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March 9, 2013

Hallie Christopherson

Bill Fennelly

Chelsea Poppens



COACH FENNELLY:  Very proud of our team.  I thought we played with very good energy from start to finish against a very good Kansas team, who without question I think deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.
I thought in the second half, our two all‑conference players played like it.  Our senior, Anna Prins, played like it.  When you only turn the ball over two times in the second half and defend like we defended, you're going to beat some people.
So it's exciting for us to be in the semifinals and we are honored that Iowa State go to move to the right in the bracket.

Q.  Hallie, can you talk about the first couple minutes, looked like, I don't know if it was jitters but you turned the ball over six of the first seven possessions, what clicked, especially with you when you went on that scoring run?
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  I think once we started hitting shots, everybody got a little more energy.  We took care of the ball like we needed to.  Just we fed off of each other and that's what you have to do to win games.  Every game you come out, there might be some nerves just because it's March, but you play through it and you get there.

Q.  Was there a sense of motivation being senior year; you had a 24 and 14, one of your better games of the season; what went into that?
CHELSEA POPPENS:  Just the fact that this is my last season at Iowa State and I won't have the amazing teammates that I have had this year.  Why not take advantage of that, like we have Hallie, who is draining the 3s.  I mean, just take advantage of it.

Q.  How do you explain the offensive efficiency for you guys, you seemed to have it going, what was the biggest key behind that?
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  Like I said, once we hit one shot, everybody just spread their energy around and got that confidence that they see the ball going in the basket, that they can do the same thing.

Q.  Chelsea, you talked yesterday about the whole senior leadership dynamic, when things were not going well, you stepped up, you hit a shot, actually a couple shots right there early, did you think that got everyone going, and is that kind of one thing you were thinking to yourself, that it's on you‑‑
CHELSEA POPPENS:  Yeah, kind of.  I knew as soon as one of us started making shots, the rest would follow.  We have like a tremendous amount of trust in each other, and just to get the ball rolling and everything like started to click, and it all fell together.

Q.  What can you say about your defense, Angel Goodrich, she got some points‑‑ but dribble shooting a little bit, Brynn and Nikki were really on her. 
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  Yeah, B has really buckled down a little bit, she's our defensive stopper and she took it upon herself to shut down the best player and she did.  Give a lot of credit to her.

Q.  How much confidence do you have as a team right now and why do you say that?
CHELSEA POPPENS:  I mean, there's a tremendous amount of confidence on our team right now.  We know what each one of us is capable of, and we have shown it throughout the season.  And just to have that trust amongst each other, we can do anything if we set our minds to it.

Q.  Can you talk about defending against Angel, who had such a huge game yesterday, and also seems like they got frustrated somewhere along the way there.
COACH FENNELLY:  You know, our team is probably‑‑ we have probably never gotten a lot of credit for the way we defended because we don't turn you over and we don't steal the ball.  But our kids have embraced that from the start and Brynn has embraced the idea of being someone that wants to guard someone.
We did a pretty good job on Davis.  And the first half Pop was really good and I thought an in a played really real little well the second half.  She struggled the second half, but the way she rebounded and defended to have another bigger, stronger body to put on her made it tough.  We tried to double‑team her early, and that was a bad coaching decision.  It didn't work out very well.
But you know, the other kids did a good job, and you know, they are a team that can score a lot of points, and they have been scoring points.  So to hold them to 62 was good and certainly a defensive effort that was consistent, kept them off the free throw line.  Did a better job rebounding the second half, kept them off the boards.
Those are the kinds of things you have to do all year, but you'd certainly better do them in March or you don't get to keep playing.

Q.  Same thing I asked Hallie; but do you how explain the offensive efficiency when the turnovers hurt and the shooting and quality shots are there?
COACH FENNELLY:  I think the first four minutes, we were really nervous.  You could tell.  I mean, they were trying to get into the flow of the game and I don't think we got a shot for three minutes.
But you know, we had 12 turnovers at halftime, and we did not have another turnover until about three minutes to go in the game.  Pop had one and then Kidd had the charging foul with 20 seconds left.
I thought Nikki was really good at not making any bad decisions; let the game come to her a little bit.  She had four turnovers at halftime, and none the second half with someone in her grill the whole time.
Our spacing was much better the second half.  I think when Pop and Anna started to hit the ball in the post and we could seep our spacing, there was enough three‑point shots available to dictate some good looks.
We are really, really smart with the ball.  We had illegal screens in the first half; we had a three‑second call; we had a push‑off on a dribble.  You know, you've got to get rid of that stuff, and I think our team did that.  And the way Nikki dictated our offense was a big reason we didn't turn the ball over.

Q.  I was about to ask you about Nikki, her last trip to Texas was not so hot.  She seemed like she could get to the basket whenever she wanted to and that really set up a lot of stuff for Anna and Pop.
COACH FENNELLY:  It did.  Nikki has got a good explosive bounce, and when they tried to get up into her, we changed the angle of the ball screens a little bit.  Historically KU has not come off the shooters when we drove to the basket, and so when that happened and they stayed on our shooters that opened up the middle of the court a little bit more, and she got to the rim a couple times, dumped it on our post players a couple times.
When she can get that going and going, north and south towards the rim; the first half, she made some bad decision, charging foul, tried to create some things that weren't there and like the rest of us, trying to play a little too fast.
But the game kind of slowed down in front of her, and like a quarterback:  All of a sudden, everybody's open and who do you throw the ball to.  It seemed like the game was right in front of her.  At halftime, she goes, "What am I missing."
I said:  "You're fine.  Don't try and make a play before you see the play."  And I thought she was really good.

Q.  What is the confidence level and what do you find to harp on them after this one?
COACH FENNELLY:  I can always find something, you know me.
I think the confidence level is high, and Pop said it and our team has said it.  It is the easiest team that I've had to manage in a long time.  They like each other.  They get along.  They appreciate each other.  Lindsay is sitting here‑‑ kind of like when Lindsay was a senior, her team.  Those teams are special.
What we have tried to do as coaches is make sure the players understand this is a special time in their life.  These things don't happen and it may not happen for some of them in their personal life and their business life.  This is something that is really truly a moment in time that you don't want to waste.  And.
I think they appreciate that and they understand that and they all accept the roles on their team, and they want and honestly care about playing with each other, for each other.  Those are all important things and this group is that way, and we are skilled enough and just deep enough at certain spots that we can be a decent team, as well.

Q.  If I remember correctly, you had a few reservations about moving out of Kansas City, from the early impressions, looks like your fans turned out in force today.
COACH FENNELLY:  I don't like the tournament suffering, I don't and I get in trouble for saying, this just like I get in trouble at home for things I say and do.  Nothing to do with Dallas; great city, great arena, the hotel is beautiful, the people are fantastic and we love coming here.
But personally, and I'm not speaking for the university, I'm speaking for me, I like the fact that our men's and women's teams are together.  But, just like at home, my opinion doesn't matter sometimes (laughing).
But it has nothing to do with Dallas.  I love it.  It's a great place; for the kids to play in an NBA arena, the hospitality, the way the setup is, it's been fantastic.  The Big12 does an amazing job of the way they treat the student athletes, this is as big‑time as it gets, and they are treated that way.  And the people of Dallas have certainly embrace that had and we certainly appreciate it.
The fans have turned out in big margins for all teams and I'm sure there will be a good crowd tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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