Dec. 7, 2011
Minnesota Head Coach Pam Borton
"It was nice to get back in the win column tonight, and obviously it was nice to get off to a pretty strong start. I felt that Kiara, Rachel and Leah did a great job in getting us off to a great start, handling the pressure and getting some easy baskets at the other end, and changing the tide from how we've started games in the past few games. But, it was a great win and we're looking forward to playing this weekend."
On getting in Rachel's head before the game
"I don't think I got in her head this time. I think she's learning. In each and every game I think you can learn a lot about yourself. Just playing in the Baylor game and knowing that they're the best of the best, I think she learned what she needs to do for this team and really how she can play and dominate. She has to play like she's the best player on the floor and I think she did tonight."
On the starting three guards in the game
"I think it's our three best guards. I like how our defensive roles change with this line-up. Leah [Cotton] goes on the ball and Kiara [Buford] comes off the ball, so I think it give us more defensive pressure. We've got three guards that can shoot and attack, and we do a lot of scoring. If we're going to go anywhere this year, we're going to do it with our guard play. From here on out, [this line-up] is the plan."
On improved stats during tonight's game
"I think fouls were down because we played smarter basketball. I think we put people to the line too much, and Air Force does a really nice job getting to the free throw line. That was something we talked about before the game - keeping them off the line and making them finish so they're not getting any easy points from the free throw line. I think Rachel's been shooting better, I thought Leah shot a great percentage tonight, Katie shot a great percentage. We had three players that shot the ball pretty well, and those people are taking more shots on the team than anybody else other than Kiara, so your shooting percentage is going to be up."
On the team's success tonight with the attack
"I thought we did a nice job moving the ball and reversing from side-to-side. I think we went in with four or five plays we wanted to run this game, other than scoring easily from their press, but I thought we executed pretty well and most of the players did a good job finishing."
Air Force Head Coach Andrea Williams
"I was disappointed that we came out a little flat. I thought the team would be a little bit more fired up to come in and play a Big Ten opponent. We tried to refigure in the second half and come out a little bit better."
On pressing the Gophers throughout the game
"That is our bread and butter. We are not a great shooting team and we are not tall. We have to create offense from our defense. When Katie Hilbig went out with an injury that hurt us, because she plays a tremendous role in what we try to do offensively and defensively."
On moving forward
"We need different people to step up. We need to find a way to put the ball in the basket. Our defense will get better. We need to get tougher and box out, but our kids did not give up so that is what I liked."
Junior guard Leah Cotton
On cutting down her fouls
"Like Coach said, you learn something new about yourself every game. I felt like tonight I played smarter on defense. I moved my feet more and I executed well in the time I was out there."
On getting her first start of the season
"I was excited, but my game didn't change and my roll didn't change. I still executed my game the same way as a starter as I would have if I was coming off the bench."
Freshman guard Rachel Banham
On how she adjusted to Air Force's full court press
"We practiced reversing the ball fast and attacking, so I was just trying to find gaps to allow us to score fast."
On the importance of picking up the win following two-straight losses
"It was a huge deal. We didn't want to continue a losing streak, so tonight was a perfect game to make a statement."
On becoming more confident as a shooter
"I feel like I am getting better now that I am starting to make shots, so I am feeling more confident shooting. I was excited to make some three pointers, because we don't have the best of luck with threes. So, it was great to see them being made tonight."
Gophers Rally Behind Wagner, Bell In Win
Trio of Gophers scored double digits in the Gophers 78-50 win over the Illini.
Courtside with Jasmine Brunson
GopherSports.com spoke with the freshman point guard as spring semester started at the U of M.
Game Preview: Illinois
The Gophers and Illini will meet at Williams Arena on Wednesday night. Minnesota has beaten Illinois twice in a row.