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March 4, 2007

Star Allen

Jessica Davenport

Jim Foster

Maria Moeller


THE MODERATOR: We'll go directly to the student athletes for questions.

Q. Jess, just what was going through your head and what was going on in the second half of that game and in the overtime?
JESSICA DAVENPORT: Just score points. I was having lots of success down in the post, and my guards were looking for me, and I just wanted to make as many shots as I could. Just trying to win the game.

Q. Jess, at any point during that second half did it run through your mind, are they ever going to miss?
JESSICA DAVENPORT: Who, us or them?

Q. Them.
JESSICA DAVENPORT: Well, (Kamela) Gissendanner got hot, and when you play teams that are hungry and looking to advance in the post-season type atmosphere, you know they're going to give a good fight. So we just had to sustain the run when we did, and we got the win.

Q. Jess, you mentioned having a lot of success tonight, especially down low. What were some of the things that you were taking to them and what were they giving you?
JESSICA DAVENPORT: Well, when I got the ball in the post and I just turned and faced and I was looking for my cutters, and I saw that they weren't playing well with their hands up, and I was able to shoot over them, and I had a lot of bank shots that were going in.

Q. Jessica, just looking ahead, obviously a rematch with Purdue, obviously a very tough team, a rivalry. Your thoughts on that match-up tomorrow?
JESSICA DAVENPORT: It's going to be a great game, championship game. We're both hungry and both want to cut down those nets tomorrow. We have to make sure we execute. We had a tough game tonight, we need to make sure we rest and come in and focus and play a hard 40 minutes.

Q. Jessica talked about finding her cutters. A lot of your points came off of a cut, Jess got you the ball. Is that something you two talked about or is that just like on-the-court awareness between you two?
STAR ALLEN: It's kind of like we talked about it and then it's on-court awareness because I have to be able to make sure I'm in her eyesight for her to see me so I can get the ball.

Q. Maria, just how much were you looking for Jess there, especially in the overtime. Were you looking pretty much anywhere else?
MARIA MOELLER: I was looking for her every single time down the floor because she was having success. Obviously, you could tell by the stats that she was having success, we just got her the ball, and she was finding people, open cutters. We were having success through that so we just kept going to her.

Q. Maria, what were the guards doing different in the second half? Tyra Grant and Kam Gissendanner both exploded in the second half. What were they doing different that maybe you couldn't counter?
MARIA MOELLER: I think they just started hitting shots. They just started coming off screens. We weren't competing with them, and we just got in their grill a little bit and started playing tough defense toward the end of the second half and made some stops.

Q. Jessica, looking at your stat line, you've had season highs the last two games in scoring. Do you feel like you're maybe getting a little bit more of the looks than you have before, or are you in a zone or what's going on with you personally on the offensive end?
JESSICA DAVENPORT: Just postseason. We have to up our game a little bit. Coming into the game we didn't know if Pack (Marscilla Packer) was going to be playing, so just having that mindset that Al (Star Allen) had to pick up a little bit of extra scoring, and fortunately she was able to come in there and give us good looks. But it's just a mindset that you have to have. We want to get a championship this tournament.

Q. Star, did you guys know Marscilla was going to be able to play before the game started, and if you didn't know, when she came in the first time, how much of a lift was that for you?
STAR ALLEN: Well, we didn't know, but then again, we kind of figured that she was going to come in when we needed her. But I think it lifted everybody up because we know she can come in and shoot a three at any time.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Foster.

Q. When was the decision made that Packer would play?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Probably just before game time. I was totally convinced and the medical people were totally convinced that she wasn't going to play today. But as the treatments progressed yesterday, she went through them, and this morning, they said -- maybe if you need her in a situation or two you might have her, and then I just said, then we've got nine more hours.
After the shoot-around tonight, they kept working, and when they were doing their probing tests and before the game, the doctor just said, "You know, I think she can go. So keep on eye on her." But she really responded well and really looks good.

Q. What percentage do you think?
COACH JIM FOSTER: I don't know. You know, those guys went to school for a long time to figure that stuff out. We coaches get asked questions and have opinions we shouldn't have. I'll leave that for the medical folks.

Q. How much stress does it take off of you to know you have a player like Jessica Davenport who you can go to time and time again when you need her down the stretch?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Do you see my hair (laughter)? It's a good feeling to have a great player that's got a big heart. I've been fortunate to coach some really good centers, but Jess has really grown, and is just is a solid, solid player.
I think going back and forth, that turns into a pretty good classic basketball game. That should be on the Classic channel of ESPN starting tomorrow because you saw two teams, they were hungry. I mean, they were really, really hungry. And they should be. They've gotten better and they're playing for the postseason. There are only so many opportunities to win this tournament. I give our team a lot of credit for having the mentality that they wanted to win the game.
You know, we could have made excuses and we could have said Pack wasn't ready. We're already where we need to be in terms of the NCAA tournament. There's a lot of things you can chat about. But I thought we fought and did some good things.

Q. In your opinion tonight how crucial were the posts and the play down low to your success?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Well, I think Star just played very, very well. I think it was a contrasting game. I think their perimeter players played very, very well in the second half. I thought Gissendanner and Grant (Tyra)-- Gissendanner has got game. She's got some stuff. She can go left, go right, pull up, shoot the three, and then Grant was a little out of control in the first half and got her act together in the second half, which is what freshmen do -- that's why they're freshmen.

Q. Markedly different halves. You held them to 22 percent in the second half and then to 70 percent. Did they do anything different? Was it just a matter of kids getting hot?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Well, you have to give people credit. Did we play that good of defense in the first half, 22 percent? They missed some tough shots second half, their screens were a little tighter, they played a little bit better and we got into a little exchange-the-basket mentality. But we got the stops when we needed them.
When we switched to zone I think it helped us, it took them out of their tempo and their rhythm. They were really running some good man-to-man stuff.

Q. Amanda Brown only shot eight times, finished with eight points. Was that the focus, to put the ball in other players' hands?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Well, we're very cognizant of Amanda and where she is because we have just a tremendous amount of respect for her, her ability to run the floor, and that little up and under move that she has. I thought we did a good job on her, very good job.

Q. With Tamarah Riley, can you make a comment about her play tonight and just about your rotation?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Well, I liked the numbers except for the turnover numbers out of the four spot. You look down and you see 19 points and 13 rebounds from Star and Tam, and I think that position -- that in the beginning of the season there was a coach or two in the league that said we were really going to miss Debbie Merrill. We knew how good a player Debbie was, but we knew what we had in that position, and we were pretty comfortable we were going to be pretty solid in that position, and sometimes we'd even stick Walker in and go with Jess and Walker (Andrea) at the same time.
So I like our four spot. They were a little careless with the ball tonight, but they went and got it back on the glass.

Q. You've been around Jess for a while obviously. Where does tonight's performance rank in your memory of some of her dominant performances?
COACH JIM FOSTER: Top five. You've got to love the passes. She took one -- we had discussion about one shot she took late in the game, bad angle, no backboard, and you know when she just takes her time and reads, she's got the whole package. The ability to score over both shoulders is what makes great post players. A lot of post players have signature moves so they can go to one shoulder, but Jess can come over the left shoulder as easily as she can go over the right shoulder and she's out of the turn-and-pace game and may shoot the bank shot.
A good friend of mine Don Casey is here, spent a lot of years in the NBA, and he said to me today, she may shoot the bank shot as well as Walton. We happen to have a film clip of Walton's 21-of-22 game against Memphis State in that NCAA title game, and he used the backboard, and Jess has seen that tape. We're big on showing our players what great players do, and Jess -- somebody is going to be showing tape of her soon to other players.

Q. I don't think either point guard came out of the game, and they had really gone at each other. You know, for both teams tell us what you thought about each of their play.
COACH JIM FOSTER: Well, you don't appreciate Moeller unless you have her in the gym every day. The experts, of whom there are many, will point to the fact that she may not score. But she scores when she has to. Brandie Hoskins, who's played with her all year, when Brandie got injured, Brandie came up to me the day before yesterday, she says, you know what, "I've never seen a player with the intensity and the conditioning that Maria Moeller has." She said, "I've been watching her since I got injured." We asked her to pressure the ball the whole game, we asked her not to turn the ball over, we asked her to direct our offense, and she's a freshman. She's got that stoic German personality. I married into a German family; I know it well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim. We'll see you tomorrow night.

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