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March 7, 2019

Teri Moren

Ali Patberg

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana - 66, Minnesota - 58

Q. For you, what does it mean to be playing in the Big Ten Tournament here in Indy, in your home state in front of your home crowd?
TERI MOREN: Well, it's a terrific thing. We're not lost on it, the fact that we can just drive an hour. I think this is the best venue for it. One thing about the state of Indiana, we love basketball, and we have a terrific group of players and coaches in the Big Ten. We've had tremendous parity throughout the entire season. We've already seen some exciting games, and that's just going to continue.

Q. So as a Big Ten graduate yourself, what does it mean to be coaching in this tournament?
TERI MOREN: Well, it's always special. Any time you have an opportunity to be the head coach at a Big Ten school in a league that you played in, it's always been special for me. And then it's just icing on the cake because I grew up here in the state. I'm a very, very, very proud Hoosier.

Q. Bendu played phenomenal defense on Kenisha Bell. What did you think of her performance today?
TERI MOREN: I think she was terrific defensively. I thought she got a little bit gassed on the offensive end. She's not typically -- she had four turnovers. That's not a typical Bendu. I thought Ali Patberg did a great job on Pitts, and JP (Jaelynn Penn) did what she needed to do. But the key tonight, I thought our post players -- and this is what goes unseen, just their ability to rotate, come from the help side. We felt like any time that Bell or any of them, their drivers tried to really get to the basket, they were met by another teammate, and so that was terrific. I'm really proud of our overall defensive play.

Q. Was the idea to kind of pack the paint, force them to beat you?
TERI MOREN: It was. You know, Bell is a terrific player. She can get inside the paint. The key was not to foul. We did a much better job, I thought, in the second half than we did the first. But yes, we were trying to -- we call it wall up, right, just bring as many defenders as we could, just to not make it easy for Bell to get to the basket, just a driving lane with being untouched.

Q. They just couldn't make you pay for it?
TERI MOREN: Yeah, like I said, defensively we were pretty terrific. It was on the offensive end, I thought we were great in the first half. But we got the lead a little bit, and that press, I thought we started playing a little bit like -- a little more timid than I would have liked to have seen us play. But I'm really just really proud that they finished it out.

Q. Do you feel like you maybe could have taken advantage of that first half a little bit more, only being 14 points --
TERI MOREN: I don't know that we could. Jaelynn came in letting it go. I thought we were getting good shots, and Brenna got off to a hot start, so did AP (Patberg). So no, I don't know that we could have built on it. The first several possessions was frustrating because we were turning it over, had way too many turnovers, especially in the first four minutes of that game. We still have 18 for the game, but a lot of those came the second half against that press. But happy, I thought AP did a terrific job running her basketball team tonight.

Q. It looked like they were generally having fun out there on the court. Ali Patberg seemed like she was super engaged in the game. What does that say about where this team is at in the season?
TERI MOREN: I think they know what's at stake. They realize that we're still playing for something. And they've always been like this. They've kind of fallen in love with each other's success, and that's what you want your basketball team to be about.

Q. What did you see behind the scenes last year from Brenna and from Ali in terms of how they helped each other through what was a challenging situation for both of them?
TERI MOREN: Well, and again, bringing them in together I thought was critical, the fact that they could sit over there and learn our system offensively, defensively, get in the gym. They're by far our gym rats. Love to be in the gym, love to watch film, love to do all the extra stuff. And so they kind of have each other in addition to the fact that they have a 3.8 G.P.A, they're in the Kelly School of Business. So it actually goes beyond basketball. The Kelly School of Business is no joke, so they lean on each other from an educational standpoint, as well.

Q. Do you think that they're maybe enjoying this a little bit more this year because of what they went through last year?
TERI MOREN: Oh, there's no question. I think last year our run in the NIT, I think they were so much a part of that in terms of helping us prepare and get ready, but when you've got the uniform on, it means something, and I'm sure it is, it's special for them finally to be able to get out and finally to get to the Big Ten Tournament and win their first game.

Q. Bendu wasn't somebody who made the all-Big Ten defensive team, but do you think she made somewhat of a statement today?
TERI MOREN: She should have, and again, I don't know how that goes. I think you have to not poll the coaches, maybe you've got to poll the players. Poll Karissa McLaughlin, poll Kenisha Bell and some of the other guards that she's had to guard throughout Big Ten play and realize that Bendu Yeaney is a terrific defender, and she should have been on that all-defensive team.

Q. You talked obviously about Ali. When you didn't have her when she was injured you didn't have that three-point threat. How much does it add offensively for you guys --
TERI MOREN: Well, you could see. In the Iowa win, in the Purdue win, having another scorer, scoring threat from beyond the arc, she's a great facilitator, but she also gives everybody good juice. When she plays well, this basketball team plays well.

Q. Obviously Iowa a few weeks ago, coming back in game No. 2 against them, does the game plan change?
TERI MOREN: Well, we don't know if we'll tweak it a whole lot. Like I said, there's no recipe for stopping Megan (Gustafson). She's just too good of a player. No one has been able to figure out how to do that. What we were able to do is get them out of rhythm in the second half by changing up what we were doing defensively, and as luck would have it, I think, as hot as their guards were in the first quarter, and you were there, you remember that, they cooled off in the second half, and that was, I think, paramount to winning that game.

Q. In a game of runs, Minnesota made a slight run end of the third quarter, early in the fourth quarter. How were you guys able to get back to Hoosier basketball?
TERI MOREN: Well, we had to manufacture some shots, just really out of broken plays. Doing that, I thought AP really was calm. Bendu at times, she got a little sped up, which is uncommon, like I said, of Bendu. Jaelynn got a little sped up. But I just thought Ali Patburg, she controlled the tempo for us, and when things looked like they were getting ready to unravel, she was the peacekeeper out there, I think, amongst her teammates.

Q. How excited are you that this game did not go four overtimes?
TERI MOREN: Yeah, we're going to be getting in a little bit earlier than normal, getting to bed a little bit sooner. But this has been a terrific afternoon of basketball, and this is what the Big Ten has been like all year, us beating up on each other. Tonight's last game with Nebraska and Purdue is not going to be any different. Big Ten has exciting players, exciting coaches, exciting programs, and I hope we're garnering the respect that this league deserves.

Q. Obviously you didn't get to play the whole game against Minnesota last time. How much did this game mean to you just to be able to play?
ALI PATBERG: I mean, I try not to think about it, just getting hurt. But I was just trying to do my best so we could get the win. That was the focus.

Q. You were able to hit a few three-pointers. How much more confidence did that give you guys do you feel like?
ALI PATBERG: Yeah, we tried to come out, and we wanted to execute the plan defensively. I think we did that early, and then shots were falling. I was just trying to be aggressive for our team so they could be confident and be aggressive themselves, so it worked.

Q. I know Coach always talks about the first four minutes of each quarter. You guys came out with an energy; how big of a focus was that for you?
ALI PATBERG: That was huge. I mean, Coach told us to come out with a lot of juice, a lot of energy, come out the first four minutes, but then also keep the foot on the pedal. And I think we did. We knew they were going to make runs, and we sustained it and got the win.

Q. At the end of the game you were kind of trying to slow it down, run out the clock. What did you do to kind of overcome those last-second pressures and finish off the game?
ALI PATBERG: Yeah, we knew they were going to pressure us hard. They're a really athletic team and they get up in you, and our goal was we knew time was on our side, so we wanted to get a shot at the end of the shot clock, whether that be a great shot or a decent shot, and that's what we did. We took the clock out as far as we could. I think that kind of affects you offensively, if you hold on to it.

Q. Bendu, it seemed like made every shot. How important was she?
ALI PATBERG: Bendu was amazing. Kenisha Bell, she's a great player, and Bendu played awesome. She made her hit tough shots. The shots she hit, they were all tough, and Bendu is an amazing defender. We had full confidence that was going to happen?

Q. You talked about you guys going on a run and you had to sustain a run from them late in the third quarter, early in the fourth quarter. What did you think was going on? Was it just them going on runs or was it you guys breaking down?
ALI PATBERG: Yeah, they weren't the seventh seed for no reason. They're a good team. We knew they were going to make runs. It's a game of runs, and we just had to stay calm, and once they started to cut it down, we just needed one stop at a time or one offensive play at a time, and we sustained it.

Q. Obviously Iowa, you guys had a pretty close game with them the first time around. How tough do you think it's going to be to try to beat them a second time?
ALI PATBERG: You know, we beat them once, but that doesn't matter. They're going to come out ready to play. But so are we. I know I'm confident, we're confident that our coaches are going to have a great game plan, and we're going to do our best to go out and play hard, play together and execute what they want us to do.

Q. It looked like you were genuinely having fun out there. Was there like an excitement in this team?
ALI PATBERG: I mean, we've said a lot recently, it's now or never. This is what we've worked for all season, all off-season, to get to this moment. You know, I wanted to make the most of it, and I think that our team is playing our best when we're having fun, and when we're having fun, we're executing what the coaches want us to do. We're playing hard, and we're playing together, and that's fun. So winning is fun.

Q. What's key for you guys going into the quick turnaround, coming back tomorrow?
ALI PATBERG: Yeah, you know, (strength coach) Mr. Rob is going to take care of us. We're going to get a good dinner in tonight. We're going to get rest, take care of our bodies, and we're going to come ready to play. You know, we're not going to be able to use that excuse that we're tired. Right now it's postseason. It doesn't matter. And we're going to come out and play hard.

Q. I know the NCAA Tournament was a goal at the beginning of the season. Is that on your minds at this point in the season, or is it just focusing on what's at hand?
ALI PATBERG: You know, it's focusing on one game at a time. That's what they tell you to focus on, one win at a time, one team at a time, and that's what we're going to focus on from here on out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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