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March 29, 2015

Sune Agbuke

Nina Davis

Niya Johnson

Kim Mulkey


Notre Dame – 77
Baylor - 68

Q.  Sune, do you think that perhaps you were a marked woman tonight in some ways because of the flagrant on Friday?  Did that affect your game?
SUNE AGBUKE:  You know, I didn't really understand what I could do different, and it happened, and I don't know, it rattled me for a minute.  But I was just trying to play and trying to get to where I was going.  I don't do things‑‑ I don't throw elbows.  I just felt like the rest of the game, the refs kept telling me don't give us something to look at, don't give us something to look at, like I was doing it on purpose, and I wasn't.

Q.  Nya, you were right in there, right down to the last minute.  Talk about not being able to finish.
NIYA JOHNSON:  That's just on us, not finishing.  That's part of focus, and I thought they beat us with offensive rebounding, so that's something we have to work on.

Q.  Nina, just expanding on what Nya just talked about, the offensive rebounds they were able to have, I think it was only 16‑12 in second chances but did you feel like that took away chances for to you score?
NINA DAVIS:  Definitely.  We knew coming into the game we knew that was something we couldn't let happen.  We couldn't let them get offensive rebounds and we kind of let that happen in critical moments at the end.  They had two or three critical rebounds at critical moments at the end, and that cost us the game in the long run.

Q.  Late in the game, three starters were playing with four fouls apiece on your team.  Could you talk about how that might have impacted the rebounding on both ends of the floor?
NIYA JOHNSON:  I don't know, like four fouls you have to play smart at the end of the day.  I guess we tried to stay off of them.  They was calling it pretty tight at the end, and I don't know, it was just difficult playing with four fouls.
NINA DAVIS:  I cannot even say it really affected us, we all had four fouls, but you just can't let the fouls stop you.  Like Nya said, you have to play smart but you have to keep battling, and it was a critical moment and we kept battling, but we just fell short.
SUNE AGBUKE:  Yeah, I have to go with Nina.  That's the game, playing with four fouls for all of us.  You've got to keep playing hard, and that's what we tried to do.

Q.  Sune, just talk about this team in general.  You guys were picked second in the conference.  You guys roll off a 20‑plus game win streak, incredible run to the Elite 8.  Kind of sum up this journey with a team so young.  It looks promising from here to the next couple years.
SUNE AGBUKE:  I've just learned so much about life from this team.  We weren't always the biggest, we weren't always the fastest, we weren't the most talented, but we battled every day.  You know, and we were always‑‑ we always could learn lessons.  We lost two games in a row late in the season, but we were able to bounce back.  That's what we were all about.  We just continued to get better all year from every loss and from every win.  We just kept improving, and there's just not another group of girls that I'd want to go to war with, and I'm excited for them because next year they'll make it better, and the year after that they'll only get better, and that's just Baylor for you, and that's just the kind of program that Coach Mulkey has built here, that this year we made it to an Elite 8 and we're disappointed because we couldn't make it further, but next year, man, they're going to be so great.

Q.  Nina, in the second half did they do anything different defensively or do you feel like some of the shots that you were getting weren't falling?
NINA DAVIS:  It was just a game.  I was going about it the same way, some shots went in, some shots rolled out.  It happens.

Q.  Nina and Nya, obviously outsiders coming into the season didn't necessarily expect you guys to get this far.  I know Coach has talked about the next couple years are going to be incredible with you guys.  Given the fact that the expectations outside of the program weren't this high, how much do you think this is going to springboard you guys, making it this far and giving Notre Dame a run for their money?
NINA DAVIS:  I think right now we really can't see it because we're in a lot of pain because we fell short and we thought we had a great opportunity to get to the Final Four, but we had a great season.  It was a great journey, and I wouldn't trade anything in the world for this team or anybody.  This is going to give us a lot of confidence.  We have a great class coming in and we pretty much bring everybody back except for Sune so this is going to give us a lot of confidence once we get over this right here, and we're going to be all right.
NIYA JOHNSON:  I think it's just motivation and just will make us work harder in the off‑season and just put in work.

Q.  Sune, you talked about having learned a lot from this team.  What would you say that you've learned that you might apply to your career as a lawyer as you go forward, and what will be your best memory of your time at the program?
SUNE AGBUKE:  What I've learned that I can apply to my career?  We have‑‑ I think everyone on the team has a great personality and we find ways to laugh like at times when maybe we shouldn't laugh.  So I think that lightheartedness that sometimes we can use in moments that like we're broken like this and our hearts are broken but we can go back in the locker room and someone can say something and we can all kind of crack a smile, and I think that's something I'll really take with me about not taking everything too seriously.  What was the next question?

Q.  What will be your best memory?
SUNE AGBUKE:  I think just getting on everybody's nerves.

Q.  I don't want to get you in trouble, but would you comment at all on the considerable disparity in the number of trips to the foul line, particularly in light of the fact that you guys were so clean during the standpoint of collecting personal fouls in the first three rounds of this tournament?  And also, on the difference that that made in rebounding and the momentum of the game.
KIM MULKEY:  Well, I'll answer it this way so that I don't get in trouble.  I think there were three things that really were critical in the difference in the game.  I thought when you have two teams of equal ability and they're playing their hearts out and it's back and forth and it's back and forth, in critical moments, the team that does something‑‑ make a play, usually wins, and I thought Notre Dame got several offensive rebounds, long rebounds that gave them another opportunity, and if you look at the stat sheet, it may not jump out at you because it's really pretty similar, but it's when they got those offensive boards.
I thought role players for Notre Dame just absolutely killed us.  When you can hold Jewell Loyd to five for 18 and 13 points, you can't let Mabrey go five for five, you can't let Cable hit a three, or four for four, but they were five for five between the two of them, so that's, what, 15 points right there.  And then the third thing is we didn't get to the foul line enough.  We got there nine times and they got there 24, and I thought those were the three things that stood out to me.

Q.  Did you feel like maybe you missed a chance in the first half?  You're up nine with a chance to extend it, and then they kind of got right back in it?
KIM MULKEY:  Well, you have the flagrant, so you had things that are‑‑ I can't control that over on the sideline, and Sune is just not a dirty player.  I just find it funny that in two games she got a flagrant 1.  Those mistakes do hurt you, but we stayed in the game.  We stayed in the game.  We were in the game up until the last minute of the game, but when you look at the last three or four minutes of the game, I just thought those long rebounds when we'd make defensive stops, and it was a four‑point, six‑point game, we just couldn't get them, and then we stepped back, and you look at the big picture, you take away the role players' points for Notre Dame, you take away some of those free throws, it might have been a different game.
I know that we're young, but guys, Notre Dame is young, too.  So they'll have a good team back, as well.

Q.  Coach, like a lot of players have mentioned, your team has a very bright future.  They're a young team.  What are you looking forward to taking from this experience?
KIM MULKEY:  Oh, I think we've got to get better defensively still.  I think that we have got to understand the importance and the value of just one play, one rebound, and that comes with time.  That comes with time.  You've got a player, and I just mentioned Jewell Loyd, we hold her five of 18, but the truth is Jewell Loyd makes all those players get those points, and we don't have that player, so we've got to get it from a bunch of different places.  We'll get better.

Q.  When you have players, some of your best players get into foul trouble, especially late in the game, I imagine that's a very delicate balance between playing hard and also being cautious to stay in the game.  What do you tell your players in those moments?
KIM MULKEY:  I don't know that I really tell them anything.  I don't really talk to them about don't foul or anything like that.  I think I'm just coaching in the moment on what we need to run, what we're doing defensively.  If I feel like they need to come out of the game, I'll sub in offense, defense, but that never went through my mind because when they got in foul trouble, it was really late in the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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