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March 27, 2015

Latifah Coleman

Allisha Gray

Sylvia Hatchell

Stephanie Mavunga



THE MODERATOR:  Just an opening statement, please.
COACH HATCHELL:  Well, you're looking at three warriors up here.  I'm so proud of my team and these kids for the way that they hung together, the way they fought.  The team chemistry and camaraderie that these kids have, it's what it's all about.  You don't have to, I guess, move to the Elite 8 to be champions, and these kids are champions, because there's a lot of people that didn't even give us a chance.
I read some articles saying that South Carolina, just go ahead and take today off because it was in the bag, and stuff like that.  But you know, these kids fought hard.  It could have easily‑‑ we could have made that shot at the end or shot this, that, the shot in the corner that went in the corner that bounced around and went in for them, different things like that happen.  But if anybody knows, I know life's not fair.  Things happen.
But you have to be warriors and overcome them.  I told them just because it was a trip to the Elite 8 or Final Four was delayed‑‑ it wasn't denied; it was delayed.  So we've got a great group coming in next year, a couple McDonald's All‑Americans, and the best player in Canada.  And we've got a great group returning.  It's amazing how they have improved over the year and the adjustments that we have to make whenever Xylina went out and some different things like that.
I'm so proud of these kids for how they competed and how they fought but more than anything else, the chemistry that they have as a team.  It is something really, really special and a lot of teams nowadays don't have that.  But these kids had it, and you could feel it, and that's why I wanted to win so much for them.  But I'm so proud of them.
South Carolina has a great team.  They are absolutely loaded with players.  They just keep putting them in and a lot of those kids sitting over there would be starting at a lot of other places, but they just keep putting them in, keep putting them in.  They are a great team but I thought we were a great team tonight, too.  We wish them well and I'm sure we'll probably see each other again down the road.
But I thought my kids were well prepared and they played their hearts out and I couldn't be any more proud of them.

Q.  Is this about as physical a game as you've played in college as far as the teams going at each other, and how do you think you handled it?
STEPHANIE MAVUNGA:  Not at all.  I think that we played so much more physical teams.  I think that the refs kind of let us play a lot.  But then again, there were some really sketchy (ph) calls in there.  I feel like sometimes they were trying to make up for a lot of calls and I've never been one to blame anything on refs.  But I feel as if sometimes we had a lot of makeup calls.  But I think that we both played hard but I don't say it's the most physical game or anything.
Some battles with Dukes, some battles with Louisville and Notre Dame, we've had some really tough games, with just a lot of people; Miami, a bunch of people that I think are tougher than they are.  But I think that we did a good job of handling it.
I think that we shot away from Carolina basketball a few plays which would have made up for that, and I feel like every possession counted today.  And you know, one more possession, it's a different ballgame, it's a different team cheering.  And so, that's how I feel about that.

Q.  How much did this game mean to you personally and how do you think your team's effort was tonight overall?
LATIFAH COLEMAN:  Personally it meant a lot.  Possibly it could be my last game and it was.  I felt like my team fought hard.  We all fought hard.  Just didn't go our way. 

Q.  You guys were up I guess three with like two minutes left and just seemed like a rebound away or a basket away from maybe being able to put more pressure on them.  What was the difference in maybe not being able to get that one more play, get that one more stop?
STEPHANIE MAVUNGA:  What was the difference?  I guess, I think with a minute 30 seconds left, I think if we would have secured that rebound, then it's a whole different ballgame.  They would have had to foul us.
But then I think there were some turnovers down the stretch that were really key.  Some for myself; I think every one of my three turnovers were actually really key.  I just feel as if whoever scored from that point was the one that was going to win but it was going to be about who wanted it more.
And I don't necessarily think that they wanted it more than we did, but like I said, like taking one play off, it really matters and maybe we weren't as set up as we should have been.  I mean, that shot that went up from the corner that bounced up and down and any which way it could have and went in, you don't see that every day.  I mean, the game was going any which way.
An extra possession, like I said, would have changed the whole ballgame.  And of course we had the shot at the end by Jamie Cherry; of course, I personally I feel as if she got fouled, but of course the referee is not going to call that in such a tight game and let it be decided by free throws.

Q.  The first couple minutes, you had six quick points.  What did they change defensively to shut you down the rest of the game?
STEPHANIE MAVUNGA:  Oh, double and triple teams.  I think that they quickly figured out that if they were going to get any single coverage, it was going to be ‑‑ it was going to be a long game for them.
And I really feel as if whenever I saw the single coverage, like I said last time, when it's single coverage, that's sort of exactly what it is I like to do.  I feel as if my coaches and my teammates have done a good job of telling me that I can go with anybody in the state as long as it's single coverage, then I'm going to score the ball.  And I think that they have a lot of faith in me to do that and I think that they have really been instilling confidence in me.
And so when the double and triple teams came, that was a whole different look.  I mean, it's harder to score with three people or two people than it is one, and so I think that they changed that quickly, and they really figured it out.  They came out and I think that‑‑ I did a good job of finding some of my teammate at times, of course, but then again, I had some turnovers, I had some turnovers out of the double, triple team, but it is what it is.

Q.  Were you surprised how‑‑ (inaudible)?
ALLISHA GRAY:  No, we weren't surprised at all, because, you know, we are an aggressive team.  When the lane is open like we are used to, we just drive all the time.  So, no, we weren't surprised at all.
LATIFAH COLEMAN:  We run a lot of movement and motion stuff so we could attack the basket and it worked for us.

Q.  What do you think of your team's overall accomplishments in your senior year?
LATIFAH COLEMAN:  Like Coach Hatchell said, a lot of people didn't think we would be where we were today.  I'm just very proud to be a part of this team and I'm blessed for the experience.  I feel like we had a good year.

Q.  For each of you, you guys were up three going into that Final minute.  What was your reaction to seeing that ball bounce around and go in to tie the game?
STEPHANIE MAVUNGA:  My reaction, of course, I'm like, okay, we're still in the game.  There's still a minute left the clock.  But then again, like I said, should shot doesn't happen every single day.  I mean, it's not every day that everyone gets a shot that's going to bounce around and come in.
I mean, like I said we still had a minute on the clock and it wasn't over.  Then we still had a defensive stop to make, we still had points to score.  So looking up and seeing the shot go in, I'm like, okay, we need to score, get a stop, score, get a stop.
ALLISHA GRAY:  I agree with Steph, what she said.  Even though she made the shot, we still was in the game.
LATIFAH COLEMAN:  My reaction was next play, like what do you do next; it's not over yet.

Q.  How would you compare this to last year's Sweet16 matchup?
STEPHANIE MAVUNGA:  I still think that we're a great team.  I still think that we're the better team.  I just feel as if, like I said, if there was just one possession here or there and it would have been a different team celebrating.
I think that last year we did a good job of keying in towards the last minutes and really focusing in and playing Carolina basketball:  You know, playing hard, playing smart, playing together, and really just focusing in and not taking plays off and not really panicking and being frantic.
I think that today, we did the same things.  I just think we didn't really key in every single possession like we should have.  Like I said, a turnover less, a rebound more, a free throw more, and we would have‑‑ we would have been the team celebrating tonight.

Q.  Seemed like you guys were a play, a rebound, a shot away from getting strong control down the stretch.  Why do you think it wasn't something you could quite get ahold of?
COACH HATCHELL:  Well, you know, several things happened.  I had a view on the side whenever they called Latifah out‑of‑bounds, she got knocked out‑of‑bounds, but they got the ball back, that was crucial.  You know, the ball going in like that; just a rebound here or there; Stephanie fouling out that last minute and some seconds.  You know, we ran a couple things.
Jessica is a really good shooter.  We actually were running some things to get some of those shots or to actually get the drives, too, because we were getting‑‑ we were able to turn the corner and take it in there pretty good but their big girls had been blocking shots and all that.
So actually one time I had four guards in there, I had four shooters in there.  But anyway, could have gone our way easily, a shot here or there; or the ball bounced around and not gone in.  I thought one time we got the rebound started out, and all of a sudden the whistling blows and there's a foul called on us.
So there's several things like that.  But, hey, I've been doing this a long time.  That's a part of it.
But I know y'all are asking questions, but I want to say this because I was sitting here thinking while the girls were talking.  I think this game says a lot for the ACC Women's Basketball, because, you know, we were, what, fifth seed coming into our tournament.  We had a chance to win this game.  I just don't think people realize how great ACC Women's Basketball is.  We had eight teams that made the Tournament, and we really have some unbelievable teams in this conference.
So I think, I'm hoping this game made a statement to a lot of people that the ACC deserves more respect than it's getting, because it's great, it really is great.  I see Matt in the back, great job, Greensboro Coliseum people, incredible job, thank you so much.

Q.  You were talking about the ACC.  Just in general, seemed like a great atmosphere tonight.  Can you talk about that?
COACH HATCHELL:  Oh, yeah, sure, it was.  I tell people all the time; our tournament, nobody in the country anywhere close to the tournament we have here, because Greensboro does a tremendous job and the ACC Conference is here.  Almost every game is like this and they just do a tremendous job.
But I thought our conference prepared us; the competition that we had in our conference this year prepared us so well for this game because almost every game in our conference is like this.
So hopefully our conference earned some respect because like I said, we didn't play that much better.  We've been playing like this all year, but we've got some doggone good teams in our league. 

Q.  What did South Carolina do to hinder the ball movement?
COACH HATCHELL:  Well, we had a lot of drives.  So there wasn't a whole lot of passing because we were able to drive to the basket.  So we didn't have to pass it off for people to shoot because we were able to take it to the basket, so I think that's a lot of it.
Now, did we make all those?  No.  Did their size make a difference at times?  Probably so.  But we turned a corner every time we wanted to.

Q.  You accomplished a lot during the year and played right to the wire with one of the teams that was top two or three all year.  Is it going to be hard to look back and wonder after zeal even a's injury what could have been with this group?
COACH HATCHELL:  Well, you know, I mean, after she was out, you know, I thought about it, but we don't talk about it that much.  I just tried to put her into a role of leadership with these younger kids, talking to them and encouraging them and everything like that.
I think being her and everything will motivate her tremendously.  Her presence tonight made a difference without a doubt, without a doubt.  I thought N'Dea and Danielle did a good job but they don't have the bulk that Xylina has.  And, you talk about fired up to play South Carolina; I mean, she was begging the doctors the other night in the locker room to let her play, but she's not ready yet.  You know, she would have made a difference probably but I'm not going to make any excuses.
But those other kids, they stepped up and did a great job.  I'm so proud of them because a lot of people didn't think we would be able to do what we've done but just shows when you work hard and you've got a bunch of great kids ‑‑ and chemistry is incredible on this team.  That's so important to winning, just the environment and atmosphere and chemistry and all that, and these kids have got it.  So that's what makes it hard to lose because they wanted to keep playing.
I felt like if we could get by this, then the next game, we know how tough Florida State is but we beat Florida State in the regular season.  So we have a pretty good game plan.  My coaches did a great job with the game plan for this game and they put some tremendous scouting reports together.  Because we've been the underdog in several games that we pulled out this year, and so got to give a shout‑out to my coaching staff.  They just do a tremendous job.
But, hey, we'll start working and get ready for next year and hopefully make another run.

Q.  What did you tell your team in that last time‑out with four seconds or so after they made the layup and what was the exact game plan for that final shot?
COACH HATCHELL:  Yeah, well, that was going to get it in Jamie's hands and actually we didn't have any bigs in there but we told Brittany to set her a screen because if Jamie has any daylight, she can make that. 
Usually you have like one dribble for every second, and so we were going to go for the win, not the tie.  I wanted to go for a three.  We weren't going for the tie.  So I was wanting Jaime‑‑ and she did that‑‑ she's done that two or three times this year but we didn't get the screen set for her there.  She hesitated because I think she was trying to draw the foul, but they are not going to call a foul unless you throw them up in the bleachers on a situation like that.  But I think she hesitated to try to draw the ball, but it didn't happen like that.  But Jamie is very good at that.  She's, like I said, done it several times this year.  You know, you gamble; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

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