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March 7, 2019

Sharon Versyp

Dominique Oden

Ae'Rianna Harris

Indianapolis, Indiana

Purdue - 75, Nebraska - 71

Q. Where have you found this offense the last two nights?
SHARON VERSYP: They're just coming together. They're just playing well together, confident, stepping up, just a new season, so everybody is just real excited. When a couple balls go through the basket, they just build confidence. You saw it in games today when people shoot 1 for 16 to start games off, it's pretty tough, so we've been fortunate that the ball has been able to get in.

Q. How much has your offense been sparked by what you're doing on the defensive end?
SHARON VERSYP: Yeah, yesterday and today it was big being able to get some transition buckets because that just builds your confidence, being able to get some lay-ups has been big. We weren't able to do that for about a four-week stretch, so being able to cause some issues in a lot of different areas, it's been really good, and obviously it just builds your confidence and builds your leads.

Q. How important was it for you to get out in transition and play with Kate Cain, a big girl in the middle? You were able to send her to the bench for quite a few minutes there in the first half.
SHARON VERSYP: Yeah, I mean, transition is big for us. Obviously if there's a bigger player and we have Ae'Rianna running the floor and Tam -- well, we played them the second time, our transition offenses really did a great job, so we really talked about if we rebound the ball, don't let them make a lot of shots, we'll be able to get up-and-down, and that really happened those first probably three quarters, we really did a good job doing that.

Q. You're facing off against Rutgers tomorrow. It's a much different Rutgers team than you played before, no Ciani Cryor, no Caitlin Jenkins. What's your plan of attack against Rutgers for tomorrow?
SHARON VERSYP: You know, they press you the whole time, so you've got to be able to handle the press and get it over half court. That's the big thing. You know, and then we haven't put our game plan together, but you've got to be able to do a good job on the boards. But you've got to be able to score the ball. They are one of the top defensive teams in the league. People struggle scoring the basketball. So we've got to be able to break their press. We've got to be able to defend and rebound and then do what we've been doing.

Q. The job that Tamara and Ae'Rianna did on the boards tonight, especially on the offensive boards, maybe extending a couple possessions for you --
SHARON VERSYP: No, I mean, it was huge. When we've been able to rebound like this, especially with those two, it's been big. You know, we were able to get more put-backs, different possessions, kick out for a three, move the defense quite a bit. So those are the things that we just talked about is we looked at their stats sheet, and there's -- that was their weakness, so we really talked about that, hit the offensive boards quite a bit. So it was good that we were able to just keep going after it, just keep going and being as intense as we can on the boards, so they kind of had to be back on their heels.

Q. What's this quick turnaround like for you, conference tournament season, you're playing less than 24 hours later? You're coming off a big win and now you play tomorrow.
SHARON VERSYP: Yeah, well, that's why we go to -- we take trips during Thanksgiving, went to the Virgin Islands, played three games back to back to prepare ourselves for tournament play. We know how to prepare. The biggest thing just getting them rest, getting legs, feeling their bodies again. Everything is mental right now, to be able to do what we need to do and be able to play tomorrow night with a lot of energy.

Q. Oden really showed her leadership in those transition moments, moving the ball down, calling out spots for players. Does that almost out-shine her offensive performance tonight?
SHARON VERSYP: I just think both go hand in hand because we haven't been doing that, so you can see when we have great communication (inaudible) and we're directing and have that type of leadership, we're really good. She at one point even pulled Ree over and said, hey, we need to do this, we've got to finish this, you're fine, so it was great to see that they're starting to really blossom and do the things that we need.

Q. Is this coming at almost the perfect time, those two -- the veterans on the team stepping up and leading the team in this tournament?
SHARON VERSYP: Yeah, I mean, that's what veterans need to do. You saw today Wisconsin, they had two seniors that totally scored three quarters of their points. We don't have any seniors, so Ae'Rianna and Nique have played in this environment. Their freshman year they played in the tournament all the way to the championship game. So they're the only ones that have that experience. So really proud of them. They're being vocal, and then both vocal and performing.

Q. KT (Kayana Traylor) went 5 for 7 from the floor tonight on a night where Karissa didn't do as well as she normally does. How does that help your depth going into the rest of the tournament?
SHARON VERSYP: Well, KT has got to be aggressive, and I think she's been able to do that over the last two weeks, shooting the ball well, looking for pull-up jump shots. Karissa just has a lot of mileage on her legs, and people are chasing her all over the place. KT is going to have open looks, so it's great that she's able to knock them down. Whilby coming in has just played two phenomenal games. We need that depth. We'll need Nyahoa tomorrow, we'll need Fatou. We'll need our entire bench to be able to just rotate people in.

Q. Looking at tomorrow, Rutgers is led by Stasha Carey, second team all Big Ten. What do you see in her?
SHARON VERSYP: You know, she's a tough one. You know, she's kind of the -- helps leading that team with their coach not being around, taking a leave. She's a senior. She's going to step up. She needs to lead that team, and she's tough on the boards. She scores well down low. She shoots the three. So she kind of has every facet of her game, all skill sets. Again, we've got to do well on the boards like we have the last two days.

Q. Just for all the lower seeds to win today, what's that say about the league and kind of where things are at right now?
SHARON VERSYP: You know, that's all we talk about is how the league is top to bottom, and I mean, this is history today, and NCAA still won't give us seven or eight teams, so until that happens, I'm not sure it really matters.

Q. Where have you guys found your offense the last two days?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: Defense. Definitely from our defense. The energy before the game has been tangible, and it's really helped us start off strong on defense, which has led to our offense.

Q. It must feel good to finally see some shots go down after the last month or so.
DOMINIQUE ODEN: It definitely does. It's great to get a win after the last month or so. It's a great feeling, and we plan to have many more this weekend.

Q. They had cut it to six in the third, and the more active you got on defense on that stretch to at least pull away a little bit --
DOMINIQUE ODEN: We definitely went into a timeout, we're like, y'all, we have to pull this together, we can't let this get away from us like we did at Nebraska. We have to bring more energy. We know we can do this. We did it the first three quarters. Let's pull it together.

Q. Just overall tonight, how are you looking to build off this win coming in beating Illinois and then --
DOMINIQUE ODEN: Keep the same energy, keep the same defensive intensity and just keep building on the hype and how happy we are right now.

Q. You guys played historically well in the Big Ten Tournament. Is there just a different mindset coming into this, maybe being in Indy? What kind of factors into that success in the tournament?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: It's definitely historical background. We were shown the situation a couple years ago when a team just like us in just the same situation had to win Big Ten Tournament, and of course we want to get there. We feel like we could have did more during the season, and right now tournament time is the time to prove it.

Q. Just with Rutgers now, what kind of challenge is that defensively for you? You've played them once, but traditionally they're known as a very strong defensive team. How important is it going to be to run those sets and get those easy baskets against them?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: Just because they're such a good defensive team, I think it's important to keep up our transition, so playing defensively well ourselves so we can get transition buckets, making sure we execute to the tee when we do get into half-court sets and making sure we don't make lazy passes, because like you said, they're really good at defense, so they're going to be jumping passes, they're going to be aggressive, so we have to be aggressive just as much as they are.

Q. So what's gotten into Whilby the last two days?
DOMINIQUE ODEN: I don't know, maybe it's what she ate, maybe it's the court, maybe it's because it's March, and it's a great time of the year.

Q. You guys have struggled offensively the last month; where is the spark coming from? Where is the production coming from these last two days?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: Definitely playing together and actually executing all of our plays. A lot of the times we get into something and we'd run the first two parts of it and then give up on it, and it became a one-on-one game, so playing together and finishing our plays.

Q. Do you feel like you're being better on the defensive end which has ignited maybe some run-outs?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: Most definitely, and I think that's what's getting us transition points, easy lay-ups versus running through plays and maybe getting a three, maybe getting a lay-up type deal. So definitely our defense, getting lots of steals and stuff and transitioning that into offense.

Q. It seemed tonight you were able to kind of get adjusted as the game was going on. You started to get on the glass more but you were active. What led to that, and what made you want to get in there and --
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: It was just a personal thing. I just had to get myself going. The team got me going. We knew I came out slow, and I had to do everything I needed to do to help my team to make sure we were successful, so it was kind of just to make that switch. It was a mental thing.

Q. Why were you and Tam so active on the boards?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: I have no idea. I think a lot of it was they were trying to box us out, and they would go one way and we would just go around them. They made it pretty easy at some point, but I think it's just actively going for the boards is what makes it easier to get more of them.

Q. Everyone teamed up for something. Oden and McLaughlin had eight assists combined. You and Tam had 29 rebounds combined, Kayana was 5 for 7 from the floor. How is this team kind of finding its identity together in the tournament where they're so historically good?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: I don't know what the tournament does to this Purdue team, but I mean, I love it. I mean, like I mentioned before, it's like some type of magic that just gets us going and take us out of everything that we were not doing correct before, and we just kind of gel, and it works out for us in the end.

Q. You tied the all-time blocks record tonight in your hometown. What's next for you?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: Beating it. Yeah, if I would have known in the moment, I would have looked at her like I did when I beat it each year because she's at the top, and I told her when I got here, she told me she wanted me to break all her records, so that's what I'm trying to do.

Q. So far a pretty special year individually for you with a thousand points and now tying the block record. What would push this season forward for you?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: I still have to break the junior season block record. So right now I don't know how many I had tonight -- three. I add that up, I'm at 101. I still need eight more to beat her junior record. So if I can get that throughout this tournament, then I'll be set.

Q. To do that, you have to play more games.

Q. What challenge is Rutgers going to present from a defensive standpoint for you guys tomorrow?
AE'RIANNA HARRIS: I mean, they have height, but Nebraska has height, too, so it's kind of just adjusting to their style of play and then playing how we've been playing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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