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March 22, 2014

Casey Dulin

Brian Giorgis

Emma O'Connor

Leanne Ockenden


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Marist.  Coach, an opening statement.
COACH GIORGIS:  It's great to be in Iowa City, great to go up against an opponent like Iowa who is scary similar to us in many ways.  Very talented team.  Extremely well‑coached.  What we call like a better version of ourselves.
Hospitality has been great.  But this is a time that we always look forward to.  With the three seniors to my right here, it's a time where we get to take the target off our back that has been on during the whole conference season and now we get to go out and try to slay one of the bigger schools or a couple bigger schools.
We're looking forward to tomorrow.  We know we have a tremendous opponent in front of us and I don't think we'd want it any other way.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Playing on the opposing team's home floor, is that a special challenge for you? 
LEANNE OCKENDEN:  I think it is.  I mean, it's their home court.  Usually teams are better at playing at their home court.
I can speak for the team.  We like playing at away gyms, per se.  This year we played a lot better away.  So it's going to be a challenge, but I think we're ready for that.

Q.  Leanne, this game is going to feature 10 players averaging double‑digit scoring.  What kind of defensive challenge is that going to be for both teams?
LEANNE OCKENDEN:  It's going to be a challenge.  Any person can step up during the game, especially their five starters earning double‑digit points.  The team has been working on our defense.  Hopefully I can step up for the team and they can follow me.

Q.  It's been a few days since you learned you're going to play Iowa.  Scouting them, what are their tendencies you're going to try to stop tomorrow?
CASEY DULIN:  We've learned they are a lot like us with the double‑digit starting five.  Their post player is a little bigger than ours.  They have quick guards.  We have a good scout.  So we just have to follow it.
EMMA O'CONNOR:  Yeah, basically what Casey said.  They're a better version of us.  We're ranked in similar things in the national stats, or pretty close.
We just have to keep playing the way we've been playing.

Q.  As much success as you've had in the NCAA tournament through the last 10 years, do you find it maybe a little bit of an insult to be considered a mid‑major?
CASEY DULIN:  Honestly, I don't really think we even think about stuff like that.  We just go out there and play Marist basketball.

Q.  Is it easier to prepare for a team that is so similar to you or would it be harder to prepare for a team that is totally unlike you?
THE MODERATOR:  Emma, would you take that one.
EMMA O'CONNOR:  I mean, I think it's a little better to prepare for them because they are similar to us so we kind of know the type of tendencies because we do some of the same things.  I think I'd rather do that than playing against some girls who are way bigger than me and Tori.  I like this matchup a little better.

Q.  If you consider Iowa a better version of yourselves, why do you consider Iowa better?
CASEY DULIN:  Well, they play in a bigger conference than us.  They played very good opponents all year.  Our non‑conference schedule is pretty hard.  But I think they just had more experience than us playing better teams, that's why they can be considered a little better than us.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, ladies.
We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  The offensive potential of both these teams, is this going to be a team that you think might be in the 80s or 90s, or do you see some of your top defenders stepping up?
COACH GIORGIS:  That's a good question.
Again, they're very talented at all five positions.  Stopping them is going to be, you know, a heck of a chore.  They're playing on their home court.  Chances are you usually shoot better on your home court.
I'd like to hope that we can score, you know, up in that level and stuff.  Can we hold them down?  I don't know.  Again, they're playing in the Big Ten.  They're going up against Penn State and stuff.
Even though this has been the best year of our conference with four people in the top 100, it's not the same as the Big Ten.

Q.  How do you gauge the success of your program?  You've been here nine straight years.  Is that the success level?  Do you feel after having been here so many times that you really need or want to win this first‑round game for it to be a successful season?
COACH GIORGIS:  Oh, it's been a successful season.  We don't have to win a game tomorrow to say this year's been successful or not.  27 wins is pretty good.  When you beat a team like Oklahoma, you've done a pretty good job.  When you lose to Ohio State by three at the end, you don't have your two best players there, on their court, it's been a really, really good year.  Like I say, I think we're dangerous when we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Our kids know they've had a great year.
I know, especially with these seniors, I remember after last year when we lost to Michigan State by five in the opening round, they were really hurting, and more than usual, because they had won games in each of the two previous years against Georgia and against Iowa State.
They last year felt incomplete because they didn't win one.  To win the national championship, we don't look at things like that.  We just try to knock off, be as big a pain in the rear to everybody as we can, to show we can play with the big boys.  That's what they'll be trying to do tomorrow, and hopefully we can take one down or two down or whatever.
I know this group has always wanted to get to a Sweet 16 because it's been a while.  The toughest road to go through is going through somebody on their home court, which we've never faced in the first round, then a team like Louisville.  I don't know what Idaho will do with them, but if we get our first round...
Two extremely tough opponents.  But that's not going to determine our success, how we do against them.  We've had a great year.

Q.  In essence, what has to go right tomorrow night for you to pull off what would be considered an upset?
COACH GIORGIS:  I always felt in a game like this if both people bring their A game and play it, they just have a little bit more talent than we have.  That's what I mean by 'a better version.'  A lot of our kids weren't recruited by BCS schools.  They're a little bit more athletic, a little bit bigger, a little bit more physical.  They get a lot better playing in that type of conference.
But for us, if we can play well, somehow disrupt them in some of the things that they do...
With most of these teams, Ohio State in '07, Georgia two years ago, were we the better team?  Not many people would say so.  Not always the better team wins, you know.
Some things do have to go right for us.  We have to do the things we do well tomorrow.  We have to shoot the ball better, or as well as we have.  Defensively, that's a real hard group to guard because they've got so many weapons.  I had to finally stop practice and yell at our kids, You can't worry that Dixon shoots all these threes and makes them, because if that kid goes by you, that kid scores two.
The thing that I like with the matchup is you don't have to do anything special, per se, because you got to guard 'em all.  You can't sit there and say, You slough off that person, you slough off that person, we'll make this kid be the hero.  They got a lot of people that can step up and be the hero.  That's the tough part with this matchup.
If they try to slough off somebody else and leave some of our people open, they'll pay the price there.  That's what makes it such an intriguing matchup when you have five people in double‑digits on each team.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.
COACH GIORGIS:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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