March 22, 2013
Jim Flanery, Creighton Head Coach(Opening statement)
"I wish it was a lot warmer. We're thrilled to be here. We were the third to the last team called on Monday, so it was a long day. A long 40-minute wait till our name came up, but Syracuse is a very good team, very good opponent. We're going to have our hands full, but we played a Big East team, St. John's, in the first round of the tournament last year. We lost on a buzzer beater. We've played a really good non-conference schedule, and we feel like we are ready to go. We're healthy, and we're excited. There is a lot of orange here with Syracuse and Tennessee, but we are hoping to have a blue weekend."
(On 3-point shooting against Syracuse's 2-3 zone)
"It better be good for us. Their zone is very good, first of all. We have not played one team this year that is an exclusive zone team and Syracuse is. From that standpoint the preparation was a little bit easier because we know they're going to play zone. Whereas a lot of teams play both and there is an assumption based on how well we shoot the 3-pointer that we're maybe not going to see a lot of zone. Although we've seen teams mix it up. From that standpoint, we're at least prepared. We brought in guys this week a couple different times at the beginning of the week. We're going to shoot a lot of 3s. That's what we do. We took 44 in a game two weeks ago. It was an overtime game so we only took 39 through the first 40 minutes. I don't think we'll be at that number, but we're not that big, we don't have people who can necessarily beat you off the dribble.
"You've got to be able to get into gaps and we have a couple kids who can get into those gaps against the zone. We don't want to completely settle, but we're going to shoot a lot of 3s. The first thing we have to do is get the ball up the floor against their full-court stuff. Some of it isn't designed to turn you over, it's designed to use some shot clock and shorten the shot clock. We've talked to our players about being confident. I feel like we're prepared. We know we're going to have to make some 3s. We've told our kids to not second guess themselves. You might think a team that leads the country in number of 3s made per game doesn't pass up 3s, but we do. We can't do that. We have to squeeze it when we have an opportunity."
(On sharing a common opponent with Syracuse in USF)
"I watched some of that. We were really hot against South Florida. There are just games that because of the nature of our team, we're going to make shots. We were 16-of-29 from 3-point range that game. At least two to three times during the second half I turned to the bench and said, `Can we keep this up?' It would be easy to think we beat South Florida by 17, but I don't think if we played South Florida 10 times we would beat them by 17 any other time than the one we played them. I'm not saying we couldn't beat them again, but we were very hot that game. I watched some of South Florida, but I know our players know we have that common opponent. I hope that's part of our belief that we can be successful tomorrow. They know that's the one common opponent."
(On taking in the experience of playing at Tennessee)
"We haven't told them yet, but if we win tomorrow we would go (to the women's basketball Hall of Fame) on Sunday. There just isn't time today. Our men our playing today so we want them to have the opportunity to watch our men play Cincinnati. That's a big part of it. I think there is probably a little bit more excitement of being able to come here and play in a pretty special place. I've talked to Pat Summitt a few times. I found her very pleasant. The circumstances of my talking to Pat are I'm watching a game in the summer time of one team that's playing a team that's a lot better. Pat is watching the team with a lot better players, but they were matched up against a Nebraska, Minnesota or Iowa team that I'm watching. Those are the circumstances of having met Pat, but I found her to be very pleasant and approachable. Although, she did tell me a couple different times that she was too old to be doing the summer recruiting thing."
(On the early tip-time)
"We got them up a little earlier for breakfast this morning because we didn't want them to sleep in today and have to get up early tomorrow. We want their time clock to be fairly similar and like you said, losing the hour it's even earlier. We have a few morning-kids, but most of our kids are like most college kids and not morning people. It's the same for Syracuse. It's that way for both of us. I'm curious as to what the attendance will be at the beginning of the game because of the early start. Obviously, I think by the second half there will be quite a few people there."
(On current Wichita State head coach and former Tennessee player Jody Adams)
"Jody has done a really good job. She's recruited well, gone outside of her area and gotten some Texas kids. She's really built that program. They were not very good when she got there and she's changed the culture. They have a very hard-working team. For our level, they're athletic and she brought in a really nice group four years ago and those kids are seniors now. She's done a really good job.
"The Wichita State program is one with good resources that loves their men's basketball. Given what she's done, I think they'll continue to jump on-board with what she's done. She's done a really nice job. They went out and scheduled more-aggressively this year. Early, she was trying to get to 8-3 before she got in the league and this year she didn't do that. They didn't win as many in the non-conference, but they really came along and played well through our conference season and then won our conference tournament. She's done a good job. I think she's the total package as a head coach."
Ally Jensen, Creighton(On the selection process)
"It was really hard - a long 40 minutes. We had seen all of the projected brackets and the teams that were on the bubble - in and out. Obviously, you don't know what's going to happen. It was really tough to sit there. We saw Kansas and thought, 'That's not good for us.' (We) saw Wichita was a little bit of a lower seed than we were expecting. And that last section, we see the 11, 12 and 13 seeds going off and you are like, 'Where are we?' We were definitely losing hope by the minute. But when we saw our name up there as a No. 10 seed, it was a lot of fun."
(On Thompson-Boling Arena)
"It's pretty humbling to be here, to play in this great arena where lots of great players and Pat Summitt. It's pretty cool to get to come here, but I mean we also aren't too much 'deer in the headlights' because we played at Notre Dame last year. So, we have a little bit of that star-struckness that we've experienced before. It's definitely humbling, and we're happy to be here."
(On Women's Basketball Hall of Fame)
"I'm not sure. I haven't really looked at out itinerary too much. Yesterday, we came right to practice, showered and went to dinner. This morning, we went to breakfast and came to practice. We might (go); I'm not really sure. We drove past it and saw it through the windows. Maybe if we win, we can go on Sunday."
Sarah Nelson, Creighton(On matchup with Kayla Alexander)
"Obviously, she is really successful; she averages 17 points a game. I think we are going to try and help on her as much as we can with guard defenders, things like that, and just kind of hope she has an off night. You have to obviously respect her a lot because she is a great post. I think we have a good plan, knocked out by (coach) Flan."
(On the selection process)
"I was sitting next to Ally, actually, and she was like, 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, we're not in.' We did a viewing party with our fans, we were wondering why did we do this in the public - it's going to be bad. Then, we just turned and all just freaked out. I think we had lost hope at that point, and then when we saw it come up, I can't even explain how happy we were."
(On getting an at-large berth)
"I know there were some people, even within our own conference, that probably didn't think we should get it. I know (coach) Flan for a long time has been scheduling a really tough non-conference schedule. You also had a lot of people that asked, 'Why are you doing this?' The fact that we got a couple good wins in our non-conference (schedule), with Nebraska and South Florida, I think is what got us in. I think it really proved that there was a method to his madness. It definitely helped us, and I think it shows that he has the confidence in us. Hopefully, we will prove ourselves now."
(On Thompson-Boling Arena)
"It's pretty exciting. We were in the practice arena the other day, and we all thought, 'This is pretty cool.' We are excited to get out there, just kind of give ourselves an advantage in a way. I know it's orange."
(On loss to St. John's last year)
"I think it kind of gives us a little chip on our shoulders. I can say that after that loss, normally people are pretty sad when their season ends, but we all got in the locker room and thought, 'Did that seriously just happen?' We were more mad than anything. I feel that we're excited to have another chance to be here. Obviously, playing against a Big East team is pretty exciting. To get the chance to do it again, I think we are hoping we have a little bit of luck in those last few seconds."