March 9, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Brigham Young University head coach Jeff Judkins and student athletes Dani Wright and Mallary Gillespie.
Coach, general comments on the game.
COACH JUDKINS: Well, it was a great game. Utah is a really good team. They play great team defense. They execute offensively very well.
I knew it would be kind of a game like this. They call it an ugly game sometimes where both teams know each other so well. But, I mean, to come out the second half, we had a good lead, come out the second half, we just couldn't buy a basket.
Then Dani gets her fourth foul. Had to make a tough decision. I've done this a lot in my career as a coach. I've always believed to play your player and take the chance. Sometimes it wins, sometimes you lose.
But Dani has been used to that. She's been used to coming in with four fouls. I thought she did a great job of coming in and getting some key baskets down the stretch.
I'm real happy for Melinda and Jennie Keele. They've been open the whole night, couldn't hit a basket the first half. Both of them made some big shots down the stretch. I think that just shows that their teammates have a lot of confidence in them.
Of course, their coaching staff does, too. I'm real happy with these guys because, you know, being down like that and bouncing back is not real easy. I think they showed the character of this team and why we've been successful this year.
THE MODERATOR TAKER: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Can you talk about your ankle, how that felt? Also what happened there with your chin?
DANI WRIGHT: The ankle, just got a little twisted in Air Force. Carolyn helped me out, the trainer and the doc really just rehabbed me and tried to get it going better. You know, say a little prayer and go on it.
It helped. Today just got a little knocked up on the chin, but nothing big. Came out with a win, so I'm happy. Doesn't bother me at all (smiling).
Q: Talk about how it is as a senior coming in, last year you guys lost to Utah. How does it feel to get revenge?
DANI WRIGHT: Oh, it's great. You know, it's your rival school. You want to come out, you want to play hard. You know, got a little nervous in the second half. Me and Mal were talking here. We all stepped out, played our game. It's a great feeling. We owed them from last year because they beat us by 30. It felt good. It felt really good to beat 'em today.
Q: Mallary, when you were in that rough stretch in the second half, did you talk about what you needed to do? How much do you think experience played in getting through that stuff?
MALLARY GILLESPIE: Yeah, we all got together and basically said, you know, We got to D up. We hadn't really they got some quick baskets on us. They were starting to come back. Got ahead.
You know what, we got to shut them down again. First thing first was D up. Next thing was we got to slow down on offense, take care of the ball, go back to fundamentals. Wait for screens, get people open.
We've been in tough situations this year a lot. So that plays a role in it, so...
Q: Dani, the second half you guys early on found yourselves in a hole, then all of a sudden you took over for a small stretch to take the lead back. What happened in that key stretch that you kind of took over?
DANI WRIGHT: Well, you know, you just kind of tell yourself, you know, you're the best post player in there. You need to get it in there, do what you do best, put it in the hoop, help your team out. I just came out with that fire and intensity. I just wanted to help my team.
Q: Talk about what was going on the first part of the second half, what took you so long to get it going offensively?
DANI WRIGHT: We just wanted to give everyone a good game to watch, so...
No, I don't know. We just went in a little funk. We got ourselves out of it, though.
MALLARY GILLESPIE: We got a little complacent. Just relaxed a little bit, whereas we needed to stay up, stay aggressive. We pulled it back out, you know. We got on each other, said, The time is now. We got to get out there. We got to do it now. We can't wait.
That's when Kubik stepped it up, coach drew up some good plays, got her open. We did it.
THE MODERATOR TAKER: Ladies, thank you.
COACH JUDKINS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR TAKER: Questions for Coach Judkins.
Q: You have a 7 12 record against Utah. Is that something you focus on personally before a game saying, I really need to improve this record? Does your team know that? Do they really try to win this for you?
COACH JUDKINS: I think my team, a lot of them have been with me for four years, so that 7 12 record comes on them a little bit, too.
But, yeah, it's hard. When Elaine has done a great job of dominating this league and she's had excellent teams. She's a great coach. You don't win 500 games because you can't coach.
They've beat us when it come down to the end, like tonight, they executed a little bit better or whatever. Tonight, the ball just bounced our way. We had some shots that went in that normally in that 7 12, you know, came off the rim.
I'm just proud of these guys. It's been an up and down season. It's been hard. This is a hard game to play because we know each other so well. We know the tendencies of both coaches. It just becomes a dogfight out there.
I think they struggled a little bit offensively. We struggled offensively. But, you know, it's tough. I mean, my team, when we scored four opinions in 10 minutes, it was hard. Kubik was the big key. That's why I put her in the game. I drew up a little play that we have not run the whole year, 'cause I knew Elaine is so prepared if I just ran a play to get her she'd know it.
I've been very fortunate as a coach to have a quick mind to be able to think of that sometimes. I drew up a little play to get her the ball inside. She made me look smart as a coach because she scored it.
You know, it's tough out there (smiling).
Q: Can you talk a little bit more about that cold streak. You were 2 for 15 coming out of the locker room at halftime. What specifically did you do to get Dani the ball down low?
COACH JUDKINS: I think what happened the second half is we came out and we started standing around. We didn't move in screen and get in the flow. You know, a lot of teams have that tendency for some reason.
You sit out at halftime for a period of time, you just don't get going. Usually they kind of count on me to draw up a play and get a basket early, and I did. Riley missed the layup. I think that kind of maybe set the tone. Then we just stopped really attacking the basket. We started wanting somebody else to do it, somebody else to do it.
Then, of course, Kubik gets her third and her fourth foul pretty quick and I have to sit her there for a while. Usually she's the one that comes in and makes a big play for us. I just had to take the chance.
I thought the game was right there. Luckily she didn't foul out. But, you know, it's hard. I told my team, We all go in streaks. The key is when you're in a good streak, go a long time, when you're not playing very well, try to make it short.
But Utah caused a lot of it. They really stepped up defensively. They didn't give us any easy baskets like they did early in the game.
Q: Can you talk about New Mexico and your thoughts on playing them tomorrow in the championship?
COACH JUDKINS: New Mexico is a great team. They probably have as good inside out as anybody in the league probably the two of us are the best with an inside presence and outside. We split with them. We beat them in the Pit, then lose at home. They had a very hard fought game tonight, too.
It will be interesting to see what happens. I know in Provo we fowled them too much. We put them at the foul line 42 times. We cannot do that. We have to limit them at the foul line. They're an excellent foul shooting team, like Utah. They go 13 13. It's like automatic when they get fouled.
We're going to have to come out and be able to not let Marsh have 22 foul pitches. We got to make sure she's (indiscernible) over us. Should be a great game.
Both teams will play good defense. It will be a physical game.
Q: Can you talk about the fact that you shut Warburton down, what the key to that was tonight.
COACH JUDKINS: There's a kid named Shawnee Slade. People don't realize what kind of player that kid is. As a coach, you love her. As an opposing coach, you hate her.
I thought she did a real good job. Warburton is a real good player. Shawnee did a good job at making her earn anything. I'm very fortunate. I switched a lot. I switched Johnson, Slade and Keele. They had to kind of guard her.
I thought Shawnee did a good job without letting her get penetration, not getting a lot of easy looks.
I mean, she didn't shoot a lot of shots tonight. Part of it, I don't think she had a lot of good looks. You got to give Shawnee a lot of credit for that.
THE MODERATOR TAKER: Thanks, coach. Good luck tomorrow.
COACH JUDKINS: Thank you.
Coach Elliott, if you want to just provide some opening comments on the game.
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, I was really proud of our team. You know, we just don't ever want to be associated with an effort that would include quitting or somehow, you know, not giving your best shot. I am really proud to say I don't have to worry about that.
They come back strong. They listen. They try. They really have improved and have a long bright futures, I think, as well. Just real proud of the season. Real proud of the effort.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Morgan, you played behind Shauna and Kim Smith last year. At what point this year did you realize this was your team and you would have to shoulder the burden of scoring?
Morgan Warburton: It was actually after our last game with Maryland. I was thinking about that year, but I was also thinking about what I needed to do for my career as well. I knew I was going to step into that position. So far I think I've done a pretty good job. I've got two more years to prove myself.
Q: You sort of have had a pattern this year of falling behind early. Why do you think that happened again today? Is it just bad shooting?
Morgan Warburton: I think it's just, you know, we're young. Things happen that way. We've got a lot of growth.
At the same time this last part of our season, we've learned a lot about ourselves. We're still looking forward to hopefully playing a few more games this season.
It just comes with the youth of our team, including myself. We have things to work on.
Kalee Whipple: Yeah, I think Morgan talked a lot about it, it's kind of mental for us just coming out. We're getting better at it. As she said, we're just a young team. We're trying to learn things each game, trying to learn new things.
Q: Morgan, can you talk about their defense. Seemed like they shut you down and kept you from getting the ball, getting some looks out there tonight.
Morgan Warburton: Yeah, I mean, it's frustrating at times. At the same time I knew it was going to happen. I just tried my best to get my other teammates open. I knew they were going to probably double team sometimes.
I had to work the ball around. I don't mind doing that either because I have confidence in my team.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, you can take off.
Questions for Coach Elliott.
Q: Seemed like a game where there was a lot of ebb and flow. What did you tell your team to try to help maintain the effort, especially in the second half when you caught up?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, we talked about that that would be the reality of the game before the game started. The biggest key would be whether or not we handled that properly, both ways. When you're getting up, things are going, you don't think that it's done.
And when things are a struggle for you, you find yourself in that situation, you don't succumb to that mentally or emotionally.
We try to prepare them for the fact we believed the game would be that way because most competitions are that way, and it's your response to those situations that are key.
Q: You talked about Kalee Whipple at the beginning of the year, thought she would be able to contribute as a freshman. How impressed were you with how she played this season, leading the league in scoring and rebounding for a freshman?
COACH ELLIOTT: Yeah, she was no surprise to us. I think she's proven herself. I think she's made a name for herself. This league knows that, you know, she's a rising star. She's a fine, fine player. Got a lot of good experience this year. I think that will help.
We'll try to do the best we can to bring her along as coaches, be sure we're coaching her well and properly. She's a great one to have.
Q: You took that five point lead and then went eight possessions without scoring. What happened during that stretch, from your standpoint?
COACH ELLIOTT: We didn't score.
Q: In the past you've turned down WNIT bids. Would that be the case if you get one this year?
COACH ELLIOTT: No, this is a good team; this is a good match. My decisions on those have always been unique to what I think a team, you know, where they are emotionally. Our decisions in the past have been they weren't a good match for where we were, the expectations that we have.
This year it's a great match. We simply are extremely young. It would be the next step for this team. There's no disappointment as far as somehow not reaching our goals, we're not reaching our expectations not to be in the NCAA tournament. It's a great match for this team, the youth of this team. We would love to have that opportunity.
Q: You talked about this season as being a learning process, almost sort of like a class. As far as progress, what grade would you give your team for this season?
COACH ELLIOTT: They won 18 games. In the semifinals of the championships, we're playing for a conference championship the last week of the season. You know, I give these kids an A.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH ELLIOTT: Thank you.