So how much better or how much easier was last night's sleep for you after getting that win?
"I was asked the question whether I was happy or relieved. I think the first response is relieved. I joked with my team afterwards saying that if I had picked up a microphone with about a minute to play (in the Indiana win Sunday) and asked every fan in the stands if they were saying 'Oh, here we go again', how many would have responded, but we closed it down. Jordan Wilson was heroic; I think she had a tremendous game. Someone mentioned to me today that she was very Barb Franke-like. Some people remember her going to the basket and some of those leaners..it was good for Jordan. The best play for her in that game was the hustle play when she dove out of bounds and saved it with three seconds left on the clock to give us the ball back and we ended up scoring and actually she got fouled. So it's a great feeling. Obviously the taste in your mouth when you have success is that much more rewarding, but that one the kids deserved. They played hard."
Lisa, that last couple of games you've played pretty well, and you win yesterday obviously. You hear Mike Eaves saying you want to play your best hockey at the end of the year. Do you think your club is playing the best basketball right now?
"I feel great about our team right now. After the Iowa game, you look at that game in the positive standpoint, the good things. Offensively, we weren't standing. We got a lot of people involved. Lello goes down with an injury and we still respond back. Unfortunately we didn't close the door and finish the game. It's too bad that 30 seconds had to describe that game. We go to Penn State, we're down 27 points with 15 turnovers, and we come back, rim out two three's and make that a basketball game. We cut it to 10 against, in some polls, the number four team in the country, on the road. I like what I see in our kids' eyes. I like their vision. They're really focused right now. They're believing right now. They're believing that we're playing the best basketball.
As hard as this season may appear, our team is playing great right now and this is the time to play well. We have a tall task in front of us going to Illinois on Thursday. We haven't won on the road yet in the Big Ten. This is a team that we got at the Kohl center. They'll be much better there, but the way our kids are playing right now and getting more people involved and a different hero each day, those are good things. Mike is right; you want to be playing your best hockey, your best basketball, run your best times right now, at this time of the season as you go into the tournament."
Lisa can you talk a little bit about Jordan because she has competitive fire, which is just the opposite of the way she is off the court. You wouldn't expect that from Jordan. Are your other post player learning from what she does on the court?
"I'm going to credit Kjersten Bakke for bringing out that
intensity with Jordan. I mean Jordan is as easy going as anybody off the court,
as you mentioned, but when they cross that baseline she and Bakke just bring out
that fire. It's becoming quit evident in our team. We're flying around, getting
loose balls. We're still rebounding; our defense has been pretty decent. We're
running some switching defenses right now and it's causing some teams some
problems. This time of the year with people maintaining their type of offense,
depending on who you're playing, if you're not going to wrinkle things up just a
little bit, the defenses are going to take you out of what you want to do. We,
as a matter of fact, did that to Indian just last night. Jordan stepped up, we
cleared it out and let her go to work to keep the game very simple. The fact
that Jordan is playing the way she's playing, that hunger that thirst, that
competitiveness is rubbing off on the rest. Emily Ashbaugh, even at Penn State
was diving all over the floor; I mean those are good things. All of our players
are capable of doing that, and they see that they are rewarded for it. Another
example is Annie Nelson. Annie Nelson gave us a big spark at Penn State, came in
last night turned the ball over a couple of times, but then she went to the rack
real hard, got some fouls made some free throw shots. So it doesn't take someone
scoring 25 points a game to be recognized by the coaches or the fans. They love
that effort, that work ethic. I'm very proud of all of them and obviously Jordan
was the hero of last night's game, but in part because of all her teammates."
Monday Press Conference Participants
Mike Eaves - men's hockey
Ed Nuttycombe - men's track and field
Lisa Stone - women's hockey
Bo Ryan - men's basketball