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March 7, 2019

Joe McKeown

Indianapolis, Indiana

Michigan State - 68, Northwestern - 52.

JOE McKEOWN: A hard-fought game. Offensively I think at times we just let our offense affect our defense. In the first half, first quarter, we gave up way more points than we normally do. When we beat Michigan State early in the year, it was because of our defense. I thought in the third quarter we came out, did a great job, came out, took the lead, but they made shots. They made tough shots. They got in transition, and give them credit, too. Really proud of our team. Had a lot of adversity this year with lineups and injuries, and they fought through it all. We've got to give them a lot of credit. This is Pallas' fourth Big Ten Tournament, and regardless, she ended up 5-4 playing in this. I'm not sure anybody in any team over the last four years has played any harder than her in this tournament. Really proud of her. I wish we could have advanced, but again, give Michigan State credit.

Q. (Abbie) Wolf had a great game today and obviously Pallas is a great player, but next year she won't be here. What has she shown this season, and kind of also today that's going to help her be a starter next year?
JOE McKEOWN: I appreciate that. Abbie Wolf has had the best second half of the Big Ten that we could even draw up ourselves. Really proud of her. She's grown up. She has become such a threat on the block. Now she wants the ball. She's much more aggressive. So really excited for her as a senior. She's got a great work ethic. So I think this should be -- for us to play, too, hopefully we'll continue to play this year, for her to get some postseason experience going into her senior year. And, you know, she's a person that because of injury hadn't played much this year, to now start to practice at a high level, too -- Courtney Shaw, that's a big, big off-season for her. She reminds me of Pallas as a freshman. But Wolf, she's had a great finish for us in the Big Ten.

Q. You touched on getting more experience in the postseason. What does it mean especially for a young backcourt, Jordan, Lindsey, Veronica especially going forward to get the postseason opportunities?
JOE McKEOWN: Yeah, I recruited her, and I say this -- Jordan Hamilton is a great college basketball player. She's been saddled this last month, so today was rough for her. But to get her back, get some rest, with the way the floor mats are, college basketball, our tournament, it ends this week. We won't know until the following Monday if we'll continue to play. We hope we will. That will give Jordan, Veronica, Lindsay Pulliam a chance to really get some downtime. Really we could be a whole different team two weeks from now. But they've all -- Veronica Burton, really surprised she didn't make the all-freshman team. She's had an incredible year. I was a little disappointed in that. She deserves it. But her, Jordan, Pulliam, Sydney Wood, we've got a great foundation right now and great experiences that you learn from this and you move on. You look at all the Big Ten games that came down for us, next year we ended up .500, 9-9, could have easily been 12-6, and hopefully that will -- we'll be able to do that next year.

Q. You touched on that last year was four wins and this year had .500 in the conference, maybe could have had more. What do you think have been the biggest developments for you guys to take that stuff forward, and playing at home has certainly helped, as well?
JOE McKEOWN: Yeah, well, I'll tell you, to play well at Welsh-Ryan Arena, we opened it, and the way we played against Duke, you know, that was just great for our program. So I think we saw that all year, playing at home, what a great environment it is. For us to go from four to nine wins in the league is really important. We were close to cracking the top 25 a couple times this year. We've got a lot to build on, a lot of positives. Obviously, as you said, we'll miss Pallas and she's going to go on and play basketball for a long time. But I think these guys are hungry and they're young. It gives you a lot to look forward to.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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