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March 12, 2008

Heather Ezell

Bill Fennelly

Alison Lacey


THE MODERATOR: Heather Ezell scored eight 3-pointers to break the Big 12 record. Kansas State defense gave up 10 3's on the day, and Marlies Gipson moves to 7th on the conference career block list. And this will be the fifth game in tournament history to go to overtime, and the first time a No. 1 seed was knocked off in the second round. .
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Alison Lacey, Heather Ezell and Coach Bill Fennelly.
Your thoughts on the win?
COACH FENNELLY: First of all, my heart goes out to Kimberly Dietz and her family. I watched that happen on our team, and when she fell -- it takes a lot of what was one of the best college basketball games I've ever been a part of.
Certainly proud of our team, excited that we get to keep playing, and excited that we made some plays that really showed a lot of heart and courage and that they wanted to keep playing.
When you were down as many times as we were, especially in the overtime, obviously Heather -- too bad we don't play all of our games here. And certainly Alison Lacey, maybe one of the greatest plays we've had at Iowa State with the play at the end. Great college game, and we're excited to play tomorrow.

Q. Alison, describe what you saw unfold on that 3-point play you had at the end.
ALISON LACEY: I have to be honest, a flashback of the last game came into my head, and I thought I needed to look at the clock and see how many we were down. Coach reminded me if we're down by 2, take it to the basket and, I ran as fast as I could down there. Laid up a layup, didn't know if it went in or not. I can't even describe it; I'm still in shock!

Q. Alison, could you describe the difference in the emotions from the last time you played Kansas State to this one? It must be maybe the most dramatic thing you've ever experienced?
ALISON LACEY: Completely opposite to last game. It was a team effort; I didn't do it myself. Heather was playing like an upperclassman. She has a lot of class. She's leading you, everyone is nervous, and we look to her and she calms us down a lot, so I think the credit goes to her this game.

Q. Heather, when they went ahead in overtime, Iowa State, someone said, was running out of gas. How much was the fatigue factor and what brought you guys back?
HEATHER EZELL: I don't know how much fatigue was a factor. There were a couple of times I was running down the court and was tired, and I didn't know if I could make it, but you've got to put it in the back of your mind and keep going, and you've got to act like you're not tired, pretty much.
We were able to come together there at the end; everybody made huge plays. Jocelyn's rebound at the end of regulation was huge. Alison coming in, that drive and the layup and the free-throw, everything, it all fell into place for us.

Q. Both of you, what were your emotions when you watched Shalee's shot go around the basket nine times?
HEATHER EZELL: I was sitting on the bench with a perfect view, and my head dropped because I thought it went back in. And as soon as it fell out, I think I ran the fastest I've ever ran to the other end to grab her.
It was one of those things where it's a complete low and then a complete high because I thought it was going in and it didn't.
ALISON LACEY: She was coming at me and Denae was behind her. She did a great job of pressuring her. My heart dropped, and luckily for us it rolled out.

Q. Alison, at the end when Amanda kicked the ball to you and your 3, how good of a view did you get of Alison's rebound? And were you able to watch the clock as you repositioned yourself to put the shot up?
ALISON LACEY: Can you repeat it?

Q. The last play of regulation, when you made the shot and Jocelyn got the rebound, could you see the clock ticking down? Did you wonder if there was time to get it back in?
ALISON LACEY: She did what she was told to do, and, you know, Joce came out of nowhere, huge rebound. And it was in and I saw the clock, and I didn't know if she had enough time, but luckily she did.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach now.

Q. Is that kind of what you expected, with Shalee to be the person to do that for them? And what was going on in your mind as you saw that unfold?
COACH FENNELLY: No. When they called a time out and Alison was going to shoot the free-throw, I looked at all of 'em and said, "you know who is going to shoot it," and that's the way it should be.
She wanted the ball, made a great play. We didn't really want to pressure her that much. I think she goes better to her left, but at least we made her use up a little time. Everyone in the building knew who was going to shoot it, and you got to give that kid credit because she wanted to shoot it.
A lot of kids shy away from that kind of responsibility. It was a great play, and I was like everyone else. You know, it literally was an amazing end to the game. And one team obviously -- our kids were jumping up and down, and you felt bad for their kids, and all of them dropped to their knees. It was the emotion of post-season basketball. We've had a lot of bad breaks on this team, and this year maybe we got a lucky one today.

Q. Have you ever had a more rewarding or thrilling comeback than what they gave you today?
COACH FENNELLY: Not very many. Obviously we're a team that doesn't create a lot of turnovers, so we're trying to press people, and we're not very good at it. And I kept saying, "As long as there is time, keep playing. We're going to extend the game."
We made big shots. Heather put up two 3's that weren't open, but you've got to take 'em, and they missed a couple of free-throws to give us a chance. And it's a two-point game, and I said, "If it's two, don't stop, take the ball to the basket and tie the game." Luckily, she got the foul. If it was 3, we have a play we, run at the end. We made some big plays at a critical time and beat a very good team.

Q. Dietz has thrown a bunch of different things for 3-point shooting, what did that change for you guys?
COACH FENNELLY: They pounded it into the post, set a lot of high-ball screens. We're not deep in the post. And to be honest, I didn't know if Joce was going to play today; she has been up sick all night with the flu, so the adjustment was to their credit.
They pounded it inside, Lehning taking it out-of-bounds. They hit some big 3's and it changes the game. There is no question it changes their team a little by the -- because she is such a good player, and when you loose an all Big 12, it impacts your team. Gipson and Sweat are good, and Lehning willed their team to where it was a one-possession game at the end.

Q. Yesterday you talked about a noon game, and I hope you get to keep playing noon, and you played today at noon. Are you going to try to set the time right so the girls think it's noon again?
COACH FENNELLY: No, we're going to take every hour we can. We're going to have to pour 'em out there tomorrow. That's okay. The early start is good for our team. You get up, eat, go play. You don't have to sit around all day and worry about what's going to happen.
It's neat to be in that situation to represent our school and represent Iowa State and play in the semifinals of the best conference tournament in the country! It will be fun because we're going to play our game and race over to watch the men.
I think what Greg and his team did today meant a lot to our players and our fans. That's the kind of guy he is. They've got a lot of things to think about besides what's happening with the Iowa State women's basketball team. They came and watched us play, and he's excited and he's a great friend of mine and great family, so we'll return the favor tomorrow night.

Q. Can you just talk about, in your opinion, how amazing it is that Ezell has hit 153-pointers in two ballgames?
COACH FENNELLY: It is amazing when you think about how she struggled to shoot the ball. Her stats aren't great. The other thing you're seeing in here is someone who can seize a moment. She is a winner, she's a competitor. She has always been someone we've asked to do a lot.
She has struggled from the field, but it's good to see her do it because it's helping our team, but she's a kid that most people identify with. If she doesn't make shots, she doesn't help our team.
I was disappointed she didn't make the all defensive team in the Big 12, because of what she does for our team. But to tie the record and break it today is special, and it's neat to see a kid have that success when she would be the first to tell you that that shot hasn't gone in game in and game out, but it has the last two days!

Q. Bill, talk about the shot and dunk it was in.
COACH FENNELLY: Yeah, I did. I really did! She had a great look at it; it was a good shot for her. It went up there really soft, and to be honest with you, kind of the way our season has gone, I was worried.
There was a moment that flashed in my mind, "How am I going to talk to the kids about this one?" It was as close as any shot I've seen. Literally, just like Heather said, you went from excited that you won, to devastated that you lost, to excited you won as the ball rolled around. It was an amazing ending to an amazing game, and we were fortunate the ball fell off.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, see you tomorrow!

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