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March 2, 2007

Felisha Legette-Jack

Sarah McKay


THE MODERATOR: We've got Coach Jack and Sarah McKay with us. Coach Jack, we'll have you give us some opening comments and then go to Sarah for questions.
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Well, I always thank people that gave me my opportunity. I'd like to thank President Herbert and Mr. Rick Greenspan for giving me an opportunity to represent such a fine institution and a great group of young women. I am truly blessed. It was a fantastic fight, and also I'd like to thank my husband and my son who allow me to do this crazy business of coaching.
But it was a great game. We fought, we battled. Ohio State is fantastic. I said it earlier, I think that they're still a program that can certainly represent us at the Elite Eight or even the Final Four. Jessica Davenport is just unbelievable.
But our kids just wouldn't go away. We continued to fight and we continued to believe, and at the end we just ran out of gas.

Q. Sarah, tough match-up for you. You ended up fouling out, but you also had the five blocks. Just talk about the challenges presented when you go for the block to try to prevent Jessica Davenport from scoring. Just what kind of challenge is it not to draw the foul?
SARAH McKAY: Jessica Davenport is a very, very talented player, and I know playing against her makes me better. I just try and stay in her face. She's got long arms. I tried to do what I could. There's not a whole lot you can do. Once you block a few, good players counter the moves and know what they're doing.

Q. How tough is Jessica? Everyone looks at her and you hear about the awards and the points, but just having to body up with her. I know Whitney was doing a little bit, but I mean, she's a load, isn't she?
SARAH McKAY: She's very strong. You've got to try and push her out and it's not easy. But pretty much every post player in the Big Ten is a challenge to go up against. It's never an easy job in there.

Q. With the challenge of guarding Jessica Davenport, you still were able to get 14 points, seven boards and five blocks, talk about that.
SARAH McKAY: It's all about positioning on the court, and my teammates gave me great passes. Over the top was open a lot, and it's up to the guards to lob to up it in there for me. They do a great job of that. We're really good at reading each other.
And then on the defensive end with rebounds, I'm just going to do what I can, blocking shots, whatever, to help out this team.

Q. Sarah, you guys have been playing short-handed all year and you gave Ohio State all they wanted here tonight. What does that tell you about your teammates and about the future of Indiana University basketball and Coach Jack?
SARAH McKAY: That just tells you what kind of team this is. We could have given up pretty easily. We were down by a bunch and we fought our way back. And that goes to show what Coach Jack teaches us at Indiana; never give up. You're down 20, you can find a way to do whatever you want. This is the start of something pretty special here.

Q. Sarah, when you went out with your fourth foul I think it was, Coach went with a smaller lineup, and it seemed like your teammates went into a scramble mode on defense and really I think got within four at that point. Was that the plan? When you're sitting on the bench watching them make that comeback, are you hoping to go back in and help out?
SARAH McKAY: It was all about heart. We're pretty undersized in this conference, and with me out and going with a smaller lineup, you're right, it's a scramble. Everyone was doing what they could, and they did a heck of a job.

Q. Playing short-handed, two games in two days, how does that affect your normal game-by-game routine and how did that affect the team?
SARAH McKAY: We try and celebrate victories until about midnight that night and then start focusing on the next game. This was a bit of a quicker turnaround, so right after yesterday we just started focusing, watching film, looking at the scouting report, just doing what we could to prepare for the game today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Jack?

Q. Do you feel like this team could still be playing in a couple weeks, maybe WNIT, and what are your thoughts about that?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: I believe in miracles and I believe that we have competed well enough where someone is going to want us to in their postseason. Our goal is postseason. I don't know what's going to happen, but we're going to continue to believe that it's a possibility.

Q. Talk about 33 percent field goal shooting. Could you talk about their defense on the whole?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: They're tough. They're ranked in the top 10 and they deserve every bit of it. They went after us. They had one of the best players, Marscilla go down with an ankle injury and somebody else stepped up. It's a fine run machine over there at Ohio State and Coach Foster does a great job. I have such respect for him as a coach, as a person, as a husband and as a man, and I think that his team represents him well. They work with poise, they play with confidence, and that defense is second to none.
But I have to give credit to our kids. Our kids didn't look at the defense and bounce back. We tried to go through it. We fought and we fought until the clock expired. It is what it is, but I'll tell you, it was a good game to watch, but to answer your question, that defense is tenacious and it's going to represent our conference at the NCAA in a fine fashion.

Q. Jess is, as your players said, really tough. Whitney trying to deny the ball and Sarah sometimes playing her straight up. Do you try to give a player like that as many different looks as you can, maybe have her wondering what she's facing every time down the floor?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Well, we thought about tickling her (laughter). We said nothing else works, just tickle her. She is an amazing player. She is a kid that I tried to recruit to Michigan State when she was raw, nobody was really going after her.
But I'll tell you, she wasn't that good going into Ohio State; they helped her become that great. D is tough. What we try to do is put our smallest post player on her and have her turn in and then have her face Sarah. That worked for a little bit, but then Sarah got in foul trouble so we had to put Sarah out, and then we'd try to go underneath and she'd catch the ball and try to dig in from down there, and we weren't getting any breaks on that.
We just kept trying different defenses, but with somebody as good as Jessica, we're just proud that she's in our conference and you just kind of concede after a while. The tickling thing, that line of work, nobody agreed with me. I should have followed my first mind.

Q. When Sarah did go out with the fourth foul and it seemed like you really did pressure the ball a lot more at that time, is that something you had to do to not get them in a half court where they could set up with their size?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Yes, we had to do that because if we didn't it was going to be a green light to flop the ball over Whitney and Kim's (Roberson) head. So we tried to offset that by allowing the guards to feel the pressure and trying to control the ball instead of looking up the court and seeing the big kid that was very talented on the low block.

Q. Very late in the first half you were within two and they went on a 7-0 run to end the half and then opened the second half with a run to go up I think 18 at one point. What went on in that time frame?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: We weren't passionate in the second half. I thought that we got them ready to come out of the locker room and compete, and we didn't compete in that first three minutes of the game. That's something I think that really hurt us. If we would have came with that tenacity that we had in the middle to the end of the game, I think it would have been a better game.
But kids are kids, and you don't know what gets them going. But we allowed them to bring the energy, and when we sat quiet they became great. That first three minutes really hurt us, and they went up by 18 points and we cut it to four. That's our commitment to what we're trying to do is 100 percent there, and we'll continue to grow our program.

Q. Coach Foster touched on this for a second, too, but talk about not only Jessica's danger, a scoring threat obviously, but also a decent passer, as well.
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Jessica is the real deal. We can talk about her all day long, but I'd rather talk about my kids. I think our kids are competitors and we're growing our kids just the same. I thought that Kim Roberson represented us in two days as being a kid that really needed to be recognized out there. She competes, she goes hard. She doesn't make all cute passes or pretty shots, but you won't match her heart with anybody in this conference. I'm very proud of her effort.
I'm proud of Sarah McKay who's a kid that sat on the bench three years and came this year and became one of the top 15 players in our conference. And if we had a little bit more time, I beg to differ, she would be one of the top five to ten players. We've got some good kids and some kids that we're very proud of, and I like to talk about my kids.

Q. What was the bigger factor in your decision to pressure? Was it that Packer was out or was it that McKay was in foul trouble?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: Both. She was out, and the foul trouble, we thought that Packer is just the X factor in our opinion. This game was not indicative of what she can do. When she's healthy and ready to go, this could have been a different kind of game on their side, in their favor.
I know our kids can get up and get in them a little bit, but Kim had two fouls early and we had to sit her at the 11:54 mark of the first half, that really put us in jeopardy because we didn't have anybody that plays defense the way Kim does. So we were able to put her back out in the second half, and she went out there and competed and gave us the energy that we needed to have us compete, as well -- the other kids compete, as well.

Q. Tell us your thoughts on your first Big Ten season.
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: I'm excited about our future. I definitely didn't understand all that takes place from the head coaching position in this conference. This conference is young and talented, and we're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
I think that we have the best coaches in the country. I have such respect for Foster and Joanne P. McCallie and Pam (Borton), and I think Sharon Versyp is doing a great job with Purdue. We are ready to get this thing rolling again. This was the conference that was the first top three RPI for many, many years, and we slipped a little bit and now we're on our way back, and I'm just glad to be a part of it.

Q. Can you talk about the job that Whitney did on the boards, five on the offensive end and five at the defensive end?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: I just think that's one of the kids that doesn't get any respect. She's a workhorse, she's battling down there with the big dogs, and I just don't get it. I just don't get her heart. You know, she gets beat up, she tweaked her knee, she hurt her wrist in the game, she came back. She's got three people on her and she doesn't get a call, she comes back. The fight in that kid's heart is really contagious, and we're going to be better because of her. She's not going to be an outstanding scorer or passer but she's the heart of our team, and we're so proud of her efforts and her heart.
Some days I'm feeling like I don't want to come to work because sometimes days get long. I look at that kid in the gym shooting 100 free throws before anybody else walks in the gym just getting ready to go. I'm just proud that she's a part of our organization.

Q. What's the difference between the earlier part of the season and now?
COACH FELISHA LEGETTE-JACK: They've changed. They're a young team. We only have two kids that really came back with experience from last year, and that's Nikki (Smith) and Leah (Enterline). There's nobody else on our team with experience. So there's going to be days when we go out and play Kentucky at Kentucky and beat them at their place and Notre Dame at their place and we're going to beat them at their place, and there's going to be days when you understand that are going to be a Michigan day when you're going to be up by 17 and lose it because they don't understand how to maintain and sustain, and as they grow -- this is a great experience for us.
We grew, we learned, we fell, we fought, we came back, we prospered, we took a step back, we took three steps forward. All of that is all great stuff so next year we won't have that excuse to say we don't have any experience we were in the trenches. We've been on every side of it, up, lost, down, came back, and our kids, we never changed anything about us, we stayed consistent in our confidence. We stayed consistent in our coaching ability.
It's just sometimes kids are going to hit a wall and then they're going to have to bounce back or they're going stay down, and these kids just keep bouncing back.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach, and good luck in the postseason.

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