BIG TEN CONFERENCE WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
March 8, 2013Eastern Indiana Sports
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILLINOIS
Iowa – 60
Northwestern - 55
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Coach McKeown, Dannielle Diamant and Kendall Hackney and Inesha Hale and Kate Popovec. Coach.
COACH McKEOWN: I asked my four seniors to come up here and have an opportunity to celebrate, in all honesty, because they took a chance on me and Northwestern and a new program when they came in. And I'm just really proud of them.
They're the winningest class at Northwestern I think since the early'90s. And came to a program that had averaged two or three wins a year, and they've averaged 16 or 17 wins a year in their careers.
It's not about the numbers; it's more about what they've done for the program, commitment. Their blood is all over Welsh Ryan Arena and the Sears Center too.
For Kate Popovec, got hurt in the Sunday in the game against Iowa, just outstanding captain, leadership that she's brought to us.
For Inesha Hale, who fought all year to overcome injury and had to have surgery, tried to come back in February, and just really proud of those two.
For Dannielle and Kendall, you saw tonight. We honored them on Senior Day for their careers. And just amazing what everybody at the table with me has accomplished over the last four years.
So due respect to Iowa, hard?fought game. Tough game. But we have nothing to be ashamed of.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student?athletes.
Q. Dannielle, can you go through that game and how you thought it went for you guys?
DANNIELLE DIAMANT: Like Coach said, it's a really hard?fought game. I think we left it all out on the court. And we just couldn't make enough plays to pull off the win.
Q. Seemed like today Iowa was really establishing themselves on the glass, not just for the forwards but the guards. Can you go through the process of how you were really thinking about going stopping?? Dannielle, you had it great on the glass, but they seemed to outboard today.
DANNIELLE DIAMANT: I mean, it's something that we've worked on all year, really, rebounding and boxing out and stuff. So, I mean, they did a great job crashing the boards. I mean, Sam Logic, she's the offensive leading rebounder as a guard, and I think she really proved that tonight.
Q. Dannielle or Kendall, could you talk about preparing for this game. A team you saw four days ago, especially with Kate being out, how difficult was the preparation?
KENDALL HACKNEY: It's always tough to play the same team in really the same week. Iowa is a tough team. On Sunday Dixon got hot again. 21 points in our game. We really focused on stopping her, and we did, but we let the post play kind of field their team today. And the rebounding, like we said, I mean, we felt pretty confident coming in.
We beat them early in the season in a great game, both ends. Iowa battled hard. It was a great game to be a part of. And a little bit of a heartbreaker for us and especially on senior day, but we just tried to fight hard and do the best we can.
We wanted to leave it on the floor today and do the best that we could because?? i mean, it's really all you can ask for.
Q. Turnovers affected you guys early and then again in the second half. Can you guys talk about how that might have slowed you guys down to start the game?
INESHA HALE: I guess turnovers has affected us, but we really just wanted to minimize that. That was part of our game plan and just really try to take care of the ball the best we could.
But today, and even Sunday's game, it really hurt us. But we just tried to really just get a hold of it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. There's a sequence in the second half, you all were got down four. Karly got a break, and she was heading down the court. She was looking to see if there was a defender behind. Instead of finishing at the hoop, she stopped, she tried a jump shot. She stopped. She went down hard, and then Iowa came back made a transition 3. So that was a five?point swing there. Do you think that was a key moment in the game in terms of changing it from what could have been a one?possession game to what was then a three?possession game?
COACH McKEOWN: I don't know if that?? it certainly played into it in the second half. But there's a lot of other plays that probably affected us not being able to score when we had to score at the right time.
But what hurts you when you have opportunities like that in transition, which we didn't get a lot of, to not score and then for them to get a 3 at the other end, that really hurt. We were playing from behind.
But I was really proud of our team.
Q. Maggie had a slow start. She missed her first seven shots. What was Iowa doing that kind of like??
COACH McKEOWN: You know, the game we beat Iowa couple of weeks ago in Iowa, you know, Maggie played great. Melissa Dixon had 21 points. The game Sunday, I thought Maggie did a great job. Melissa Dixon had 21 points.
So we did a great job of shutting her down. And Iowa I think focused on shutting Maggie Lyon down, too, and took people off of other people to help on her.
And I think it's been a great growth experience for her, to learn how to play off the ball and when people are really focused on trying to stop you. But what an incredible year she's had.
Q. Coach, Karly's a great player, but like her outside shot keeps defenders off her, are you going to work with her to get her offside shooting better? And if she does get that better, how even more of a better guard would she be?
COACH McKEOWN: Well, she's had a great year. And you see the growth between?? from last year to this year, and she's had to play probably too many minutes. And I think we've addressed some of those issues in recruiting.
But obviously, our goal in the postseason workouts will be to develop her at the 3?point line and make her a threat from there. If that happens?? which I think it will happen because she's a great, great work ethic and passionate.
I think that's a challenge that we'll take on for the next six months.
And we have a saying great players are made April through October and great teams are made November to March. And I think this becomes a time for her. That's a great question.
Q. Coach, with Lauren in foul trouble today, you really forced Alex Cohen on the floor a lot. She stepped up big and really showed her progression throughout the entire Big Ten season. What role will she have to play next year without Kendall and Dannielle?
COACH McKEOWN: I was proud of her today and going back to where I thought she started in the Big Ten to have an impact. We beat Illinois down there, she had 12 points, 12 rebounds. I think that got her going.
And we played all year with two freshmen and two sophomores and two seniors. So I think going into next year, she'll have some confidence coming off of especially the Big Ten and what she's done.
Like you said, even today, where she was aggressive. And she's got a lot of work to do. But I was proud of her today.
Q. Bouncing off that, Lauren had?? when she was out there, she played great defense. Can you talk about how not having her the whole game??
COACH McKEOWN: You know, I mean, I'll kind of give you the big picture of this. And she's had an incredible year, too. We took a post player and made her into a shooting guard all year. And the growth that we see in her I thought was incredible. And not having her on the floor during that stretch in the second half probably hurt us.
And who knows, maybe might have changed the outcome today. But I think the future with her is really the sky's the limit and great kid, just really excited about her. But we missed her out there, missed her ability to score too at times.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.