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March 7, 2020

Teri Moren

Ali Patberg

Brenna Wise

Indianapolis, Indiana

Maryland - 66, Indiana - 51

TERI MOREN: Well, congratulations to Maryland. What a fantastic team they are. We've had -- obviously we've seen them -- we saw them twice during the Big Ten, regular Big Ten season, and then here today. We've seen them a lot, and I do think that they are a Final Four kind of caliber team. I do think that they're that good. They're long, they're athletic. They have help off the bench. As a matter of fact, their two leading scorers came off the bench today.

And so we are obviously disappointed. When you have an opportunity to play a team a third time, you always feel like maybe this is our moment, our night, but you have to play almost perfect to beat them.

But I thought we battled. I'm really proud of our guys and just how hard they played. I thought we tested them defensively for sure. You know, the problem that we have, we just couldn't score enough points. But I do think that if we could have scored the ball better, particularly in the third quarter and just kind of hung around, I think it would have been a different kind of outcome for us. But we just didn't -- couldn't manufacture enough points, whether that was from the free-throw line, didn't get anything easy on the inside.

But I loved how our team competed, and again, we watched a lot of film on Maryland, and I will say this: I don't know that anybody has defended them as well as we did tonight and still came up on the other side of where we wanted.

Really proud of the team in red, and just how hard they played.

Q. I know you're not looking to make excuses, but after a really hard-fought game yesterday, do you think fatigue contributed to the trouble scoring the ball?

Q. Either one of you guys can answer this: What is the value of playing a team the caliber of Maryland? Your coach said they're a Final Four team. You've come up short against them three different times, but how does this benefit you heading into the next games?
ALI PATBERG: I think it's great, great experience. We stayed with them for three quarters. We didn't have a good third quarter and they did. I think it gives us confidence but also gives us experience. I thought we -- like Coach said, we fought hard all night. We didn't give up, and our shots didn't fall, and that's really disappointing. But we gave it our all, and we can hang our hat on that.

BRENNA WISE: I would just say we're getting ready for the Tournament and we're going to see a lot of great teams that make the Tournament, so this prepares us, we have a lot to learn from it, and hats off to them for playing well.

Q. Ali, they obviously threw something different at you after halftime and it looked like you had trouble scoring the ball. What did you see from them defensively after the half?
ALI PATBERG: Honestly, I think they stayed in their zone for the second half. We continued -- I think the first quarter they were pressing us and we did a really good job of handling that, and we were aggressive, and they ended up getting out of it and playing their zone, and I think we just struggled in the third quarter.

We haven't watched film, obviously, but coming out the second half, I think we had two or three turnovers right away, and that led to them hitting shots and a couple defensive rebounds we didn't get. They made a quick run, so yeah.

Q. Ali, you were visually frustrated a couple times on the court. What was the reason for that?
ALI PATBERG: You know, I don't know. We were playing hard and shots weren't falling. I guess I was just frustrated.

Q. Maryland is a team that scores nearly 85 points a game, and in you guys' three games this season you were able to play well defensively against them, and even after halftime you were holding them to close to around 35 points. Defensively as you guys head into the Tournament, how does that give you confidence in how well you guys can play against a Maryland type of team?
ALI PATBERG: Yeah, tonight we didn't hit shots, which stinks, but again, we can hang our hats on that. I think we made it difficult for them, and we for the most part followed the game plan that the coaches gave us, and we just didn't execute on the offensive end, and we're going to.

I think if we continue that mentality defensively -- and we're going to hit shots, and we're going to get good shots, it's going to be a good rest of the year.

Q. Is there anyone on the team that you would rely on to help build on your win?
BRENNA WISE: I think everybody plays an incredible role when you win and you lose, so you kind of rely on each other in that aspect, and so we're a collective unit, and whatever happens to one happens to all, and this happens to all of us. So we'll take it as a collective unit, and we can only go up from here.

Q. Maryland had 15 fast-break points compared to zero for you guys. Do you think it was their press that kind of limited you guys' ability to run, and I guess what defensively allowed them to kind of get on a run and get those easy baskets?
TERI MOREN: Well, that's why you press is to limit what we do well, and that's play fast. So that's the first answer is the press obviously slowed us down. So without question.

What was the second part of your question?

Q. What defensively allowed them to get those easy baskets.
TERI MOREN: Sure, well, they're fantastic also in transition. You know, Owusu is like a freight train, coming down the floor. One of our goals going into this game was to treat every made basket like a missed basket. Obviously you sprint as hard as you can on missed baskets and you're trying to turn around and build a wall and get your coverages in transition defense. But they're really good. They're great at getting the ball inbounded quickly, getting it up the sideline before some of our guys got turned around.

We knew that. That was a big part of it. We had to limit their transition points, and we had to keep them off the offensive glass. When you look at it, they had 15 -- like you said, 15 points in fast-break points and 11 points off of second-chance points, so those are the two areas we really wanted to do a much better job of, but I think we made it up in other areas. I thought we were really good defensively tonight.

Q. What's the biggest development, biggest growth or area of progress you've seen in this team in the three times that you guys have played Maryland this year?
TERI MOREN: You know, I don't know. The first time we played them at their place, obviously their transition game just continues to get better. You know, I think the thing with Maryland is that she's played different lineups. I think even though they're -- I would say seven, maybe eight deep at max, those two young ladies, when you bring in Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu off the bench, that's really special, and on a night when I thought obviously Mikesell only has one three and Kaila Charles, she hit some tough shots. But the rest of that cast is not posting great numbers, but they're capable. But then you've got the two young ladies that come off the bench, and they're the leading scorers.

I just think the experience that Diamond and Ashley have continued to give in a hard conference like the Big Ten has paid dividends, and they're obviously -- with the press, their length, their athleticism, I don't know if you teach that, that's just God given, they have that. But I think they're playing harder, I think, on the defensive end than they did a year ago, which I think has really separated them from a lot of teams in the country.

Q. You talked last night about the team's toughness. Also Jaelynn has the injury (indiscernible).
TERI MOREN: Well, yeah, that's wishing for a crystal ball, wondering if Jaelynn was 100 percent what that would look like, but we knew at best she was probably going to be 65, 70 percent. We were really cautious. It's our responsibility to take care of our student-athletes, and we felt like if she was going to be in harm's way, if we're looking forward to playing in the Tournament, we need a healthy Jaelynn, as you know. But she was insistent that she try to go out. It's just unfortunate that tonight obviously we did see that she was really struggling, moving laterally especially.

To go back to this young man's question about Ali, I don't know her frustration was so much about us having a hard time scoring. I think Ali was in a lot of pain. She got -- first of all, she fell and hit her hip, then she got kneed going to the basket. So that's a kid that you play 38 minutes in a whole lot of pain tonight and trying just to will her team.

So I don't know if her frustration was not being able to hit shots as much as maybe the look on her face was that of I'm in pain, but boy, she's a tough nut and I love her, and that's the most special thing about Ali Patberg.

Q. Ali toward the end of the season was scoring 20-plus pretty much consistently. Only had 16 in this one. Do you think it was kind of her being banged up or did Maryland do something defensively against her?
TERI MOREN: Well, as we always tell our team, everybody does a scouting report, right. So I don't think that the media or coaches, we don't know that Ali Patberg has been scoring the ball at a high clip as of the last probably four or five games. And so I'm sure that in their scouting report, that was one of their keys probably, is hey, we have to do a great job on Ali Patberg tonight.

I think it was a combination. Again, their length, their athleticism really puts you on your heels at times. I thought Ali remained aggressive. Some of the shots that she took were good ones and just didn't drop tonight. But the fact that she took 21 shots for us I think is still a good thing. We need Ali to continue to be aggressive.

Q. It's obviously out of your control but you guys seem to be right on that line of playing at home for the NCAA Tournament. What's your assessment of that and what's your pitch to the committee?
TERI MOREN: Well, you know, it's always out of your hands, right? And the good thing is that we know we're in. It's a lot different than a year ago when we knew we had to beat Minnesota, and we were still kind of on the outside looking in, hopeful. But we sit in a different seat here tonight, knowing that we're going to be one of those 64 teams.

You know, again, and I've said this before, since I've been at Indiana, just how tough this conference is. I don't know that we give them credit. The Pac obviously has the No. 1 RPI in the country, but guess what, the Big Ten is right behind the Pac, and I don't feel like we talk enough about all the good teams that represent this conference and how night in and night out we have to continue to beat up on each other. There is no bottom of the barrel in the Big Ten. If you're not ready to play every single night, whether you're at home or you're away, I think we've proven that in this league anybody can win. The parity has been incredible, especially this season.

And so I would hope that the committee would take a look at that, just how difficult our league has been. I think we've done a great job as a whole, as a conference of scheduling non-conference. Our non-conference schedule has been extremely challenging for a lot of us. We've been able to win on the road, although it would be great to host. I think that's a different element, right, when you're away from Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall, just the toughness that you have to have, the focus that you have to have. And I think when you look at what we've done in a way from the Hall, it's been pretty impressive.

So there's a few elements that I would love for that committee to take a hard look at. But one of the things, just again, the Big Ten is really, really good.

Q. Did you ever slightly lose hope in your team?
TERI MOREN: Never. Never lose hope. I'm a prisoner of hope. You should be a prisoner of hope. That's my life lesson for you, okay. You never give up until the final horn has sounded. You never give up on your team, you never give up on yourself.

Q. What was going on in your mind in the first quarter of the game when you were 13-16 and three points behind?
TERI MOREN: What was going on in my mind? Well, that we were right there. When you're playing a team like Maryland, you hope you get out to a quick lead and get the lead, and if you don't get the lead, you hope that you're within a possession of being able to tie it up, and that's what we were.

So like you said, if I could have the first, the second and the fourth quarter back, I would say, let's do that. But -- actually I'm okay with that one. It's the third quarter that I really want back because that's the one that we struggled in the most. But still really, really proud of our effort always and what we were able to do tonight defensively.

Q. You guys are still on that verge of hosting the first couple rounds of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. How excited are you knowing -- compared to last year, that you guys know that you guys are in, even though you came up short tonight?
TERI MOREN: You know, like I said to my team afterwards, we had just a couple minutes to reflect, the conversation was much different than I've had in the past with this group because some of my conversations have been we just -- we're hopeful that maybe we can -- I don't know what tournament we're going to be in, I just hope that we can continue to be -- to play. Last year it was, okay, we have to get that first game. We have to beat Minnesota, we felt like, to get in, and you do that, but yet you're still holding your breath until somebody -- on that Monday, remember that, when they revealed, and we knew we were in.

And then tonight it's much different. We're disappointed. We are. We wanted to advance and we wanted to play for a championship tomorrow.

However, we know this: We still have more basketball ahead of us, and that's something that we're going to look forward to, and I know that tonight we will be disappointed and then they're going to get a couple days off and then we'll be back to work on Wednesday.

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