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March 9, 2005

Bill Fennelly

Anne O'Neil

Katie Robinette


THE MODERATOR: We have Coach Fennelly and Anne O'Neil, Katie Robinette. We'll have your opening thoughts, then throw it to questions.

COACH FENNELLY: First of all, I'd like to sincerely thank the Big-12, especially the people of Kansas City. It was a great show, fun to be back, a great event. We're honored to be a part of it and we want to thank everyone. I know it's a hard thing to put one of these things on. We appreciate it, and our players and fans and staff are the benefits of all that hard work. I mean that sincerely. I appreciate that very much. Also I want to congratulate Tech. They're an outstanding team. They're 12th in the nation for a reason. Well-coached, a lot of weapons. Very worthy of doing a great job I think in the NCAA tournament for the Big-12. Lastly, I'm as proud of our team today as I was yesterday. I'm someone that does not believe that student athletes should be evaluated by what happened 40 minutes on one score board, in one gym, one building, one time. We lost a basketball game today, but we gained a lot more. We have quality people who represent our University. We have the best fans in the country. It hurts to lose, but as much as it hurts to lose, it makes me feel a lot better knowing I get to get on the bus with these people and I get to coach them a little bit longer. They have been a part of my life for a long time. The way I feel about them today is even greater than what's been in the past because of the way they handled themselves and how hard they played today. Great college game. Yesterday we made one more play, and today they made one. That's the nature of the game. That's March. I hope everyone enjoyed it who was here.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the player athletes.

Q. Anne, the last shot, talk about it, how good it felt coming off?

ANNE O'NEIL: You know, with three seconds left, we designed this play and practiced it almost every day in practice. One of the hardest parts of it is to even catch the ball. As soon as I saw the pass, I knew it was coming right to me. I was just concentrating on catching it. I was kind of happy. I got a really great look at it. It was probably one of the best looks I had all night. As soon as I let it go, I thought I had a shot and maybe it would bounce around a little bit. It's one more play we made yesterday that didn't happen today. But I did have a great look at it.

Q. Katie, where did you think they were going whenever they went inside to Alesha on that last play for them?

KATIE ROBINETTE: Well, we thought maybe they'd try and lob it in there. We were going to try and tip away the lob. Otherwise you don't really expect Alesha inside. Figure she'd be out shooting. We were trying to be prepared for anything.

Q. Anne, can you talk about the defense. They didn't let you guys get a whole lot of open 3-point looks. It was hard to post up inside. What did they do that made it hard for you guys?

ANNE O'NEIL: I think all around, you know, they're great athletes, very disciplined basketball players. Obviously, they had our personnel down very well, just like they did last game when we played them. You know, we just tried to counter with driving to the hoop, trying to get to the free-throw line a little bit, trying to get the ball to Katie, transition-wise if we did have an open look, to put it up. It was an exciting game to be a part of, you know, having the possessions go back and forth, our fans into it. It was a lot of fun. It's just that it's kind of disappointing to lose, but we'll move on.

Q. Can you talk about the first half and second half? First half, 10 points, eight boards. Second half a little foul trouble.

KATIE ROBINETTE: Like Anne said, they're great defenders, great athletes in every aspect of their game. Yeah, I got in foul trouble. Probably had a bad call on my third one, had to sit out for a while. You know, I think overall we played better than we did yesterday. Like Anne said, it was an exciting game to be a part of. Too bad somebody has to lose.

Q. Can you take something out of this, you guys really did play well, even though it's a loss? You played a top team, played them to the wire.

ANNE O'NEIL: I think a little after the game, it's bittersweet. We're happy the way we played at the end. Over our regular season, we hadn't played that well. Finally we just came out and played very aggressive. Everyone was into the game. Everyone contributed even off the bench, which made it exciting. We know we still have a lot to look forward to in the NCAAs. I can definitely say after these last two games, we definitely have participated in March Madness and we hope to continue it.

KATIE ROBINETTE: I'm feeling a little urgent here because now it's for real. It will be over after our next game, win or go home. Fight to stay alive. I think we'll be ready to go, I promise.

COACH FENNELLY: Write that down (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, congratulations. Questions for Coach Fennelly.

Q. Do you think you had it in you one more time?

COACH FENNELLY: You know, what I said in the timeout was we won it on the six-second played yesterday; today we're going to win it on the three-second play. That's what I told them. Sparks made a great pass. All you want is a shot. We've all been through so many games. That's what I told them at the end, Anne is hurting right now, but that game could have been lost in the first 17 seconds of the game. We've all been through that. It went exactly the way we wanted. We had our go-to player with her hands on the ball. She had a look at it. It didn't go in. We'd run the same play again, again and again. Yesterday she made a great decision and kicked it to an open kid. Tonight she made a great decision and shot it. You have to have courage to make that play. Yesterday it went in, today it didn't. They get tired of me talking about life. That's the way life is. We were pretty dang happy last night. We're feeling pretty bad today. You got to get up and keep fighting. God willing, this team I think deserves to be in the NCAA tournament. I don't talk about that stuff much. That's what I told them in the locker room. They're all crying. I mean, I've never seen this team so hurt, individually or collectively. But what I told them was the good thing is, we're not done yet. We get to play again. That's the best part, like I said.

Q. You have your go-to player, she had the ball. Tech doesn't really have that one player you knew the ball was going to. What were y'all thinking?

COACH FENNELLY: What we told them in the timeout was, Watch the lob. Actually, Anne O'Neil spoke up and said, "Watch the curl to Robertson." We tried to Jam it in there. They ran a good play. We were about a step late. Really, Anne seriously in the timeout said, "Watch the curl to Robertson." We had a foul to waste. I told them if the ball went away from the basket, they caught it, go ahead and take the foul. They did a good job. She found a gap in between Katie and Mary, caught it and shot it before we even had a chance to react. But it was a great play by them in a tough situation. Well-designed.

Q. When you guys are struggling, that was big.

COACH FENNELLY: I think Lisa, might have been one of the best games she ever played at Iowa State, considering the time of the year, the opponent, everything. Lisa, it's hard to put into words how proud I am of her. This is a senior that's been kind of up and down at times, has probably supported me more than any player I've ever coached, at times when she didn't have to, to family, to friends. She's not playing a lot. This isn't even a game unless Lisa plays the way she played. It was fun to watch. I know it's hard to lose, but I hope she feels like, hey, this is the kind of game that I want to play at Iowa State. It was amazing the plays she made. I was very proud of her. Again, I think she made the kind -- did the kind of things that allowed us to have a chance to win. For a senior who comes off the bench, that says a lot. Most seniors in her spot would be pouting, feeling sorry for themselves, whatever. She's been just the opposite. That's the credit to her. It's been an honor to coach her. I'm glad I get to see her again in practice on Saturday. Lisa, you're not supposed to be here. I wouldn't have said all those nice things about you (laughter).

Q. (No microphone.)

COACH FENNELLY: It was perfect except the ball didn't go in the basket. I mean, dead perfect. We run a screen to screener play. We bring Anne to the top of the circle. Tracy is supposed to throw it like a quarterback. It doesn't -- we don't do it that well 5-on-0 in practice. Lisa will attest to that. Seriously, we caught it right. We set a good screen. Again. All you want is a chance. You got to go the length of the court in 2.7 seconds. We had a chance. It went very well. Again, that's a credit to the kids. The time and concentration we put into practice, they know what they need to do, they get into their spots, try and make a play. That's all you can do in that situation.

Q. You had a nine-point lead in the first half, eight points in the second half. Was there ever a point where you thought, one more basket, maybe stagger them?

COACH FENNELLY: When Katie got her second foul in the first half, that hurt us a little bit. We couldn't finish the half off maybe as well as we'd like. Their defense is very good. They're the best defensive team in the league statistically. You look at points per game, defensive field goal percentage, they did a great job of really making it hard for us to get some shots. Then we had some really good looks at the basket, too, that we missed. But that's what happens. The think I always tell our kids is never be surprised when you're open because you play a great defensive team, all of a sudden you're open, you're not used to being open. You got to be ready to shoot that shot. We shoot 33% from the field and we still have a shot at the buzzer against a great team to win the game. That means you're playing hard, you're defending. We defended them a hundred percent better than we did in Lubbock. Again, their defense is really good. I don't think there's a whole lot of different things we could have done. You get a little leg wary, your shots are a little short. We had some really good looks at the basket. Anne obviously hit some big plays going through the goal. Lisa had some shots. Other than that, we couldn't seem to get the right shots at the right time for the right team. Again, that's Tech's defense.

Q. What do you think about your position heading into the NCAAs?

COACH FENNELLY: Well, I'm not trying to be smart here, I never assume anything. I would hope we're in the NCAA tournament. That's the committee's job. It's not my place to say who we are, who we aren't. I think this team has done over 29 games, if you look at their body of work, that we deserve to be in the NCAA tournament. Wherever they put us, I will be ecstatic. I don't care. They can send me anywhere they want to send us, play anybody. I don't care. I've said this back home, besides my wife and my boys, everything I do all year has been trying to get this team to the NCAA tournament. Our seniors deserve that. Katie and Anne have never played in the tournament. Hopefully, God willing, Sunday at 4:00, whenever, we'll see Iowa State's name come up. It's not about women's basketball, it's about our University. Hopefully we'll be a good representative of our conference. Hopefully an hour later Wayne and the men's name will come up. I'm bragging, this is a paid political announcement, but you look at our football program, our men's and women's basketball program, I think we're doing our job in the Big-12 in representing our league. It's going to be fun. You saw a celebration last night when Medders hit that shot. You'll see me jumping up and down when our name comes up there. That's a scary thought. I think we're in good shape. I think even though we lost today, our kids figured they could play with a good team down to the wire. Like Katie said, and Katie never says anything she doesn't mean, I think they'll be ready to play, I really do. Whoever we get, it will be a good team. I told them now is the time they're going to face a good team every time out. We want to be a good team. The last time we walk out of the building, last time we're going to walk out together with our heads up knowing we competed as hard as we could. Whoever that is, we'll take it and we'll represent our school as best we can and it will be an honor to play in it if we get selected.

Q. Ever since the Baylor game, I think the last three regular-season games and yesterday's game, I don't think (inaudible) today you saw Iowa State at its best?

COACH FENNELLY: Yeah, I think as far as the effort, the attention to detail, all the things we talk about every day in practice, yes. I wouldn't trade that for today, the emotion today, the focus today for anything. We just didn't make enough shots. You look at some of the numbers again, that's not our team. We're a team that plays hard, hopefully plays smart, then we have to make some shots. That sounds very simplistic, but that's our game. We're not going to create turnovers. We need to make open shots. We didn't make enough of them today. Great defense by Tech. Just wasn't going to happen. That's the nature of the game. That's why they call it basketball. The ball goes in the basket, you look really good. Ball doesn't go in the basket, you feel like we do right now. But, no, I'm very, very pleased with where we are right now. Looking forward to getting back to practice and getting ready to lay some up one more time.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much.

End of FastScripts...

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