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NCAA WOMEN'S 1ST & 2ND ROUNDS: WEST LAFAYETTE


March 21, 2014


Tiffany Bias

Jim Littell

Brittney Martin


WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA

JIM LITTELL:¬† We're very excited to be here for the NCAA Tournament.¬† We know that we play a quality team in Florida Gulf Coast that is very well coached.¬† They play a very unique style of play.¬† 972 of their 19‑hundred shot attempts have been three‑pointers, so it's going to be a little different guard than we've had in the Big 12, but we're excited to be here.¬† We've had a tremendous year, placing third in the Big 12, and very proud of what our team accomplished, and we're excited to play.

Q.  Can you just kind of talk about the NCAA Tournament experience last year and how much better that prepares you going into this year's tournament?
TIFFANY BIAS:  No, we're excited to be here.  Last year we made a good run.  We had that second game at Duke, and we were up, and I think we learned from that just knowing to keep our lead and keep our composure and keep the momentum on our side and slow things down and execute our sets.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† I feel the same.¬† I think that we learned a lot from the Duke game.¬† We just had to‑‑ we learned to be patient, and I guess work together when we get in situations like that.

Q.  How much does that play a factor in the NCAA Tournament, this experience, because there's very few girls on Florida Gulf Coast that have that experience.  Does that give you guys an edge come tomorrow?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think a little bit.  I mean, I can't say we're familiar with it because it's something different every year, we play someone different every year, but I think it does because we know how it feels to be here.
TIFFANY BIAS:  I agree.  I think we have a lot of experience on our team.  A lot of the girls know in tough situations what to do and who to count on, and we all count on each other, so I think we'll be ready just for any tough atmosphere.

Q.  Because they shoot so many threes, can you talk about the difficulty and just kind of preparing for that?
TIFFANY BIAS:  Well, we have great rebounders on our team, so I don't think that I'm worried about us that much.  I think that if we just do our job and box out our players, I think that we'll be able to get the rebounds.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† And I think blocking out is a different situation when shooting three‑pointers because rebounds go behind you.¬† We emphasize so much blocking out and getting close rebounds, and I think it's a lot harder to get the rebounds that go out to the three‑point line, so we have to kind of adjust our block‑out situations and things like that.

Q.  Tiffany, when I look at the stats, I think the one that sticks out the most is how many minutes you play.  How do you kind of condition yourself outside of basketball to embrace playing basically 40 minutes every single game?
TIFFANY BIAS:  Well, a lot of conditioning.  I think in the off season we condition a lot, and I just kind of always had that motor growing up.  It's just something I do.  I've always just run, run, run.  I think whatever I can do for my team, if I can stay out there 40 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever I can do for the team.

Q.  Brittney, why are you such a good rebounder and how much pride do you take in that?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† I take a lot of pride in it.¬† I think that I could get better at it because I don't know how to block out, but I think that a lot of rebounds just kind of‑‑ I don't know, I think just hustle really gets you far in this league and in the game, so I think just running for them and I guess trying to push people out of the way.

Q.  As a guard?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  Yeah, I'm a pretty big guard, so I'm pretty lucky on that.

Q.¬† Can you talk a little bit about Sarah Hansen?¬† She's a two‑time league player of the year.¬† How conscious do you feel you have to be of her and where she is at all times?
TIFFANY BIAS:  I mean, she's a great player, so I think that's one of the keys of the game is to kind of show down and keep her contained and make sure we don't let her go off.  I think we have a good scout on her, and I think that we'll be ready.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  We just have to know where she's at in all possessions of the game really is what it is.

Q.  Had you heard of Florida Gulf Coast before Monday?  They're kind of an obscure team.  I know a lot of people heard of their men's team after last year, but what did you know about them before they announced the pairings?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  Sadly I have not heard of it.  I don't want to be rude, but I've never heard of that school.  I mean, it's cool, though.  It's good that we're playing something new and seeing new people.
TIFFANY BIAS:  Yeah, I agree.  I think that they're a very athletic team, and it's always great playing someone else besides the league and seeing how other conferences play, so it'll be interesting and fun.

Q.  Is that good or bad, playing a team you've never heard of?
TIFFANY BIAS:¬† I think it's good.¬† I think that they haven't seen us play really, so I think it's a surprise on both ends.¬† So I think that our staff prepares us well for every game, and the scout is always good, so I think we'll be well‑prepared and we'll be ready for whatever they have.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† I think it could go both ways.¬† They don't know us, we don't know them, so we have to stick to fundamentals and things like that during the game.¬† So I think it's going to be‑‑ I think it's a lot of fun playing people we don't know.

Q.  Kind of piggybacking on that, you guys have been through the Big 12, which is one of the big meat grinders in women's college basketball, and to play someone like Florida Gulf Coast you may not know as well, how do you find the tendency of having a letdown?
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think just play our game.  I don't think you can really worry about letdowns.  I think if we come out like how we know we can play, we'll be just fine.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think that we just have to play.  We just have to play hard and I guess want it more than the other team.  Really anybody can beat anybody if they want it more and if they try harder and work for it, I guess.

Q.¬† Tiffany, the last month‑and‑a‑half you guys have been on the win one, lose one type of thing.¬† How do you explain, I guess, the inconsistencies there or maybe it is consistency where you haven't been able to get on a winning streak but also avoid a losing streak?
TIFFANY BIAS:  Well, like our coaches tell us, it's one or done, you've got to give it all you've got and leave it all out on the floor.  It's been a little bit of a roller coaster for us, but we fought through it as a team.  That's how we get through everything.  As long as we stick together as a team, we'll be okay.

Q.  Brittney, Tiffany was talking about her motor that never goes off.  When you're looking up to a senior leader, how much does that kind of inspire the rest of the players on the team to see probably the best player on the team is the one out there doing that and playing 40 minutes every single night and making sure this team is doing everything it can to get victories?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I mean, everybody wishes they had a motor like Tiffany.  I think everybody in the world wishes that.  I think she grew up like that, and of course we all want it and we can't all get it.  I'm happy that I have somebody to look up to that goes hard in practice every day, that goes hard in the games.  She never stops, but I think she really helps our team a lot with even just that, even if she didn't score points.  She just tries really hard, and I think that really picks us up and helps us out a lot.

Q.¬† We talked about the last month, I think 6‑7.¬† Is momentum a big factor when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, and how do you overcome that because maybe you don't have as much momentum?
JIM LITTELL:¬† It's called the Big 12 is the answer to that.¬† You know, you could look at it in another fashion; we won one, we lost one.¬† We were one of three teams in the Big 12 that didn't have back‑to‑back losses, so that gives you an indication of how tough it is.¬† Iowa State started conference play 3‑0, and they dropped four in a row.¬† Texas late in the year finished third, tied for third with us, they lost three in a row.¬† Baylor lost two in a row against UConn and Kansas, but they didn't lose two in a row in the conference.¬† West Virginia didn't lose two in a row in the conference, and we didn't lose two in a row in the conference.
It depends what perspective you look at it.  It just tells you the strength of the Big 12 from top to bottom that we beat up on each other within that conference.  I think it's probably more crucial to look at the big picture, that we finished third in the No.1 RPI conference in the country.  Yes, we would like to have avoided win one, lose one, but I think that's kind of the nature of our league and where we're at as a basketball team.

Q. ¬†Why haven't you dropped back‑to‑back games?¬† What about your team has allowed you to bounce back?
JIM LITTELL:¬† I think our group has been pretty resilient.¬† Some of those games that we lost were very tight games we played well.¬† We got blown out a couple games.¬† But five of our eight losses are to the conference champion.¬† Five of our eight losses came to Baylor and West Virginia.¬† We led West Virginia at home with two minutes to go.¬† We missed a lay‑up at the buzzer to beat Baylor in overtime.¬† We lost to Baylor by four in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.¬† We've had a nice year, and it sometimes doesn't give that perception when you win one and lose one, but when you look at the big picture of things, our kids have been pretty resilient and bounced back to always play the next game.
We've approached it from the standpoint that it's 18 individual battles, and you've got to turn the page and let the last one go and get on to the next game.  I think our team has done a pretty good job of that.

Q.¬† One of the things I noticed when I was looking at your stats is you don't have 20‑point‑per‑game scorer, but you've got like 14, 11, 11, 9, 7.¬† Obviously every coach would love to have that.¬† How dangerous does that make you when you have eight players deep that are capable of going out and being scorers on any given night?
JIM LITTELL:¬† It's helped us from the standpoint that a few years ago we had a young lady named Andrea Riley who was all‑time leading scorer in Big 12 history until Griner broke her record late last year.¬† We were in a situation if Andrea didn't get 35, we were probably going to get beat, and if she had a bad night, we were probably going to get beat.
What's been good about the balance that we have on this team is somebody can have a bad night and you still have a chance to win the game.  There's been a lot of games that we've had four people in double figures, some games we've had five in double figures.  So I just think when you have balance, and the opportunity for different people to score the basketball gives you a better chance to win games.

Q.  Obviously Tiffany is a great player and looks like she can score.  She can set up her teammates and everything.  How special of a player is she when you put the total package together?
JIM LITTELL:  Well, she's been the face of our program for four years.  She came in and started from day one.  Probably 80 percent of our games when the score is tight and in conference games, she's playing 40 minutes a night.  Leader, best worker that we have on the team, tremendous heart.  We've used the word motor before.  It's a young lady that in four years has never lost a sprint in practice, never lost an agility drill, never lost any competitive thing during offseason workouts.  She's just a special young lady that respects the game and approaches the game the right way every day.

Q.¬† You alluded to this before:¬† Did you have to do anything special to prepare for their three‑point shooting, and is there an opponent that's similar to them as far as the amount of three‑point shots they take?
JIM LITTELL:¬† Yeah, it's different for us.¬† It's a different guard for us than we've had a lot of times.¬† You know what people don't realize is they not only shoot the three extremely well as a team, but they put five people out there that are capable of doing that.¬† You get conscious of that, and you get up too tight, you lose a stance, and they're beating you on a direct drive to the basket.¬† It isn't just one‑dimensional in the fact that they shoot all threes.¬† They're very good at direct drives to the basket and getting themselves to the free‑throw line.
The Knight, the young lady is a special talent, when you're 6'3" and shoot that many threes and have the ability to put the ball on the floor and then two‑time conference player of the year, they've got some really good players.¬† They have good balance, as well, and it presents a lot of challenges for our team, as I'm sure it does teams within their conference and around the country because they play such a unique style of play.

Q.  Sounds like you want Brittney to rebound a little bit better or at least put a body on someone when she's going after it, but that aspect of her game and having a guard of that size, being able to rebound that well, what has she meant to the team?
JIM LITTELL:  She had 15 rebounds against Baylor, she had 11 in the semifinals against Iowa State, and to finish your question on that, Iowa State is as close to them in our league, as many threes as they shoot.
I'm just old school; I like to have somebody block them out, and she has the idea I can go get it better just flying around.
I said, you know, Krzyzewski, Knight, John Wooden, they wanted you to block out, but what the heck do those guys know.  She hasn't convinced me, and I'm not sure I've convinced her yet, either.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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