March 9, 2005
JIM MILLER: We'll begin with BYU head coach Jeff Judkins; student athletes No. 14, Julie Sullivan; 35, Melinda Johnsen. Coach, if you want to open with some opening remarks and we'll open it to questions for the student athletes.
COACH JUDKINS: It's nice to be here. It's nice to be able to win a game that close. I give Colorado State a lot of credit. They played very hard tonight. They played as good as I've seen them. They had an outstanding game. You try to take their inside game away, and when Hunter is hitting those shots, it's very difficult. It seemed like we kind of went in spurts and they went in spurts. Both teams were emotionally high for this game. It's tough to beat somebody three times in a row, and Chris has done a great job with that team really, preparing for our game. I thought offensively he did some things we haven't seen in a long time. We did a pretty good job of adjusting. That's why I've got Melinda up here. Melinda was a key part of the game defensively. She did a great job on Hunter the last five, six minutes. Every basket she scored was head in the face. I'm real proud of the team. We've lost a lot of games like this where the game has been close and we haven't executed and made the plays, and I'm just glad these guys stuck together. We had to make some defensive stops, and we knew that they could do it. Hopefully we can continue this tournament.
JIM MILLER: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Melinda, on that last play, the set up, Ambrosia for the three, is that kind of a set play or do you get the credit for that?
MELINDA JOHNSEN: I wasn't set up for that. I knew the shot clock was going down, we had six seconds. I knew we could get a better shot than what I had. I'm just glad Ambrosia was sitting there.
COACH JUDKINS: It wasn't great coaching?
MELINDA JOHNSEN: Great coaching. Yeah, it was awesome.
Q. Julie, could you talk about how you handled the pressure that came after you on the dribble about three-quarters court and some of the adjustments that you tried to make with bringing in some help, another point guard?
JULIE SULLIVAN: To tell you the truth, I didn't really recognize that it was pressure because I've handled that all year, so I don't think -- I think we were really prepared for it from our pre-season games. You know, we played a lot of tough teams that got in our shorts. To tell you the truth, I don't really even recognize the pressure.
Q. Julie, could you talk about last year? You missed a couple of free throws and you were upset and this year you came back and made them. How good was that redemption for you?
JULIE SULLIVAN: Knew that question was coming, because as soon as I missed them I thought about last year's. I knew I was going to get fouled again because I wanted the ball in my hands. I knew I was going to make my second pair of free throws. But it did cross my mind and I kicked myself in the butt for it.
JIM MILLER: Ladies, we'll let you go and open it up for questions for the coach.
Q. Can you just talk about the shot Ambrosia, she hit a couple big threes for you tonight. It just seems like she's not afraid to shoot in very key situations.
COACH JUDKINS: She's very confident, sometimes maybe a little bit too confident. She took the one shot she missed kind of quick on the clock. I said, Bro, I think we can get a better shot than that. She believes when she's open that that's the best shot she can get. She has the confidence. Tonight I believe we proved we have the deepest bench in the league with both Kubic and her, and I'm very fortunate to have her because Ambrosia can score in so many different ways, and Kubic the first half did so many good things for us when Danielle was trying to score. It's nice for a coach to really have that. It's tough because you have to balance those minutes and a lot of players like to play a lot, but as long as you give them opportunities and you're positive with them and you let them understand that winning is the most important thing, it seems to work out for you. Bro has hit that shot a lot in practice and she's hit it in big situations. As Melinda said, she had six seconds and she saw Bro open and that's how much confidence she had. We tried a little play to get the ball to the basket and Colorado State did a good job of closing that off. That's where I was so proud of the team is they let the offense, whatever the defense did in that situation, they just let it come to them, and that's where we've matured as a team.
Q. Could you talk about Julie's performance? It just must really feel good as a coach when you're over there and you know the ball is in her hands down the stretch and she's not going to make mistakes with it?
COACH JUDKINS: You know, I've been real lucky to have her. Hopefully Tiari will take that over next year. Julie is a competitor. She remembers that foul shot, and she remembers a lot of situations, and I think she has fought through that this whole season, and I was just proud of her getting up there and sticking those foul shots once she had to and not being afraid to really do it. I wouldn't want it to get in her way in a tough situation because she'll do whatever she has to. She'll go through a brick wall. I think she's been a great example of what hard work is, having a baby, dealing with that, having her ACL and then being able to come back for senior year and having the kind of career she's having now, I'm very happy for her. She feels good about herself, and that's what the main part of basketball is all about.
Q. Could you talk about your adjustments on your defense? They did have some success inside. You went to a zone and then was it Hunter just on or did she get lost in the zone?
COACH JUDKINS: She hurts more in the man-to-man, a little pick-and-roll action. We tried to cover down, and they kicked it, and Colorado State did a good job of making the extra pass for her. We just didn't rotate quick enough. Johnsen the last eight minutes of the game, every one she scored in the end was a hand in the face, and when players get that going, they get to feel like that, it's really hard to stop them. I thought Melinda did a great job. Colorado State's inside game is very scary, and Dennett is athletic and she can score, and Thomas is a good shooter, so you try and take that away and you're going to give something up. Tonight Hunter took advantage of it.
Q. Considering the start and everything, you know, you win two games against CSU and I know your players are dying to play Utah again. Was that start, even though it came back and tied up, was that big to get off to that lead?
COACH JUDKINS: Yeah, it was. We came out with a lot of energy and we kind of burned the cylinders fast. Julie got tired, and so I had to pull her out just because of that, and we were going. My wife says to me all the time, don't pull out your team when they're going good, let them keep playing, so I've tried to take that advice but Julie was really tired and so was Cheesman and Kozlowski. It's going to be a great challenge. Utah is a very good team, and as they got voted MVPs of our league we've got to do a good job on Shona and Kim. I think my team is looking forward to this game. We've been talking about it, and hopefully we can play one of our best games.
Q. How important is it to have time off tomorrow before a Friday game in a tournament like this?
COACH JUDKINS: It's big-time, really. For us, we had a hard-fought game and Utah did not have to battle as hard as we did, and part of that is our own fault not doing well in the conference. Having that rest will give us a little bit more time to kind of think a little bit about some things and stay off our legs. I really believe we have one of the deepest benches. I think New Mexico and us are probably the two deepest. I mean, it's to an advantage if you can get to the third game. We've always seemed to play better the second night, so we'll see what happens Friday. It'll be a good opportunity for us to just rest a little bit and hopefully watch some things that we can do better, and it gives me some time just to rest, too, a little bit.
JIM MILLER: Thanks, Coach.
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