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March 24, 2014

Sara Hammond

Asia Taylor

Jeff Walz


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Louisville.テつ We'll take an opening statement from coach.
COACH WALZ:テつ Just, again, honored to still be playing.テつ We know we're going to have a battle on our hands tomorrow night.テつ Iowa's a fantastic basketball club.テつ Very well‑coached.テつ They play extremely hard.
Any time you can put five players in double figures, you're doing something right.テつ Just really, really impressed with watching them on film, and even more impressed when I've had the opportunity to watch them in person.
The crowd I thought was fantastic last night, very loud, knowledgeable fans.テつ They know when to cheer.テつ They're not just here enjoying a ballgame.
The one thing I did hear over and over, hopefully I'll get a chance to see it, I was told the ice cream cones were fantastic here.テつ I was told they were about that big.テつ Is that true out there (laughter)?テつ I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a chance to get one.
But it's been a first‑class event.テつ It's been run extremely well.テつ Everybody has been very professional.テつ We're just excited to have the opportunity to play tomorrow night.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Sara, what did you think about the fact you are very highly ranked but you have to come and play a road game essentially?テつ What is y'all's mentality going into that?
SARA HAMMOND:テつ It's NCAA tournament.テつ It's win or go home.テつ No matter where we're placed, no matter who we're playing, we got to bring our A game every night.
Coming into Iowa, playing on their home court, like coach said, a great environment.テつ I think it's going to be a great ballgame.テつ They're a very good ballclub.テつ Their five starters are averaging double figures.テつ They have many weapons.
I think our mentality is the same every game.テつ We have to bring our A game.テつ Defensively we have to rebound, limit our turnovers, get our offense and kind of do what we did last night, make a lot of shots.
I think it's going to be a great game between two good teams and hopefully we come out with a victory.

Q.テつ The way this is set up, do you feel this is the toughest hurdle on the way back to the Final Four because you're on the road?テつ What concerns you most about Iowa?テつ Is it their balance?テつ Just the fact you're playing here?
ASIA TAYLOR:テつ I think they're definitely a great team.テつ Like coach said, in the tournament everybody's a good team.テつ That's why they made it here.
We're not taking this lightly at all.テつ We're not looking past this game.テつ We just want to go out and play our game and we'll be fine.

Q.テつ Sara, how important do you feel like Jude's role is to the team, what she brings off the bench?
SARA HAMMOND:テつ Same thing I said last night.テつ Jude is the spark and energy we need off the bench.テつ When things aren't going our way offensively and defensively, she sets the tone, kind of gets our run going.
Obviously she made a big difference when she came out on the floor last night.テつ We went on a big run.テつ I think you give credit to her defense.テつ She pressured their point guard, got her a little rattled and got her hands on some balls, deflections, steals, got our transition going.テつ I think that got everybody's confidence going.
Once we see Jude doing her thing, she's leading us on the court at the point guard spot, tell us where we need to be, what we need to be doing.テつ She's a big key to this team going down the road.テつ I'm glad she's doing great when we need her to right now in this tournament.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, ladies.
We'll entertain questions for coach.

Q.テつ Do you think the challenge of playing what is in essence a true road game in the NCAA tournament, is it more that there's 7,000 people cheering against you or because you're playing a team that's comfortable shooting in this gym?
COACH WALZ:テつ Well, it's a little bit of both.テつ Again, I mean, it's something we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do last year as a five seed.テつ Purdue had to come to our place and play.
It's nothing that you can sit here and worry about.テつ The goals are 10 foot.テつ We had the opportunity to get a game under our belt last night.テつ I think it's more of an impact when it's your first game in someone's arena.
At the same time you get the opportunity to come in here and practice the day before.テつ So we have a good feel for the arena.テつ I thought we shot the ball well yesterday.テつ That's not much of a factor, I don't believe.
The home crowd is always nice.テつ If you're doing well, they're getting loud.テつ If you need a pick‑me‑up, they get behind you and get things going.
Sure, I mean, would we like to be playing at home?テつ Of course.テつ But, you know, you've got to go on the road and win games in your conference.テつ You've got to go on the road and win games in the NCAA tournament right now.テつ So that's what we have to do.
Like I said in last night's press conference, I'm not sure it's ever going to happen in my time.テつ But our game is continuing to grow, it's continuing to build fans, to get attendance up.テつ Hopefully one day you'll see women's basketball being able to go to neutral sites for the entire NCAA tournament.
You never know what can happen.テつ But until that time comes, there are going to be some teams that are going to have to play games on home courts in order to advance.

Q.テつ Correct me if I'm wrong, but next year are they going to a system where the top four seeds get to host?
COACH WALZ:テつ That's what we're doing, yeah.

Q.テつ Do you consider that a more fair method?
COACH WALZ:テつ I'm not a big fan of any of that.テつ I'd like to see us try to go back to putting eight teams at a site.テつ I sit here and try to fight.テつ See if we can't give it three or four years to see if we could build that.
When you get back to the top four seeds hosting, then I think you're going to see the top 16 teams probably in the Sweet 16 each year.テつ When you're getting a chance to play on a home court in the first two rounds, it's a big advantage, especially when you're the higher seed.
We're trying to do whatever we can in women's basketball to continue to grow the game, continue to get the fan support.
I'm glad this is a one‑year test for the regionals.テつ I think you play your first two games at home or you go to home sites, you have your advantages.テつ I'm glad it's just a one‑year deal where the regionals are going to be on a home court.
If we're fortunate enough to be able to advance after tomorrow night, it's going to be a tall task in front of us, we're getting the opportunity to go back home and play on our home court.テつ Stanford, they get to play at home if they win, Notre Dame.テつ I'm not a fan of being able to play at home to get to a Final Four.テつ That's where you start getting concerned about, Golly, is this what we want to do?
I'm proud of our coaches, our coaching association.テつ When this came out, I think everybody just expressed their concern if we were to continue to do this.テつ I give a lot of credit to the NCAA, our women's basketball committee for saying, Hey, okay, we hear y'all, now we'll go back to neutral sites for the regionals from here on out.

Q.テつ The game last year against Purdue, do you think y'all would have won that game had it been at Purdue?
COACH WALZ:テつ I don't know.テつ That's a really good question.テつ I thought we played well.テつ Part of it is, is it the fact you're playing at home in front of your home crowd?
I think we're 17‑1 at home with our one loss to UConn.テつ We've had success playing at home.テつ Iowa's played extremely well here.
Is it a benefit?テつ Of course, it is.テつ If it wasn't, teams wouldn't bid to host the first and second round.テつ We've been on the positive side of that, too.テつ Now we have to make sure we come out here and just play basketball and not worry about where the game's being played.

Q.テつ What do you think about the balance that Iowa has, their starters?テつ Logic almost had a triple‑double last night.
COACH WALZ:テつ They're a great basketball team.テつ Their point guard, Samantha, is just a very heady basketball player, understands the game, does a fantastic job of getting her team organized.テつ Very impressed with her at timeouts, free throws, how she's constantly coaching.テつ She's out there getting everyone involved.テつ I was really impressed with her.
Their five player does a great job around the basket.テつ She's able to step out and shoot the ball from 10 to 15 feet.
Then you've got the other three guards that are out there shooting the basketball extremely well.テつ Their freshman is playing with a lot of confidence.テつ Was really impressed with the fact that she struggled some in the first half shooting the ball last night, but did not let that affect how she played at both ends of the floor.テつ Then she comes out and gets an open look to start the second half and hits it.テつ I watched her.テつ She ran up the court.テつ You could read her lips, Finally!テつ After that she played with a lot of confidence.
It's a ballclub that presents a lot of problems for us.テつ We're going to have to defend extremely well.テつ We're going to have to defend the three‑point line well.テつ When you shoot close to 50%, I think they were 12 of 25 from the three‑point line, we definitely don't want to give them wide‑open looks.

Q.テつ Can you talk about what you feel like the importance of Jude has been to the team, playing as the other Schimmel sister.
COACH WALZ:テつ Jude has made a name for herself.テつ She's no longer Shoni's sister.テつ Jude has performed well enough to pass two and a half years for everyone to know, Hey, it's Jude Schimmel.テつ Jude's basketball IQ is as high as anyone on our team.テつ She understands where the ball has to go, who needs the ball, who is shooting it well.
Defensively she just seems to be in the right spot at the right time.テつ She has come up with so many big steals for us throughout her career, some game‑winning baskets, some game‑winning stops, things you can't teach.テつ That's because the kid loves the game.テつ She's always asking me questions during practice, what we're trying to get done, where should she be on defense, what we're looking for.
So Jude's a very, very vital part of this ballclub.テつ I like having her come off the bench.テつ I like what she brings us.テつ Just really looking forward to her continuing to play as well as she has been.

Q.テつ This seems to be more an issue on the men's side of the tournament.テつ You have coaches publicly frustrated with the travel schedule, tight playing schedules.テつ Have you had any issues?
COACH WALZ:テつ No.テつ We had four mini vans.テつ It was a hell of a trip.テつ A family vacation.
No, we chartered up here.テつ Things went smooth as can be.テつ They actually asked me my opinion, Did we want to fly back tomorrow night or on Wednesday morning?テつ So we had the option of making trips either time.
You know, I think a lot of it comes down to it, and I could be wrong, but especially the first two days, when you have the men's tournament going and the women's tournament going, the NCAA is trying to get a lot of teams a lot of places.
I know they don't own planes.テつ They have to go out and find the inventory to fly these teams back and forth.テつ I think they've done a great job.テつ Our travel has been fantastic.テつ Our hotel is great.テつ We're very pleased with how our travel has gone.

Q.テつ Can you think back to what it was like recruiting Jude.テつ Were you looking for her?テつ When did you realize she was on your level, a player you wanted?テつ Can you also maybe contrast her with Shoni, Jude's game compared to that.
COACH WALZ:テつ Shoni's game is more flashy.テつ She's going to make some plays that you normally don't expect people to make.テつ She's making the no‑look pass.
Jude gets it done.テつ Jude is not the flashy type of ball player.テつ But at the end of the day when you look at her stat line, you're like, Hey, that's a solid ballgame.テつ Last night 2‑4 at the three‑point line, comes up with some rebounds, steals, four assists I believe.テつ Just a solid game.テつ There was nothing during like that you were like, Wow!テつ She just gets it done.
Like I said, Shoni has more of the flair to her game.テつ That's the thing that separates those two.テつ Shoni is a better scorer, that's what she does.テつ Jude sets people up.テつ She can knock down shots when she needs to.テつ She's got a nice pull‑up jump shot.テつ Jude is more of a pure point guard.
In the recruitment of them, we had the opportunity to see them both play because they played on the same AAU team.テつ Again, if you just watch Shoni, you may have missed Jude.テつ But Jude held her own.テつ Jude competes.テつ That's one thing you can't measure.テつ You can't measure a kid's heart.テつ That's what she did all the summers I saw her play, the high school games I saw her play.テつ Jude wants to win.
Every kid says they want to win, but it's the ones that are willing to go above and beyond that really attract your eye.テつ That's what Jude does.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.
COACH WALZ:テつ Thanks, everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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