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March 6, 2009

Rae Lin D'Alie

Tara Steinbauer

Lisa Stone

Lin Zastrow


Wisconsin – 56
Michigan State - 50

THE MODERATOR: The routine will be the same. We'll open with a statement from Coach Stone then go to the student-athletes for questions and then we'll dismiss them and go back to Coach Stone.
COACH STONE: I haven't had a chance to look at the stat sheet, but I do know that defense sometimes doesn't show up in the stat sheet in ways outside of blocked shots and steals.
But this team, we're down 21 to 9 in the first half and you're sitting there wondering how we're going to score. It was a matter of time. We shot 26 percent in the first half and we're only down 6. That's a lot because of our defense. Our post defense was outstanding. I thought Rae Lin was unbelievable up on the ball. Our gap defense was very, very stellar, and everybody did what they had to do. At halftime we addressed rebounding.
I thought we played a very, very good line of defense early. But then they got the shot off and then they got the rebound and we fouled. So we talked about playing defense without fouling, making sure that we clear the glass and everybody rebounds, including our guards, and that we do what we do offensively.
And turnover-wise, 17 is not bad against a team like Michigan State. They're a great basketball team, probably the most physical team in the conference. Lykendra Johnson is one of the best offense rebounders I've ever seen. Aisha Jefferson got going late, but I thought overall offensively and our ability to take care of the ball down the stretch versus their pressure, that used clock for us, we found a good shot out of it. Rae Lin's jumper on the right wing was huge. Lin's shot in the lane was huge down the stretch and Tara had that offensive rebound climb in. Those were big for us down the stretch when it comes to possessions.
But I'm proud of this team. Wisconsin in the history of our program has not been in the semifinal game very often, nor ever to the championship game. So we're motivated by our play recently. We're motivated by the tough losses we've had throughout the seasons. We're motivated by the fact that our team is together, and we're looking forward to whoever we play tomorrow. And you're going to see that defense again tomorrow. We'll be back. We're high on adrenalin right now and we're excited to be playing the semi final.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes, please. And just raise your hands and we'll get a mic to you.

Q. Rae Lin, in previous years you guys were known as a pretty electric offensive team. How quickly, when the coaches wanted you to focus more on defense, did your team really pick it up? And how much better are you now than you might have been, let's say, in November?
RAE LIN D'ALIE: Well, yeah, when I came in here freshman year we were definitely -- it was more about offense. And my junior year, the start of it, we got a lot of new people in the program. I mean, we got a couple of new coaches, new strength coach, trainer, players, transfers.
So we came out with, okay, it's a new year, we're going to have a new identity. And our identity is defense. And it's grit, it's grime, and it's about getting it done no matter what and getting it done together.
And the greatest thing about it all is you know no matter what that there's a group of people, maybe 20 or so, that no matter what, what happens, that have your back, and that's the best feeling in the world.
And right now, like Coach said, we're all on the same page and we're just clicking really well.

Q. Rae Lin, looks like you have a really good shot on your coach, in the second half, and had her covering up and doubling over here toward the end of the game. Could you talk about your game with your coach.
RAE LIN D'ALIE: Yeah, apparently I punched her, which I didn't remember. But I was just like really high on adrenalin, and I think I wanted to chest bump and maybe my fist got stuck in the middle. So sorry.
COACH STONE: It's all right.

Q. Rae Lin, you got six steals in the game. Was there anything you thought you could exploit in Michigan State?
RAE LIN D'ALIE: Just ball pressure up top. I got done telling someone that it's so easy to pressure the ball when you know the four people behind you are going to be in your gap and have your help, because if she gets by, Lin does a great job and Tara, the 4s are usually up top making sure she don't get by like in the middle of the lane.
So it's very easy to get up and pressure the ball when you know your teammates have your back.

Q. Tara and Lin, you got a 6'9" girl and some other gals that have some size to them. Talk about the fearless nature with which you attacked against, for starters, the all-time blocking leader in Big Ten history.
LIN ZASTROW: First of all, when you have a great shot blocker, you can't just go over because it's going to come right back at you. So you have to try to go around her. Like throughout the game we always tried to bring her out, so whoever she was guarding we would try to come out so that the other one had like a shorter person on her and could go more over the person guarding them.
But she's a great shot blocker and you can't go through someone like that. You have to try something else.
TARA STEINBAUER: Just to echo what Lin said, I think a huge thing for us was to be physical down low with them, get them out of their sets offensively and hopefully we can make some plays, and I think we did.

Q. Again, let's go to Lin. They are really big inside. How physical was it inside and how do you think you guys did?
LIN ZASTROW: Well, first of all, it's the Big Ten, so we knew coming in we expected that, we all talked about it. You can't back down from a team like that. They're great and physical and strong inside and outside. You can't back down from that. So I think we came out strong and we responded to them.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach Stone.

Q. How about the punch?
COACH STONE: Okay. She was pretty excited. Rae Lin is on a mission right now. She's our captain. She's our leader. She's 5'3". She's a tiger out there. When she's focused like she is and she can lead our team, that makes our job a lot easier. But she came running off, and she's like we want it more, we want it more and her excitement took over.
And she just came and her arm went and -- I run and do sit-ups; it's a good thing because I might have fallen down. She took the wind out of me. It did. But that's all right. It could be worse. I'd rather have that than the other.

Q. Were there any changes you made when you did go down those 12 points that helped you get -- I saw you guys started packing the paint a little more?
COACH STONE: That's our defense. We play the pack defense and you want to pack it in. That's the number one game goal. That and rebounding. And we did that all night long. When Rae Lin can pressure the ball like she does, and she trusts her teammates -- we talk about servanthood and serving each other and being in the gap for somebody else. She knows that and she can get up in pressure. It allows our post players to be physical down low.
I just look at DeHaan's stats. You hold her to 9 and 6, she has four blocks and we talked about us offensively you can't go over the top of 6'9". You just can't. Have you to go around her and take it at her. And I thought our post defense was outstanding.
But we didn't change, we made no adjustments defensively in the second half. Our defense was fine. Offensively we missed three uncontested layups, and that's okay. That's a good shot. We can make layups. That's not an issue. I'm not even going to make an issue out of it. When you're down 6 and missed 3 uncontested, the game is tied.
So you can go to that or go to a lot of different shots, or go in and out, but we stayed aggressive. We got them in foul trouble in the second half. That helped us, because the first half, many of their points -- I'm not sure what that total is -- were from the free-throw line. It wasn't field goals. It was from the free-throw line.
We talked about not following, playing our defense, getting rebounds and taking care of the ball.

Q. Coach, is this pretty much the same blueprint you guys won by at home against Michigan State?
COACH STONE: The game plan, exactly the same. I thought we played better today than we did at home. At home I'm not sure what the first-half score was, but we had given up points off of turnovers in the first half. When they came out, Lykendra got the steal mid-court, it might have been Lin had the ball and they stepped in the pack. They caused two turnovers right there.
At Michigan State that was the nightmare we had there. At our place in the first half, that's what they did to us, caused us to it turn over. And they got run-outs. When I look at stat sheets and fastbreak points, one of our nonnegotiables is to not give up points in transition. We only gave up 4.
Those 4 points right there, I know which turnovers they came from, so do you all, half court, on their pressure.
We played better against them tonight than we have in the first two outings. It's tough to play a team three times. We all know each other. You know their personality. You know their sets. It's executing. It's getting physical and getting the rebounds and doing the little things. And I thought we did a good job in the second half making sure we did that.

End of FastScripts

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