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March 12, 2011

Janita Badon

Anthony Levrets

Michelle Plouffe


Utah - 52 (OT)
TCU - 47

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Utah. Coach, if we could start with your thoughts on today's game.
COACH LEVRETS: My thoughts, huh? I'm just really, really proud of these kids. We went through a heck of a year. A lot of adversity, a lot of ups and downs. You know, the thing that we did all year long was defend. We stopped people for the entire year. Offensively it took us a little while to get going with Taryn going down and changing how we played and people's roles. Me being young and new, our team being young and new, having to change on the fly, it took us a little while to get there.
But we're a talented, talented group. We started playing well right at the right time.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. It seemed in the second half there was a lull where you lost your legs. Was there a specific incident or something that got your energy back for the overtime?
JANITA BADON: I wouldn't say we lost our legs. TCU is a really good team. They're very talented offensively-wise. But, uhm, I don't know. We knew they were going to run. But we just knew how we had to respond, and we did that.

Q. When they went to the zone, you really struggled with the zone for a long period of time. What did you do down the stretch that was so successful in overtime? How did you beat it in terms of having problems with it earlier in the game?
JANITA BADON: We started looking inside. Michelle Plouffe is probably one of the best shooters in the league. She can shoot from outside and inside. She just proved that tonight.
MICHELLE PLOUFFE: Yeah, they played us zone most of the game. We knew they were going to. We were prepared for that. Obviously sometimes shots aren't going to fall. But we just kept running our game plan. Yeah, just started working.

Q. Michelle, overall how would you describe your shooting day today?
MICHELLE PLOUFFE: I guess once I started missing a few shots I started not shooting it. My teammates told me and my coaches told me that I needed to shoot it, and I did. Then I just started making 'em when it mattered.
I just need to keep my confidence when shots aren't going in.

Q. What did you do against Helena that was so successful?
MICHELLE PLOUFFE: I think that's just part of our whole defense mentality. Michelle Harrison did a great job on her. Locked her down. She always makes some really tough shots. So we just kept discipline on defense and stuck to the game plan, and it turned out pretty good.
JANITA BADON: I think it was our team defense. I don't think we've talked ever in a game as much as we talked today because we knew how dangerous she was on offense; her and Carter. Yup, it was our team defense.

Q. Before the tournament coach said you were really confident that you could win the tournament. One thing you said was that he's not going to tell you otherwise. After struggling so much during the season, losing so many close games, what was it that made you have so much confidence coming in that you could win?
JANITA BADON: I really think your past is what defines you now. And it hurts to lose, but that was our best growth moments. That's when we came closer.
So it's like, yeah, we lost on a buzzer beater, but next time we got 'em. As we played teams in our conference, as we played teams in the pre-season, we just got better each and every game. Now it's finally paying off. So hard work does pay off.

Q. Now that the Huntsman Center is going to host the NCAAs, most likely you'll be playing on your home court. Talk about that and the opportunity to do that.
COACH LEVRETS: It's actually automatic. We are at home.

Q. So playing on your home court, talk about that.
JANITA BADON: That's exciting. You go 4-0 at somebody else's home, then you go home and actually get to play there with your fans. It's just exciting. Words can't explain how excited I am.
MICHELLE PLOUFFE: Yeah, I have no words to explain that (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss our student-athletes at this time and continue with questions for Coach Levrets.

Q. Talk about what a struggle it was to try to score in the second half, and how you managed to score enough points to win?
COACH LEVRETS: First of all, TCU is a very good basketball team. Jeff Mittie is a really, really good coach. We were very fortunate to get out of here with this win.
You know, their zone is long. It's really long. We tried to get the ball inside, but we just weren't successful. As the game went on, we ran some stuff that we hadn't run for a while that we ran earlier in the year just to get a little bit of movement so they couldn't match to us. It finally got us the zone spread enough that we could get some high-post catches.
When Plouffe gets the ball there, she's going to make it. She struggles tonight at 8-21. Most people would love to struggle like that, have 24-11. When the game's on the line, she's proven that she can make plays.

Q. Talk about Plouffe's maturation. She's your go-to player. What has it been about her all season that's gotten her to this point?
COACH LEVRETS: Well, you know, before Taryn went down, she was playing really, really well. In practice, she was unbelievable. Then when T went down, we had to go play eight games in 16 days with no practice. It was a really, really difficult time. We moved Plouffe to Taryn's spot and somebody else to the four. It was a mistake. Looking back on it, I wish I could change it. You can't change it. We just had to learn. We moved her back to the four and moved Diana back to the five. She's playing where she's comfortable. Once she got back there, it took her a while to get back to being comfortable with all the things she can do at that spot.
The biggest thing is she's good. She's really, really talented, has a great demeanor about her and does not get down. She just plays through anything. I think earlier this year she had her worst night of the year, I think she didn't score. The next game she had 30. That's just kind of the way that she is.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, coach.

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