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March 2, 2007

Amanda Brown

Kamela Gissendanner

Rene Portland


THE MODERATOR: We will take an opening statement from Coach Portland and then we will turn it over to the student athletes.
COACH RENE PORTLAND: We're very happy and very thrilled for our players. We are happy that this game had the turnout that it did, because it keeps us going in the direction that we want to keep going.
Amanda did a tremendous job tonight, probably the most threes I've seen on my team in a long time, and some I thought were going to hit the bottom of the scoreboard, a few rainbows.
But the rebounding situation at halftime was not good for us. Even in the middle of the first half, so we evened that up, and I'm extremely proud of these kids. They fought hard for a game they really wanted.

Q. Kamela, in terms of three-point shooting in the first half, what were you seeing? Was it just something you were feeling before the game? Just talk a little bit about that.
KAMELA GISSENDANNER: My teammates just found me in the open spot and I was just open, so I was just confident and just shot the ball.

Q. Amanda, Illinois shot 33 percent from the field and seemed to take some pretty bad shots. Is that something you were doing or were you surprised at some of the shots they were taking?
AMANDA BROWN: All week we focused on how we were going to play them, and we always run through what they usually do on offense. I think that we just did a very good job on the defensive end. We had a few lapses, but all in all we played pretty good team defense, and I think that's what helped?

Q. Kam, given the way you guys have struggled a little bit away from home this year, how important was that 11-0 start to get you guys going in the right direction?
KAMELA GISSENDANNER: This is a new season, and you know, just like Coach Rene always says, nobody remembers what you did the past three or four months, it's always what you do in March. So we are just so focused on March and playing into March and doing the things that we know that we can do, whether it be home or away. We just have to play our game and everything will be A-ok.

Q. Amanda, you guys just out-rebounded the No. 1 rebounding team in the Big Ten. Did you guys talk about that going into the game, and was there an extra emphasis put on that?
AMANDA BROWN: There was an extra emphasis, but every game we go into, it's one of our goals to out-rebound them. Whether it was Illinois some other team, we go out there and, our big emphasis is to out-rebound them.

Q. Amanda, could you talk about the challenge that lies ahead for you with Ohio State? You played them close one game.
AMANDA BROWN: You know, we're excited, very excited. We came into this tournament wanting to go out there, play our hardest. We've played Ohio State twice and both games have been pretty close games, and we know we can go out there and give them a good game, so we're excited for that game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Portland?

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the defense down the stretch? I don't think they had a bucket for the last four minutes after they cut it to four.
COACH RENE PORTLAND: We didn't have a bucket. Both teams did not -- I can see both sides of it now. I think we knew -- both teams knew what had to be done, and it was great. They had to play some great defense in our last three possessions. We just tried to slow the ball down because the end of the first half we didn't have very good clock management at all.
We went down second to the last play and didn't do a good job, and then the last play when we could have run it out and done nothing, we went just a little too quick and that gave them an opportunity to hit the three that really shattered us when we went into the locker room.
I think both teams -- everybody knows each other so well, not just our team, but in the conference play, we're just coming out of conference play; that's why we're seeing such great games at the tournament right now.
But rebounding was a real issue for us and not letting them get any more threes in that late part of the game.

Q. You talked about the three at the end of the first half; you said it shattered you guys. Can you talk about the team mentality and some things that were said in the locker room just given the fact that they made that little run at the end, and Bri especially?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: Our kids talked to each other before the coaches got in there, and by the time we walked in there, they obviously had said their piece and they were willing to put it behind them. But we didn't stop the ball -- the time management on the offensive end was really the first thing that we addressed when I spoke to the team. You know, I said, let's talk about the second half, what could we have done better; talked to Brianne about those two plays, time management-wise. We're always teaching them, they're still young.
And then forget it, they've got 20 minutes left, we gave them a little bit of air, take it away from them by playing defense, and the rebounding piece was important to us.

Q. In terms of defending (Lori) Bjork, was the game plan to get up on her and make her beat you off the dribble?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: She's awesome, she really is. I mean, we went into overtime with them at Illinois and watching obviously the films that we did because we had played them the first game, she's -- a lefty is tough to play, and the fact that she can shoot the three, I think she's doing a tremendous job with the role with Theresa has made her into a point guard. We trapped her any time that she came off of a pick, I think that slowed her down a piece, and we just knew we can't give up the threes -- was it Harris that got the threes on us? Yeah, it was Harris that hit two threes, and then we had double problems because we knew that we had to stay on Bjork the whole time.

Q. How far does this win go in terms of cracking that 0-8 record in Big Ten road games? How far does this go in terms of your team's confidence?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: Well, unless they're University building, that doesn't do anything; this is a neutral court. That's a challenge we have to take care of next season, protecting the Jordan Center. And then that will be a big focus of how do we travel and how do we play. What I tried to sell the players today was 11 of us are on a neutral court, and at the pep rally we talked about the Jordan Center and bringing the magic with us. It's just a great win for us. It really is a great win. It's over a hump. We have a great challenge on Sunday, but we get to stay here. We're not going home tonight and that's great.

Q. What does it say about your team that you beat an Illinois team that has been talked about as an NCAA tournament team.?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: Our team owes a lot to Amanda Brown and Charity (Renfro). You saw at the end of the game Charity came up with a great rebound, she hit her two foul shots. Our team owes a lot to our seniors. We talked about that the whole time. Senior day was a week ago for us, but we have to be fair in how we let Amanda and Charity leave us and what kind of legacy do they leave.
We were begging for seniors. With about three minutes to go in our timeout, I mean, I'm sitting in my chair, I got on my knees and I said, "I'm begging you, just keep doing what you're doing," and they were doing it for the kids.

Q. You mentioned Charity. She doesn't show much on the stat line today, but the interior defense that she played --
COACH RENE PORTLAND: She's awesome. She got a steal -- she got around and got a steal. I thought we played their post players very, very well. I thought we played the inside game because we couldn't give them much help because of the three-point shooters. Charity played very, very well tonight. I thought Amanda did a good job. Any posts we pulled in I thought did a fine job. If you look at their stat line, we played their post players well. They're very strong.

Q. Of all of Brianne's performances you've seen these past few years, where did this one rank?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: She can shoot the three any time she's open and can make it. Her threes were big tonight.
At the beginning of the game when we were running so well, it was nice that she was seeing the floor. Other than the last minute in the first half, I thought Brianne did a special job for us being a point guard.

Q. Brianne's ball control, no turnovers, how important was that, especially after they started to come back a little bit from that run?
COACH RENE PORTLAND: She played great defense when we needed her to play defense and she took care of the basketball. Amanda is going to have turnovers because people are just pounding on her and sometimes she thinks she's a guard and she dribbles the ball a little too much. But Brianne had great control other than that little bit of time, and at the end of the game when we were telling her just to stay still and run this thing, she was very patient and did what she had to do. But her threes were helpful.

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