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March 8, 2009

Star Allen

Jim Foster

Jantel Lavender


Ohio State – 67
Purdue - 66

THE MODERATOR: We'll go straight to the student-athletes for their remarks.

Q. Jantel, what was going through your mind shooting the free throws in that last possession that they had; what were you guys trying to accomplish?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I was -- the first free throw I was letting my tiredness take over, and the second free throw I was like I gotta take my time, take a deep breath, and I focused more, I guess, and I knocked it down.

Q. Star, how tough was that game inside and was it almost like you and Jantel against Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Danielle Campbell and FahKara Malone was almost back and forth that way? Did it feel that way for you?
STAR ALLEN: At a point in time it did, but then I think once we started doing everything we had to do, it turned out to be like everybody against everybody.

Q. Jantel, what can you say was the difference in terms of the quality of play for both teams? Seemed much more competitive game than the other two games. What can you say was the biggest difference today than the previous matchup?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I don't know. I think that both teams, Purdue and us, we came out playing extremely well. I thought defense was really tough. I think the game was really physical, especially in the post. And we both wanted to win the tournament. And I think both teams played an excellent game. I think it just came down to that free throw.
So I don't know what the difference was, but just both teams played extremely hard.

Q. Jantel, on your last possession, did you get pretty much exactly what you wanted? Did you get -- they were going to you all the way, were they not, and were you supposed to take it up and did she foul you?
JANTEL LAVENDER: You asked me did she foul me? The play was to go to me. And I think that she thought that she was bodying up. I don't know. But it was a foul. It was contact. And I think that's the way we wanted everything to go.

Q. Star, their last possession, when Shavelle tipped the ball away from FahKara there at the end and they got the tie-up, after that what did you guys want to do when they had like 1.1 seconds to go?
STAR ALLEN: To not let go of the ball, don't let them get any sets up.

Q. Jantel, you were named as Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. I assume these awards aren't getting old.
JANTEL LAVENDER: Are they getting old?

Q. I assume they're not getting old, that you'll take all the awards that you can get?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Most definitely. I just come out and play extremely hard. I don't come to the tournament looking to be the tournament MVP. I just come out and I play for my teammates and we all come to play for each other.

Q. Jantel, you also talked about before the team got here you talked about a good post-season team. How big of a step is this, sort of becoming a good post-season team this year?
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think this is a huge step. I think it shows us how it feels to be a champion and how tough the tournament can be, because I think Purdue is a great tournament team and they're going to give a lot of people a lot of trouble.
So I think us winning this tournament is a major step for us, because we know what we have to do and how hard we have to play in the post-season to be successful.

Q. Star, did the foul trouble in the first half and second half, did that bother you guys a whole lot, do you think?
STAR ALLEN: I think in the second half, once they got to like their one-and-one situation and it kind of made us a little timid about everything, but once we figured out we can't foul and we just have to stay in front of the ball, we was okay.

Q. For both of you, how tough was it to play without Sammy for a good part of that first half?
STAR ALLEN: I don't think -- I mean, Maria came in, and she came in and pushed the ball and did what she had to do. I don't think it was like a big difference.
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think our bench played extremely well today. They brought so much energy to the game and Maria Moeller came off the bench with so much energy and so did Sarah Schulze, so I think the foul trouble didn't affect us as much because they brought as much energy as Star and Sammy brought.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, how high of a seed do you think your team is deserving of?
COACH FOSTER: I'm not going to speculate. I think all of the criteria for end of the season, I think we played a schedule. I think the league is tough. I don't think you have to go any further than talking to Joe McKeown at Northwestern or Kevin Borseth at Michigan, people that came in from this league from outside, about the strength and quality of the Big Ten.
I would like the committee, some folks on the committee to talk to those two coaches. Because this league, it's a bear. And I think every team going into the NCAA tournament will be happy to be playing somebody else.

Q. Going into the NCAA Tournament, how much does a game like this, in this kind of an atmosphere and possession-of-possession game, how much is that going to help you?
COACH FOSTER: I think it's huge. And I think Sammy getting four fouls, having to sit. Maria Moeller who was a starting point guard as a freshman, coming in and being poised and doing the things necessary, being able to substitute offense/defense with Ashlee Trebilcock and Shavelle Little. And Sarah Schulze coming up huge when we needed a player to step up.
And I just think that our team did an absolute terrific job against a very good basketball team. We know what Purdue is capable of, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the Big Ten teams do in the NCAA tournament.

Q. Coach, we've seen Jantel dominate throughout this tournament. Just your opinion on how good she is on a national scale. Is this an All-American; is this somebody that should get strong consideration of that? Your thoughts on that.
COACH FOSTER: Well, depending on how we continue to do, I think she should be in the conversation for Player of the Year. Again, this is a quality league. This is a league that you go through an average 21, 22 points, you average double figure rebounds, you score double figures every time you go out, now that's where the air is rare.

Q. Can you go over the last play to her, to Jantel, what you wanted to do down there, and defensively what you hoped to accomplish against them in the final 6.2 seconds?
COACH FOSTER: Yes, we wanted to get the ball to her. At that point of the game you've got to respect everything so that perimeter has got to come out and guard. You don't want to give up an uncontested shot. And it obviously created the opportunity to get the ball in to her.
And we had, between Ashlee and Samantha Prahalis, Malone had four fouls, so it's going to be tough for her to pressure Sammy on the wing. But Ashlee did a great job of getting it in.
And Jantel was poised, especially after she missed the first foul shot. I think a lot of times players will tank the second one after missing the first. And, defensively, I've seen Malone get the ball and get up the floor. In fact, she did it the other day when I was watching the game, I believe it was against Wisconsin. I looked up and she got up the floor in I believe 6.1 seconds and got a shot off.
So the idea was for Shavelle to have a cushion to not let Malone go by her. And I think she did an absolutely terrific job with that. And then the ball was exposed and she poked. And at the end we just put a big on the ball and knew that they had to come off a screen, catch, turn in 1.8. But I watched Creighton win a game with a two-bounce, two-dribble pull-up jump shot in .8 seconds, and it started when the player caught it. So I know 1.8 can be an eternity.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the growth of Brittany Rayburn just from the games you've seen her play, from earlier when you played them the first time to now?
COACH FOSTER: Well, I don't know if I can comment too much, because I saw her when she was a junior in high school. I thought she was really, really good then. I just think she's a good player. I think she's been a good player. What you're seeing is a good player get confident.
When that happens, then how hard they work determines whether or not they become a great player. She has a lot of attributes. She can go left, can go right. She's got a 3. She can pull up, takes it to the basket. She's strong. She's a good player.

Q. Most of your games haven't been close in the waning moments of the game. Can you talk about how you'll use what happened tonight as a learning experience especially in the tournament?
COACH FOSTER: We really emphasize and spend a lot of time on the defensive side of the ball in practice with stops and how important it is to stop, to make the first shot difficult, and to close out a possession by rebounding.
And I thought down the stretch we did an absolute terrific job of that. And there was a point where we were just exchanging baskets. And that's not how you win a game. You have to come up with the stops. And we did that, and it put us in position to win the game.

Q. You talked about Sarah and Maria, but it seemed like Ashlee was kind of there whenever you needed her?
COACH FOSTER: Ashlee's always there. Maria did something that she hasn't had to do this year for the length of time she had to do it, with Sammy in foul trouble with four fouls, and maintain. And Sarah has given us great minutes, quality minutes in X number of games, stepped up and took it to another level tonight with the energy that she brought into the game.
Ashlee was Ashlee. She knocked down shots. And she took her time. She played with a great deal of composure, and she played very physical defense when she had to against Lakisha Freeman, because Freeman is a big, strong kid.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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