is a celebration of basketball in the Big 12 to have everyone in the same venue. I understand that there is another opinion with that, but I've always believed that. Some of the greatest moments I had in my coaching career were when the tournaments were together in Kansas City. But it's continued to grow. The cities do a lot of work to put it on, and it's a great thing for our players. They are treated so well, and it's a fun thing to be a part of this event.

Q. Coach, you kind of touched on it earlier but can you talk about the senior class and what it means to them and you for them to finish strong like this?
BILL FENNELLY: Yeah, our seniors came along in our program at exactly the time that we needed them. How they conducted themselves, the kind of things they've done for our program, for me.

I honestly don't know that I would keep coaching if it wasn't for what those two gave our team this year. It was a lot of fun to be around 'em. We're big in the Iowa State way of doing things. There's a lot to that that's boring, but those two lived it, breathed it and celebrated it with their teammates. Our players are better off for it. I certainly am, too.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations on tonight's game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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