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March 7, 2006

Joann Hamlin

Shalee Lehning

Deb Patterson


COACH PATTERSON: Well, I thought it was a really well-executed basketball game by our team defensively. I really appreciate the intensity that we brought to the floor, real high level of accountability on the strengths that KU brings to the basketball floor and I thought that gave us a chance to be competitive. Both of these two, Lehning and Hamlin, obviously really established early in the basketball game that they were going to be factors for us offensively. I thought that was absolutely huge. JoAnn did a great job of running the floor. Shalee stepped up and just did a great job as always, distributing, but more than that, I think looked for scoring opportunities when they were afforded.
And all of that was just I think real big to us getting off to a good, aggressive start in the basketball game, which we knew would be critical because of the emotion that Kansas would be playing with, with Hallman and Kemp obviously as seniors in their last Big 12 tournament, and just the fact that this is a great rivalry game. And so I was really proud of the overall defense first and foremost that we brought.
Q. Shalee, would you talk about wanting to more of an offensive floor early?
SHALEE LEHNING: Individually?
Q. Yeah, scoring-wise.
SHALEE LEHNING: I just wanted to come in and contribute in any way I could. Tonight they were tagging off on me a little bit, when I made that first shot it gave me confidence. I just tried to take whatever I could, and they were actually falling.
Q. Did you feel disrespected at all early when they were letting you shoot?
SHALEE LEHNING: No. That was just a part of their defense. They were just, you know, helping our post players, which shows that they were doing a great job, but at the same time, that left me open, so I just shot it.
Q. JoAnn, talk about the post game, the physicalness, it looked really physical out there tonight but looked like you all kept your composure?
JOANN HAMLIN: Yeah, it was pretty physical. All of our post players did a good job of keeping tempo and everything. We did good job, we're both good players and nothing dirty goes on down in the post.
Q. Scoring has not been your forte throughout the year, in these last two games against KU, you've come up with big points, is that something they are doing defensively or you're just falling into your own as being a scorer right now?
SHALEE LEHNING: I think it's a bit of both. Like I said the opportunity was there for me to take the shot and so I did. It's not the fact that it's KU. Just that I'm coming into my shooting technique and a little more confidence that I'm willing to take the shots.
Q. Talk about what makes this group a dangerous team facing Baylor tomorrow night.
SHALEE LEHNING: You know, we just have a lot of players that are willing to step up. We have a lot of depth. On any given night, you know, different people step up and we have our inside game that's really doing a great job of creating a big presence and that sets up for the outside. When we transition and hit shots and stuff, we can be pretty tough.
Q. This is your first Big 12 tournament and first postseason game and both of you guys were on your game from the start, JoAnn, you didn't miss a shot, four blocked shots, and career-high for you, Shalee. Can you talk about your feeling coming in, sometimes it can be an intimidating tournament, did you guys feel that at all or what were your emotions?
JOANN HAMLIN: Well, actually I was really nervous before the game. But once you get out there, you know, and the ball goes up, it's just you get into a flow and all your nerves go away and you just put all you have out into the court. We really wanted to put everything we had out there and we really didn't want to go home tomorrow.
SHALEE LEHNING: Definitely it's a remarkable feeling. This is a game we love. There are some nerves before the game, but at the same time, we use it as positive motivation to give us energy and enthusiasm coming in. To win our first Big 12 tournament game is just a great boost for us.
Q. JoAnn, you're going against one of the best post players in the history of the Big 12 tomorrow, can you talk about what you guys try to do to slow her down, if you can?
JOANN HAMLIN: Sophia is a great player. That's one thing you can try to do is just slow her down. She's going to make good shots and she's going to make great moves. She's All-American. We just have to be active on defense and see what we can bring tomorrow.
Q. Can you explain Shalee erupting tonight, is that something more you wanted from her game or something she has not shown so far this season?
COACH PATTERSON: It's just part of the evolution of her as a point guard. As we have wound down through this last quarter of the season, I think if you were to watch film, you'd notice that she had become more and more willing to think a little bit about taking the shot. And as teams began to really not play her, you know, it just became a more significant and important element to our offense.
I think in the first three-quarters of this season or maybe even 3/5ths of the season, it wasn't necessary. You know, you've got a great point guard running a very, very young basketball team, second leading rebounder on your team, one of the nation's leaders in rebounds and assists, actually second in the nation in the combo there. And so there's only so much you want to bring to the table.
In the meantime, you are running the show and we just felt like it was part of the evolution for her, you know, and as Shalee has demonstrated all season long, she understands the game and as she has begun to understand the significance of not being guarded, she's assumed a greater sense of needing to be a scorer. It's always been more about need and not necessarily a gap or a hole in her game. It's been part of the evolution.
And at the same time, I think she's gotten better as a shooter just like hopefully a lot of our younger players have. I think we've seen that with Gipson as well, and with Zanotti, as well.
All credit to Shalee Lehning; it's one more element of the incredible basketball she brings to the floor. I've said all season long, I think she's the best play-making point guard in the league, I just think it's part of the total package, and we'll see more of it. I don't think we'll see a lot of 20-point-per-game nights because I don't think we need to. But I think that's just growth and understanding a little bit more about what your basketball team needs from you without losing the strength you already bring. Some players could not have brought that dimension until a year from now, but Lehning is that good.
Q. Just want to commend you for putting four freshmen on the floor. I also want to respond about Gipson and McIntyre, they handled the ball well and got in some good minutes, what made you decide to put them in and give them a lot of play in this tournament this year?
COACH PATTERSON: I think Marlies is one of the great young athletes and players, freshmen in our league in my opinion. We didn't do a great job of involving her offensively tonight as much as I would have liked. I have a great deal of confidence in her, and I think we saw just a little inkling of what she can bring down on the block. She was not as necessarily aggressive offensively tonight, but didn't necessarily need to be. Again, we did not give her a lot of touches and opportunities.
Twiggy I think has in particular over the course of the last four or five games, she has stepped on the floor, she has been a factor offensively, she's done a great job running pick-and-roll offense, staying aggressive with her 3-pointer. Which again, it's interesting tonight because you have Shalee assuming a scoring role and you have Twiggy distributing more and running offense, and their roles are reversed. Typically you are getting 12 or 15 points a night from Twiggy and tonight she didn't really look for her shot a lot.
I think both Marlies and Twiggy were bringing great on continuity to our offense. They defended extremely well. I loved Marlies's activity on the board and she is just a warrior in there, and she can go get balls like no one else on our team. Those two did just a tremendous job for us, and it's not all about scoring if you've got other people taking up that slack.
Q. Talk about the adjustment preparing for Baylor now, where do you go from here for Baylor?
COACH PATTERSON: They are just fabulous basketball team and we understand that. I think Sophia Young is one of the best post players obviously to have ever played in the Big 12. I think she's one of the top five ever.
We have our hands full. For us it's just stepping on the floor and bringing a real high level of accountability and attention and effort and intensity to our defense. And then on the offensive end, I'm hopeful that, you know, we can do a good job with their pressure. They are a great defensive basketball team. We know we're going to have to be very good, and you can't string together wasted possessions against a team like Baylor. It's part of what separates them is their great play-making ability. They are very balanced, so that's why they are one of the higher seeds in this tournament. And we know it's a great challenge, but we just appreciate the opportunity and I think again for us, everything will start with trying to generate some intensity on the defensive end.
Q. Can you just talk about JoAnn, how important it was that she knocked down all her shots and she had the four blocks, seemed like she had a very strong game here.
COACH PATTERSON: I thought JoAnn was huge tonight. You know, she ran the floor extremely well, she was so active against Crystal, and I think Crystal is a tremendous player; again, one of the best post players the Big 12 has seen. It amazes me how every night people know they have to defend Crystal and she leaves the floor with double digits and almost double-doubles game in and game out, particularly in the last year and a half.
So for JoAnn to go in and stay really active with Crystal to bang and to deny her some touches I think was huge emotionally for her team and technically. She ran the floor so extremely well. She was aggressive, just that player that you hope can be a great presence.
So for tonight, I thought that JoAnn put on the shoes very much like a Crystal Kemp puts on for her basketball team game in and game out. JoAnn was that player in the pivot that everybody was looking to, to kind of play off of and play around when you needed to and she was there for us.

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