NCAA Tourney: Pre-Game Transcript

Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder and seniors Megan Skouby, Kristi Smith and Wendy Ausdemore met with the media on Sunday in preparation for their first round NCAA tournament game. Read that they had to say in this press conference transcript.


Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder

Opening Statement

"We are just very thrilled to be here. This is my 10th NCAA tournament and I got to stay in my own bed the night before. It's very exciting to sleep in our own beds and have the opportunity to play in the comfort of our own arena. We are hosting, but also understand that we have a very formidable opponent, Georgia Tech, we've seen them on film a number of times now and understand the quality of opponent we are going against. They are obviously a very athletic team, a quick team, a very good defensive team and we know that it's going to be an incredible challenge. So we are excited to host, but also wish that maybe the opponent wasn't Georgia Tech at this point, but we are looking forward to a great, great game tomorrow. To my far right, Megan Skouby, middle Kristi Smith, to my immediate right, Wendy Ausdemore. All three are seniors."

On reaction to Paris' guarantee "I was surprised when I heard it, and you don't know the context it was spoken in. You know a lot of players and a lot of coaches say things, sometimes they say things in jest, sometimes not. We don't know what context it was really spoken in. I think it's fun for all of you guys to play with."

On senior leadership "The week off for spring break was kind of nice, because they didn't have to worry about going to classes or taking tests, or any of those other things that can complicate a student-athlete's life. So it's been nice, they have been able to just concentrate on the upcoming game and on our opponent. They did a little bit of community service, visited some retirement homes and so I think it's nice for them to be able to get out into the community and do some of those things. And we had the opportunity to do that this week. We have great senior leadership and not only the three of them that are up here, but also Lindsey Nyenhuis and Nicole Vanderpol have done a great job for us all year. I am proud of their efforts and certainly want them to feel like they are leading in this situation. This is their third NCAA tournament and they need to express that, and the things involved in that to the younger players."

On Hamlin's ankle "I think it's close to 100 percent. We haven't even talked about it in a long time. I think she is doing well and I think she had a really, very powerful week of practice. A week of practice where she almost looked like the old Jo Hamlin before she went down. She was taking the ball to the hole a lot more aggressively. I am excited that Jo seems almost back to normal.

On Georgia Tech offense "They are an excellent penetration team. They attack the hole very, very well. Montgomery's a great three point shooter, so they have that weapon as well. They are a very good offensive rebounding team as well, when you're a plus four rebounding team in the ACC conference, that's pretty impressive. I'd say those are the three things that they are very, very good at."

On game day attendance (current 4,000 sold tickets) "I thought we could get a little bit better than that, and I think we still will. I think we will have a lot of walk-ups tomorrow that will purchase tickets. You know in my mind I was hoping we could get around five thousand in here for this game, especially for the caliber of opponents we have. Now I understand Georgia Tech and Prairie View are probably not going to draw much from their home communities because they're so far away, but Oklahoma will certainly bring a lot of fans as the No. 1 seed and obviously having an 8:30 p.m. time didn't help us any. But at the same time this is an event that doesn't happen every day and so hopefully parents will realize that this is something that is a real special opportunity, and maybe their kids will just go to school tired the next day."

On Iowa free throws "Barbara you always know all those stats. I am amazed. I need to have you travel with me and have all those stats handy for me. We have done a great job of getting to the free-throw line. We are a good free-throw shooting team, and just as any game, for us to be victorious we need to take advantage of our strengths and that is one of our strengths."

On tip-off time "We were assigned the 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. time slots a long time ago. We had no impact on the time of 8:30 p.m., as we requested the 6 p.m. time and did not get it. I do not know the variables Susan, I'm not sure what they are and how they determine those things."

On freshmen attitudes "They are excited. Again, they don't know what to expect, so you just never know with freshmen and how they will react to a different situation. But all year long they have been consistent and I don't expect that to change with this game."

Iowa Senior Kristi Smith On Georgia Tech's full court pressure (Forced Turnovers and Team Steals) "We've been working on breaking the press all week. We have very good ball handlers on this team so as long as we are confident and we're aggressive, as long as we take care of the ball, we should be good."

Georgia Tech's Offense "They like to penetrate a lot, they have a few good outside shooters, but we just have to be able to deny out there…"

Iowa Senior Megan Skouby Knowledge from Previous Tournaments "I think you can't go into any game scared of your opponents. You have to go in with great intensity because anything can happen in any game. Everyone is going out and playing hard. So, I think that is a big lesson learned. You can't back down in any game as well even though you might be the higher ranked opponent, you have to go out there and play your toughest game as well."

Home Court Advantage for the NCAA Tournament "Funny thing…When Niner (Lindsey Nyenhuis) and I walked in together earlier we were like ‘This is just a weird experience to have the NCAA Tournament here.' It just doesn't feel like NCAA Tournament right now. Obviously we're not going to go in and be thinking… ‘Oh it's just another home game.' We play really well at home, but it is kind of a weird experience to know this is the "Big Dance" right here on your own home court."

Playing much better at home than anywhere else… "Just playing at home you get your home fans and just a lot of people cheering for you and you get that momentum. Whereas when you're away, yeah you can get that momentum, but it's easy for the home crowd to get their team back into it. So I think playing in front of the home crowd gives a lot of advantages, plus the fact that you know your home court, you know everything about it. I think it's just easier to play at home."

Iowa Senior Wendy Ausdemore Having Two Weeks Off "Yeah, I think we've had two great weeks of practice. We've done a lot of competitive drills; we've scrimmaged against each other. You saw the gold team, they really took it at us, at the starting five, a couple times even there the competition and the intensity was really kept up and stuff."

Thoughts on Courtney Paris' Scholarship Promise "I didn't hear it the first time she said it. I think it was the night of the selection show when they were kind of talking about it a lot. Like I said you know, we have to take care of Georgia Tech first and they've got to take care of Prairie View. She's a great player and they're a great team so…"

Importance of 3-ball in Offense "We always love to hit the three pointers to get that going, that will be important, but we have to take care of the press first in the half court offense."

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