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March 26, 2015

Nina Davis

Niya Johnson

Kim Mulkey

Alexis Prince


Q.  Coach, seventh straight year in the Sweet 16.  Talk about getting here and like you told us before, you don't take this for granted.
KIM MULKEY:  Well, we're excited.  There are a lot of‑‑ I wouldn't say a lot, but there are significant players that play a lot of minutes in our locker room that have never played in the Sweet 16, so they're extremely excited.  The first ones that come to mind are like Kristy Wallace and Dekeiya Cohen.  This is their first Sweet 16, their first NCAA Tournament, so they're excited, and they should be.

Q.  For all of your great teams at Baylor, considering the players you've lost, the talent you've lost, where does this team sort of rank in terms of satisfaction, frustration, all of those sorts of things for you?
KIM MULKEY:  Well, they've done the unexpected.  I didn't have‑‑ I didn't place expectations on them because I really didn't know what was fair.  There were too many question marks.  There were too many roles that were going to have to change, so basically they have coached me into how good they can be.  The program has expectations because we've built an elite program there the last 15 years, so you always write the word championships and tradition and all those things, but when you break it down to just how good can they be, could they win a Big 12 championship, I don't know that any of us thought they could.  Could they have won it by as many games as they did?  I don't think any of us thought that.  But those of us in that locker room obviously did.  They've had a great year.  We've been very fortunate to stay away from injuries, and I don't know how far they can go in this NCAA Tournament, but I know that I sure like my chances because they have really done a lot this year.

Q.  You talked a little bit about their style the other day, Iowa's style.  How do you expect them to defend you?
KIM MULKEY:  Well, from what I've seen on film, they play man‑to‑man and they play a 2‑3 zone.  Sometimes you see a half court 2‑3 backed up to‑‑ when you say half court, they extend it, but a little bit of 2‑2‑1, back to a 2‑3.  But I've learned that no matter what you see on film, we've seen defenses that some teams have never played before, so we will prepare for anything and everything that we think we could possibly see.
I don't know other than what I've seen on film, and that's what I just shared with you.

Q.  When you're watching that film, what do you see out of Iowa's Samantha Logic?
KIM MULKEY:  Oh, a tremendous player that makes everybody around her better.  She is a triple‑double waiting to happen every game.  She's a strong player, and then I see around her players that can score, and I see a team that likes to run and get up and down the floor, and they're averaging, what, 79.9 points a game?  They are very confident at what they do offensively.

Q.  For those of us who haven't seen Nina Davis, how would you characterize her play, and how does she stack up against some of the great players you've had in the past?
KIM MULKEY:  First of all, if you haven't seen her play, I'm not sure I can give you a great description.  I don't know how to describe Nina.  I can`t tell you watch her good looking shot because she's got an ugly shot.  I can't tell you to watch how she blocks out because she doesn't block out.  All I can tell you is if you haven't seen her play, come to our game tomorrow, and when you leave, you will go, wow, because she's a competitor, she guards bigger players than her, she scores on bigger players than her.  She had 17 rebounds against UConn.  So she's not just doing it against teams that are not very talented.  I can't give you a scouting report.  My suggestion is for you to come see her play and then you write what you think because she's one of the most unique players that I've ever coached.

Q.  I know you're focused on tomorrow and just the game tomorrow, but since this is one of your younger groups, do you have to say anything to them about possibly not looking ahead to a rematch in the next game?
KIM MULKEY:  No, because I think your teams, no matter how young or how old, are a reflection of coaching staff.  We do our homework.  We're very thorough with our scouting report.  We don't talk about the next opponent.
What sometimes makes it difficult is when you start a tournament and you don't know who you're going to play, so you kind of have to double up and do homework on both teams, and that's what took place in the first and second rounds.  We know who our opponent is next, and that's all we have focused on, and then tomorrow the coaches will already have done their work.  After tomorrow, Saturday, we will present the scouting report and go to work prior to playing the opponent on Sunday should we win on Friday.

Q.  Kim, you've never not been in the postseason as a player or a coach or an assistant in college.  When was the first time you remembered what winning and losing and the difference between the two was like as a kid?
KIM MULKEY:  Probably had nothing to do with basketball.  It was the rejection of not being able to play in the All‑Star Game when I was a Dixie Youth All‑Star as a 12‑year‑old because I was a girl, and I had to stand outside of the dugout and watch my team play.  I just remembered what a horrible feeling that was, and I didn't like the attention that was being placed upon me.  And I was trying not to cry, because you sure didn't want to cry as a girl in front of a bunch of 12‑year‑olds, and then my dad and my mom and my family had to make a decision.  Do we fight this right now on this baseball field or do we fight it later in the courtroom and make your team forfeit?  And I remember making the decision‑‑ my dad had confidence that he would do whatever I wanted, and I said, oh, no, we won't penalize the team.  And I stood outside the dugout and watched us play that game.
So I don't know that it had anything to do with winning and losing and the impact.  Just life, and somehow, sometimes, it can be out of your hands and out of your control.

Q.  You strike me as a slick fielding second baseman‑‑
KIM MULKEY:  Actually my first year of Dixie Youth, I was the first player taken in the draft, so that meant I went to the worst team, and I played shortstop, pitcher and catcher.  Then I moved up to Pony League and played second base and made the All‑Star team my second year.

Q.  I was right then, second base.
KIM MULKEY:  You got it.  Same position my son plays at LSU.

Q.  Last week you sang for a press conference‑‑
KIM MULKEY:  What do you want me to sing today?  Name a country song and I'll sing it for you.

Q.  Are you by nature a singer?
KIM MULKEY:  I can't carry a tune anywhere but the shower.  I love music.  I know the words to lots and lots of songs that you guys have probably never even heard of.  I just like music.  I like gospel music, I like country music, I like modern music.  Some of that music I don't care for, but I don't know, I'm a country girl.

Q.  You talked about Nina's shot, you called it an ugly shot, I've heard it called an interesting‑looking shot.  What makes it look like that, and is that something you've wanted to correct or just leave it alone?
KIM MULKEY:  I think she had that shot when I recruited her.  Why would I change it?  At this level in all sports, you don't change things in players unless it's something that is not very effective.  She gets shots off against players, and I sit there just like you guys do, and I go, how did she just do that?  No, I don't fool with anybody's shot.  She misses her share of free throws, but when you look at games, she never costs you a game from the foul line.  And she's going to be the one you really probably want at the foul line in a tight game because she comes through in the clutch.  But no, I don't fool with her shot.

Q.  35 games into it, are you still looking for a perimeter‑‑ that perimeter stopper, and then also on Imani, if you look at her stats the last three or four games, she hasn't shot the ball very much at all.  Is that something ‑‑ not getting enough minutes or what?
KIM MULKEY:  Yes.  Back to‑‑ I'll answer the perimeter stopper first.  I think we are getting that from several players.  I think we get that from Prince because she's 6'2" on the perimeter and has length, and then sometimes we get it from Imani, Kristy, and Nya, so I would say it's probably a combination of all of them.  Imani thinks she's the ball sitting over on the bench by me.  Kristy Wallace has been on a tear of late and Kristy has subbed in for Imani, and it's probably more of that than anything.

Q.  Did you have any weather‑related problems getting here yesterday?
KIM MULKEY:  Actually we were scheduled to take off at 6:30, and we were on the runway, and we were told there was a tornado, and the airport, I think, had been closed down in Oklahoma City.  So we sat on the runway, and then they decided that we had to go back and refuel, so they took us back to the terminal, and, fortunately, we were able, when we got back to the terminal, to get off the plane.  And so I can't remember how long we were in the terminal, but we didn't get to our hotel until 10:00 p.m., around that time, last night.

Q.  Last year the Big 12 Tournament was played here.  The fans traveled very well for you guys.  Four and a half hours, I guess, is the closest school that's in proximity.  What do you expect from the fans tomorrow, and I'm sure it'll be almost a home‑court advantage for you guys since you are so close to Waco?
KIM MULKEY:  I don't know that you ever have a home‑court advantage when you reach this level.  I think that you would assume that we would dominate the fan base because of proximity, and I hope that we will.  You're in Big 12 country here, and I would hope that the Oklahoma fans would support and come out no matter if their team is playing or not, just be here.  I like that the first and second rounds were back on the Top 16 host schools' campuses.  I thought it just looks better for television.  The women's game is not ready for neutral sites, and I hope that we do our part because of proximity and people will be here, and it will be something that looks really good on television.

Q.  With all the winning you've experienced as a player and a coach, here, everywhere, do you kind of feel like maybe that carries over, the comfort level maybe carries over to your players, with the winning and being on this stage, just the overall comfort level?
KIM MULKEY:  I don't know if comfort is the word.  I think maybe confident.  I want every player that when they walk on that floor to have an inner confidence about them that we're prepared.  Knowledge makes for confidence, and I told you just a minute ago that we're going to do our homework as a coaching staff, and we're going to present that knowledge to them, so the knowledge makes them more confident when they get on that floor.  I just think the program and what we've been able to establish there for 15 years, those expectations bring a level of confidence to those players, and they don't want to disappoint the previous players.  They don't want to disappoint the future players.  They want to hold their own, and I think when they walk out on that court, no matter what our deficiencies are, you came to this program to continue on and be a good program, and I think that's probably a lot of it.

Q.  With the Final Four in Tampa Bay this year‑‑ Oklahoma City, kind of a similar type of market.  I think there's some aspirations to maybe have a women's Final Four here at some point.  You've been here for tons of events here over the years.  What's your impression of this as a similar site to a Tampa or another place where a Final Four has been?
KIM MULKEY:  I've never been to Tampa.  I don't go to the Final Four unless we're playing in it because I'm a single mother, and I always wanted to be with my children as soon as my year is over and get out in the yard and do some things.  But I've never been there to be able to compare the two cities.  I have been to Final Fours, and things that jump out at me are hotel spaces, not just for the teams but for coaches, for the WBCA, for the media and all of that.  If you have great hotels, those tend to attract the committee to places.  If you have an emphasis and an interest in women's basketball and you can sell those tickets, those tend to be places that attract Final Fours.  I've had success in Oklahoma City and I've had disappointment here, but the one thing that has remained constant is that they do like and love women's basketball in this area, and I think that has to be a big selling point for future Final Fours and the possibility of hosting one here.

Q.  Niya, with the role that you play with this Baylor team, what's the right balance you try and find between passing and looking for your own shot?
NIYA JOHNSON:  Really just knowing when to pass it and knowing when to shoot it.  You know, people know I'm a passer, so they're going to set up for me, so that's when I try and take advantage of it by shooting the ball in the mid‑range and just spreading our offense and making them guard me.

Q.  Niya, I'm curious, how comfortable does Coach Mulkey make winning, and being on this stage, how comfortable does she make it?
NIYA JOHNSON:  She makes it very comfortable.  It definitely has been a tradition here, and coming to Baylor, you know it's a program that's used to winning.  She never let us settle for anything less, never let us not work hard and settle for anything less.  She lets us know we're here to win and not to lose, and basically makes us comfortable and know that this is a winning program.

Q.  Niya and Alexis, Coach Mulkey was just telling us that Nina's shot is kind of an ugly‑looking shot, and I was wondering if the two of you would care to describe it.
ALEXIS PRINCE:  First off, I don't know how the ball goes in.  But it's like she shoots it from the top of her head with two hands.  And then again, I'm like, Nina, how the heck did that go in, what are you doing, and then sometimes she's like, I don't know, and sometimes she'll be like, I've just got it like that.  I don't complain, but I just say, as long as it goes in, I don't complain.
NIYA JOHNSON:  It's just awkward especially when she`s at the free‑throw line teams usually jump in early because I don't know what she's going to shoot, but it is kind of awkward.

Q.  Niya, can you talk about the challenge of facing Samantha Logic, a little bit more of a touring point guard than you, and I talked to Kim about it, have you stepped up as one of the perimeter defenders, kind of a stopper, that type of role?
NIYA JOHNSON:  First off, Logic, she's a great player.  I've seen the film on her, and I see what she does.  You know, I try to come out in a role‑‑ whatever it takes for me to do, I do it in order to win a game, I try to take advantage of that whatever Coach Mulkey wants me to do, I'm going to do it.

Q.  Nina, they've got nine players over six foot, long, athletic team.  What have you guys seen on film that could possibly give you guys trouble?
NINA DAVIS:  I'd definitely say that the outside game, there are a lot of shooters.  They have, I think‑‑ four out of five of their starters average double figures.  We are going to try to make them use screens more.  They like to shoot.  I think everybody in their starting five can shoot threes and we're going to make them drive and get them out of their game.  I think the game is going to come down to defense honestly, both us averaging almost 80 points a game, so defense wins games, and that's what it's going to come down to tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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