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


March 23, 2014


Tiffany Bias

Jim Littell

Brittney Martin


WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA

THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH JIM LITTELL:  We're very excited to be here.  We're very pleased that we beat a very good team yesterday.  I thought Florida Gulf Coast has a unique style of play.  A very difficult team to guard.  I was pleased the way our team responded in the last half of the game, last 10 minutes of the game when we were down by 10.
We told our team this morning that our change in attitude is from survive and advance to thrive and advance.  We're going to thrive on the opportunity of being here, we're excited to be here, it's a big deal.  After today we're going to be in the final 32 and we have an opportunity to play ourselves into the Sweet 16.  So, we're very excited about it.  We know we play a great team, on their home floor, but we're going to thrive on the experience that we get.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  For both players, Tiffany and Brittney, you go from the Florida Gulf Coast style that they play where they spread you out to Purdue style, which is more traditional.  Are there examples throughout the year where you've had to go from game to game and change, face styles like that or change styles in a quick fashion?
TIFFANY BIAS:  Our whole conference, we all use the switch defense and switch up offenses because each team plays different.  So, I think we have a good scout and I think we have a good feel of how they play.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  Just the same.  We have to deal with different matchups and things like that throughout our whole conference.  So, this is just like we're used to, just sticking to fundamentals and sticking to the game plans that the coaches arrange for us.

Q.¬† Brittney, Tiffany had a rough shooting day a little bit yesterday.¬† You guys‑‑ you've seen her play for awhile, she's pretty good at bouncing back from those type of games?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think so.  She works hard and really hard work gets you really far.  It gets you really far in games.  So I think that she will be fine.  I'm not worried about it.  I don't think our team's worried about it.

Q.  Tiffany, you did a lot of the heavy lifting in the last game, is it safe to say that you'll be the one on Courtney Moses?
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think so.  As of right now.  I think that's the game plan.  So, it's just a good matchup between two good guards.  So, it will be great to go head to head with her and I can't wait to get on the floor.

Q.  Tiffany, talk about Courtney's game and what you see out of her if you've watched enough film yet, and is it similar to some other players you faced this year?
TIFFANY BIAS:  She's a great shooter.  She gets it off quick and comes off screens.  I think a lot of plays are designed to get her through the staggered screens and get her that shot.  So, I think I got to be cognizant of that and be defensively mentally sound and I think it will be fine.  I just have to stay down on defense.

Q.  For either of the players, can you talk about how much you talked about the Sweet 16 this year and where that ranks in terms of goals.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  I think that we're just taking it game by game, really.  Of course we want to get to the Sweet 16.  We didn't do it last year, we should have, and I think that's something that's always on our mind.  But, I think we just take it game by game and just really I guess, that's what we're working towards, so we're just taking it step by step.
TIFFANY BIAS:  Pretty much what Brittany said.  I think it's just game by game and it's always a big goal of ours just to keep advancing, so I think that we're all excited to play and excited to be here.

Q.¬† What can you make of the Big‑10, Big‑12 matchup?¬† Do you feel any, I guess, pride in carrying the Big‑12 banner here?
TIFFANY BIAS:¬† We take a lot of pride coming from the Big‑12.¬† I think that the Big‑12 and Big‑10 are different in a lot of ways, but also the same.¬† I think we both take pride in our conferences.
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  Good answer.  I think we're both here for a reason, so I think we just got to go play and, yeah, we just got to play, really.

Q.  For both of you guys, you are in a similar situation last year where you were at Duke on its home floor, you guys were up at halftime.  What's to learn out of that that can be applied to Monday night?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† We just got to be patient.¬† We have to relax.¬† We can't play scared like we did last year.¬† I thought we looked nervous and we looked like we were in a panic.¬† I think this year we, or last year really, taught us that we need to be patient.¬† We need to run our offense and when we get in different situation that we're not familiar with, we need to learn how to come out of those instead of coming out like we did last year.¬† So I'm just‑‑ I hope we don't, I hope we learned I guess from that situation.¬† I know I did.

Q.  For Tiffany, I know you've probably been down 10 points with 10 minutes to play in a game before, but maybe not in your last potential game as a college player.  What was going through your mind yesterday when you look up on the board and you know you've got to rally to stay alive?
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think we have been in that situation a lot this year.  I think that as long as we stay together as a team we're going to pull it out.  I think it's just point by point, you can't get it back all at one time.  A lot of players on our team yesterday stepped up and we just kept pushing away at the lead and our coaches believed in us they never stopped coaching and we never stopped playing.

Q.  Tiffany, you have a shooter's mentality, you're just going to keep firing and figure you'll find the zone eventually?
TIFFANY BIAS:  Yeah, I hope one goes in.
(Laughter.)
But, no, my coach told me yesterday, you have to have a short‑term memory and for me to lead, I can't dwell on that.¬† So, as long as my teammates are getting open and making the right reads and decision making, hopefully a few will fall tomorrow.

Q.¬† To expand on being down by 10 points, through your season do you feel that there's no reason to panic because you've been in that situation before, especially in a league like the Big‑12?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:¬† I can't say there's no reason to not panic, because you have to be really, really fundamentally sound.¬† You have to run your offense, you can't just give away possessions.¬† So, I think even coming from the Big‑12 we‑‑ I would, in situations like that I do get worried.¬† But I know that our team can pull together and as long as we do what we're supposed to do, I think anything can really happen.¬† So, as long as we play hard.
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think momentum changes a lot during a basketball game.  So, you just need that one spark, that one basket for the team just to get all into it and anything can happen.

Q.  Tiffany, how did you end up at Oklahoma State?
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think I committed really early.  I loved the coaches, I loved the facility, I just wanted to be what they were about and about family and their program building and stepping in at a good time for me to just learn to be a leader.  It was helpful to have someone older than me teaching me along the way, but I learned from my mistakes and I wouldn't have it any other way.  The coaches have been on my side ever since, so.

Q.  Considering everything this program has been through, just can you talk about not overcoming just things on the court, but also things off the court and how much a Sweet 16 advance would mean to you guys, considering everything that this program has been through.
TIFFANY BIAS:  Every year this program has progressed.  I think that every year you can tell that we have gotten better, we have been more successful every year, we have got better players, better teamwork, and just people that can just be as one as a family.
It would mean a lot to this program, I think everyone around it, our fans believe in us, it really takes us a long way when have you that great support behind you.  So, it would mean great things for this program and just for the future for Cowgirl basketball.

Q.  What did you guys think of the crowd yesterday for Purdue's game?
BRITTNEY MARTIN:  Yeah, Iowa State has the biggest fan base I've ever seen.  You can't hear anything in that gym.  It's really loud.  It scared me the first time I went in there, to be honest.  But, I think it's fun to play with crowds like that, especially when they're against you.  When you make baskets it's silent, it's fun to be in that atmosphere, I think.  But we have played in that atmosphere.  I've played in it at Iowa State, like I said, that's a hard place to play, so I'm excited to have a crowd like that.
TIFFANY BIAS:  I think we have all played in a lot of gyms like that where I think we're accustomed to having not hearing plays.  I think that we have gotten better over the year and the season about relating back to each other.  So, I think it will be a test, but I think that we have dealt with it before, so we'll be okay.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We'll excuse you to the locker room and take questions for coach.

Q.  How much does Liz, having someone her size that can shoot the three as well as she has, how does that open things for Tiffany and Brittney and some of your other players?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  Well, not only for other guards, but it opens up for our inside game as well.  Liz has the ability to stretch the defense both in a half court setting and in transition, as well.  You got to find her.  She got off to a great start and kept us in the game early and then struggled and missed some shots that she normally hits.
But, to have somebody with her size that has the ability to stretch the defense is always been a big asset to us.

Q.  Roshunda really hit some big baskets for you that helped you out in the second half.  It's difficult to know who needs to be the unsung hero, but how important is it to be beyond your big three, for someone else to step up?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  Well this is a game, and we told our team that this morning.  This is a game that everyone has got to play well.  We play a very solid basketball team that has a lot of weapons, they're very physical, they got great size, so we can't have one person on or two people on, we got to have everybody at the top of their game.  And a cliche, we got to bring our A game against these people and our big three has been Bias, Donohoe, and Martin.  They didn't shoot the ball very well yesterday, and all three of them are going to have to shoot better and we're going to have to get contribution off the bench.
You alluded to Roshunda Johnson, I thought she was exceptional yesterday, especially since she is a Freshman.¬† We had the confidence at the end of regulation to go to her for the last shot.¬† She came off of a high ball pick, had a 15‑footer, had the courage to shoot it, missed it, but we went into overtime.¬† I thought Ro was a big difference in the ball game, yesterday.¬† And for a Freshman to do that is a very positive sign.

Q.  The physicality and height was used by Purdue yesterday.  From watching you, it looks like have you a little bit better personnel to deal with that, but what do you think about the interior matchup tomorrow night?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  They just keep bringing size at you.  Their post strength and the versatility that they have to just run players in at the four, five position is very impressive.
The early films, it's going to be crucial that we keep them off the boards.  I think one of the best things that they do is offensive rebound.  They're very good in a high low game, we call it a Miami game, where they try to get the ball in the high post and drop it down to the low post.  Their fours and fives are very good at dribble handoffs, taking the ball to the guards, and creating a screen situation.
So, I think they got a lot of versatility, they got a lot of size, they got depth at the post position where they can keep coming at you and I was very impressed with those kids.  And 32 coming off the bench is a high, high energy player that brings a lot to their program.  And I don't know why she doesn't start, but I feel like she's one of their better players.

Q.  I think you said after the game yesterday you weren't quite sure how you won it.  24 hours later, have you figured that out?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  We may have worn them out.  They maybe drove by us so much that at the end of the game that they were physically tired.
(Laughter.)
I don't know.¬† You look at the numbers sometimes, and they aren't conducive to winning.¬† We were 7‑14 from the free throw line.¬† But, we have won that way all year long.¬† We have told our team it's better to win ugly than lose pretty.¬† And we have won a lot of games in that fashion.
After stepping back and reflecting on it, that's a good team.  I guarantee you there's a lot of people in America that didn't want to play that team.  And they're hard to guard, they're not a conventional style of play, and it was a very good win for us.  That's a team that was unique in the way they play and very, very well coached.  I told our team, I don't know if I said it here yesterday, that Fran Fraschilla says a third of the time you play great, a third of the time you play average and a third of the time you play poorly.  It's those teams, when they're having a bad night and things that aren't going their way, finding away to win.  Those are the teams that win 20 plus games and those are the teams that advance.  And that's been indicative of us, that when we have been average to off in our play, we found a way to win.  I think that's a sign of maturity in your players.

Q.  I asked the players about going from one style to the next, you mentioned the other day that Iowa State compared to Florida Gulf Coast, in that regard, going from that style they play to Purdue's style, is that kind of an easier transition for you guys based on the schedule you played this year?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  Oh, I'm not going to say going to Purdue's an easier transition by any stretch of the imagination.  I think they're really good.
Do we match with them better?  Probably.  Does our personnel fit their personnel better?  Probably.  And I heard their assistant coach that did the scout after the game said the same thing that I'm saying right now, that we probably match better with Oklahoma State than we would with Florida Gulf Coast.  So, in this game a lot of times it comes down to matchups and I think it's two teams that matchup pretty well.  We have had some common opponents and the outcomes have been very similar, so I'm not really excited about how, saying that we're matching with them real well, but we're a better matchup than we were yesterday.  And I think they will feel the same way too.

Q.¬† Along those lines, is there anybody in the Big‑12 or anybody that you played in the non‑conference that would remind you of Purdue?¬† Or vice versa?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  We play Michigan State in Puerto Rico.  I think they're similar to a certain extent.  Baylor plays more of a traditional lineup with a four and a five.  I think they're that way a little bit.
They will play a four and five lineup, but we saw a lot of four guard lineups this year, so this will be a little stretch for us as well, but we have seen some lineups ‑‑ probably Baylor is the closest to what we faced.

Q.  Has Tiffany done a pretty good job of bouncing back from off shooting nights?
COACH JIM LITTELL:¬† She's a resilient young lady and she's got a lot of faith in her own abilities and the abilities of her teammates.¬† And in our league, as I think the Big‑10 is, you got to be pretty resilient and we stressed to our team all year long that we're in 18 individual battles.¬† And she didn't play well in the last battle, we got a new battle.¬† It's a new individual battle that we're facing here.
I expect her to be fine.  You're not going to play great every game and she's carried us a lot this year.  We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her.  And I anticipate that she will play very well tomorrow night.

Q.  You made steady progress over the last couple of years.  I'm curious how you've been able to keep things on track since the plane crash, and if you think about it yet, as a coach, about the Sweet 16.
COACH JIM LITTELL:  It's not something that I really like talking about.  We lost some people that were very dear to our hearts.  We made commitments right then, and I'm not going to talk a lot about it, to be honest, but we made a commitment that the best way for us to pay honor was to compete, play hard, and try to push forward each day.  I think that's what this team has done.  They have gone from 7th in the conference to 5th in the conference to 3rd in the conference.  So our kids have overcome a lot, our coaches have overcome a lot, and I'm proud of what they have done.

Q.  What's the one thing you want your players to take out of last year's second round game at Duke that you can apply tomorrow night?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  You got to be sound for 40 minutes.  We led in that game, I believe, for 35 minutes.  But, we made some mistakes at the end of the game.  We made some mistakes with a double digit lead that came back to haunt us.
So when you get to this level, you can't be really good for 30 minutes and average to poor for 10 minutes or it will come up and bite you.  I watched the tape from that experience and you got to be solid for the entire 40 minutes.  You got to play with great effort, you got to play with great energy, but you got to be very solid in how you play, value the basketball, don't take possessions off defensively, and that pretty well describes our league too.
You got to do that on every given night, so it's not a whole lot different than what we have faced within the Big‑12.¬† But just to be more solid and play the full 40 minutes.

Q.  Your impressions of Courtney Moses?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  Love her.  She's a great player, outstanding player.  Plays the game the right way.  You can tell she has an outstanding respect for the game, this is the way the game ought to be played.  I would say the kid's probably a dream to coach.  You don't have many of those come along.  Outstanding shooter.
I told our team that in film this morning that it may be the best shooter that we have faced all year long.  You look at her numbers, 49 percent overall and almost 47 from the three and 91 from the line.  She has the ability to score the basketball and we're going to have to do a good job on her in their half court set.  They run a lot of things through her.  She's very good at finding the open seams in transition, as well.  I just think she's an outstanding player that really respects the game and knows how to play the game.

Q.  How do you keep your team engaged tomorrow with the late tip off at nine o'clock local time?
COACH JIM LITTELL:  That may be the best time for us.  Our kids night maybe starts at nine o'clock, so that I may be the best time for us, I don't know.  I guarantee you it's probably a better time than 10 o'clock in the morning, central standard time, for us.
So, they play under the same ‑‑ I think it's an advantage that they're going to be in their own apartments or their own rooms or whatever.¬† But, it is what it is and I'm not going to worry about things I can't control, we can't control what time we play.¬† We can control how we play and what our effort and energy level is about.¬† That's what I choose to focus on instead of the late start.¬† Now, coaches at my age, that's a little bit late to be out at night, so I hope I'm okay.¬† I'm a little more worried about me than I am our kids.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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