Feb. 16, 2012
Minnesota (14-14, 6-8 Big Ten) 60, Illinois (10-17, 4-10 Big Ten) 53
Williams Arena - Minneapolis, Minn.
February 16, 2012
Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton
"I thought we did a great job making a run going into halftime and getting ourselves out of a hole that we were digging. We went into the locker room with good momentum at halftime. The last five minutes of the game says it all, and I think our team really toughed it out, proved to ourselves that we can win an ugly game. We were the tougher team tonight and we found a way to gut it out, grind it out and find a way to win it. We made plays down the stretch offensively but defensively we got stops and rebounds. I am very proud of our team for finding a way to win a game like this down the stretch."
On getting this game out of their system before going into Ohio State:
"I don't think we care how the game looks like other than the "W" in the win column at the end. In February, it's a grind. It's the second time we've seen Illinois, and just being able to grind it out and figure out a way to win. It was a street fight, an alley fight, and I think we really found a way to win like that."
On the 11-0 run being "a different story" in the last five minutes:
"It really was. I thought we did a great job taking care of the ball. We were aggressive attacking the rim. Kionna Kellogg put her head down and it looked like she was going to take matters into her own hands, which was nice to see from her. Rachel (Banham) hit a couple key baskets down the stretch as well. As a collective group we got great rebounds, took care of the ball like we needed to and just played smart basketball like we haven't in the last four minutes of games throughout the whole year. It was nice to see tonight."
On her last Gopher home game:
"Could have gone better, looking at it as a game there were a lot of turnovers. Obviously, it was sloppy but like coach said, we found a way to win and that was the most important thing, so I have to be satisfied with the win."
On keeping calm despite the turnovers:
"Slowing down helped. Illinois is the type of team that likes to play fast and I think we were getting sped up on offense a lot and they started pressuring us more in the first half and throughout the second half, so I think being sped up led to careless passes but I think that was more important just slowing down."
On her three-pointer to seal the game:
"I just heard (the fans) counting down and I knew I had to take the shot and I'm just glad it went in. I know last time I was struggling from the outside and this game I was a little iffy at times, but I think that was good and it helped us out a little bit."
On what was going through her mind during the three-point shot:
"I just knew I had to make a shot. I saw there were five seconds left on the clock and people were counting down. I was looking around thinking I couldn't really drive. I couldn't see a shot or anything and I knew she was kind of on me but she was kind of back in her heels and I just was like, `I'm gonna hit it,' and it went in."
On becoming more consistent throughout the season:
"I think the confidence helped--just every game getting a little more confidence and just being more comfortable with all the different styles of play. I think that helped out a lot."
Illinois Head Coach Jolette Law
"We came out aggressive in the first half and played well. When they changed defense, we became a little stagnant.
Second half, we came back with the aggressiveness we had. I think any time you create 21 steals and shoot 32 percent from the field it is tough to win. We got to get to a point where we can finish. We are on the road and we have to take care of the basketball and do all the little things."
On creating steals on defense:
"We were dictating. We just wanted to put pressure on (Rachel Banham and Kiara Buford) and force others to handle the ball. We just wanted to get up in their face. We did not capitalize. We did not finish. Give credit to Minnesota, they were able to play a full 40-minute game and we were not."
On the key during strong first-half play:
"Defense, we played good defense and let that translate into our offense. We got some steals and we were executing."
On tight games down the stretch:
"We have been in tight games all year. We just have to learn to finish games. It comes down to the little things: taking care of the basketball, rebounding and execute when it counts. We have to make lay-ups."
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Most of the Gophers' games will be available for viewing on TV or BTN Plus.
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A trio of Gophers will play in the WNBA Playoffs, with all of them receiving at least one bye.