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March 25, 2013

Bill Fennelly

Nikki Moody

Chelsea Poppens

Anna Prins



COACH FENNELLY:  First of all I certainly want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, did an amazing job; the people of Spokane, Washington, it was honor for Iowa State to be here and I want to thank earn, Joel, his entire staff, amazing, amazing event.  Gave our kids memories of a lifetime, and it was an honor to be here and play in this facility and be around these people.
Certainly want to thank the NCAA Committee for giving us the opportunity to play in this tournament.
Certainly want to congratulate Georgia.  That's a great basketball team.  It was a great women's college game.  That's what the NCAA Tournament's about.
And I'm very, very proud of our team, very proud of our effort, and one or two missed shots here or there, that's this tournament.  But certainly proud of our effort and excited the way they represented their school and their fan base.
Thank you to everyone for everything they did.  It was an amazing event.

Q.  So what's the range of emotions after the final stretch, and what were you thinking as you made the 19‑1 run and then they come right back, what was going through your mind?
ANNA PRINS:  I mean, I think when you're in a situation like that, you know, I think honestly I don't really remember it.
All I knew and all we knew as a team, that we needed to keep pushing the ball.  We needed to keep playing the way that Iowa State plays.  And you know, it was a really fun stretch at the end when we started to hit shots and, you know, started to get back in the game.
You know, unfortunately, it didn't end the way that we wanted, but I think you know, this will be a great memory for all of us and I'm just really proud to hope be alongside these girls and it will be a great memory.
CHELSEA POPPENS:  I mean, everybody was just really excited.  It was a fun game.  We lost to a great team, great players.
I mean, just to play against a team that tough, especially our last game, I mean, there's not a better way we would want to go out.  We gave it our all.  We left everything on the court.  We never gave up, especially in the end.  That's just‑‑ I mean, I'm proud of each and every one of us.

Q.  Chelsea, at 51‑37, some of us down on the press row were thinking, you're running out of gas out there.  But were the players thinking that, could you tell that you still had an extra burst in you?
CHELSEA POPPENS:  As a team or‑‑ yeah, we never give up.  It's been in our past few games that we've been through, we've never backed down.  We've always just kept going, kept grinding.  Kept trying to make one shot after another.
There's never a point in time where we're completely gassed.  We have so much heart on our team that just being down isn't going to stop us from trying to come back, working harder.  There's always going to be a little bit of energy left for us, enough for us to leave it all out there.

Q.  Can you walk me through that shot awed, 60‑59, they had just taken the lead and you got into the lane, was that a play call or anything, and what did you think of the look you got?  It looked decent but there was a lot of bodies in there, as well.
NIKKI MOODY:  It wasn't really a play call.  The play broke down and Coach Fennelly always says, try to get out of a bad play.  I saw the lane and just tapped it.

Q.  Anna, after you took that four‑point lead was there defensively anything you didn't think you did as a team that you regret, or is it just Georgia making some big shots and nothing you can kind of do about it?
ANNA PRINS:  Well, I think when it comes down to it, Georgia is a great team with a lot of great players on it.  They made big plays at the end.  You can always look back and say what if, what if, but like Chelsea said, we gave it everything we had, and I think as a whole, just trying not to look back at what we didn't do but what we did do.
And again, Georgia is a great team and I think they just made some great plays at the end.

Q.  Did you feel comfortable with the distance of that three‑pointer with 18 seconds left?
ANNA PRINS:  Well, I mean, I knew that time was running out and we needed to get a shot up.  You know, I'm disappointed it didn't go in, but you can't look at that.

Q.  Can you just sum up what this season has meant to you, just to get that second place finish and 24 wins this year?
CHELSEA POPPENS:  I mean, this past season has been great.  I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to have‑‑ like for Anna, too, for our senior year, we had so much great chemistry.  We all were there for each other, we played for each other, we played to have fun and we played for the right reasons.
It's just great to go out, like end our Iowa State career with such a great team, such good memories and so much bonding.  The season's been great and really successful, and I'm just really happy to have made it this far.
ANNA PRINS:  It's been an amazing year, I know Amanda Zimmerman, Chelsea and I, we've had a lot of talks where we are super proud to be on this team.  I will never forget this year‑‑ sorry (eyes tearing up).
This has been the most amazing experience of my life, and I will take a lot from this.  I feel completely prepared to go into life now.  I can't even put into words how much this whole experience has meant to me.
Coach Fennelly and the girls and the coaching staff and just everyone who has done so much for us, I'm just so grateful and I will always remember this.  So yeah, I can't really put it into words.

Q.  Same thing I asked the girls, that wild final nine minutes where you come back and then they hit big shots, how do you put that into words?  Have you seen anything like it?
COACH FENNELLY:  They call it March Madness for a reason.  That's college basketball.  That's the way the game should be played.  A great women's college game in the NCAA Tournament, great for TV.
Certainly appreciate the Gonzaga fans coming out and hopefully we gave them their money's worth.  You know, our kids kept playing.  It's 51‑37 and I got into them a little bit, and just challenged them to finish.  We take great pride in finishing everything we've done, good and bad.  And they did and they gave themselves a chance to win, Georgia came back, hit some big shots.
Probably haven't in a long time shot the three ball like they did today; but that's what great players do, hit big plays, hit big shots.  We hit them, they hit them.
But what I told our players is, whatever happened in that 51‑37 time, to the time the game ended, whatever they did inside themselves, take with them the rest of their life, that was special.  Average teams don't do that.  Average kids don't do that.  The kids who wear an Iowa State uniform do that, and I was very proud of that fact.

Q.  You were up, 56‑52, was it just a testament to Georgia, as well‑‑
COACH FENNELLY:  Yeah, 6:52 they got a dribble drive, kick to the corner.  Barb hits a shot, tough shot, and then we are up one and there's a scramble play.  Pop ends up on the floor and her man, Armstrong, is trailing, and we just couldn't get there in time.  It was a scramble and Kidd hit a big shot.
Kind of like us, we hit a couple open threes in transition and then they came right back, but two big plays.  And they ran the back big play for the lob and we didn't defend that great.  You know, like Anna and Chelsea said, there's so many plays that go either way in a game like this, but our kids competed, and that's‑‑ I've always told them, you know, when the season does end, be able to walk out of the building with your head up and appreciate your effort and your teammate's effort.
Anyone says Iowa State didn't compete like crazy tonight, come see me.  I'll be out in the hallway real quick, so we'd love to talk to you now that the season is over.

Q.  The string of three‑pointers they made in the first half, you came out in a 2‑3 zone; what was the strategy going in, and did you expect that shooting?
COACH FENNELLY:  We were trying to change defenses a little bit.  We tried to play zone, because we wanted to stay out of foul trouble.
The strategy was, they are not a great three‑point shooting team.  You look at their numbers, they are 27 percent on the season, and we wanted to keep people in front of us.  Jasmine James hits two, and she's hit three all year.  That's NCAA Tournament basketball.  A couple other kids, same thing.
But we tried to change defense, because we wanted to stay out of foul trouble.  We were really worried about them pounding it at us.  And we got to halftime, the score tied, felt pretty good about it.  The plan was to play a lot of man the second half; if we could get to the second half, that's kind of what we did. 
Defensively we were okay.  I don't have any real problems with it.  Kept them off the free throw line, almost every three they made is either a great play by one of their players or a coaching mistake by me.  The two threes that Jasmine James made, for sure, is on me because I said don't cover her on the three‑point line.  She's 3‑for‑28 on the season; I'm going to let her shoot it every time.  So those are the things that you have to do this time of year, and great teams make plays, and they made them and they deserved to win because of it.

Q.  You also really clamped down on their leading scorer for the season, Hassel, and she was looking quite frustrated for the first half; was there something special you were doing there?
COACH FENNELLY:  The thing you try to do with a great post player like that is limit her initial position, don't let her get two deep.
And then Anna did a great job; and Chelsea, we just said, make her score over the top of you.  She has a lot of counter moves.  Don't let her push you up the lane and shove you up the lane and get a lob.  Make her hit a tough shot over the top of you.  And I thought for the most part, they did a good job of that.  For a kid that gets the looks she get to go 3‑for‑12 defensively, that was a pretty good effort.

Q.  When you look at the season's big picture, do you see your image reflected in this team, how they approach stuff, kind of more big picture?
COACH FENNELLY:  My image?  Oh, no.  If it does, that's a huge compliment to me, because that's an amazing group of kids, and I love coaching this team.  They gave me something back that I thought I lost.  I really‑‑ I mean that.
To be around them every day and to see how hard they worked at things, and the progress they made, and the way they cared about one another, and the way they wore a uniform that means so much to so many people, amazing.  It's hard to end it.  It's going to end sometime, but there's no regrets.  Just I told them, no excuses, no regrets.  We have none, and we are very proud of that.

Q.  What was it that you lost, you said that they gave back?
COACH FENNELLY:  I lost a little bit of belief in people understanding and wanting to do things the Iowa State way.  There were kids on our team in the past that didn't get it that weren't fair to the Lindsays of the world and other former players that had worked to hard to build a program that is so special, with so many special people.  There's no way to quantify that.  And I did not want to be involved or around people that didn't get it and understand it and believe it and live it and love it, and this team did.  I will always be indebted to them before that.
Everyone at Gonzaga, thank you so much and everyone at Spokane, amazing, amazing.  The atmosphere here was fantastic and thank you forgiving our kids something they will remember the rest of their life.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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