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March 8, 2009

Lakisha Freeman

Sharon Versyp

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton


Ohio State – 67
Purdue - 66

THE MODERATOR: The All-Tournament Team is Jenna Smith of Illinois, Jantel Lavender of Ohio State, Star Allen of Ohio State, Brittany Rayburn of Purdue, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton of Purdue. And the Most Outstanding Player is Jantel Lavender of Ohio State.
We're joined by Purdue and we'll start off with opening comments from Coach Sharon Versyp and then we'll go to the student-athletes for questions.
COACH VERSYP: I just thought this was an amazing basketball game. I mean, the runs, two top programs I feel in the country just really battled back and forth, both teams played great basketball. And you look at the stat line, you look at everything, you just didn't -- you just didn't wish anybody to lose a game like this.
But Ohio State, they've been ranked in the top 20 all year. We wish them nothing but the best of luck, obviously, in the tournament. Get a high seed. Hopefully people will look at us and get us a little higher seed because of the competition we had and with our foul trouble in the first half.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton only playing six minutes in the first half and our young kids, our bench came in and did an unbelievable job. I've never been so proud of a group of women. We didn't lose today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Lindsay, can you talk about being in a game like this in this kind of atmosphere with both teams sort of going back and forth and star players making big plays?
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON: I mean, we've been in situations like this all year, close games. We just had one with Michigan State. We fell short that game. And we felt we were ready for situations like this.
And we had a game plan. We didn't execute it to the fullest, and kind of some crucial moments. So that's why I think we fell short today.

Q. Lindsay, can you talk about the sort of maturation of Brittany Rayburn that you've seen this weekend and how she sort of stepped up her game on a big stage?
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON: She's done an unbelievable, phenomenal job, you know, as a freshman coming here, and no nerves got to her. I felt she came out and was aggressive all three games and she did a wonderful job.
And she helped us come back in leads and runs during the game. So she did a really good job, and I think she's going to be a really good player for the rest of the three years here.

Q. Even though you lost tonight, Lindsay, how much confidence knowing you can play one of the better teams in the country straight up, how much confidence does that go into the NCAA Tournament?
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON: It's huge confidence especially with our bench playing. They did an unbelievable job carrying us, especially the first half. It just shows the depth on our team, and everybody will have good confidence going into the tournament. So I think this is just -- it's a good eye-opener for our team and we'll be ready -- prepared for the next tournament.

Q. Lakisha, coming in with the success that Purdue has had in this tournament and this venue and this city, is that a little bit of a home court advantage and did that help boost you guys to play the way you guys played?
LAKISHA FREEMAN: I think the tradition here is just awesome. It gave us motivation knowing we won in the past and we wanted to do the same here today. I think it was unfortunate, but it's great having the fan base we had today.

Q. Lindsay, on Ohio State's last possession there it looked like your intent was to try and foul Jantel Lavender before she got that shot off since she had one to get?
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON: That was the intent. I tried fouling her beforehand. I guess she picked up the ball a little earlier. She was on the run. But they called it on the shot. Knocked down the free throw.

Q. Kiki, can you talk about the play of the bench in that first half and being able to get you from point A to point B?
LAKISHA FREEMAN: It's amazing. It showed the depth, as Lindsay and Coach pointed out. We're a tough team. We have a lot of depth, not only the starters but we have great players coming off the bench. I think that showed tonight.
I think they did a great job, Brittany, the freshman, all the freshmen, everybody that came off the bench did a great job offensively and defensively and carried us.

Q. Lindsay, they rattled Iowa and Illinois pretty well with their pressure, but with FahKara back finally with a full game with those guys, were you pretty sure you could handle their pressure and give it back to them?
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON: Definitely FahKara Malone's been doing a wonderful job ever since she came back off her injury. I think that she's able to get the ball up the court quick for us and to run the offense really well. She has good floor vision and court vision and she did a good job running this team.
And she did a good job tonight with executing and running plays and her defensive presence is always there. And I think she did a really good job today .
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.
Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, what did you want to accomplish on that last offensive possession? Where were you trying to go with that?
COACH VERSYP: Well, when FahKara fell on the ground and got mugged -- got hugged, sorry, we were just going to get it in her hands and she was going to create. She was totally going to create a shot for herself or [Lakisha] or Brittany Rayburn, we had plenty of time to be able to do that. But it is what it is.

Q. With 1.1 left, were you just looking for something, anything you can get?
COACH VERSYP: We were trying to look for a lob for Danielle but it's difficult when you have a 6'6" kid guarding Kiki out of bounds. They were smart doing that. They had a guard on Danielle, and told Kiki to lob it, but there's no way she could get it over the top. So the only option right there was really a desperation with Brittany, and they're not going to call a foul in the last six seconds of the game.

Q. Sharon, can you talk a little bit about Brittany Rayburn, how she's sort of come of age in this tournament?
COACH VERSYP: I mean, Brittany's a gamer, she loves the game. She grew up in the state of Indiana loving Purdue. And she just has a lot of pride of the players before her and the strong tradition, and she plays for her seniors right now and she just wants to help this team and just carry that tradition.
But she can run the one, two, or three, she can post up. She's very difficult to defend. She's not afraid to take the shot. But she just played exceptionally hard, just like the rest of our team.

Q. Coach, can you talk specifically about Natasha Bogdanova's contribution in the first half when Lindsay was out?
COACH VERSYP: Natasha played exceptionally well. Really played good defense. Boxed out to allow others to get some rebounds. You know, just had a good shooting touch. So Natasha's key minutes were huge with Lindsay sitting out and then Danielle got her second foul and then Alex came in and we did an exceptional job, only being down by four at that point. But Natasha played exceptionally well.
And this is our team. This is our bench. This is what you do playing three games in three days, I think, again, you're seeing -- this is great basketball tonight. Sometimes on that third game it's ugly basketball. This is great basketball. It was a national exposure for our conference.

Q. Coach, at the end of the first half I think both teams had three players, three starters sitting on the bench with two fouls apiece. Do you think in the second half both teams kind of managed to kind of adjust to that and because it just seemed like the possessions, it just got better, I thought the game got better in the second half, that they played through that stuff?
COACH VERSYP: We're not in control of a lot of those things, and so both teams were able to just go down low and start posting up and playing the game.
And I think that really helped elevate the game today for both programs, to let the players play when it came down to post play and being able to show the talents, again, of our league.

Q. Coach, as you look ahead to the NCAA tournament, realistically how far do you think this team will go?
COACH VERSYP: We're talking about tonight, and FahKara Malone said it best: Usually I would cry in this scenario, but I have nothing to cry about. We played our hearts out. We did everything possible. We'll go far in the tournament. If we play like this, we'll make a loud noise. We we just have to keep that going now.
And with us we have to wait two weeks to play. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But if we play like this and have this type of depth, it can be really, really beneficial for us. And we're just really proud of how we played, and we have no reason to hang our heads.

Q. Sounds like by your opening statement you talked about hopefully we get a good seed or hopefully the committee or people who are watching, could you speak to, if anybody's listening, sell Purdue?
COACH VERSYP: You have your point guard you've had for two and a half years that has run the show, who is your leader and your communicator, and she was out for nine and a half games. And we went 7-2. We beat Texas and Minnesota at home. We beat great teams without our leader.
I think that sells the case right there. We're playing great basketball since she's been back. Our team did a phenomenal job without her. She's become a better player for that. And then being able to play three games in a row and play against Ohio State, which, again, it's a one-point game, but I thought it was phenomenal where I feel both programs -- obviously they've been in the top 20 or 25, but we're definitely a top 25 team.

Q. You talk about the caliber of this game. What's it say about these two programs that they can find it this late in a tournament like this and this was a championship game in every sense of the word, wasn't it?
COACH VERSYP: It really was. And, again, it shows that both programs have such strong tradition and just want to perform for their universities, for each other in every sense of the word and for the Big Ten. It's a battle.
We want our Big Ten to be known in the country that we are a top, we're one of the top conferences, and people don't see that. And I just think the parity that we have in our conference shows how tough we are. And the best statement is from Joe McKeown (Northwestern), who was in GW for years and he came to the league and he never realized how great the Big Ten was. Now he's living it and he gave the Big Ten so much credit because he didn't give credit before.
So I think Ohio State and us hopefully have made a statement that Big Ten is something special.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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