March 31, 2009

 

IOWA STATE QUOTES

HEAD COACH BILL FENNELLY

General comments:
I would like to congratulate Stanford. That’s a tremendous basketball team. They are very well coached and well-deserving of their ranking and moving on to the Final Four.

On behalf of the Iowa State women’s basketball program and our University, I want to thank the (NCAA) Committee for inviting us to the party. I hope that we added something to it. It was an honor to be part of the NCAA Tournament.

I want to thank the University of California, Berkeley, for the way they treated us. They were an amazing host. Thank you for all your time and effort providing our student-athletes with some great memories. We sincerely appreciate it.

On Iowa State’s game plan, particularly for Stanford junior center Jayne Appel:
The biggest concern I had was that we wanted to limit her offensive rebounds and her free throw attempts. I wasn’t worried about how many points she scored. Our plan was to make 10 or 11 threes and take away the three from them. We tried to double and triple her in Hawaii and just got annihilated. We needed to score when we had open looks at the basket.

On Iowa State’s seniors:
The senior class did exactly what I expect from all of our seniors. They earned an amazing amount of respect from our fans. I ask the seniors all the time to “leave a piece of you in the building.” They did that. I think what they accomplished this year, and the way they led our team, puts them on the same plateau as so many other great senior classes. And they did it with a lot less fanfare. We had no all-conference, all-anything players but we had all-world kind of people in our senior class. Our fans love them dearly. They have made us a better basketball team and certainly made all of us better people.

This team, I think especially down the stretch, played with an amazing amount of chemistry, energy and cohesiveness. We don’t have one player that Stanford probably sent a questionnaire to and there’s not one player on the Stanford team that returned a questionnaire to us. But there is something about basketball. A group of people who have a common bond and a common thread of understanding about how they have to play to win and to be successful, and this team had that. And they did it not just in this tournament, but they won 27 games in the best league in the country and against a very good schedule.

There are a lot of things that they have accomplished that are had to quantify. When everyone takes a step back and looks at it (the season), I think that they have every right to be very proud of what they have accomplished.

On a possible Stanford vs. UConn game in the Final Four:
In my mind, there is no doubt that Stanford is the only team that has a chance to beat them (UConn). I think their (Stanford) guard play is much better than people think. I think it would be a very good game. I honestly believe that Stanford is the team that can go to St. Louis and really give Connecticut a game.

Cal competed really well with Connecticut for most of the game, so I think Stanford will take some solace from that. UConn is an amazing team. I don’t think there is any doubt that it would be a great game.

GUARD HEATHER EZELL
On Jayne Appel:
Obviously (Jayne Appel) is a great player. Our game plan was to let her score and stop everybody else.  (Our plan was) to not allow them threes, and give them tough twos.  Pretty much we let her do what she wanted.  We were going to double her if we could, but not a lot.  Pretty much just guard everybody else on the outside.

On Iowa State’s offensive:
It was tough on the outside. They know we shoot well from three point land, so they were going to be out there and always have a hand in your face.  We didn’t get a whole lot of open looks. Amanda (Nisleit) shot a few open ones to keep us in the game, but other than that we had a few open ones that we had to knock down.

When you cut it to 13 did you feel there was momentum, or were you still in a big hole?
There was still a big hill to climb.  We were just hoping we could get it done on the defensive (end) and then come back. We were just trying to get a couple scores and a couple stops.  We cut it to 13, and we couldn’t get it back. We missed a couple shots and lost the little momentum we had.


FORWARD AMANDA NISLEIT
On Jayne Appel:
Like Heather (Ezell) said, she is a great player.  She has a variety of post moves. She is a great rebounder; she can rebound her own shots.  She is a great finisher.  She knows how to use her body, how to get into position.

Did you consider changing your game plan when Jayne was scoring like she was?
We just kept to our game plan, making her shoot tough twos.

On Iowa State’s season:
We are very proud of our team; we have been working really hard this season. I’m just proud to be a part of the Iowa State women’s basketball team.  

How did this game feel compared to earlier this season in Hawaii (Stanford win, 83-45)?
I thought we played a lot better than we did previously. We worked a lot better together as a team.  Obviously our shots didn’t fall, and a lot of their shots did fall.

 

STANFORD QUOTES

HEAD COACH TARA VANDERVEER
Opening statement
“I’d like to compliment Iowa State on the great season they had and how hard we had to work to beat them. They are an extremely talented team. I always knew they had the fire power to come back with their tremendous three-point shooting. Secondly, I’d like to thank Cal for hosting a first-class tournament and for all the fans- our fans and Pac-10 fans- that were able to come and watch. Thank you for your great support. Third, I want to congratulate [Jeanette Pohlen, Jillian Harmon, and Jayne Appel], who really put our team on their back. Jeanette had a tremendous weekend, and as she reminded me, she averaged 10 rebounds for the two games so we’re going to move her to power forward. Jillian [Harmon] was a warrior out there, playing defense and rebounding, and doing whatever we needed. And Jayne [Appel] was spectacular. I’m so proud of her and our whole team for really stepping up and making the plays that we needed to take us to the Final Four. I’ve never been so excited about going to St. Louis.”

What inkling did you have that the game plan would be not to double-team Jayne Appel and guard her one-on-one?
“I thought Jayne [Appel] was one-on-one against Ohio State and a lot of our perimeter game stepped up. I think [Iowa State] was thinking, ‘We’re going to take a three for a two,’ and every time I could, I yelled ‘No threes; get out on the three-point shooter.’ I thought we did a better job in the second half of getting out on their three-point shooters. They played against Oklahoma and I watched that game. I watched as many of their games as I could to see what they were doing, and that’s what they did.”

Did you also suspect because Iowa State had such terrible results double-teaming Jayne Appel in Hawaii that they just threw that out?
“We did. We made 13 threes in Hawaii. Kayla [Pedersen] was three-for-three. Rosalyn [Gold-Onwude] was three-for-five. I don’t question necessarily what [Iowa State] did. Jayne [Appel] had to deliver. She had two and three people on her sometimes, but she definitely had people working behind her, pushing her. She had some good shots, but I think that was their plan.”

“We knew what we had to do. We had to keep them from shooting threes and not foul them. I was really proud of the fact that they only shot seven free throws. This is something that our team has been able to do all year. We, as coaches, figure out a game plan and say this is what we’re doing, and they do it. That’s great.”

Is it fair to say getting to the Final Four in 2008 was something you hoped for and getting there this year was something you expected?
“I think things can happen where you don’t have control of it. There was no guarantee we were going last year, and there was no guarantee we were going this year. We might have been able to go the year we got to the Elite Eight and played Tennessee. It came down to one play. It came down to one play against LSU. It didn’t come down to one play tonight, but three times in a row, we were in this game and lost. We worked as hard as we could to convey to our team how special this game is. When I think back about 1990 [and winning a national championship], I don’t think I was happier than when we won at Maples Pavilion. I tried to communicate to our team that not only would it be great to win and go to the Final Four, but you’re here and your fans are here, and it would be a night they would remember all their life.”

Can you put it in perspective for yourself? You lost the best player you’ve ever coached and you lost your point guard early in the season. Yet,  you’re back to another Final Four, a place people used to expect Stanford to be all the time. 
“A lot of it is keeping people healthy. Obviously we were very disappointed when JJ [Hones] went down, and it took us a while to figure out. We played a very tough schedule. In fact, Iowa State was one of the great teams we played, as well as Purdue. We played a great schedule. I feel like our team really has bought into their roles. They are excited to win and do whatever it takes. If Jayne [Appel] has four points or 46 points, she is the same person. She sets an example for people. I’m thrilled for these young women and that they get the experience of going to the Final Four. I love going there too. “ 

CENTER JAYNE APPEL
Talk about Iowa State’s game plan and being single covered.
“Tara [VanDerveer] told me she was pretty sure they were not going to double [cover] me, so we knew immediately we were going to go inside. That was our game plan from the very beginning and that worked for us.”

What does it mean to go back to the Final Four?
“I think we weren’t going to leave here without cutting down those nets. That wasn’t an option for us. That’s the mentality we needed to come out with this entire season that we were going to a certain place, and we were going to leave there victorious.”

After being double and triple teamed all season, can you recall the last game you were single covered?
“Ohio State left me a little open most of the game [in the Regional Semifinal]. In Pac-10 play, I didn’t see very much single coverage. It’s taking advantage of what the other team gives us.”

How do you feel about breaking Stanford’s single-game scoring record?
“It’s a tremendous honor, but I couldn’t have done it without the other four players on the court. They’re the people that have to get me the ball and take care of the ball bringing it up the court. I was going to do whatever it took for our seniors and win this game. Morgan [Clyburn] – I wish she could be playing for us – has been out all season. She’s been contributing in other ways and reading the scouting report this morning, and she’s not even playing in the game. That’s the type of seniors we have this year and there was no way I wasn’t going to do anything possible to get them another trip to the Final Four.”

What did it feel like to be single-covered?
“I wouldn’t say it was that easy. They were pretty physical inside, trying to push from behind. I almost feel like they were going in circles. They weren’t sure if they were going to front or go behind in the second half. I just tried to stick with it throughout the game and try to deliver for my team.”


FORWARD JILLIAN HARMON
What does it mean to make it to the Final Four for the second-straight year?
“It means everything. My freshman year, we got to this game [the Elite Eight] and lost. It was very disheartening and the next year, we lost in the second round. To come back [to the Final Four] two years in a row is so exciting. To put the program back on the map and be one that makes it to the Final Four every year and to do it with this team and these coaches is so special.”

Talk about the game plan and getting the ball inside to F/C Jayne Appel.
“To get the ball inside, [Jayne]’s a big target. Tara [VanDerveer] always says, ‘if you can’t pass to Jayne, you can’t pass.’ [Jayne] does a great job of getting big in there and she delivered.”