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March 7, 2010

Jim Foster

Tayler Hill

Jantel Lavender


Ohio State – 66
Iowa - 64

THE MODERATOR: Straight to the student-athletes for questions.

Q. Jantel, what are you thinking right now in terms of you were down so far in that second half? How did you come back? What enabled you to come back and what are your feelings right now sitting there with a nut around --
JANTEL LAVENDER: I think we just -- we knew we had to get stops. It was kind of like a nonconversion or offensive end and they kept scoring. We just had to buckle down and say we were going to jump to the ball, you know, get defensive stops. Limit them to one shot.
And I think once we hit like the four-minute mark everybody bought into that and started boxing out. We only allowed them one shot. And we played defense down to the end of the shot clock, and that's when I think the game turned around for us.

Q. Are you surprised having the nut around your neck?
JANTEL LAVENDER: No, I know we're a championship-caliber team. I know what we can accomplish and I know how good this team can be. Even though we were down, I know we have the ability to come back when we're down in the game. And we showed that yesterday and we showed that today.
And we just need to make sure we're not in those positions in other games so we won't have to come back so far and just start the game up-tempo like we played in the second half.

Q. Jantel, the final seconds, could you take me through turn, body contact, shot up, what's going through your mind, whether you hear the whistle first before the miss or whatever, what do you remember from all that?
JANTEL LAVENDER: The finish was just running through my mind. I knew I had to finish. I knew it was biggie, knew the ball was coming to me and I had to be big for my team. No matter what it took I knew I had to turn extremely strong either get fouled or -- my intentions were just to score the basket. It wasn't even to get fouled.
But I knew -- I just wanted to turn strong and I got fouled. And I went to the foul line and I just took my time, took deep breaths and did what I did all night.

Q. When you heard the whistle, was there a second there where you're thinking shot up, you didn't make it, or maybe you saw it wasn't going in and then you hear the whistle, that sense of relief when you hear the whistle?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Are you asking me was it a sense of relief when I heard it?

Q. Yes.
JANTEL LAVENDER: Yes, because it was, what, four or five seconds left on the clock. I knew something had to happen. I went into the defender extremely strong, so I knew it was going to be -- I was going to finish or something had to happen. I just knew it was just going to be a foul or a finish.

Q. Tayler, question for you, just basically, again, you guys are way down. You're 16 points down early in the second half. What enabled you guys to get back into this game and to get over the hill one more time?
TAYLER HILL: Like Jantel said, just us getting stops. We kept our composure. We knew we had to fight back. Iowa's a great team. And our coaches kept their composure, too. That kept our main players, our leaders on the floor composed.

Q. Tayler, (indiscernible) eight points in the first half and 27. How much of a focal point was it for you guys to get the ball to her on the block in the second half?
TAYLER HILL: It was a big point. Jantel was working her tail off down there. She worked hard every time we got the ball down there, either fouled her or she scored. That's where we were trying to get the ball. That was the main point.

Q. I don't know, Jantel, whether you know this or not, but you passed 2,000 points in this game for your career. And does that even compare with being a two-time champion for this thing?
JANTEL LAVENDER: It's an accomplishment. But I think with my fellow teammates and having this championship and taking this going into the NCAA tournament is a great feeling. And I don't think anything can really override that right now.
2,000 points is great. But I still want to continue to get championships for my team. It's not about the points, it's about what I have to do that night for my team or if it's rebounding, if it's scoring, you know what I mean, passing under the double-team, no matter what it takes, it's about winning for my team and playing for my team.

Q. Tayler, what did you learn in your first Big Ten tournament?
TAYLER HILL: That you gotta stay together as a team. No matter what happens. No matter if we get down. No matter if we're winning we can't let teams come back and we've always got to fight back to the very end. Like you said, it goes to the very last second. They played to the very last second. We had to play to the very last second.
So just staying together as a team and playing together as a team. Listen to our coaches and doing the little things that they ask.

Q. Jantel, your thoughts when you're down 16 points in the second half?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I mean, I was looking at the scoreboard, this is unbelievable. Something has to change. We have to get tough defensively. We have to get tough offensively. And just start playing. It was unbelievable for me, really. That was my feeling.

Q. Jantel, you guys really didn't play well in the first half. And what are your feelings about that, that you got yourself, started to get yourself in a hole that way?
JANTEL LAVENDER: Just coming out and playing up-tempo from the beginning. I don't know why we were down or not playing defense or jumping to the ball like we were supposed to.
It's definitely a learning experience. I think we'll learn a lot from this and realize that we can't get down like this in a tournament, because that's really literally going to be the last game of our season.
So I think once everybody really truly takes that in and understands that and we can't play around or not convert on offense and not play defense well, you just learn a lot in this game.
I think we'll go into practice and realize that we have to have a defensive mentality from the beginning and not be offense-minded and think the offense is going to win this game.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Congratulations. Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, considering the fact that both of your top players were out for a fair amount of the first half, towards the end, what were your thoughts on being down by eight points at that point?
COACH FOSTER: I was surprised that it was eight points. I thought it would be a little more significant than that. We could not have played more poorly than we did. And even some of the kids coming in off the bench instead of sort of helping were sort of throwing gasoline on the fire.
But games today are a lot different. With all the stoppages of play and there's an opportunity to sit down and talk a fair amount of time and continuing to address what needed to be addressed. And if you're coaching the right kind of kids, eventually they're going to start to listen and get it figured out or attempt to.
And I think that's what we did. We preach all year long about certain aspects of the game. And there's certain things we work on every day that we just weren't doing in the first half.
And the last 12 minutes of the game or so we did every possession, we sort of went from looks like the first day of practice when you're still teaching to the finished product and what you hope it's going to be. And I thought the last 12 minutes we were down in stances and we were communicating and we were rotating and we were taking personal responsibility.
We started to take it personally that we were getting torched.

Q. Jantel, in this particular game, she had an advantage inside. And how happy were you with the way your kids kept finding her and giving her the ball?
COACH FOSTER: I think it was Chuck Daly, if the 2-play works, keep calling it. And we're going to the well. And when she's playing like that, you know, it's a big ladle that keeps coming out of the well. You get rewarded for it.

Q. She tied for the most points anybody's scored in a Big Ten tournament game. Considering the stage and the circumstances, would you say that this is her best game?
COACH FOSTER: I think it's one of them. People tend -- yeah, because it's a championship game. But we had to win a game at Penn State her freshman year to win the regular season Big Ten title, and she decided we were going to win that game. So it's not that she hasn't done it before.
I think what separates it today in my opinion is we did it against a well-coached, highly motivated, hungry basketball team. And in the not too distant future that's all that's going to be left playing.
So I think this tournament has been good for us in terms of what we emphasized last week with no game. We had the bye, was defense. We were in the gym really working on defense, because I think that's the only thing you can improve at this time of year. You can tweak something. You're not going to change somebody's shot. You're not going to -- but defense, you can get better. You can get better today and we'll get better Tuesday, because now they understand what I was talking about. I'll have a more captive audience.

Q. Coach, your thoughts on your last possession, the foul at 1.9, Jantel's turn. How did you see it? Good call? What did you think?
COACH FOSTER: You know, yeah, because you've got to allow the player the opportunity to get the shot off. And the contact appeared to be significant. But I'm not going to evaluate that until I look at the tape. There's several things I would like to see on the tape. It was just interesting. But it's that time of year.
And I thought in the first half we were not mature in how we were dealing with that, and we were complaining. And it's something that's not even in your control. And you gotta get that out of your head. And you gotta grind.
And that's what I like best about us in the second half. We put that aside. We took what was turning into an excuse and made it disappear.

Q. On that last play, Coach, was it designed to go to Jantel all along or did you give Samantha the option to take that shot?
COACH FOSTER: No, it was going into Lavender. Now, if there was someone around her, like three people and we couldn't get it, obviously we're going to have to make a decision. But I didn't have the stat sheet at the time. But I had a pretty good idea that her numbers were significant. And they were struggling to guard her.
So, yeah, if you've got a First Team All-American, you throw them the ball. If you're lucid.

Q. Once she was out and calmed down a little bit, you got your come back started without Sammy, but she was a part of the comeback, she didn't back down, close plays, the drive to tie it at 60. Were you confident she would rein herself in there?
COACH FOSTER: I'm happy that after that third foul that she -- I had to take her out because she wasn't -- she was trying very hard to get her fourth, and it was a race to the scorer's table. But once we got her back on the bench and brought her back to reality, I think that was a big spurt of growth for her going back out there.
When you're a really good player, you've got really good skills, you learn lessons at different times in your career. And hopefully she learned a couple of things today: You can't be that demonstrative with the referees. They're human beings. And you have to control your emotions if you expect to lead a team.
And I think that last blip of time, I think she was doing all that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

End of FastScripts

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