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March 22, 2013

Kelly Graves

Taelor Karr

Haiden Palmer

Jazmine Redmon


THE MODERATOR:  We'll start our second conference today with Gonzaga.
We'll begin with questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Taelor, coming from the Big 12, what scouting report have you given about any players that you might know off of Iowa State?
TAELOR KARR:¬† Just overall that they're a great team.¬† They've changed a lot.¬† I haven't played against them for two years.¬† I remember they have a lot of skill inside and out.¬† They have a great coaching staff.¬† Always well‑prepared.¬† They play hard.¬† They've got a lot of good kids inside, a lot of experience.¬† Their seniors, guards can shoot it, they're quick.
We need to hustle, play hard, see what we could do.  Other than, they're a great team, and we're going to have to match their intensity, for sure.

Q.  Haiden, we know that Gonzaga has been at the tournament now for four straight years.  Think about a lot of experience for the Gonzaga program.  Really you three are the only ones with a lot of tournament minutes.  How do you think that's going to play out?
HAIDEN PALMER:  I just think we have to show that leadership on the court, stay composed, confident, because we've been here before.  Iowa State is a great team.  We know we have to come focused, play hard for 40 minutes.  It's a good goal for us to have out there, help uplift our other players and help them to play their game.

Q.  Jazmine, as a point guard, in watching their point guard, what she's been able to accomplish, what do you see there?
JAZMINE REDMON:  I'm sorry.  I'm nervous.  She has a lot of assists.  She's a really good point guard.  I feel like a lot of people can take good from what she does.  She's a really good point guard and she leads their team in assists.  She's just a good point guard, I'd say.

Q.  Taelor, having played in both conferences, how would you compare the differences playing in the Big 12?
TAELOR KARR:  Both are great conferences overall.  I think the 12 is a little bit more physical.  That's one thing we're really going to have to key in on for this game.  Like I said, they have three inside kids that were all Big 12 selections, they're seniors, they play a lot of minutes.  Our posts are capable of that, but they haven't had to do that a lot this year.  Definitely worried about their size, their physicality.
We're capable of it.  We just got to hustle, play hard and see what happens.

Q.  How does it feel to be at home here at Gonzaga, to be able to play in front of your home crowd?
JAZMINE REDMAN:  I feel like our team is privileged to be playing at home.  Really excited.  We're just thankful that we got to play at home front of our fans.
HAIDEN PALMER:  Same thing.  I feel like it's an honor to be able to play in front of people that believe in us.  We want to give them a good show, make sure we're playing our game, playing with passion, playing hard, give them something to be excited about.
TAELOR KARR:  Same thing.  Just feel great to be playing right now, being in the tournament.  There are a lot of players that are home, their seasons are over.  We're very excited about that.
Playing in front of the home crowd here is great.  My senior year, last time, last go around, I want to play my best, see what happens.

Q.  Haiden, one thing that Iowa State mentioned is they don't play a lot of pressure defense that Gonzaga does.  Do you think that can give you a leg up in this game?
HAIDEN PALMER:  Both ways.  They have some things we have to take away.  We have things they have to take away from us.  That's one of the things.  I know we want to try to pressure them to play aggressive and hard just because they play such a physical game.  We need to step up on our side and match their intensity, match their physicality.

Q.  Has there been any mention, talk about how this is a similar setup to two years ago where you not only got to play the first two rounds at home, but you're in the regional played across town at the arena?
TAELOR KARR:  We talked about it, it's been mentioned, but we don't want to focus on anything except this game tomorrow.  You're not guaranteed anything but tomorrow's game.  We have to go play hard.  If we get that done, we work on Monday.  We don't want to look too far ahead.  See if we can keep going, play some more games in Spokane, that would be awesome.

Q.¬† For any of the student‑athletes.¬† When you look at Iowa State's front court, have you faced a team you can draw comparison to?
HAIDEN PALMER:  Yeah, Iowa State, they have aggressive post players.  We have some tall post players as well.  We just want to make sure we match that, play just as aggressive.  I think that's key for us.  Like he was saying, us three are the ones that played a lot with experience.  We need to make sure our post players are up to par and just excited and believe in themselves because we're supposed to be here just like all the other teams.
We want to play aggressive, play with confidence, kind of take that positive they have away from us.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll excuse the student‑athletes and continue with coach.

Q.  What was that moment like this morning when you had three coaches in your office, the amount of success and history right here?
COACH GRAVES:  You know, it was a thrill.  That's terrific company, just like I said.  Three Hall of Fame coaches really.  I feel like the poor schmuck in the group.
People I look up to, it was humbling to have them all there.  I think that's unique, to just have a chance to talk for a little bit, the four of us, while the rest of the group was in the meeting.
Coach Fennelly I've looked up to for years.  He's a great coach.  I followed him.  We were both assistants at one time together.  To see what he's done is just incredible, what he's built in Ames and before that even.
Coach Landers and Coach Selvig, they're legends.  I think there's only five or six coaches in the women's game who have coached more than a thousand games, and two of them are here.  That's incredible.
It was neat for me.  I was like the little kid who wants the autograph.  Do you guys mind if I get a picture?  That's something I'll remember forever.  Not that I'm young.  I mean, I'm 50.  A bunch of old guys in this little quad.

Q.  The night of the draw, you were immediately pointing out their size inside, speculating about what you were going to do.  With a guard covering a big person, how will that play out?
COACH GRAVES:  I don't know.  We'll see tomorrow.  We have a plan for them.  We've played some teams that have that kind of size.  We have a 6'7" player in our conference, too, but not with three players.  We're going to have to be creative.  We're going to have to switch up, see some lineups we haven't played with a lot together tomorrow.
But I'm confident in our team.  They're competitors.  We'll compete.  We'll do what we can defensively.  My staff, I trust them and I think we can come up with a good game plan.  I don't want to reveal that now, but anytime you play Iowa State, from all the tape that I've seen, I'll tell you, they execute as well as any team in the country, and they do a nice job.
I'm sure they've seen every kind of defense against that versatile frontline.  We're going to take a little bit of what other people have done and mesh it into what we need to do.
I'll tell you, they use that advantage very well.

Q.  Haiden mentioned Ohio State with the tall frontline.  Can you take from that game when you're game planning for this one?
COACH GRAVES:  Yeah, we draw on every opponent we've played.  That's the team we've become.  I can say in the Ohio State game, it didn't end well for us.  I think we're a different team.
From those people that have watched us day one, we were pretty ugly in November and December, our inside kids have really improved.  That's where we've made our biggest stride.  I think we'll be able to handle that a little bit better this time around because we are more experienced.
But this is a formidable frontline, there's no question about it.¬† We're going to have to be on our game and we can't do it one‑on‑one.

Q.  One of the secrets to your success has also been your bench.  Do you see that as an advantage heading into this game?
COACH GRAVES:¬† I think this time of year there's always an X‑factor.¬† You look at their best players, our best players.¬† Oftentimes in things like this, they cancel out, maybe that player you didn't expect to step up does.¬† I don't know who that is.¬† We've had a different one it seems like every night.
I'm just hopeful that somebody does, somebody has that game where you go, Wow, you really needed her tonight.  We'll see how that plays out.  I'm not sure.

Q.¬† This is a terrific free‑throw shooting team, Iowa State.¬† What's happened there?¬† Even Haiden doesn't shoot that well from the free‑throw line, and you think she would.
COACH GRAVES:  Hopefully there aren't very many fouls then tomorrow on either side, and that might work to our advantage.
You're right.¬† We always have late‑game strategy, who we need to foul late in the game.¬† There's nobody you can put on the line on their side.
As far as we're concerned, if you look at our percentages, listen, we shoot better at the end of the game, I'll tell you that.¬† The kids who are in the game, you look at their free‑throw percentages, they're a little bit better than you might think.¬† Definitely been an issue this year.¬† What do you do about them?¬† We make them in practice, so...

Q.  How is Taelor?  Is she back to 100%?
COACH GRAVES:  I think she's doing fine.  I don't think she's 100%.
This time of year after 32, 33 games, I don't think anybody's 100%.  That's why I like the fact we have some depth.
But she's tough.  She's a tough young woman.  Like she said, she's a senior and she's going to give it everything she has, lay it on the line, as they all will, as Iowa State will.

Q.  Bill was saying earlier, watching you on tape reminds him a lot of you guys.  Do you see that similarity watching Iowa State?  Does it help you prepare knowing they're a lot like you or is it a little tougher?
COACH GRAVES:  Well, I'd like to think it's a little tougher because we play a good style of basketball.
What I like about Bill and his program is I think they play the right way.  They share the basketball.  It's a finesse still, even though they are very physical.  But they have skilled players.  I think that's the way the game should be played.
I've been very impressed with them.  They don't have many holes, which frustrates me.  We're going to have to find some.
But, yeah, I do think we're similar.  I mentioned to somebody earlier.  We were a Midwest school or they were a West Coast school, we'd probably recruit each other a lot because we like the same kind of players, it looks like.  I think we coach similarly.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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