Iowa State Media Opportunity - March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015

Iowa State Head Coach Bill Fennelly

On what jumps out at him about Dayton ...
“The first thing is how hard they play. I’ve been very impressed. I’ve known Jim (Jabir) a long time and that’s kind of the trademark of his teams. They’re ultra-competitive every possession and then offensively, they’re balanced. They can score the ball from a variety of spots. Obviously (Andrea) Hoover and (Ally) Malott get a lot of attention, but I think they’re a team that can hurt you in a lot of ways. I think for us, that’s a challenge. Sometimes we’ve been offensively challenged to score. We’re going to have to score against Dayton because they’re going to put up some points.”

On Dayton’s length ...
“They have a lot of length, and they have some length on the wing, too. It’s not just in the post. I think your passing angles offensively, defensively obviously rebounding, they get a lot of rebounds on missed free throws. They use their length in a lot of good ways, they set a lot of good ball screens, they’ll bring our guys away from the basket, but their size differential is not in our favor, but we’ve seen a lot of those teams in the Big XII and it’s something we’ve run into pretty much every game-in and game-out. I think the skillset of their wing players and their length is a great combination for them and certainly a challenge for us.”

On how to combat Dayton’s size ...
“No, I think you can’t really change much. There’s a reason you got here and you’ve got to go with what you do. Coaches talk all the time about little things. There is no such thing as a little thing in the NCAA Tournament. You’ve got to do the things that you do well, try and eliminate the things that you don’t do well and certainly we aren’t going to get any taller by noon and we aren’t going to add anyone, so we’ve played against some really, really talented teams like the Texas’ and Baylor’s of the world that have great size. When you get in the NCAA Tournament, it’s the size of your heart more than how tall you are. We’re going to see how big our heart is tomorrow.”

On Iowa State shooting the ball and its impact on the game ...
“It’s critical. We talk about it with them all the time. We’ve got to get shots off. Certainly the teams we’ve played against run us off the 3-point line, which means that you’ve got to pump-fake and slide. In the NCAA Tournament, if you’re waiting for a shot, you’re wide open, your feet are set and you’re all good to go, it doesn’t happen. Sometimes, you have to take a tough shot and as Brynn (Williamson) said, it’s sometimes selfish to not take the shot. You can’t always throw the ball to Nikki (Moody) and sometimes we do that. Everyone that shoots wants to make shots and you want to make it, and you want to take the shot that you’re comfortable with. Well sometimes shots are not always comfortable and you’ve got to be ready to do it and get your feet set and not be worried about making and missing and putting your teammates under duress by taking a shot that you should take.

On the shooting of Nicole Kidd Blaskowsky ...
(Nicole) Kidd (Blaskowsky) wants to win as much as any player we’ve ever had and I think when she misses a couple shots, she says “Oh well, I better not shoot again, it’s not my night”. She knows she’s got the green light to shoot and it’s rare, but she is one of those players that we have to get on her to shoot the ball sometimes. She’s passed up shots and we’ve made it a point of emphasis for her and we’ve really focused on that maybe the last three weeks because her numbers are not as good as we need them to be, and she knows it. I’ve got to do a better job of figuring out ways to get her more comfortable, get her shots. But when she’s making them, that changes our team dramatically.

On containing Andrea Hoover ...
“She’s a great free throw shooter, so you don’t want to foul her. You don’t want to back off of her because she shoots 40-whatever percent from the free throw line, she can score in transition, she can score off the bounce, they score a lot in transition, they run a lot of stuff for her. She’s a very good basketball player, a senior who knows how to win that’s ultra competitive, takes charges. She’s the kind of kid you hate to play against, but the kid you want on your team. That’s what gets kids in the NCAA Tournament, she’s that kind of player and has done a great job at Dayton. Her numbers still speak to that. Not just her personal numbers, but they’ve won a lot of games there. That’s what you get in a great guard and playing at the level Dayton is playing.”

Iowa State Student-Athlete Nikki Moody

On the challenges that Dayton brings to the game ...
“Everybody can score. Any one of them can take the ball to the basket and get a quick two, and all of them can shoot the ball well. Just locking down on defense will be the key point of this game.”

On how her ability to penetrate to the basketball will affect this game ...
“I feel like when I get into the lane more my teammates get a little bit open more because people come off and help. I think it’s just about my teammates finding their rhythm and getting their shots up.”

Iowa State Student-Athlete Brynn Williamson

On the challenges of playing Dayton ...
“They have a really good post player that can attack the basket and do a few different things, which is different than our line-up, but I think our guard’s match up with them really well. The important thing for us will be to lock in on defense and stopping the ball penetration to the lane. I think if we can do that and force them to take tough shots.”

On how key it will be for her to get off the shots she wants ...
“It’s important to get shots off, but it’s also important to make them. I think it will be really important to not pass up the open shot, because that’s almost as selfish as taking a bad shot. I think sometimes I get into the mindset that if I miss my first two shots then my third won’t be going in, but our teammates and coaches tell us we have the green light and if we have a shot to take it. So I think it will be really important for us to go out there, get off to a good start, and that starts in practice today.”