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MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 10, 2015


Ellen Nystrom

Gritt Ryder

Greg Williams

Mo Williams


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

San Jose State ¬Ė 64
Colorado State - 55


THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Colorado State.
Coach, some thoughts on today's game.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Well, San Jose, they were terrific.  We knew going into this basketball game that we were going to have to play well to beat them.  Their last two games they've scored 99 points.  So they surely had our respect.
They played well today, both ends of the floor.  Just not a good day to have a bad day.  We had a bad basketball game.  Give San Jose State credit.
I'm proud of my basketball team.  This has been a good group.  This one game will not define them.  Tough way to go out today, though.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll now take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.¬† As coach mentioned, you knew you would have to play well against a team that scored 99 points in two straight games, yet they come out with a different game plan, slowing things down.¬† Did that throw you off a little bit?¬† Did you expect them to run‑and‑gun?
ELLEN NYSTROM:  I mean, we know they're a good basketball team, so...  We had a good game plan, too.  We just didn't make our shots.

Q.  Anything you can do to explain what happened in the first half for you offensively?  I think it was the worst shooting half all season for you.
GRITT RYDER:  No.  I think, as coach mentioned, at halftime we kind of got the jitters out, we thought.  Sometimes that happens when tournament play comes.  Sometimes the first half you get nervous.
As he said, it's very unfortunate to have a bad day like that.

Q.  Seemed like you needed one or two more stops in the second half.  They kept answering with every bucket.
GRITT RYDER:  Yeah, I think San Jose State did a great job at making plays when they needed to, where we lacked it a little bit.
I think holding them to, I don't know what the end was, but like we hold them to way below their season average.  So it wasn't necessarily the defensive end of the floor there was a problem.

Q.  Ellen, how much of what happened in the first half was the way they were defending you versus just shots not falling?  Were they defending you a lot better than maybe you had seen other times or was it just a bad shooting day all around for you guys?
ELLEN NYSTROM:  I don't know.  I don't know.  I mean, they were good defensively.  But we know they can be good.  They played probably their best game this year.  So, I mean, we had a bad shooting game.

Q.  I know it's tough right now, but how shocked are you to lose the first game here after last year especially?
ELLEN NYSTROM:  Yeah, this is not what we expected.  What's done is done.

Q.  How critical was that run they had at the end of the first half?
GRITT RYDER:  I think it was important for them to get on that run.  I don't know.  It sucks for us.
It happened a couple times this year.  We seemed to have a problem with that coming out again at the second half.
But, again, like if we, I don't know, played better from the beginning, we never would have had problems with that.  It wouldn't have made a big difference.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll dismiss the student‑athletes at this time.¬† Thank you, ladies.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Williams.

Q.  Coach, is it surprising to you to get beat by them the way they beat you, considering the pace they like to play usually?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I don't know if the pace was a whole lot different.  I know the score was.  It didn't feel like that to us the first half.  We felt like they sped us up and we played a little too fast, but the score certainly didn't indicate that.
But they were good defensively.  They played us like we would probably play ourselves, to be honest with you.
But with that said, I mean, look at the looks we had early on.  We missed layups.  We had the ball right in front of the rim a number of times with our post play.  Jamie had a couple really good looks early from the corner.  We had some things, I thought, that would have calmed us down.  We needed to make some baskets early.

Q.  Ellen, obviously in a losing effort, but she set a record for rebounds in a game.  Talk about her effort.
COACH WILLIAMS:  I mean, extremely competitive young lady.  She's I think the best defensive rebounder I've ever coached.  Everybody was trying to win the basketball game.  Although it didn't look pretty at times, that's what we were trying to do.
She really competes on the glass.  She's a very, very good defender.  Proud of her effort.  She keeps fighting.

Q.¬† How tough is this two years in a row win the regular‑season title and not be able to advance to the NCAA tournament because of what happens here?¬† That's got to be a little bit frustrating.
COACH WILLIAMS:¬† Yeah, I mean, it is.¬† I mean, I think that's why our kids are so extremely disappointed, because they won a regular‑season title last year.¬† They had a shot to go to the NCAA.¬† Didn't quite get it done in the championship game.¬† Played in the NIT tournament.¬† That was great progress for our group.
But they knew the one thing missing on this team's résumé was that NCAA tournament.  That's why this group is, you know, and rightly so, disappointed.
But, yeah, you're that consistent, you win the league title two years in a row.¬† That's a 12‑week grind.¬† You win it two years in a row, and you don't get to represent your league.
Today we weren't the best team, but the last two years we've been the best team in our league.  But that's how March Madness is set up.
But I feel for our kids.  You know, as a coach, I mean, you want it so bad for those kids.  You want them to meet their goals.  Came up short.

Q.  Do you think the fact that the season is largely defined by just this week had a lot to do with the way they started, silly turnovers, missing some really easy baskets?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Yeah, I don't know.  You watch all these tournament games.  That beginning, you know, when you first get on that court, those first few minutes, that nervous energy.  It's kind of who can get settled down the fastest.
We never really did.  We never really could get that game calmed down.  Our decision making was really uncharacteristic.  We told our kids at halftime, We're fine.  All things new.  Let's just go play Colorado State basketball.  We can win this basketball game.
Just uncharacteristic performance.  Bad day to do that.

Q.  Do you think it helped them any that they got that game yesterday to get a little bit familiar with the surroundings, the environment, the fact that it's a conference tournament?  You want a bye, but at the same time that's almost harder because you don't get the game to get settled down.
COACH WILLIAMS:  The key word is 'settled down'.  It's important in a tournament, again, to get settled, settle in.
Yeah, they were more settled than we were.  That was obvious.  But we were in that situation last year, you know, where we played an 8 seed and had a really close basketball game.  It's just we knew it was going to be a hard game.  That's a hard ask.  They're coming off a really big win.  They've been on the court.  They've got that tournament vibe going.  We've got to catch it.  And we never did.

Q.  How much did it disrupt your offensive flow having to take Elin out early when she got that second foul?
COACH WILLIAMS:  She's a very good driver.  She's long defensively.  She's important to what we do offensively.  So, yeah, that foul trouble did hurt us.
I thought Alana came in and did a nice job.  She got a lot of nice touches where she's capable of scoring it, just had a tough first half finishing.  At San Jose she had 20 and caught the same spots and just converted.  Tonight, tough shooting night.

Q.  One of the girls had mentioned, the way she said it, Yeah, we didn't expect it.  You win at your place, their place, you're the No.1 seed.  Any chance the first 10 minutes you got caught overlooking this team?
COACH WILLIAMS:  No, not even close.  You don't win two league titles by overlooking anybody.  This group respects everybody that we play.
So no to your question.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, coach.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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