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March 4, 2016

Jeff Walz

Myisha Hines-Allen

Greensboro, North Carolina

Louisville - 60, Georgia Tech - 50

JEFF WALZ: The kids played -- we knew it was going to be a battle. They play hard, they play physical, and they're a very good basketball team. We'd like to congratulate them. It was a battle for sure. There's no question about it. And we knew it was going to be.

I was proud of our kids. I thought take away the first five minutes of the game where we just couldn't figure out who was on our team and who was on theirs because we threw it to the wrong team a few times, about six, actually, in the first five minutes, and then we don't turn it over but seven times the rest of the game. It's hard to score when you're throwing it to the wrong team.

When we actually did get shots, we did a pretty good job. You know, so I was really proud of our effort. I thought we rebounded the ball well. I thought we converted our free throws, which you have to do in games like this. I thought Mariya stepped up at the line. She was nine for 10. You know, she did not shoot the ball well tonight for us to be able to win and her go 1 for 12 I think speaks volumes to the rest of our team because that's not what she's going to do on a normal basis, and then there's not much to be said about the way Myisha has been playing. She's been playing extremely hard. She's efficient. She's rebounding the ball. Every once in a while she thinks she's the point guard in getting back, but once we can get that solved, she might be able to get about 16 rebounds instead of 13.

Q. Myisha, you were matched up often against Aaliyah Whiteside and you're both all-conference and she's the leading scorer in the league, you're the Player of the Year. Did you view that as a microcosm, say a one-on-one battle for this game.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Of course. We knew she was a great player. She has a quick shot, a quick release, so we had to keep a hand up on her whoever was guarding her. But she's the leading scorer in our conference, so we just had to try to stop her tonight.

Q. Coach, in the second quarter Asia Durr came in and kind of turned this around for you a little bit.
JEFF WALZ: Yeah, she was very aggressive at the offensive end. I was really excited. It's what I've been asking for from her for the entire season was to really look to attack, and I thought she did that. I think she came down and made back-to-back shots and had an and-one, and that's what she can do. She can change a game at the offensive end of the floor.

Just got to get her to be a little bit stronger with the ball, especially when we're getting pressed. But was really pleased offensively with what she was able to do for us.

Q. Myisha, what did you guys do or refocus in that second quarter to -- seven turnovers in the first quarter and then cleaning it up like that?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: We just had to take our time with the ball. They were pressing. Their press is pretty -- they press pretty well, so we just had to take our time, be patient, and run our offenses through.

Q. Can you just talk about the rebounds, 45-37, out-rebounding that team, and then as a follow-up what Sam gave you off the bench, the lift she gave you?
JEFF WALZ: Yeah, we talk about rebounding every day in practice. We know that we aren't the tallest team, but we've got to be willing to have everybody go and attack the glass, and that's one thing that I thought we did well tonight, especially at the offensive end. You know, Cortnee, again, comes up with four offensive rebounds, Myisha comes up with four, and Sam in 14 minutes gets six boards, she goes three of three, and two of her made baskets were in the first half off of offensive boards. And they were big.

You know, Sam actually has been struggling some in practice, just really had not been doing much, and we knew with Cortnee, with her finger, I was trying not to throw her out there for 38 minutes like we had been, but you know, I was really pleased with the energy that Sam brought, and if she can just continue to want to become a special player, she has it in her, but it takes work, and right now, especially as a freshman, they aren't quite used to having to work as hard. You know, in high school it comes real easy, especially when you're as talented as some of these kids are, and then all of a sudden now you're playing against other players that were pretty good in high school, too.

So as soon as we can get some of their work ethic changed to where it's every day and not just occasionally, we're going to have a chance to have a lot of very, very special basketball players.

Q. Can you talk about the evolution of Sam Fuehring's game?
JEFF WALZ: To be honest with you, if she could continue to do this for us, then I could say there's been an evolution to it. This was more like a shock for the way Sam has been playing, unfortunately. But she has it in her, and that's what I keep challenging her with, like you've got to come every day to practice to want to dominate and not just participate. And that's what -- when we recruit all these kids, that's what we tell them. I'm not looking for participators, I'm looking for dominators, and it doesn't mean you score every time, but it might be on the defensive end, how you rebound the ball, how you pass the ball, how you set a screen. And that's what has been a challenge for some of them because the problem is the first question everybody asks every kid when they get a call from home, from their friends, is how many points did you score, so if they don't score a bunch of points, then it's like, oh, so you must not have played well.

No. And that's the battle you fight, especially in today's day and age, where everybody wants to tweet out, oh, she scored 15, she scored 20. Nobody wants to tweet out, man, she defended really well, because nobody is going to re-tweet that. And that's our issue. I'm just telling you.

And if we can get a bunch of them to understand, I've got about three of them that if I can get their games to evolve to where they'll just do whatever we need to do to win, we have a chance to make a run. But I've got to get some more of them to be able to give us more minutes and solid minutes so we can give some of them a breather.

I know it was a long answer, I apologize. I could have gone on.

Q. What did you think of Cortnee's play tonight? She had her hand taped up. Did you expect that from her tonight?
JEFF WALZ: You know what, I expect that from Cortnee every night. It doesn't matter if she had a club on. If she had one hand to go after rebounds, that's all she needs. You know, she's a kid that it's refreshing because she doesn't care how many points she scores. Like when she looks at the stat sheet, the first question she wants to know is how many offensive rebounds did she get. The kid in my opinion should have been all-conference. There's not one other player that rebounds the ball better in the ACC than Cortnee Walton, but nobody looks at that. The media doesn't look at that, other coaches I know do because they're worried about trying to keep her off the offensive glass, but when you're selecting your 10 or 12 to 15 to put on the all-conference team, everybody looks at points per game. She isn't on that list. She's nowhere to be found. But if they take a bother to look at what she does rebounding-wise for us, the kid is an All-ACC player, and I'll go to my grave saying that.

Q. Whiteside was held to two first-half points. She ended up with 20, but high-volume shooter tonight. What was the key to holding her in check?
JEFF WALZ: We had to make sure we had a hand up at all times. She scores the basketball. She's a very talented player. Our goal was to try to turn her into a high-volume shooter, but I'll give her credit, she got to the free-throw line, which is an area that we did not want her to get to because she's such a good free-throw shooter. And she plays hard. She wasn't going to quit. We knew that. So I thought we made her work hard for everything she got, and then it was able to help us score at times because I think she had to use so much energy at the offensive end, you know, it gave us some open looks on people that she was defending.

Q. Myisha, with 13 rebounds tonight, I know it's not something you necessarily like to do, but talk about the effort today.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: With Cortnee taped up, I had to rebound, like you said. I don't like to do that. I'm joking, I do.

But I mean, it's something the team needs to do. When Cortnee is going to the boards, you have two people going right after her, so it's just like I'm cleaning it up. But sometimes I do forget and think I'm a point guard and start heading back.


MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yeah, I've just got to keep getting those rebounds.

Q. Myisha, you grabbed your shoulder, came down in the lane at one point and left. What kind of happened on that play?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: I just tweaked my shoulder a little bit. Nothing is wrong, though, I'm fine. It's just a little hurt.

JEFF WALZ: Tell them, Myisha. You've got what?

MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: I've got two shoulders.

Q. Coach, you didn't have the best shooting game, but you rebounded well, you made them work hard for their shots. What's your feeling when you have a game like this to open a tournament where it did not come easy, it wasn't like you had players sitting out and resting. You had to work all the way through it on a tough night.
JEFF WALZ: No, and we didn't expect this to be an easy ballgame by no means. If you just go back and look at what Tech has done the entire year, every game is a battle. We were up six at their place with about six minutes to go in early January and had to pull away for a 13-point lead. So the final score might look like we had it, but no, we battled the entire game.

You know, they're 18-to-22-year-olds. If we can't play three games in three days, we've got problems. We'll get back to the hotel, get plenty of rest, the kids the. We'll stay here and watch the ballgame, and then I believe it's a 2:30 tip tomorrow or 2:00 tip. It's a 2:30 tip, so that's plenty of rest. They'll get plenty of time to get rehydrated and get prepared to play.

Q. Talk about the test to start a tournament --
JEFF WALZ: Oh, sure, I'd rather come in and play something like this than have a 40-point win. Now, at the same time they aren't all that bad, either.

But we had a chance to go up against a lot of different looks tonight. You know, their different presses, they switched up defensively, things that I think will come in handy because either of these two teams that we play tomorrow are very, very talented. They've got great guards. Syracuse is going to press the entire time. You know, we had an unbelievable game at NC State. So we know that -- it doesn't matter who we play tomorrow. It's going to be a ballgame.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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