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Lisa Bluder press conference after Iowa women's basketball's victory vs. LSU in Elite 8

Apr 04, 2024
We'll start with the coach's opening comments, yeah, I'm extremely grateful for this group of young

women

that we have, they're just incredible, you know, everyone at the beginning of the year kept saying, oh, you know, Iowa lost so much that they lost. This whole offense and two starters and everyone just kept focusing on that and we kept focusing on what we had and even when we had an injury with Molly Davis coming out of the lineup, you know, Sid just got in there with no problems and I'm really proud. This group kept the focus on us the whole time and I really couldn't be happier for such a fantastic group of young

women

than this, so thank you, now we'll open it up to lots of questions. for the coach, start here in the front row, for you Melos seed representatives, Gazette Leisa, if you could describe what your defensive strategy was in this game and how the players executed it, we actually thought we would play in a lot more Zone than we We did, we started in the zone, it was good for the first few minutes, we had to call, they had to call a timeout, and then we tried to catch in our zone, and that didn't really work, and after that we went to our defense player to player and I was very im

press

ed with how hard our players worked, especially in the paint.
lisa bluder press conference after iowa women s basketball s victory vs lsu in elite 8
You know they're a tough group to defend in the paint when you've got Angel and uh and Médula in there, it's just a lot to toughen up the paint, go ahead, go ahead, over here Sam ohaj with wvfi Quail um in the third quarter you guys were able to make the adjustments. The defensive showing that we saw in the third quarter, you know, we didn't make many adjustments, we just talked about how we needed to box out and we didn't really do that, as you can see here, but it's ironic that I had 23 rebounds and only 14 second chance points, that's a really low number for 23, but a lot of that was like, you know, just bouncing it off the backboard a couple of times for yourself, almost um, but um, you know, I think. when we came out, the game was tied, we came out, Caitlyn hits that deep three and it gave us a lot of momentum, you know, and then we stop and then another score and all of a sudden you know they have to call a timeout.
lisa bluder press conference after iowa women s basketball s victory vs lsu in elite 8

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lisa bluder press conference after iowa women s basketball s victory vs lsu in elite 8...

After 2 minutes again, I think we started the game and started the third quarter with a punch and that really helped us a lot, gave us a lot of confidence on the defensive end. Hello, Coach Doug Fineberg. I asked you the other day if there are any more amazing Caitlyn moments left and then she falls 41 and 12 today and again in the regional final. I think she got 41 in the last draw, so can you put what she did tonight into perspective to get you back to the final four? If that. I mean Caitlyn, I feel like I've talked about her like she's used every IM word incapable of describing her, but you know, I thought what she said today about her maturity has grown a lot in four years.
lisa bluder press conference after iowa women s basketball s victory vs lsu in elite 8
I actually saw it tonight. It really could have been a very emotional game, it could have been a lot of conversations happening out there just because of what happened at the end of last year and, honestly, she put it aside, she put everything aside, so I think she maturity um she just her communication with her teammates was really good tonight I mean she was in the meeting really empowering others, which I love when she does that because it means a lot coming from her instead of me um but I mean she, she, she, she. The distant shots were incredible tonight the logo of her 3 of her was incredible, you know, I mean, how do you defend that right?
lisa bluder press conference after iowa women s basketball s victory vs lsu in elite 8
It's like it's almost impossible and uh. So that obviously gave us a big boost Lisa Howard, my job, congratulations from NCH, um, two things, if I could. First of all, Caitlyn mentioned that ball screens are a huge part of this and you talked about we're going to find ways to get her to the basket, which is not something against LSU, which she did, but she did. good. here tonight how much of that is a schematic change how much of that is um even she's maturing and getting a lot better at getting to the rim Yeah, I was very happy in the first quarter, she got to the rim quite a bit and uh she came off the screens of ball and we really encouraged her to do that because we didn't want her to start with the three logos, we wanted her, we thought she could get to the rim and we wanted the highest percentage shots to start with, so it was um, I'm really happy that she made that and then I tell you in the third trimester, even though she came out with a different look in her eyes and I don't have you, I was able to tell her everything I wanted at that moment to get to the bedroom and it wasn't going to happen, so here Lisa , uh M Adler, from the next one, you know, between this game, the West Virginia game a couple rounds ago, your team had to be really incredibly physical and play somehow. as above your height, especially in defending the paint, that has been for you.
A great point of learning and growth from last year. You know we've had to play that way all year. I mean, you know. Adio Grady came in and played for a while. minutes tonight for us, she had 15 minutes. I think she did a good job there when Hannah got in trouble with the files, but we've been undersized all year and you know that's the way it is, you know you can't do it. anything about it, so don't complain about it, just go out and play and use what you've got, you've got speed, you've got agility, you know, you've got jumps, use those things instead of focusing on, oh, I wish I was, ya You know, four inches taller, uh, Nicole Arback, the athletic one, uh, Lisa, you mentioned, you know, throwing punches, they punched back.
It was such a high-level game and it was very hectic in the first quarter in particular. What's that like to experiment? being a part of the development of the game and then obviously coming out victorious, but what does it feel like to be in a game like that? Yeah, you know, we tell our players that

basketball

is usually a game of momentum swings and you know you have to make yours ride as hard as you can and hold on through theirs and they had a really good momentum swing there. in what was the second quarter um they had a really nice momentum boost.
I was happy to think that we were also going to go up, you know, go to the locker room and I was excited about that, but then we ended up tied and, you know, we just went in there and said, hey, we have 20 more minutes, they were very locked in. At halftime there was a lot of belief in that locker room, coach Al Kena of The Daily Gazette was really connected. I'll ask the same question I asked the players: how important it was to not focus on what happened last year and just keep the focus on this year and win the game and get to the final four again.
I can tell you that we didn't talk about last year's game at all, we didn't talk about it at all, it just wasn't important to us, that was it. last year different teams different scenarios um we keep focusing on this this time we come to you know play we can play today um we focus on ourselves and I know it sounds elementary and it's just what they said, but that's really what we really believed I mean , we were just focusing on ourselves and not LSU before this game. Lisa Nancy Armor USA Today Sports um Kate said it's not really a rivalry, but obviously you've had these two great games.
How good is this back-and-forth between LSU? and Iowa, well, we talked about it last night and I told the team this is not a rivalry, this is a competition, it's a competition against an opponent, it's not a rivalry, I just don't feel like we've played them that many times. Sometimes you think of it as a rivalry, but I mean, I think people were very interested in this game, so I think people were excited to see this play to see this matchup again, so I think there was excitement around the game, but it certainly wasn't something that we felt like a rivalry, it was simply that the last one here was going to compete, hey, coach Isabelle Rodríguez, with the next one. um, just to bring it up to Gabby Marshall, I mean, for you, from a coach's perspective, I mean, it's different than when you're as a teammate to have someone who's so consistent, but for you as a coach, do you?
What does it mean to have someone who can go out and spend 40 minutes on the court the way she does consistently? with so much energy, I'm really glad you noticed her because I think she doesn't get enough credit for how hard she plays, first of all, yes, she's a sniper, she can do it. I mean, she shoots, you know, one in three tonight. You know, she's set at 50%, but she has two steals, she has a block shot. I mean, she's the shortest person ever and she has a blocking shot. she constantly protects the toughest person. She constantly gives everything she has defensively, whether you know how to get it. come out and deny or understand raise your hands something as simple as she's a great defensive player and I'm really proud of her effort and I'm glad you recognize that too so thank you, thank you coach, thank you for your time with us this week and good luck in Cleveland, thank you.

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