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March 3, 2016

Jimmy Dykes

Melissa Wolff

Devin Cosper

Jacksonville, Florida

Tennessee - 68

Arkansas - 51

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Arkansas.

Coach, your thoughts on the game tonight against Tennessee.

COACH DYKES: Well, Tennessee is really good. You would be hard-pressed to find two or three teams in the country that are more talented than them. I know there's two or three in that conversation. But they're extremely talented.

They played well tonight. They made three threes in the first quarter, then they went 1-12 for the rest of the night. We were gambling they wouldn't continue to make threes. They didn't.

I think our defensive scheme was good. Changed it up between zone and man. Too many mistakes. You watched the game. Too many key turnovers here and there. A missed basket or two here or there.

We're a young team. I thought we played like a young team early. We really played like a young team in the first 10 minutes. Then we kind of settled down. From that point on, look at the scoring in the quarters, we were right there with them in every quarter.

Disappointed we lost. We came here to win the game, so...

We beat them in Fayetteville, they beat us in Knoxville. Now they beat us in Jacksonville. They deserved to win tonight.

I told Holly she has a lot of success in the NCAA tournament because she has a team talent-wise that should go a long way.


Q. Coach, was it difficult to get into an offensive flow with Jessica having a tough night shooting?
COACH DYKES: Yeah, it was. That's kind of been all season long. If she's not scoring, it's kind of hard for us to get to 60. We get to 60, we're in most ballgames because our defense is normally pretty good.

Devin stepped up tonight, had 20 points for us. I thought she played really well. She fought and competed. Malica Monk competed for a freshman point guard for the number of minutes she played. Mal played 27 minutes, she fought her tail off. Melissa Wolff, that's all she does. She's our only senior. With all these young players, eight new players, she's had a lot on her plate this year. She's giving us everything in her heart.

You know, we didn't take too many threes. Only took 12 threes. We didn't want to get into a three-point shooting contest. Only ended up losing on the boards by two to a much, much taller team. I thought we boxed off pretty well. Five or six key times we didn't, they converted on us. Only beat us by two on the boards. 17 points, the difference in the game.

That's why I'm sitting here second and you already talked to them first.

Q. Coach, a lot of orange out there tonight. What is it like coming to a conference tournament and feeling like you're in Knoxville? How do you see yourselves catching up in terms of fan base?
COACH DYKES: I think as long as the tournament is this far away from a lot of schools, it's how it's going to be. As honest as I can be about it.

It's really hard for our fans to come this far. I hope we do more about it, try to get a more central location.

Tennessee and South Carolina, they're going to travel anywhere you go. It didn't feel like Knoxville to us at all. We played at Knoxville this year. The crowd didn't bother us. It was the guys in the white uniforms and the orange trim that bothered us tonight.

I think we had, at one point I turned around and counted, we had 14 here. You saw what they had.

But that's okay. That had nothing to do with the ballgame, to answer your question. Absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's about what they did on the floor and what we didn't do on the floor.

Q. For the players, how demoralizing is it to get in that big a hole that early?
DEVIN COSPER: We just wasn't converting on anything. They were converting everything. We knew we had to fight back, try to cut it down to single digits by halftime. Didn't work.

We cut it down in the third quarter, which is what we wanted to do. They were rolling tonight. They just outplayed us.

MELISSA WOLFF: It's tough, like she said, whenever you get in a hole like that. All season long, we've had one bad quarter and been kind of able to battle back from that.

I definitely don't think that's why we lost, but it definitely plays a role in it. They definitely didn't let off the pedal whenever they got ahead. That's a tribute to them for continuing to work. We never could close that gap.

Q. Coach, what is the big difference between them now and the last time you saw them, especially when you beat them? They doing anything better now?
COACH DYKES: They don't look any different to me than how they played in Knoxville. Very similar ballgame, to be honest with you. They made their first three out of their first four threes. From that point on, they were 1-12. That's how you beat Tennessee. You make them make jump shots. They did a nice job with their midrange game tonight.

Their bigs didn't hurt us. Look at the stat sheet, Graves, those kids, they didn't do the damage. It was the jump shots by Nared and DeShields, their two leading scorers.

They're good. They're long. They only turned us over 10 times. They pressed us every possession they could. They still only turned us over 10 times.

We had three or four crucial turnovers early which kind of gave them that 10-point lead. From there, we were just having to try to battle back the entire game.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, ladies, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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