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March 8, 2015

Nina Davis

Kim Mulkey

Alexis Prince


Baylor – 69
Oklahoma State - 52

MODERATOR:  Coach, congratulations.  I'm going to give you the opportunity.  You're going to pass?  We'll go straight to the questions for the student-athletes.

Q.  Nina, just talk about the way you guys got off to a good start and was able to maintain it today.
NINA DAVIS:  It was very important for us to get off to a good start.  We pretty much came out like we did yesterday.  We had a quick start and we got an early lead but I'm just proud of the way that we kept the lead this time, we didn't let them come back in.  We kept playing hard for the first and second half and we maintained the lead today.

Q.  Nina, it just looked like Alexis made a couple shots early.  How much does her being able to do stuff like that just kind of loosen things up for you inside?
NINA DAVIS:  It loosened things a lot, because on the paint when you have don't have no one on the perimeter they can shoot the ball, they kind of like pack it in, but we have great perimeter players and when Alexis is on, she's on, and she kind of opened things up for me.  And I'm proud of the way she played today.

Q.  Nina, how much will that help you, if any, tomorrow that you got to kind of sit the last 12, 13 minutes?  Several of you guys got to sit and kind of rest the last several minutes of the game?
NINA DAVIS:  That will help a lot.  You know, at this part of the season we played a lot of games, it's been a long season so any type of rest that you can get is always great.

Q.  Nina, just talk about the defense, holding them to 29 percent in the first half, driving rebounds, taking charges, stealing the basketball, I mean, just a complete game overall.
NINA DAVIS:  It was.  We played a lot of energy today.  We had a lot of fire, we had a lot of emphasis on playing defense today and that was something that hurt us yesterday and we had the big lead and they kind of came back.  It was definitely our defense and being a young team, but today we definitely improved on our end, and I'm just glad.

Q.  Alexis, what kind of confidence did you get from ending the shots early, and what do you feel about your offensive game right now?
ALEXIS PRINCE:  It gave me a lot of confidence to keep shooting.  Every time the first couple go in, it just gives you a lot of confidence and I just wanted to give a spark to the team since I wasn't able to do that yesterday because of foul trouble.

Q.  Nina and Alexis, just talk about playing for Baylor's fifth straight Big 12 conference tournament title and just what it means to kind of keep that streak going.
NINA DAVIS:  It means a lot, it's amazing the dynasty they have built here, the tradition they have.  Don't want to be the team to end it, so we're just going to come out tomorrow and give our all and try to make it the fifth year in a row.
ALEXIS PRINCE:  Like Nina said, we don't want to be the team that doesn't do it so we just want to carry on what they started.

Q.  Alexis, we've talked a lot about how when you have gotten off to good starts, and kind of let teams in.  Was that an emphasis today, to make sure you kept the foot on the throttle and didn't allow them to get back in the game?
ALEXIS PRINCE:  Yeah, we just tried to play hard every possession and not get comfortable with the lead and just come out and play hard.

Q.  For both players, Nina first, with your resume what you guys have done this year, do you think you deserve a 1 seed?
NINA DAVIS:  We've had a great season but -- we had a great season but seeding doesn't matter whether it's 1 seed or 2 or 3, or even a 4 seed, it really doesn't matter, you just have to come out with a mindset that you can beat on any day.  And whatever seed we are, we're going to take it and we're going to run with it.
ALEXIS PRINCE:  Yeah, 1 seed would be nice, but whatever the committee decides, that's what we'll be happy with.
MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for coach.

Q.  Kim, was this kind of a perfect situation for you?  You get off to a great start, kind of never let them back in the game and get to rest a lot of people for tomorrow?
COACH MULKEY:  I don't know about a perfect situation but it sure is better than having to play all the starters 40 minutes or even go into an overtime.  I don't know that any of us could anticipate this happening but, yeah, it's good because three days in a row, it allowed us to get some rest.

Q.  Kim, their post player got off to a good start, looked like you kind of adjusted, maybe use of one of the guards to double down a little bit?
COACH MULKEY:  Yes, game plan was for Niya to help at every position and let Patton shoot whatever she wanted.  Just thought it was really disruptive.  And then when I took Niya out, Kristy was our point guard, guarding her, and just told Kristy, let her shoot it and you help at every position and I just thought the scouting report was very good.

Q.  Kim, Steven asked your players about the streak being a championship game, but does this team have a little different vibe or a little different feeling around it than maybe teams you've had in the past that reached the championship game?
COACH MULKEY:  I don't really know, they're so quiet.  I don't really know if their vibe is any different.  I know they're as competitive as the other teams.  They may not be as experienced and certainly they're not as mature and they're not older; they're younger but I don't know that their vibe is any different.  They made it this far, let's go win it.

Q.  Coach, I know you talked yesterday about you didn't like the way your defense didn't respond.  I know the last several minutes of the game today you had kind of a different lineup in there, but are you pleased with the way they maintained it throughout compared to yesterday?
COACH MULKEY:  Well, you know, I hope y'all are pleased.  It seems to be bothering y'all, it doesn't bother me.  I know what their weaknesses are, I know how young they are.  Just the mere fact that this young bunch is getting a 25 and 30 point lead amazes me.  And what is happening, as I said yesterday, is that they just lose focus.  They're not all five zeroed in on defense at the same time and I thought today they were zeroed in, but Niya Johnson had a lot to do with that because she was helping.  Then when we were able to put them on the bench and rest them, I thought the second group, they hadn't played that many minutes for that period of time and I thought they got fatigued a little bit and they allowed it to go from, I don't know what we were up, 28, whatever, 30, to 17.  But they got to play and that's all that matters and we got to rest and we won.  And those problems, Shawn, on the defensive end are not going to be fixed overnight.  You've got to just -- it's repetition and practice, it's experienced playing.  By the time those kids are juniors and seniors, they'll be better defensively collectively as a unit.

Q.  Just talk about how this team has matured from nonconference, conference and every game seems like a little bit more momentum and this team just keeps maturing more and more.
COACH MULKEY:  They do in some areas.  I think we are better defensively than we were when the season started but we're not anywhere near where we have to be to really contend for a Final Four or National Championship.  There's just so much physical play involved, and we lose rebounds.  You've got to be able to defend one-on-one in some situations, and if you can't, you've got to be very good help-side, and sometimes we don't do that, we don't communicate.  Maybe we have too much faith in a teammate instead of saying I've got your back and I'm going to help you.

Q.  Coach, I know that winning another Big 12 tournament championship is a big deal and it would be a big deal to you guys, but you have talked about going to final fours and winning national championships on a regular basis is kind of the big focus, so knowing you're in line to play for another one, regardless of the outcome tomorrow, you guys are going to the tournament.  What is the significance of playing for it again tomorrow and possibly winning it?
COACH MULKEY:  Well, the significance is there aren't many people who ever win one, and to think how many we've won in a row, this isn't my first rodeo, but I'm really not that old, okay?  I'm really not.  I might look older, but I'm really not.  So when I get too old to see that scoreboard, then I'll retire.  But as long as I can see that scoreboard, and as long as I've got a competitive juice in my body, I want to coach kids that want to win championships.  I wasn't hired at Baylor to win games; that era of basketball, that era of sports at Baylor is over.  You're there now as a coach, you're there now as a player to win championships, and you have to maintain it.  That's the hard part.  It's just so difficult to maintain it.  I think it's more difficult to maintain it than it is to win your first one.

Q.  Coach, I know you don't know who you're playing next, it will either be Texas or Oklahoma, both those teams last time you played them, pretty tough games.  What do you expect from either one of them, whoever you play tomorrow, tomorrow in the championship?
COACH MULKEY:  I expect a tough game, I expect them to bring their best, I expect Texas to probably play a man-to-man.  I expect Oklahoma to mix it up a little bit with their one-three-one and maybe a diamond or something, but not much of it.  I think sagging man-to-man, I think two well-coached teams, two teams that would sure like to knock us off that perch. We'll give it our best shot with the understanding that, as Shawn said, we're moving on and hopefully we can win it, but if not, we're going to get on that bus, give them a few days off, I'm going to see Kramer play at Ole Miss at Baton Rouge this weekend, come back, selection show and get ready to play.

Q.  Players talk all the time about when they go up against another great player, it really gets their juices flowing.  You might potentially play Sherri a third time this year.  I wonder if the same applies for coaches.
COACH MULKEY:  No, not for me.  I don't shoot it, I don't pass it, I don't dribble it.  It's just another game.  Your adrenaline might get a little bit higher if you're playing for a national championship, that's about the only time I can say that I really kind of get really excited and wish I was a player again, but no, I don't have a coach that I have a fear of, I don't have a coach that I don't respect.  Just prepare your team and let those kids go out there and decide it.

Q.  Kim, this is the No. 1 RPI conference and you're the No. 1 team in the regular season and could be again tomorrow.  Does it matter to you from a national perspective if you're a 1 seed or not?
COACH MULKEY:  No, it doesn't matter.  We've won a National Championship not being a 1 seed and we've won it being a 1 seed.  It really doesn't matter.  I like that we're going back to the home arenas first and second rounds.  I never wanted to leave that.  I think it was an embarrassment to women's basketball to turn on television sets and there's nobody in the stands at some of these places where they tried to go to neutral sites.  We're not there.  I don't know that we'll ever be there.  Our game is different than the men's game.  And I like that when you turn on a television for the NCAA playoffs, you're going to see people in the stands, or at least you will at Baylor.  I can't speak for other places.

Q.  I want to talk to you about your career because I watched you when you first came down here when you were down the road at the Reunion Arena, and you were going against Texas and Texas Tech about the I am fact and women's basketball and with Baylor about how the game's changed over the years since you've been doing this now?
COACH MULKEY:  Yes, I can tell you, I'll never forget walking into Texas Tech arena my first year at Baylor and the place sold out.  I just thought oh, my God, I hope to live to see the day that we have a crowd that's bigger than that one little section that cheers for free pizza every night.  Went to Iowa State, I don't know that I had ever been to Ames, Iowa in my life, that's the coldest place.  When I got off that plane, I thought I guess they do sell out, what else are you going to do in the snow, but they love their women's basketball.  You look at places like that, and you envision what you want your program to become and you demand things, and you keep everybody sharp and you don't settle for mediocrity.  And you beat the bushes and you find players that are willing to take a chance on you as a coach.  And that's what we did and that's what we will continue to do.  I have to tell you about my staff.  Bill and Jim and Johnny have been with me from day one, and I'm probably not the easiest coach to play for but I think Bill Brock said it best.  You may be the only woman I could ever work for.  And I take that as a compliment.  Not many men would express that.  And Bill just said yes, I'll step away from my head job at Grayson because you're the only woman that really I could work for.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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