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March 16, 2012

KK Houser

Sam Ostarello

Brittany Rayburn

Sharon Versyp


THE MODERATOR:  Like to welcome the arrival of the Big Ten Champions, the Purdue Boilermakers.  First we'll open with a quick question for Coach Versyp.  If you would, talk about your opponent in tomorrow's game, what concerns might you have most about their play.
COACH VERSYP:  South Dakota state is very well balanced team, very well coached, very disciplined.  They shoot the 3 exceptionally well.  They do really well on the offensive boards, so we need to make sure that we obviously box out exceptionally well and be able to get up‑and‑down the floor.

Q.  Sam, just your e‑mails and texts, have they blown up this week because of the connection with South Dakota.
SAM OSTARELLO:  You know, not a whole lot which is kind of nice.  It's just another game for us.  It's one step that we have got to get through.  Try to keep it at that.

Q.  KK nowadays, we learn everything on Twitter and you guys got some popsicles the other day.  Was that kind of a back‑to‑summer‑camp‑type of mode?
KK HOUSER:  Yeah, it was a little hot yesterday in Mackey.  We were getting water breaks like every five minutes, and all of a sudden coach says, goes, okay, we are going to have a popsicle break real quick.  So we got to take a popsicle break and then back to work.

Q.  Brittany, can you talk about the approach that you guys have to this NCAA Tournament compared to last year where you really sort of had to fight your way in; you're a higher seed, playing on your home court, and sort of your last go‑around this year?
BRITTANY RAYBURN:  I think especially coming off a great victory, I think we are going into this tournament a lot more confident than we were last year, a lot more experienced.  We are obviously not losing any from last year's team is great for us, especially to come into the tournament this year and being on your home floor playing with a lot of confidence.

Q.  Do you sense that your senior class has a lot of urgency knowing that you're down to the last few games here, if not sooner than that?
BRITTANY RAYBURN:  Yeah, I think definitely our senior class as well as the other players on this team, I think the whole team is feeling that sense of urgency and every step of the way you have to feel that sense of urgency to be able to play at your best, play your best basketball.

Q.  One for KK, third year here, first NCAA Tournament game, what are your emotions going into tomorrow?
KK HOUSER:  The hype is so much different than other tournaments and games that we've played.  But I'm excited.  I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing in the past.

Q.  For all three, how long did it take to get over the high of the Big Ten tournament and get refocused for this?
KK HOUSER:  I honestly don't think we are over it yet.  It's what's carrying us over into this game and to have confidence and everything like that.  We can't dwell on it but I don't think I'm over it yet.
SAM OSTARELLO:  Going along with KK, I think we are using, you know, all of the emotions and energy that we had from the Big Ten tournament and taking it into this NCAA first‑round game.  But we were refocused a couple days after.  It didn't take long for us to realize, hey, we have to get back at it and get our other goals that we set down.
BRITTANY RAYBURN:  I think we are still energized from it.  I think it's something that we need to have the energy from; getting a big win like that for the program and the University is great for us and I think it's something that will catapult us into this tournament.

Q.  Sam, coming from South Dakota, did you ever think you would be playing a team from your home state in a game of this magnitude?
SAM OSTARELLO:  It was a possibility.  Anything can happen in March.

Q.  Sam, have you talked with maybe Katie or Stephanie or those you might know from Fort Peter?
SAM OSTARELLO:  Only time I talked to Steph, I sent her a get‑well text after I heard about her ACL injury.  That was about a week or so ago.  We have not really talked.  We know it's business but we know we are still friends.  But it's game time.  It's about business right now.

Q.  Sam, talk about your season, it's kind of a breakout for you, you obviously contributed a lot your first two years but your stats are doubled and you've started every game.  What's your key to your expanded role?
SAM OSTARELLO:  The team.  The team having confidence in everything I do.  I would not be able to get rebounds if the whole team didn't box out.
It goes back to everything we do in practice.  We are not just focused on one player or anything like that.  It just kind of blossomed from that and I feed off all of their confidence in me.

Q.  KK, both teams have lost multiple players now; talk about coming back from that, trying to contribute when you can't be on the floor and how it affects things, how you guys have seen it play out?
KK HOUSER:  You know, it's kind of a struggle coming back a little bit.  Just the turnovers and the pace of the game and being out a whole year, it takes a while once you adjust.  But I've had Coach V. have my back the whole year which is awesome.
Right now I would say I'm good where I'm at.  My knees are feeling good.  It takes a while and about halfway through the season is when I started feeling better.

Q.  KK, can you just talk about the group of seniors and how excited you guys are to go out and play well sort of for them here in their last go around?
KK HOUSER:  I love playing for our seniors.  Great group of girls.  They want to win and they just have this look in their eyes; it's all about business and I'm excited to play my last games with them.

Q.  South Dakota has had about a game and a half to adjust to losing the point guard; what have you seen out of the replacement and kind of evaluate their team post knee injury with Steph.
COACH VERSYP:  Well, I think Erin does a great job, so when a player goes down, it's a sister falling down.  So the team usually rally ease around.  I think how Erin handled it, like how KK and Drey handled it, that actually helps your team.  If you stay positive, I think that's the biggest thing.
You know, other players are stepping up and that's what they have done.  Players came in and knocking down the 3s and have a different role.  So their role has now changed.  You know, they use a lot of depth, and obviously with her having the most steals on the team and assists, that obviously is an adjustment, but they have done a good job in the last game and a half without here.

Q.  For Brittany, is there any added pressure to make sure and protect your home court, being able to host those two games?
BRITTANY RAYBURN:  I don't think I would call it pressure.  I think it's an advantage for us to be able to be home and have our home crowd and we are really excited to be able to host hopefully these first two rounds for us to play in and it's a great opportunity for us to be able to play in front of our home crowd and I don't think that it would be any added pressure.  I think it just adds on to the fun for us.

Q.  This is your last tournament game; what are your emotions going in?
BRITTANY RAYBURN:  I'm excited.  Like I said, just coming off the big win in the Big Ten tournament is huge.  Being able to push it into the NCAA is great and to be able to play hopefully two games at home is huge for us.  I'm just really excited.

Q.  If you are looking at the keys to tomorrow, but to have success in the next couple of weeks, what's at the top of your black board right now?
COACH VERSYP:  It's always team defense and then the second thing is rebounding.  You have to do a great job on the boards.  You have to dominate in both areas.  And when we have done that, then good things have happened for us.

Q.  Coach, statistically, you're pretty similar in terms of points scored and allowed.  You both get a lot from your bench.   Are the teams somewhat similar or is that just a numbers thing and not really true to the naked eye?
COACH VERSYP:  I think it's that they are similar and we are just playing two different conferences.  You know, our non‑conference and our Big Ten is obviously a different style than theirs, and they have four out, one in more, where we have three guards and two post players.  So the styles are totally different and I just think it's the numbers.

Q.  Sharon, do you get a different sense from this team than a year ago?  Last year you had to play your way in; I would imagine there's a little different feel coming into this year.
COACH VERSYP:  Oh, the whole year it's been different.  It has not just started now at the NCAA.  It started when we went to Europe.  What went through last year just brought us closer.
So the bottom line is, we set high goals, and our team has responded and you know, so the NCAA Tournament and any games that we are in, we always have a sense of urgency and know that we want to do the best that we can.  This year should have been different and it definitely is.

Q.  Having gone up the team in the NIT preseason a while back, and then having seen them play in Cancún earlier this year, how big of an advantage is that just knowing your opponent a little bit more rather than going up against some random team from Timbuktu?
COACH VERSYP:  It works both ways.  But they pretty much had everybody returning this year from last year and we do, too.  Our teams are a little different.  We have KK back and we don't have Drey and they have had some injuries.
You are used to maybe the style.  You know what is going to be coming at you.  But it comes down to execution and it comes down to fundamentals.  It comes down to executing your offense and your defense.  It's nice to know your opponent, but sometimes when you don't, there's a different keenness to your student athletes when they have to pay attention to even more detail.
THE MODERATOR:  Purdue, good luck tomorrow afternoon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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