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March 22, 2014

Jenna Cobb

Sarah Hansen

Karl Smesko


Oklahoma State - 61
Florida Gulf Coast - 60

THE MODERATOR:  Lets ask can Coach Smesko to make an opening statement and then to questions for Sarah and Jenna.  Coach?
COACH SMESKO:  Obviously, this is a very frustrating way to go out.  Marchcan be very cruel sometimes.  I'm really proud of our team and the way we played, and, you know, we just didn't finish regulation, and then we needed to make one more play in overtime to advance and give Oklahoma State credit they fought and refused to lose.

Q.  To both of you, you guys had all the momentum you're up 55‑47 after Whitney made a 3 and the last 11 or so minutes, 5 points.  What happened to the offense there?  It seemed like everybody stood out in the perimeter and hoped everybody would make shots.  Sarah?
SARAH HANSEN:  We were playing a five out offense, we were getting complacent, we weren't attacking it, we were looking to shoot, we passed up a couple shots at the end we would have usually shot.  We just tried not to lose, as opposed to trying to win and finish the game off.
JENNA COBB:  I think also they pushed it really well in conversion and we didn't get back and they were making good shots in conversion the second half when we started to run they started to push it more so we stopped scoring and they started corresponding more.

Q.  Jenna, you took a shot there, late, a shot that needed to be taken, with the shot clock running down, take us through that play and what you saw.
JENNA COBB:  We knew there was going to be a shot open in the corner so if we got it down in the corner you have to take that shot, you can't pass it up so I was ready to shoot and to knock it down.

Q.  Sarah, can you compare this to 2012, it's almost the exact same outcome, same game?
SARAH HANSEN:  That game we were up too and we let it get away, and we kinda did the same thing today, give credit to the Oklahoma State they took it from us in the end there.  They made the plays down the stretch that they had to.  They're a great team, obviously and we kind of started to settle down and got a little back on our heels and that's when they came at us hard and took it away.  Similar to St. Bonaventure, to answer your question.

Q.  Jenna, I know a big emphasis on the team late in the year was attack, attack, attack.  You did that at points this year.  Do you think‑‑ what happened in the last 8 to 10 minutes?
JENNA COBB:  I think we did get a little bit tentative toward the end.  But there were times where we were still attacking, we were just not knocking down the shots.  They took too long.  We had a few 30‑second shot clock calls on us, but you gotta give credit to Oklahoma's defense of taking us out of that and making us get tough shots at the end.

Q.  I know you had a 10‑point lead in the second half, but when it comes down to 1 point I think you probably go back and look at everything.  You missed 12 layups in the second half.  Was that nerves or the situation they were coming down and forcing you to redirect layups?  What was the deal there early?
SARAH HANSEN:  I think that we were a little bit nervous coming into the game.  We missed wide‑open layups that we usually wouldn't miss.  We focus on finishing our layups and we try to shoot as efficient of a field goal percentage as possible and we just didn't finish our layups.  Usually when we're in a situation like that and we can finish them, we do.  Today we were nervous going into the game and it came back to bite us.
JENNA COBB:  Basically the same as Hansen and when we were going in there we were all turning our shots too, to the defense and just trying not to get blocked and I think that has a lot to do with it too, instead of going straight up.

Q.  Earlier in the season when you got down like you did today it would have usually ended up in a loss.  Today you rallied and hung in there.  Is that kind of Aprilsign of the growth of your team?  Talk about what you talked about even when you were having a tough time making shots.
JENNA COBB:  Yeah I think that definitely shows where‑‑ early in the season when we were playing big teams we kind of struggled, and I think that does show how much we have grown toward the end of the season and just coming together, you know, we have been in overtime situations before.
Obviously with Stephanie two times but when you are going against a strong team like Oklahoma State you've got to be able to finish, especially in situations like that because they're going to come at you.
SARAH HANSEN:  I don't remember the question.

Q.  Earlier in the season when you would get down like today.
SARAH HANSEN:  Oh, yeah, like Jenna was saying it showed the growth of our team and we came together.  In the beginning of the season we had a lot of people coming in and we weren't 100% comfortable playing with each other.  We liked each other well enough, we just didn't have it on the court at that point.
When we would start to‑‑ when they would‑‑ other teams would start to come around we would crumble and we've come together and become a family now and you can tell on the court.  I think it speaks volumes for our growth over the past couple of months.

Q.  Sarah, when you guys had that 10‑point lead and they started chipping away at it, did 2012 creep into your mind?
SARAH HANSEN:  At that point no.  I was kind of like into the game.  But now looking back, yeah.  I mean, we have had games where we let teams get back into it, even games in overtime we started to settle and let them get back into it.  We were up 7 less than a minute to go and it ended up being a 2‑point game and things like that.  I think just looking back, it hurts more because of that, but in the moment, I mean, no.
THE MODERATOR:  Ladies, thank you very much.  Congratulations on a great season.  Questions for Coach?

Q.  Coach, how many times there late in the second half were you thinking, okay, we get one more shot and we can really make it difficult for them?
COACH SMESKO:  Well, I mean, that never crossed my mind.  I mean, obviously them going to the zone late, you know, frustrated us a little bit.  We were trying to move the ball quick, and then penetrate into the middle lane and kick it out.  For whatever reason I think we got tense and everybody stood around and passed the ball around and we didn't look for the‑‑ we thought we could get it in the middle and then kick it out and have a shooter in the corner, be either a shot or one pass for a shot and, you know, nobody actually made the aggressive move to create the shot.
When you're playing a team as good as Oklahoma State, you can't just hope the time runs out.  You gotta make a play to win the game and I just thought we got real tentative, especially the last four or five minutes, maybe being too afraid to make a mistake or be the one to do something wrong.  We weren't as aggressive and, you know, we probably could have run maybe some different plays so that they had to be aggressive, like where it calls for their aggressiveness.
That's what I will have to think about when we review this game.

Q.  Coach, Whitney Knight had 11 rebounds and she really had some big rebounds for you in the second half.  Is that something that you were hopeful thinking that you would be able to exploit in the game?
COACH SMESKO:  Well, we didn't think we could win rebounds against Oklahoma State but we thought to win we would have to keep it close and everybody would have to contribute on the boards and you can see Sarah had 9, Jenna 9, Haas 6 in 21 minutes so it was a team effort on the boards, Whitney blocked shots and altered shots and second half especially she was all over the boards so that we limited them to one shot.  So defense actively I thought we executed our game plan pretty well.  Just didn't shoot well, we didn't finish layups well, and then, you know, at the end of the game we got really tentative, and, you know, that's disappointing.  We wished we could have finished this off.

Q.  Whitney was assertive defensively and she has talked about how you wanted her to be more assertive offensively.  Would you have liked to have seen her be more assertive in the last 5 minutes of regulation and overtime?
COACH SMESKO:  They were in a zone, we would have liked to get her the ball more.  We put her in a spot that we thought they were going to have a long close‑out and they were going to have trouble getting it.  But what we put in there‑‑ we hadn't worked on it very much but we saw what was going to be open and when we got the ball in that situation, for whatever reason we passed it away from her when she was open in the corner so we were supposed to pass fake away from her and get it to her, over to Cobb and we kept throwing it back up top which was the opposite of what we talked about.  The moment got to us and we kind of froze a little bit and it's disappointing because our kids played so hard to be in that position.  You know, it would have been nice just to be able to finish the game, but, you know, it definitely would have been nice to get Whitney the ball more especially along the baseline where it was open.  We didn't do it and it makes for a tough ending.

Q.  Coach, you said yesterday Tiffany Bias was priority number one for your defense, she went 1 of 9 with 8 turnovers but made a shot in traffic, the game winner.  So overall you gotta be pleased but she had 8 assists and made it when it mattered.
COACH SMESKO:  She is a great all‑around player.  We wanted to limit her in conversion and we didn't do a great job in transition, transition, early we lose Donohoe a number of times and she was supposed to be a key in conversion and Tiffany Bias found people in transition and with her assists, Kaneisha Atwater did a great job on her when she was in, making it so she could get to the basket, forcing her to take jump shots and we did a good job on the ball screen defense when she came off them, but she made the big play at the end.

Q.  What do you think was the could I to your team hanging in there when you were down double digits not being able to make a lot of shots and then turning the game around in the second half where you built up a lead?
COACH SMESKO:  We started off really slow and didn't execute offensively well and when we got layups we missed them.  It was definitely frustrating first 10, twelve minutes but because our defense was good enough we weren't out of the game and I thought Stephanie Haas was huge, she wasn't afraid to get in there, got fouled, made layups and I think she gave confidence to the whole team.  We saw Stephanie was being active and cutting on the catch and people picked up momentum from her.

Q.  ‑‑ she didn't play much in the second.
COACH SMESKO:  No, the‑‑ Stephanie wasn't injured, that was a coach's decision.  We were going with probably our most defensive lineup at the end of the game.  You know, Atwater, I didn't want to take her off No. 3 to put Stephanie in, she was doing such a great job on No. 3 and it was in zone if they were on man I wouldn't have taken Haas out because they were in man and she was really attacking them but we kept our defensive line in and unfortunately we had that big turnover against the press where we didn't execute our screening to get it in and they got the tip and then hit a big 3 on us.  It would probably have been a good time to get us organized because we didn't screen very well to get the ball in bounds there.  Unfortunately we got a little tentative at the end of the game where we didn't want to just attack and take it to them, we were just trying to‑‑ we were being too hesitant and trying to run out the clock with the lead and as I said, you have to play this game to the buzzer, and give Oklahoma State credit they did and they're moving on.

Q.  Coach talk about the experience of coaching Sarah Hansen for five years.
COACH SMESKO:  It's been a real treat, she is the brightest young lady I have ever coached.  She is such a competitor.  Would have been nice to see her get to advance in this tournament and that's going to be another frustration about this, as our two trips here, We've got two overtime losses in this 12‑5 game, she is going to be greatly missed, she is the greatest kid, but that just makes it all the more for her.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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