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March 8, 2011

Janita Badon

Anthony Levrets

Michelle Plouffe


Utah – 55
UNLV - 44

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the University of Utah. Coach, if we could start with your general thoughts and comments on tonight's game.
COACH LEVRETS: I thought our kids really battled. We just played this team on Saturday and had lost to them. This time of year you know every team that you play, and they know you well. Maybe not quite this well, having just played somebody on Saturday. We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We made enough plays at the end. I'm really proud of our kids and the way we competed.
THE MODERATOR: Now we'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. I understand you have been here since Friday. Did that affect your play at all, just being here for so long, waiting for this game?
JANITA BADON: No, 'cause our coaches and the players know how important this, our last game of our conference, and this tournament, was. So we had a focus.
I mean, it is Vegas. We are college students (smiling). But we know how to mix business with pleasure. So have fun, but when it's game time, it's game time.

Q. Janita, 17 rebounds. Did it feel like you had that many? Have you ever, ever had anything close to that in your career?
JANITA BADON: I think the most rebounds I have is 10. No, I was just playing. I saw how hard my teammates were playing and I just wanted to do the same.

Q. Michelle, could you talk about Janita's performance, the way she distributed the ball, made all you guys play well.
MICHELLE PLOUFFE: It's just her leadership. She comes out every night and plays her hardest, puts her body on the line and puts her everything on the court. She leaves it all on the court. That's just a testament to who she is.
She just did what she needed to do tonight. We can't ask anything more of her because she puts it all on the court every night.

Q. That three-pointer you hit with two minutes to go, that was a huge three, gave you the cushion. Talk about maybe leading up to that shot, the effect of that shot on the rest of the game.
IWALANI RODRIGUES: I felt that shot. It was really big. I was happy it went in. I was glad that Janita, like, she found me. I felt like that was kind of a hard pass.
But, I mean, Anthony always tells me I'm a shooter. And there was one point in time when I made so many. Then you also miss. So I just went back to the three-point line and started shooting and it fell.

Q. Janita, when she hit that three, what went through your mind? Did you feel like you had it at that point?
JANITA BADON: Coach Levrets always tells us a play isn't over until a referee sounds his whistle or the buzzers end it. So we didn't stop playing. I knew she was going to make it. When you have confidence in yourself and your team, your potential is limitless.

Q. How did UNLV stay in the game despite shooting 17%?
JANITA BADON: They played hard. I mean, I know we played them three times, just Saturday, and each time they play harder. It's hard playing a team three times. But, yeah, they just play hard. We tried to match their intensity.
THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student-athletes at this time and take questions for coach.

Q. You found a way today. What has to be improved tomorrow against an Air Force team that's feeling good about itself?
COACH LEVRETS: We talked about this. Everybody knows you, you know everybody. There's no easy plays at this time of the year. If this was easy, everybody would be doing it.
You got to scrap for every single thing that you get. And for us, I don't think we've had any games that weren't close. You know, at some point in time we've had some games that have gotten away from us at the end of games. We've been in a lot of close games. Hopefully that will serve us well as we continue to play.
We made one or two more plays than UNLV did, and hopefully we'll make at least one more than Air Force tomorrow.

Q. How about the little things that were so important tonight?
COACH LEVRETS: You've watched us play a few times (smiling).
The three kids here sitting next to me have put up big numbers. There's a reason why they're on some sort of all-conference this year. We talk about everybody has a job to do. It's not necessarily every night scoring points, but everybody has a job.
At this point in time if you don't know what your job is, I probably screwed up. I think they all know what their job is. Everybody did it tonight. We had a kid come off the bench, Chelsea Bridgewater, give us really good minutes, not numbers-wise, although she had a few numbers, but it was her energy and the passion she played with. It gave our team a big lift.
You never know this time of year what play is going to be the big play.

Q. Can you talk about Michelle's play in the second half?
COACH LEVRETS: Do your job, was the message. You're defending. We now need you to rebound. We didn't want Kelli Thompson to get off. She was 0-16 from the floor. That was Michelle Harrison's matchup. I think the first time we played them, she was 4-17. She struggled from the floor as well. Michelle has done a great job with her. She had one extra thing she needed to get done. We did address it.
She's a senior. No need to yell and scream at her. Do your job, get a rebound.

Q. Talk about Janita. Have you ever seen a point guard with 17 rebounds before?
COACH LEVRETS: Janita, I don't think she remembers, but she's had 13 a couple times I believe. It's part of our philosophy, everybody blocks out, then our guards go rebound down. They shot a lot of threes. Our bigs did a pretty good job of engaging their bigs.
Our biggest focus tonight was their bigs not get offensive rebounds. She got a few. Our guards go get 'em. J just had a nose for the basketball, and she went and got them. I think she's leading the league, or is fourth in the league, in defensive rebounds on the year. I don't expect her to get 17 of 'em, but she knows how to rebound.

Q. Talk about that three by Rodrigues?
COACH LEVRETS: It's huge. Iwa at one point made 13 straight threes, one away from the NCAA record. Every now and again she gets hesitant shooting the ball. She's still just a sophomore. Confidence goes a little bit.
When the game is on the line, I trust her, her teammates trust her. Janita certainly trusts she's going to make that shot. As soon as I saw J break the trap and Iwa slide to the corner, I knew J was going to throw it to Iwa, and I knew she was going to make it.
We kept getting stops. To hold somebody to 18% from the floor for an entire game, that's defending. That's been kind of our deal all year long, is we have to guard well to have a chance to win. We made a shot. But everybody else defended.

Q. (Question regarding rebounds.)
COACH LEVRETS: Whether she shoots 18%, there's going to be a lot of missed shots. The thing you can't have happen is do a great job of defending them and then not get the rebound and allow them to get an easy putback is a huge, huge key for us. I think they both go together.
The biggest thing is at the end of the game, we didn't give them any easy second shots. They missed a couple, but a lot of that had to do with how we were defending.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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