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March 10, 2013

Hallie Christopherson

Bill Fennelly

Anna Prins


Iowa State – 79
Oklahoma – 60

THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly and student‑athletes Hallie Christofferson and Anna Prins.
COACH FENNELLY:  Obviously we're ecstatic to be playing tomorrow in the championship game in the best league in the country.
Our team, just like yesterday, did exactly what each of them individually need to do, and that turned into a collective effort by everyone.
Obviously Anna's performance was one for the ages that will go down as one of the greatest individual performances by an Iowa State player at a great time.
Great team effort.  All the numbers that we talk about that you quantify, winning is important, but we were a great team in a great environment and we're excited we get to play tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  Hallie, what can you say about Anna's performance?  And, Anna, can you describe in some words what you were able to do today?
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  Anna played amazing tonight.  That was a great senior game for her.  It really showed what she can do.  She's just a great teammate.  I don't know.  She's Anna (laughter).
ANNA PRINS:  I don't really know what happened out there.  You know, honestly I don't really care what I did out there.  We got the win and we're playing in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament.
I think just being a senior, I just never thought I would ever be able to play in a championship game of the Big 12 tournament.  To be able to do it with this team, what we've been through, just the journey we've taken together, I don't know, couldn't ask for a better ending.
I'm just really proud of our team.

Q.  Oklahoma had a lot of fight, but you were dominant inside.  What were you able to do to take advantage of them?
ANNA PRINS:  Well, you know, coming into this game, we knew they definitely had size, boxing out and going to get the ball was important.  Obviously we did a good job of that.
I think just throughout the game just going and getting the ball every time was really key.  Yeah, rebounding was a big part of the game.

Q.  You have been playing against Baylor and Brittney, when they've become this power program over the years, does that help you approaching tomorrow?
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  Just another shot at Baylor is something you want to have.  You want to play the best in the league.  You just can't let it get into your head.  You have to realize it's another game, it's another team.
ANNA PRINS:  I think we're excited to have another opportunity to play Baylor.  Obviously enjoy this win until tomorrow comes, just prepare for Baylor as best we can.
It's the championship game.  Just go play.

Q.  Anna, was there a point where you could feel it, that you realized everything you're touching is turning to gold?
ANNA PRINS:  Yeah, I think there were moments.  Definitely I was feeling good.  But I think I was just ‑ I don't know ‑ playing the game.  Things were really starting to flow I think for the team as a whole.  I was just getting opportunities, I guess.

Q.  Hallie, what can you say about the discipline of this team?
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON:  It helps a lot knowing if we get stops on defense, it will lead to your offense.  That's what we've tried, to buckle down on defense lately in these games.  That's what has helped us to win, definitely.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Yesterday you were talking about your overlooked defense.  How big a part was the interior defense today?
COACH FENNELLY:  I think our defense has been solid all year.  It's been the reason our team is playing at a pretty high level.  Our kids are very smart.  They understand.
We spent 30 minutes in the hotel meeting room walking through a game plan.  They're attentive, they're engaged in what we're doing.  The details we stress are important.  I think they've found there's a little pride you can have in stopping the other guy, too.  As a team, we were better at that.
Our interior defense has certainly been better the last couple weeks.  We're out of foul trouble a little bit.  Our positioning is better.  We're doing a little more work before they touch the ball, which is important.
Oklahoma is as good an offensive team as there is in this league and they scored 60.  We can't complain one bit about the way we're defending.

Q.  I know you probably always recruit size.  But with a girl like Anna, when you recruited her, did it have anything to do with Brittney Griner coming into the league?
COACH FENNELLY:  No, it didn't.  We try to recruit the young people that fit the culture of Iowa State.
Anna was a unique talent.  Anna's game is totally different than Brittney's.  Anna is not a shot‑blocker.  At times she's the tallest 2 guard in the country.  We let her shoot threes a lot.
It wasn't by design, but it adds to the uniqueness of the game that two players of that height are going to be playing against each other.  Four years they battled each other.  Brittney is the most unique player, and I've been doing this a long time, but she's the most unique player I've ever seen.  We'll be certainly glad that tomorrow night is the last time we coach against her.

Q.  Schematically did you do anything differently to get Anna going?
COACH FENNELLY:  We changed the way we were going to run our offense a little bit.  We changed the angles of our screening.  We kind of felt like we wanted to go at either McFarland or Griffin, whichever one was guarding, get them in foul trouble a little bit.  They're like us, not overly deep in the post.
Anna finished the game last night on a high note.  We talked about trying to get her engaged, more shots.
You look at 23 assists on 29 baskets, Nikki and Brynn have 15 assists and two turnovers.  So it's a combination of Anna wanting the ball, the angles were good, and the passes.
Oklahoma changes defenses a lot, which we don't see that a lot.  But I thought our kids handled that really, really well.  For the most part they took care of the ball, got the ball where it needed to go.

Q.  Was that as aggressive as you've ever seen Anna offensively?
COACH FENNELLY:  I don't know if ever, but it would be on the short list.  I mean, not just in demanding the ball, but she got five offensive rebounds.  She got 20 shots.  She scored in traffic.  She took the hit, got to the free‑throw line 11 times.  That was as complete a game as I've seen.  Defensively that gave her some momentum, too, because their defense was good.
Yeah, like I said, I can't remember right now.  But I would be hard‑pressed to say that she's ever played a more complete game, a more aggressive game, and certainly it came at a great time.

Q.  I don't know the history, but that's three wins against Oklahoma in one season.  You have such great respect for that program.  What does that say about your program?  Do you remember off the top of your head if you've ever done that?
COACH FENNELLY:  I'm going to say probably not, but I don't know.
I have the utmost respect for Oklahoma, the way Coach Coale and her staff do things.  Someone said to me one time our program reminds them of the way Oklahoma does things, and I take that as a great compliment.
They play hard.  They play right.  They're enthusiastic.  They care about their kids.  They care about the league.  So, yeah, when you beat Oklahoma on the court, you're doing it the right way.  To do it three times certainly is something that we're very, very proud of 'cause that's a great team, a great program, one that I'm sure will be a really tough outcome tournament time.

Q.  Baylor tomorrow.
COACH FENNELLY:  You had to bring that up, didn't you?  I thought we were going to get out of this relaxed (laughter).

Q.  What do you have to do to slow them down?  I don't know if you watched the game earlier today.  They turned the ball over a lot.  Is that the main focus?
COACH FENNELLY:  You know, Baylor's got to help you.  They got to turn the ball over a little bit, miss some shots.  Coach Mulkey has to get mad and put Brittney on the bench a couple times like she did today.  She looked like the rest of us.
And you've got to make shots.  Oklahoma State kept making shots.  You hang around.  It's just one of those teams, like I said, that is the most unique team in our league.  They play the game so hard, so physical.
You're not going to go out there and beat them easily.  It's 40 minutes.  We talked on January 23rd when they beat us at our place, we were the first team that played them twice, we were done with them, and we challenged our players.  Let's play them in the Big 12 championship game.  To our team's credit, the way they've done things, tomorrow night we get to be on the biggest stage in the country, in the best league in the country, against the best team in the country.  That's a pretty cool day.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you.
COACH FENNELLY:  Thank you, everyone.

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