COACH WILLIAMS: We're incredibly excited to be a part of this tournament and to be down here in a position to be able to continue advancing. Incredible defensive effort for our team tonight to allow us to be able to move forward.
Q. Hannah, there was some chatter before the game that this team needed to win tonight in order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Did you feel that way coming into the game?
HANNAH WHITISH: No, not -- there's been a little talk about it, but our focus is just coming in and doing what we can in this tournament, and that's get as many wins as we can.
Q. Jasmine, how important was that and-one in the fourth quarter and how much momentum did that put into your team?
JASMINE CINCORE: Well, this game -- this was a really, really good one. It was high energy and everybody was feeding off of everyone. Hannah was hitting shots and that fueled everybody else. Kate was blocking shots, and that fueled everybody else just to step up and just step into what we know how to do and what we've been practicing doing and just being aggressive. It was really fun.
Q. Kate, seven blocks tonight, most of which came against the zone. Was there a sense of vindication coming from your defensive effort tonight?
KATE CAIN: It was definitely like exciting, and I'm like happy that I was able to help contribute to the team, even though on the offensive end I was struggling. It was definitely just nice to be able to help the team out in that way.
Q. Hannah, in the fourth quarter, when both you guys turned over to each other back and forth, back and forth, it kind of seemed uncertain where the momentum would shift and it was still a close game at that point. What were you telling each other to slow it down and take the momentum?
HANNAH WHITISH: Yeah, you know, when something like that happens toward the end of the game, we need to make sure, especially when we're up like that, we need to make sure that we do have control of the game, and we need to make sure that they know that, and that's what we did.
Q. Hannah, it's easy to talk about being at the conference tournament, NCAA implications, but just the look in your eyes after you walked off the court after Michigan, how excited were you to get back out there and have another shot at this team?
HANNAH WHITISH: We definitely thought that game was taken from us. So coming out here and throwing punches like we did, that was huge for us, and especially to walk out of this gym with that win.
Q. Coach, aside from the NCAA Tournament selection and just the implication of this game coming into tonight?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, first of all, we've been really preaching to this team to just worry about controlling what we can control, and at this point, all that talk of that was just kind of outside, and being able to control what we can control, and that's just trying to continue to find ways to improve and play our best basketball.
But I'll tell you, this team really came down to this tournament to make a run to win a championship. Our goal was not just to beat Michigan and find a way to get into the NCAA Tournament. Our goal is to be Big Ten champions, and we want to keep going towards that. We would like to have an opportunity to put ourselves in a position to do that, and we feel like we can be competitive.
Q. Coach, in the first three quarters, your team shot in the 30 percents, but in that fourth quarter they shot 56 percent. Can you touch on what you liked from them in those final 10 minutes that really got them to win that game?
COACH WILLIAMS: I thought that we took slightly better shots. It seems like we got into fourth quarter a little bit more to the paint, a few more baskets easy at the rim, and then Hannah took some gutsy shots that she knocked down from behind the arc. I think slightly more high percentage shots there in the fourth that just paid off for us, but certainly a little sloppy offensively, and we could find ways to improve on that, but still a very good defensive effort.
Q. And there was a moment where it seemed like Michigan was starting to gain some momentum in the fourth and they pulled within three and you called time-out. What did you tell your team in that final time-out?
COACH WILLIAMS: I mean, at that time-out we talked about staying disciplined, what's going to win you games this time of year, and that's getting defensive stops, finishing every defensive stop with rebounds and really digging in there, and we just felt like we've come too far to kind of let it slip away.
Q. Coach, Flaherty was obviously frustrated tonight. What was the defensive game plan going in against her?
COACH WILLIAMS: Well, she's an incredible player, and she's had fantastic games against us since I've been the head coach at Nebraska, and so we knew that we're not going to be able to completely stop her, but I thought being able to mix up our match-ups on her and switch who was the defensive assignment, that's a very, very tough assignment.
So to try to for 33 minutes try to chase off all the screens they set for her and all the actions and her movement, she's just very, very smart with what she does, and I thought Janay Morton and Jasmine Cincore both kind of did a good job going back and forth to give her a different look and keep fresh legs on her.
Q. There was one point where Janay got her second foul and you subbed and they just kind of looked at each other, they knew how to switch, they knew what was going on. How important was the quiet confidence in the scout and they just knew what they had to do and they were just ready to take on that task?
COACH WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think it was a definite advantage that this team has had several days -- we've been preparing for all three potential opponents that we could play today, but kind of knowing after last night that it was going to be Michigan and then having a good time today to watch film and to walk back through it on the court again and to kind of reiterate, but this team all year has just done a pretty special job of really focusing and game planning and being able to try to take away other people's strengths.
Q. I know it got into some troubles when the tempo sped up, but early in that fourth quarter for Hannah to get those assists in transition and get a spark back into the team, how important was that?
COACH WILLIAMS: I thought her play in the fourth quarter was really important. There was a really big three-point shot that I know came at a really critical time that I was just proud and happy that she had the courage to take, and then she sparks us in a lot of different ways by just making plays for others, too.
COACH BARNES ARICO: I thought it was a really good basketball game. Nebraska came out of the gates super physical with us and took away a lot of our options early on.
I thought we adjusted in the second half and made some great runs, and then down the stretch, we made a couple of bad decisions and they made plays down the stretch when they needed to make them.
They're a really solid team, and it's a credit to their players for making the plays they had to make down the stretch to be successful.
Q. Hallie, I noticed in the fourth quarter you had the ball and you would do a couple of spin moves and got a couple buckets to go and you had a game high 21 points. What was working for you down low late in the game?
HALLIE THOME: Just my teammates giving me the confidence. I know when they give me the ball they're putting me in position to score. Knowing we needed a basket, I knew what I had to do, and I kind of felt like I had an advantage with some quick moves to get around them, so I took advantage of it.
Q. After one of them, it was the and-one that you got, and everybody was excited, and your team said we have to get back because it was right after a Nebraska lay-up in transition. How much of an effect was the transition defense for you guys in that game?
HALLIE THOME: I think that was what ended up hurting us the most in the end. We had to be able to close the gap, and then little plays like that would happen, and that kind of wavers us, and at times you just needed to be able to lock down on defense.
So I think the huddles are a big thing and showing our unity and telling us little reminders to get us back and locked in.
Q. Katelynn, obviously your opponents key on you throughout the year always. Good game tonight, but almost all of your scoring came from three-point range. Can you talk about Nebraska's defense?
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Yeah, I think they got to the screens great on me. They worked hard on me the whole game. They really made me uncomfortable coming off screens. I think down the end Hallie set me some good screens and I got open for the three and I started to get into my rhythm.
But I had someone on me the whole time and they crowded the paint a lot, and their big is pretty big, especially compared to me, and I didn't get some foul calls I usually get, so it kind of threw me off a little bit.
Q. When there is the defense on you a lot and you kind of struggle with your shot but then you're still not hesitant whatsoever in the fourth quarter to take those big shots, talk about your mentality to never be kind of down on yourself even though you were struggling early on.
KATELYNN FLAHERTY: Yeah, I mean, that comes from my teammates and my coaches. I can miss the first 10 shots and they keep telling me to shoot. They have all the confidence in me.
Being a senior I have been doing this for four years now, and I know I can make those shots. I think every shot I shoot is going in. But, I mean, I especially credit my teammates, and they put me in great positions to shoot, so I always listen to them.
Q. Coach, the game kind of started off, it was kind of a defensive battle, 15-11 at the end of the first, and you guys were even, even the entire way. What can you say about the flow of this game? There were times it was slow, then it really picked up and got frantic, then slowed down again. How do you think your team handled that up-and-down play?
COACH BARNES ARICO: I think Nebraska is a team that kind of forces you to play that way, as physical as they were with us. Hallie came into the game banged up a little bit after yesterday, and we were really unsure how she was going to be today.
So I think it kind of got her a couple minutes to get warm and to get going. And then in the second half, she really took over the game, and we were able to get her the ball, and she made some great moves, and she brought us back when we were down, and then we were able to find Katelynn.
We would rather play at a pace like that, but then we got it going and then we weren't able to change from that pace to back taking care of the ball, and that's where we had a chance to tie the game, and we turned the basketball over.
So that's the challenge of being able to play at that pace where you can get it going and then be able to say, okay, it's a one-possession game here, let's take care of the basketball right now and get a good execution.
So I think part of that is Nebraska; they really defend really well. I think their experience on the defensive end and they're physical and they're big, and that kind of disrupted their lanes, disrupted us, and took us a little bit of time to get into a flow where we were better at that in the second half.
Q. I talked to Katelynn earlier on, and she told me that early on she thought that her team was letting the refs kind of dictate the game. Is that something you noticed, and, if so, what were you telling them?
COACH BARNES ARICO: Well, we just talked about our toughness, and there were a couple plays that were 50/50 balls that were toughness plays that we let the ref make the call instead of us making the call.
We said we've got to turn it up, we've got to play a lot tougher than we were playing, and we can't pay attention to the refs. If we want it to happen, we've got to make it happen for us because it felt like there were a lot of touch fouls being called away from the ball, but then the fouls on the shooting weren't there, and just too much attention to that, really, and we just talked about at halftime just play through the refs.
We were letting the physical nature of the game bother us instead of being the aggressor, and we just talked about at halftime how we still had to be aggressive and not pay attention to that but just be aggressive.
Q. And obviously Nebraska on offense, they got Katie Cain down low, and then Whitish who can knock down shots outside. How do you go in preparing for something like that?
COACH BARNES ARICO: I thought tremendous job on Cain. We really did a good job. I think she only finished with six points tonight. We did a decent job on Whitish, but then we lost her late, and she hit that big three late on us, which really was kind of the dagger. So that was a big play for them.
I thought it was their other kids that actually helped them be successful tonight. No. 5 made a lot of big plays, as did Cincore. She made the big and-one late in the fourth quarter. So I think it was other kids that really stepped up for them, where some of our other kids had a little bit of an off-night tonight in Nicole Munger, Kayla Robbins or even a Akienreh Johnson.
Q. Going forward, what can you say about your team's resume for a possible NCAA Tournament berth?
COACH BARNES ARICO: You know, last year we were kind of in this position, in the position similar to Nebraska where we had finished third in the league and had a decent RPI, a top-50 RPI, but they said we didn't have enough top-50 wins.
This year we have a bunch of top-25 wins. We have three top-25 wins and we have a 38 RPI. Our conference is significantly better. Our double opponents were pretty good.
So we think we've done what we needed to do. But now it's up to seeing what the committee thinks, and I think we can't count on that until next Monday night when we see what happens.