|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
March 2, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We'll take an opening statement from Coach McCallie and then we'll turn it over to the student athletes.
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: Just a great battle, a great game. Minnesota plays very hard. I liked a lot of the things that we did, absolutely love our 22 assists. I'm not sure what to say about the turnovers, though, in that regard. But I just loved how we shared the ball inside and out. I thought Al was very dominant and very focused. I thought Aisha was doing lots of nice things for us in terms of ball movement, and I thought Rene (Haynes) was extremely solid and smart.
Overall, it was great team effort and the rebounding does sting a little bit, the rebounding margin and not doing a better job there. That's something we're going to continue to work on and needs to change. We need to get better at that.
Q. Allyssa, what was the key for your being able to score 24 points and be so dominant inside today?
ALLYSSA DeHAAN: I just had to keep the focus of getting open and wanting the ball and demanding the ball, and I have such great teammates and they know when to throw it to me. It was just my job to convert it.
Q. Rene, could you talk about Allyssa's improvement over the course of the season and your confidence in using her as a go-to player at this point?
RENE HAYNES: Allyssa is one of our go-to players. I have the utmost confidence in her. She came a long way from -- I'd bring it all the way back to preseason, to my first time coming on the floor with her. And I think she's just improved tremendously. She's become more physical, she hustles. I mean, anything you ask her to do, she'll do it, and she's there for us 100 percent. She's a great body in the post.
Q. Aisha, after last week, how much better do you guys feel with this performance against Minnesota?
AISHA JEFFERSON: Obviously we have the March Madness spirit right now so that's a big factor as to why we're playing a lot better, and just coming off that loss to Illinois, we were just eager to come back on the floor, and just the assists, 21 assists. And that's a lot of improvement from our last two games. So we're excited about that.
Q. Rene, can you talk about down the stretch when Minnesota was coming back they were hitting a lot of threes and what you guys did to hold them off?
RENE HAYNES: Well, this is March, and anything can happen in March. The game goes all the way down to the last second, and I think it was just our composure. We kept composure.
We didn't let up, we kept attacking, and even though we were kind of switching points, it's just keeping my focus and just staying together. I think we stayed together the whole game, and that's what it's about.
Q. Rene, the pressure didn't seem to bother you guys, but when they started to come back at the end there, every time they got close, you guys seemed to break it and get a layup.
RENE HAYNES: Again, that's the togetherness. We had great patience this game and we had great focus, patience and determination to get the win.
We did anything it took to get the win. It's just great togetherness and team effort and having the energy and the intensity to keep going.
Q. Allyssa, if I you could get you to look ahead to Sunday and talk a little about the match-up with Purdue. I assume you'll be seeing a lot of Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and she'll be seeing a lot of you. If you could talk about that a little bit.
ALLYSSA DeHAAN: We're very excited for Sunday. It's just all about coming out with energy and maintaining that energy and focus and just having fun and getting the job done.
Q. Allyssa, did you come out more offensive-minded today looking to score more?
ALLYSSA DeHAAN: Not necessarily. I think overall I'm trying to be more aggressive and that just kind of shined through on the offensive end tonight, I guess. Just demanding the ball is what I'm trying to work on, and as I said, all credit to my teammates, they know where to throw me the ball and they're great at it, and I just convert it.
Q. Rene, does your experience in this kind of setting help in avoiding this kind of a letdown, especially in a game like this where you guys are expected to win?
RENE HAYNES: I think experience helps tremendously, and I think it was up to me and my fellow seniors to just lead our team and just to work together, let them know that this is what happens in March. This is going to happen all of March every game we play, and experience does matter.
Q. For any of the three, what do you remember about the first two games with Purdue?
AISHA JEFFERSON: First two games with Purdue? Well, the first game obviously didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but I just remember us just being out-hustled in the first game.
And the second game was probably the most exciting game I've played in, just coming down from 17 and just fighting our way back. I thought we executed a lot more and took advantage of our weapons the second game. You know, we were just in attack mode that whole second half. It started off with Rene's shot at the end, and that was just one exciting game.
I know both teams are just ready to come back for the rematch.
Q. Allyssa, were you surprised they kept trying to go inside as much as they did so much of the game and didn't really get their outside game going until the last seven or eight minutes?
ALLYSSA DeHAAN: What do you mean, tonight?
Q. Yeah. Were you surprised the Gophers kept trying to go inside for so much of the game and didn't really get their outside game going until the last seven or eight minutes of the game?
ALLYSSA DeHAAN: I don't know what to say.
RENE HAYNES: I think credit to our post players. They did a great job down low. We had some little pitty-patty fouls or whatever, but the first half starting off they really kept the paint solid. Not very many shots went up in the paint.
Allyssa had her hands up, Aisha had her hands up, all our post players, I think they did a pretty good job. They kept going inside and going inside and going inside, and I think our post did a pretty good job defending them.
AISHA JEFFERSON: The first game they killed us, so why not go back to their inside. I thought we did a much better job with our defense, our post defense. We got called a lot playing behind, going out to the corners when we're not supposed to, and I think we did a better job.
They were just doing what they were supposed to do, kept going inside when they beat us up in the first game with that, but we definitely turned around our defense this game.
Q. Aisha, I know you're not supposed to, but with the schedule you guys play, having a lot of good teams, do you guys get up a little bit differently for opponents like Purdue on Sunday, Ohio State, things like that?
AISHA JEFFERSON: We come out with the same focus, and we don't take any other opponents differently. But when you have games like you had against Ohio State and Purdue, you still come out with that state of mind that you have something to prove.
You know, we've got to come out knowing that we took Purdue on their home court, we took Ohio State on their home court and the margins weren't that large, just the way we won. So we're definitely going to be, I guess, you could say extra focused when it comes to those games.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joanne?
Q. Joanne, what were your instructions after the 19-point lead dwindled to five? Did you just tell them to get back to doing what they were doing?
JOANNE McCALLIE: You can't be really concerned. It's not scoreboard basketball. You know, leads come and go. We just wanted to focus on some things. I was really pleased with how we came out after timeouts. We generally scored or something good happened. I think you just can't expect anything to be easy.
It was a little easy early on, and I was not expecting that to continue. Not at this level, not at this time of year. All these teams are very good. You saw they had four people in double figures. They played a great game. It wasn't like Minnesota played poorly. They played a very, very good strong game. We were able to do some things and we shot the ball a lot better. So it's just -- I guess I'm not really concerned. I love the fact that we had to convert.
Our team made some smart plays while we were getting pressed, so we've just got to take advantage of every opportunity because games are going to be tough. I mean, nothing is easy. From this point out, it's a lot of work.
Q. Allyssa's offense, is this just something that's getting better and better as the season has progressed, going more to her as a gradual progression here?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: I think it is. She's been such a tremendous person and player. It's hard to believe she's a freshman. And she's allowed to have some lulls when she's had some, and everybody wants all these stats from her.
We've told Al to be herself and to enjoy her game, and I think she has great confidence. I think she's excited for March. I think Al has got this figured out, that this is the fun time of year, and I really credit her teammates for being patient getting the ball in.
I think we took some lessons from the Ohio State game obviously in terms of being more patient, getting the ball to Allyssa. She's just phenomenal. She's a phenomenal person, and there's just really nothing she can't do out there.
What I loved about her was her movement. See, generally on defense and on offense Al was moving more, either moving to the ball or moving more defensively to get to the spots. When she does that, she's going to be one of the very best.
Q. You mentioned her movement, but I watched her play earlier in the season, and it seemed to me just as big was her confidence level. It seems like she's really sure of herself at this point.
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: I agree with you. I think her confidence is at an all-time high. I think just the experience alone and different things that have occurred -- players have just got to play games and get in game situations. I think Allyssa has just been coming along. It's been an everyday thing, it's been an every practice thing, and now she's starting to show up more with some pretty impressive stats. This is no surprise to us. We see her do all kinds of interesting things in practice. I'm just happy for her because I think you're right, her confidence is at an all-time high and that's fantastic.
Q. The rebound margin wasn't where you wanted it to be but a lot better than a week ago. Did you guys do anything differently?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: It's hard to do worse than that, my gosh.
Q. Especially with Campbell; she had 17 this time. Did you guys focus on her?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: I like the fact that Victoria was in there battling. Vic didn't have the greatest offensive game for her. She's very capable, she's very good. But she had eight from a guard perspective. You're looking at Mia Johnson, also offensively maybe not as good as she can be, but she's got seven. I loved the guard rebounding, I loved Allyssa's rebounding.
We have to get better at it, we have to keep working on it, and obviously for Sunday, Purdue is a terrific rebounding team and we're going to have to be on it.
Q. What do you remember about the two Purdue games and what do you think about Sunday's game?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: Purdue at home I remember a young, silly team losing double zero at all costs, leaving people wide open on the floor. I thought it was a very poor game in Breslin.
At Purdue, some really funny things in the first half. The second half was just entirely different, very focused and just very tough. I thought we were very tough in the second half. We just crawled back in that game, and again, I think that the smarts paid off for the team in terms of finding each other and making plays down the stretch. I think that was key for that second game.
They're very, very good. Purdue kind of gets a home court here in terms of fans, and I know everyone likes it when Purdue is advancing because they bring a lot of fans. So it will be a home court advantage a little bit for them, but it'll be a great opportunity for us. They're a very good team.
Q. You've talked about focusing on March. Are you guys where you want to be right now?
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: Well, I'm getting there. You're never there. It's existential that way (laughing). You're never there. You've never arrived, you're just always sort of moving towards something.
Q. Never heard that word in a press conference.
COACH JOANNE McCALLIE: My daughter is here and my son and I have to educate them at every turn. They'll have to look that up (laughing).
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Joanne.
End of FastScripts