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March 9, 2019

Bill Fennelly

Madison Wise

Bridget Carleton

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Iowa State 75, Kansas 58

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Iowa State University, head coach Bill Fennelly and student-athletes, Madison Wise and Bridget Carleton. Coach, thoughts about tonight's game?

BILL FENNELLY: Thank you. I thought after the first quarter we thought the emotion from this tournament playing for the first time kinda gets to you. But our kids executed really well. I thought they played really hard. Kansas, like always, kept coming at us. Bridget and Madison Wise is someone who is the only player of our starters who didn't get any All-conference recognition and we talked to Maddy about the impact she was going to have here. Her teammates understood that. I thought they was fantastic tonight. Good team effort, nice to get everyone in the game for a little bit to play as my grandson would say, where Russell plays. Honored to get the win tonight and I get to work late, late, late, late, late tonight and coach these guys tomorrow.

Q. Madison, can you talk a little bit about what Coach Fennelly was saying in terms of how he talked about you playing an important role coming this tournament. When he spoke, did he speak just to you?
MADISON WISE: Yeah, right, we talked about it a little bit, but to me it doesn't matter. I have four other great starters who deserved their awards to be able to play on a great team with players like Bridget and other starter on the bench has been really great for me, so it doesn't matter there. Just happy to be on this team.

Q. Maddy, this year you struggled at times shooting the ball mostly, tonight you were on. How does it feel to get a double-double and have a performance on the big stage?
MADISON WISE: Like I said, we got the win so it doesn't really matter. It's nice to see some shots drop. But we played hard and got some jitters out, so it was another good one for us.

Q. Bridget, how big was it to have Madison step up and add that scoring especially during the first half there?
BRIDGET CARLETON: It was huge. It was nice to see her relax a little bit, a smile on her face. To see those drop, we knew all along she was going to make those shots and to go 6 from the field and have 10 rebounds that is unbelievable in this game. I was happy she was able to knock some in especially in that first quarter when we weren't so hot on offense.

Q. There is a good chance you guys are going to host. There are no guarantees obviously. But what would it mean to you, your program and yourselves if you got to play a few rounds in front of your own people?
BRIDGET CARLETON: That would mean the world to us, we love playing at Hilton. We come Iowa State to play at Hilton, because it has such great crowds, amazing fan and we want to play there as much as we can and to have the chance to host two games in the NCAA tournament would mean the world and we would take that every time.

MADISON WISE: Just what Bridget talked about. We have the best fans in the nation. They come out no matter what. They're always support supporting us. We had a pretty good crowd today and for us to get to play in Hilton again, would be great, especially for our seniors, that would be great.

Q. You guys haven't advanced to the semifinals since 2013. So what kind of statement is the team making and what does it mean to you guys?
MADISON WISE: I think it's a pretty big statement, especially for our seniors. They mean a lot to this program and they've left a legacy. So playing hard with and for each other and especially for our seniors.

BRIDGET CARLETON: I think we put it ourselves into a really good position coming into this tournament, obviously being a two seed. But the records are 0-0, so we've got one down and we want to play as hard as we can and no regrets and give it our all for the next couple of games because the end of season is in sight. We never know when our last chance will be. Just taking every moment as it is and working as hard as we can to give ourselves the best opportunity.

Q. Speaking of seniors, what did you say to your teammates, because this could have been potentially your last game. What was your mindset coming into this game? How do you encourage your teammates?
BRIDGET CARLETON: Yeah, it was just playing loose, playing like we know we can. Coach always talks about if we're us, that's enough. If we play like we can we can beat anyone. We were relaxed, ready to go. That first quarter got our jitters out, but we were relaxed in the second quarter and played like we can and that's how we got the win today.

Q. Congratulations, Bridget, for the award. Do you feel any extra pressure that you have to prove yourself in any way? You didn't play great in the first half but you came on. Is there any pressure to live up to that?
BRIDGET CARLETON: I don't think so. I know what I can do. My teammates know what I can do. My coaches know what I can do. I've had my share of bad halves and come back. But, you know, I have confidence every time I shoot it. I take the shots I need to take. I make the extra pass when I need to make the extra pass. I control my game, so I think that's no pressure. It's just how I decide to play is how I can play.

Q. Maddy, this year you've become a critical player in a lot of different ways, scoring the ball, rebounding, defense. Do you feel like you've evolved in terms of becoming a complete player and having a complete game?
MADISON WISE: Yeah, this year it's been important for me just doing what I can and helping the team in different ways, any way I can. I play with great teammates and great players and our coaches have a great game plan. So being able to defend as best I can and knowing that I have help. Just doing the best I can to help the team out in any way that is needed.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.

Q. Piggybacking off the question they asked them, do you feel like tonight going to the semifinals for the first time since 2013 you kinda send a statement to people with this?
BILL FENNELLY: I don't know that you're sending statements. The biggest statement is that this team has had a great season. It's continuing. Getting to the semifinals of this conference tournament is hard. We've been in that 4/5 game a lot, so you get knocked out once in a while. This group, I keep telling them, you're writing your own book and each chapter there is a new thing to check off. For some people it's not a big deal, but for this group to be in the semifinals and be able to showcase our university, how they play tomorrow night on a national stage in a phenomenal venue in a phenomenal conference tournament, that's why they play and that's why we coach. Very, very happy that we get that opportunity tomorrow.

Q. Bill, today Maddy got the stats that show up and gets the double-double, but she often brings the same kind of energy to the game. How essential is she to your team?
BILL FENNELLY: She is critical to our team. I think anyone in our locker room will tell you that. She is a kid that her whole life has been about scoring and she scored a lot of points. We've asked her to be a defense player, stopper and that takes your legs out. That's a hard thing to do over time. But for her to do that today, I think -- she doesn't need validation. What you see is what you get. You guys know, she is a humble kid. She's appreciative. It's nice to see a young person get to come sit in front of you guys because she doesn't get to do it very often. Everyone knows how important she is, but this is a night that you love to see those things happen. That's what tournaments are about. That's what March is about. Who is this person that does things that hasn't done them as, like a Bridget. But it's great to see and if you were in the locker room you could see the excitement they had for what she does for our team.

Q. You mentioned talking to her before the tournament, was it one specific conversation, one important message, you sat down and had with her?
BILL FENNELLY: It was two things. I addressed the team when all the awards came out and talked about -- and that's the one thing about our team, it is a team. We don't just show up and wear the same color jersey and travel together, it is a group that cares.

I talked to the group about the disappointment that I'm sure if you're the only starting player that doesn't get something, and then I had an individual meeting with her after practice and I just told her, you know how much we love you, how much we appreciate what you do, and I said I just have a really good feeling when we go to Oklahoma City you're going to do something that validates unnecessarily, probably, what you mean to our team and I thought she did that tonight.

Q. Coach, you've been with this program for a long time?
BILL FENNELLY: Way before you were born.

Q. You said this team writes its own story for itself. What makes this team stand out?
BILL FENNELLY: I would say it starts with our seniors. We have an amazing senior class. The other thing is this group. Iowa State is a uniquely special place, not just our team but our university, our fan base, the coaches, the leadership. This group understood what that obligation was. When you go represent what Iowa State is about, we have signs all over the place "the Iowa State way," and this group is about that every single day.

Sometimes that translates to winning more games, but this game group is a joy to be around and they have represented our university in a way that couldn't be better in my opinion.

Q. Coach, there is no guarantee what's going to happen in the next game, and I'm only going to use this if Texas wins. But if Iowa State plays Texas tomorrow, what kind of game would you expect?
BILL FENNELLY: Typical game when we play Texas. We better figure out how to rebound. We better figure out how to get in our offensive a little bit because they're going to get up into us and guard us, and I think it's going to be exactly what this tournament is supposed to be about. I think it will be a great game, two great teams, two teams that represent their league in a positive way, two teams that I think will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament, hopefully, but it should be fun.

Q. Again, no guarantees, but if you guys play host in a few weeks, what would it mean to your town, your university, your basketball program?
BILL FENNELLY: It would mean a lot! Our fans love this team. They enjoy watching this team play. I think as Maddy said if our seniors got to play at least one more game at Hilton, that's one of the things that I get all the time from our former players. They text me, Coach, I just wish I could play one more time. We went through senior night and they walked off the court thinking that's it. You get the best of both world's. You get senior night and you get to play in the NCAA tournament at home. Who knows what's going to happen. I know it's going to be close. We will do whatever. It would be a great thing for our university. Our men are in the NCAA tournament, so it's a fun time. March Madness is fun and games right now, it's helped us get through the weather.

BILL FENNELLY: Thank you, everyone.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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