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March 8, 2005

Bill Fennelly

Lyndsey Medders

Anne O'Neil

Katie Robinette


THE MODERATOR: We'll have an opening statement from Coach Fennelly, then throw it open for questions. From Iowa State we have Anne O'Neil, Katie Robinette, and Lyndsey Medders who hit the three. Coach, go ahead.

COACH FENNELLY: I want to thank our honorary coach Jan Kramer. We're down seven with a minute to go, she said, "I'll take it from here." Thank you for that. I'm still shaking. I'm sorry. I want -- I'm very proud of how our kids played the game. This is a nerve-racking March. I'm happy for our kids because we get to play. I feel very sad for Coach Barry. I'm really excited for my kids, but I didn't want to be involved in her last game, especially that way. She totally out-coached me today, without question. Her team was better prepared, played better, played harder. I love my team. I'm glad we get to keep playing. I feel bad that it happened that way for her. She's an amazing person. She gave me one of the greatest compliments I ever had in my life. Before the game she said, "Bill, you made me a better coach." For somebody that is going to be in the Hall of Fame, has done that much for this University, this league, to say that to me, doesn't get much better than that. Sorry. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. Questions for our player.

Q. Anne and Lyndsey, talk about the last sequence, getting the ball down court, getting the shot.

LYNDSEY MEDDERS: I think after our initial trap when we saw the ball way up the floor, I think it was Nedovic, who was going up for the layup and I saw Katie going up getting the rebound I looked up at the clock, there was still some time left when we got the rebound and got the outlet to run. Looked up, there was probably with three seconds left. I had a girl still kind of guarding me. I was ready to pull up. I saw Lyndsey streaking down the side, left wing. I knew she was going to pull up for a three. I just got it to her in time. I think she probably knew how much time was left on the clock. Once she hit it, it was amazing. I still don't know how we won the game.

ANNE O'NEIL: Probably the most team-oriented play we had all game. Katie Robinette hustles back and gets a rebound that probably everybody in the gym thought it was going in, gets it to Megan. She gets it up to Anne O'Neil, Anne who has hit game winner after game winner through her career. Still ends up getting the ball to the person who played not too well for 39 minutes and 58 seconds until those last two. So you know, that's just credit to everybody on the team making a huge play. They got me the ball right where I needed it. It went in finally.

Q. Anne, do you guys practice that last six seconds by not taking a timeout, did you do that in practice to where you don't take a timeout in that type of situation?

ANNE O'NEIL: It's never looked as perfectly as that play and ended up like that. I think everybody just realized how much time we still had and we still had a chance to win the game. It was a very unselfish, self-less plays all the way down to the court, getting to play to me. Katie hustling back, seeing Medders down the court, I knew she would be able to hit it. If we were going to go for broke, we knew we were going to throw up a three. She made it. It was just euphoria on the court. I can't believe it. We practice game situations all the time with pressing, being down one or two, usually not down seven with 50 seconds left. To come back, we're really proud of each other and just so excited to be able to play another day.

Q. Katie, talk about that play from your perspective. Was all you could -- did you think about fouling her or just trying to go for the block?

KATIE ROBINETTE: No. I could tell she didn't know for sure if she was supposed to shoot or not. She was a little hesitant. I thought she'd maybe miss it. I grabbed the rebound. I looked for Anne. She's kind of our clutch player. When finally we did get the ball to Anne, she got the ball to Medders, she hit the ball, it was huge. I didn't know if she was going to make it or not because she hadn't been playing very well (laughter). I was thinking rebound honestly.

LYNDSEY MEDDERS: See how many times she touches the ball tomorrow (laughter).

KATIE ROBINETTE: Like Anne said, we're just happy to be here for tomorrow.

Q. Anne and both Lyndsey talked about, you did the same thing last year against Texas Tech. Is this even better than that because of the situation, because of being in a tournament like this?

ANNE O'NEIL: This one was so huge. To be in Kansas City, it's win or go home. We all passed for a long week. We would have been really sad to be riding back on the bus tonight. Yeah, I just think, you know, the way we came back throughout the last couple minutes, being down most of the second half, was just so huge. Just to be able to finish it that with that kind of play, that's kind of epitome of our team season fighting and to play together and we hope to continue to do that.

Q. Lyndsey, you guys had not shot very well for the whole game. You said you didn't feel like you played that well until the end. You had a couple threes. Was there any confidence thing for you at the end? How did you feel?

LYNDSEY MEDDERS: I didn't want to be riding home on a bus tonight, looking back and saying, "Well, I could have done this, I could have done that." You know, those are the kind of games you want to play in. That's the reason why you wake up in the morning and shoot and why you run and you do pre-season and you get yelled and screamed at every day. You do this. Those are the kinds of moments you want to be in. Yeah, I played horrible the entire game. There's no question about that. You know, to be honest, as far as looking at that last shot, I would have never had that opportunity had these two and everybody else not played well. So everybody's going to try and focus on me making finally a shot all game when we were in it because everybody else, Coach keeping us in the game and whatnot. Don't give me too much credit. All I did was make a three.

Q. (No microphone).

ANNE O'NEIL: Usually, it's an out-of-bounds situation, the ones that we practiced. That's just I think basketball instinct. Everyone was looking for an open player, knew how much time was on the clock. That gives a lot of credit to our coaching staff for putting up the most situations to be smart at the end of the game. At the same time, the whole last two minutes of the game, you know, we were working towards final play. Luckily it happened. Everybody was ready to do their part.

Q. Up until then, you'd beaten Colorado twice, obviously they're playing with a lot of emotion. Why is it such a struggle this time?

KATIE ROBINETTE: I don't know. I think we got the tournament jitters out. Hopefully we'll be ready to go tomorrow. I think Colorado was really ready to play, like Coach said. Yeah, they were playing with a lot of emotion and everything, but I think we don't have any reason to be lacking emotion. This is huge. It's a huge week. We've practiced. We've conditioned. We've practiced all year. We've been looking forward to it and we didn't want to go home.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thanks a lot. We'll keep coach for just a few more minutes. Questions for Coach Fennelly.

Q. Coach, Ceal had talked about trying to stop you guys in your transition game with the three. Did they do about as good a job today keeping their place?

COACH FENNELLY: They did a great job of stopping our transition. You know, we make a lot of open shots in transition. When we played them at our place, we had a lot of open looks at the basket. Again, I think you have to give credit to their kids and to their coaching staff to coach as hard as they did to the bitter end. We had a hard time getting looks at the basket, we really did. Our spacing wasn't very good, and they took advantage of that, especially Johns-Richardson with some steals. It was really hard for us. We didn't get many open looks tonight. The ones we did get, we didn't convert. You know, we really didn't get -- the two best looks we got were probably the two that Lyndsey Medders hit. We didn't get many after that. That's good team defense. It's attention to detail on their end. They dictated the tempo of the game at both ends of the court. It was a struggle to score. Luckily we got some inside points from Katie, which made a big difference, I think. I thought their transition defense was about as good as I've seen. The K State game at K State was very similar. They just took us totally out of our transition. That's a big part of how we play and we didn't get it done this afternoon.

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH FENNELLY: I said, Get your head up, it's not your fault. I mean, basketball is a team game. I know she's crying, she feels bad. I mean, who knows. She makes that shot, Medders hits a three, we're still with an overtime, we might have beat them anyway. She hit a couple huge shots, you know, the three from the corner might have almost broke our back. I just told her, "Get your head up, it's not your fault." You feel bad for a kid to be in those situations. You know, that's not right. I'm sure she didn't listen to what I said. I've seen too many kids go through those emotions. It's just bad to see it happen.

Q. You're down 9 about 8:20 left. You call a timeout. What did you say? There's a 10-2 run after that.

COACH FENNELLY: I was telling them the same thing we've been telling them all year, as far as, You have 40 minutes to play or go home. Then it was 20, it was 15, it was 8. For the first time in a long time, this team had that kind of glazed look in their eye. I think they were really for the first time feeling little jitters. There were a lot of people that really support this team. I don't think they wanted to go home. Every time we did one or two good things, we did one or two bad. We just could not get any flow whatsoever. And I think you have to credit Colorado with that. You know, there wasn't any hollering and screaming. You just got to keep fighting and playing. Coaches talk about life lessons all the time. That's what I told them, This is the way your life's going to be. There's going to be good days and there's going to be bad days. When it's a bad day, you either quit, or fight back and make something good out of it. Go to the bitter end. I mean 2/10ths of a second. We always talk about finishing. Teams can start seasons, teams can play through the middle. You got to have something special to finish something. That's what we've been trying to get our kids to do. Obviously that's not our team. I mean, we're not a team that presses people and fields the ball and makes layups. It was out of character in the way we did it but not out of character in the people that did it. It went our way, but it's one of those things that happens in March.

Q. Since you've been here, have you had a comeback like this in your tenure here?

COACH FENNELLY: No. The closest thing was I think we had a game with Missouri, we were down, I think my second year at Iowa State. Tara Gunderson hit a three-point shot to tie the game. I think we were down six with 30 seconds to go. To be honest with you, I don't know what I'm even saying right now to be honest with you. You got to do for me what Erin does. She covers for me when I'm nonsense. Make me sound good in the paper, please. I'd appreciate that. Right now I can't think of a time when that's happened to us, where we've come back that way and found a way to win a game, especially in this setting. I think, at UNLV, we made some great plays to come back. But not like this.

Q. You stuck with Lyndsey. There are times when you pulled her out when she's played that poorly in the past. Talk about sticking with her, letting her learn through this, getting rewarded for that.

COACH FENNELLY: You know, there was a conscious decision on the bench. The coaches talked about it. She's got to learn to play through this. Her and Ron are going to be the leaders of this team next year. This is an environment you have to learn. And she got -- she made a couple plays at the end. I'm not big on "You learn from losing." People who say that lose a lot. She learned a great lesson tonight, she made a couple big plays at the end. She's smart enough to know she didn't play very well. She better play a lot better tomorrow. But she loves the seniors as much as any underclassman I've ever been around. And I think, you know, we just felt like she had to be involved in the game. We needed ball-handling. There was not really much of a situation where we really thought about taking her out. We rested her one time. I thought about resting Anne, and Anne basically looked at me and said, "If you take me out," I won't repeat what she said. So Anne had to go the whole time.

Q. Do you have an initial thought on matching up against Texas Tech again tomorrow?

COACH FENNELLY: Yeah, you know, everybody's all excited. We're walking off the court, maybe as wild a finish as I've ever been a part of. I'm not even out of the tunnel and somebody said, "Hey, guess what, you get to play Tech tomorrow." You know, I mean, you get in the quarterfinals of a conference tournament and you're going to play a ranked team. I don't know if there's been a tournament in this country where two teams in the Top 20 have to play in the quarterfinals. They're a great team. They just mauled us at their place. I think they're -- I'd like to think they're going to be really scared after our performance, really nervous (laughter). I'm just glad we get to play them. Hopefully we play them better than we played them the first time. They're an outstanding team. We'll have to do a few things different. Fatigue won't be a factor. That's the next question obviously. They're kids. If you can't get ready to play tomorrow, then we'll rest them tonight. They'll celebrate with each other, smile a lot. We'll come back, play tomorrow. We got to play a lot better, no question, but we will play better tomorrow.

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH FENNELLY: The first thing I was thinking is she is going to make that layup, what we were going to do after that. When she missed it, there was never, never one moment we were going to call a timeout. Wasn't going to happen. They had been so prepared all game. I think in a lot of those situations, the open-court situation, you got to rely on your players. We practiced the six-second play almost every day in practice, three seconds, whatever. So, no, Anne O'Neil had her hands on the ball and I'll live with that. She made the decision to pass it, which turned out to be a great decision. It was just get it up the court and try and get a shot, whatever you can get. But we were not going to call timeout.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks again. Congratulations.

COACH FENNELLY: Thanks, everyone. Appreciate your time.

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