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March 6, 2016

Kim Mulkey

Alexis Jones

Kalani Brown

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baylor - 84, Oklahoma - 57

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined on the platform by the Baylor Bears. We welcome Coach Mulkey, her two student-athletes, Kalani Brown and Alexis Jones. Coach, no opening comment? Okay, we will go straight to questions. First question for our student-athletes?

Q. Alexis, can you talk about the way you started the game. I think you scored 9 points in that first quarter and then also your floor game. It was Baylor high for you anyway, 11 assists.
ALEXIS JONES: I think the team came out with a lot of energy, not just me. I just figured out the way they was trying to play me. They was trying to play me right and make me go right and I seen other teammates open, so I was disking the ball to them.

Q. Kalani and then Alexis, it seemed as if yesterday Oklahoma insinuated that they had not played very well or one of their better games. Was that in any way a motivation at all for today?
KALANI BROWN: Somewhat. I thought they played really well when we played them, but when they said they didn't, I guess it was motivation. It was like, you know -- but either way we wasn't caught up in it. I just wanted to be a presence for my team and help them out offensively and defensively.

ALEXIS JONES: It was motivation. They play hard, so it was just really motivation for us to come out here and play our game and do what we did today.

Q. Kalani, Oklahoma was shooting under 30% for much of the game. Just talk a little bit about the defense that you guys used to hold them to that low shooting percentage.
KALANI BROWN: On defense my goal was to alter shots and be a presence in the paint because I know dribble penetration was a problem for us last time we played them. So it was something we were working on, and I just wanted to help my team, help my guards on defense because Oklahoma has some very fundamentally sound guards. So being a presence and being a force in the paint was really my goal, and I felt like I achieved it.

Q. First for Alexis then for Kalani, when you guys are able to jump out to a quick lead like that, what does that do for you guys the rest of the game? I know you're not going to relax, sit back on your heels, but what does that do in terms of game management and anything else the rest of the way?
ALEXIS JONES: I mean, it gave us time to -- we turned the ball over a lot. So I guess it gave us time to make the mistakes that we had made touring the game.

But also, we knew that we couldn't let up because they came back on us in their home court. So we knew we just couldn't let up so we kept trying to fight and keep pushing through it.

KALANI BROWN: Piggy-backing off what Jones said, last time they came back on us and they had more intensity. So we made sure we came out, matched their intensity and maybe surpassed it. But it worked for us in the end, so, yeah.

Q. Alexis, the roll you guys are on right now and dominating thus far this weekend and back in the regular season winning so many games, what do you guys talk about when it comes to continuing to improve, because it doesn't seem like you guys are facing too stiff a resistance a lot of games. So what do you guys talk about to try to continue to improve?
ALEXIS JONES: We talk about defense. The last couple weeks we talked about our post defense on OU and our freshman posts have became -- they became better on the defensive side, and we're treating our freshman like they're seniors right now and they have stepped up to the plate to come up here and guard these tough post players. So we really focused on our post players and trying to help them out as much as possible.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, congratulations. We will see you tomorrow. Questions for Coach?

Q. Kim, Alexis just talked about it, but the post defense I know that was a problem seemed like at OU. How much better have they gotten at defending inside?
COACH MULKEY: Well, it wasn't very good at OU. We had I think a 19-point lead with 3:55 or 4 minutes to go in the third quarter and it became a close game. We had to make a decision there, do you defend the three and not help down? And we didn't do very good.

Today we did help down, but I thought our angle and our positioning with the two bigs, I'm talking about the two freshmen, teaching them how to anticipate things, teaching them where to three quarter, where to front, get on help side, and, you know, they've just -- we spent that entire week after we played in Norman to be better, and it was our job as coaches to make 'em better. There are going to be times when we're not going to help down, and today we were able to do that.

Q. Coach, you're talking about the freshmen bigs, they did get in foul trouble early on and you brought in Kristina Higgins for a few minutes. How crucial was her role helping you guys establish that lead and to keep going?
COACH MULKEY: I wish you would talk about our bench more. We have so much depth, guys, that's why we didn't get any of the Big 12 awards. Let's be honest. Who are you going to pick? Kristina Higgins? KK? Beatrice? Kalani? Nina? The list goes on. We don't win this game today without everything contributing, and I thought Kristina Higgins, I thought Khadijiah Cave were outstanding. We would put 'em in, offense, defense, they were ready to go. They knew what we wanted them to do. They don't get enough credit.

I thought several things were key to the game today to keep the crowd out of it, because it's -- you know, you're playing in OU's backyard. I thought our defense had to be much better than it was the two previous times that we played them. I thought that our bench had to be better than their bench and I thought we had to get to the foul line and make free-throws. I thought we did all three as good as we can do it.

Q. Kim, I know that no coach is ever happy with a result, but as I asked before, you guys are winning by some dominating scores and obviously the run through the regular season. What do you talk to your team about when it comes to maintaining focus and sort of that edge when it comes to playing at a high level?
COACH MULKEY: Probably if what you did yesterday still looks big to you today than you haven't done much today.

We are very, very proud program. We have a history now, a tradition now, expectations now, but, guys, we lost the first game in conference. And Ginny, you didn't put it in your article. Niya didn't play in that game, okay? She is our "little engine that could."

We go as Niya Johnson goes, and for this team to run off this many victories in a conference that has against some of the best coaches in the country. I couldn't have told you we would have done that. But the thing that I think has made us continue to get better is we've stayed away from injuries late in the year.

We had Niya injured early in the year. We had Prince injured earlier in the year. We have been able to -- knock on wood -- stay way from injuries, and when we go out on the floor it's not very difficult to make them focus and get better because of what happened the very first game in conference.

Q. Coach, Niya is usually an assist person and I think had nine rebounds or Johnson had nine rebounds today. Niya had 11 assists. The roles seem reversed on those, but obviously it worked.
COACH MULKEY: Well, Niya, she can score, the kid scored 50 points in a game in high school. She can shoot the jumper. Leave her open, she'll burn ya. She just doesn't have to. And Jones, the biggest challenge with coaching her has been, she can do things with the basketball in her hands that most girls can't. But she has to learn those teammates aren't ready for that, so that's your turnover. So she has to learn how to work within what they're capable of doing and to have 11 assists and two turnovers, it allows me to keep coaching her and explain to her how important turnovers are and why you played so good today.

It's not about the points she scored. It's not about the threes she hit. It's the mere fact that she facilitated out there for her teammates and got 'em easy shots by not turning 'em over.

Q. Don't know who you guys are playing in the championship game, either West Virginia or Texas, can you touch on both those teams? What they do well and where you match-up well with them?
COACH MULKEY: Well, they're both very good, very talented. One finished second in the lead and one finished third in the league.

I have always admired Mike Carey's defense. I think his kids play extremely hard on the defensive end of the floor. He's got -- you know, the guy finished third in the league and he lost 11 players. So there's a lot of people that could get Coach of the Year in this league. There is a lot of people that could get Player of the Year. Who does that to finish third?

Texas, they have a lot of depth, guard depth, and when they get on a roll shooting threes, they're as good as anybody you'll face. I think they're young and they have had success in trying to take their program in a different direction than it has been. They've been rewarded for it, they're nationally ranked now and, you know, fought hard for the Big 12 Championship.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much. Congratulations. We will see you tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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