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March 6, 2016

Cori Close

Jordin Canada

Kari Korver

Seattle, Washington

Oregon State - 69, UCLA - 57

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the UCLA Bruins, Coach Cori Close, Jordin Canada, and Kari Korver. Coach, an opening statement and then questions?

CORI CLOSE: Thank you, media, for being here and for your hard work to cover this tournament. It's just been a spectacular tournament. First of all, my hat's off to Oregon State. They were the better team tonight. They earned it. Scott's done a great job with that program. As I was just walking over here I thought to myself how they took the last couple tournament experiences and turned the weaknesses that got exposed in that into strengths and applied them to their championship run this weekend was really admirable.

You could tell those young women were different. You could tell they were absolutely focused on whatever it took to get what they wanted, and hat's off to them. They earned it. It makes me think about our team, and I'm really confident that you will see us learning some really valuable lessons that this loss hurts right now, but it will change us.

I have great confidence in my two captains to my right, and I just know that this will change us and we will be back, and we will be different.

Q. Cori, obviously, you guys aren't done playing, so how do you channel this instead of having it shake your confidence, how do you channel it into something useful?
CORI CLOSE: I think it's hard for me to tell yet, but I don't think it shook our confidence as much as we did not come out and execute our game plan in the first half. And when you don't come out and execute your game plan, that's what happens against an Elite Eight level team like that or above. I mean, you can't do that. We've got to stick to who we are.

This one game does not define who we are as a team, and we've had too many amazing experiences and earned confidence. That's why confidence can't be given because it also can't be taken away that fast. We've earned way too much confidence over this body of work of our whole season to have it taken away. We know we're in a great position to make a really good run in the NCAA Tournament and we fully expect to be there and to do so. So I really don't think it's shaken our confidence.

We did not play Bruin basketball. Oregon State's a really great team. They have one weakness, and that is handling pressure, and we didn't come out and force that weakness to come to bear in the first half, and we held them to 25 points in the second half playing the way we know to play, playing to our strengths.

So, Coach Jenny made a great point in the locker room. She said remember when Cal lost to us in the semifinals and then later that same NCAA Tournament ran into a Final Four, that's because it didn't shake their confidence. It taught them, and it made them better in between the Pac-12 Tournament and the NCAAs. And I fully expect our team will be better from this experience.

Q. Jordin, Kari, both of you, what is your take on what happened in the first half? I don't think anybody fore saw that happening?
JORDIN CANADA: I don't think none of us expected that to happen. That wasn't the game plan. You've got to give credit to Oregon State. They executed really well, and I guess we came out and we weren't as focused as we should have been. We forgot some things in the first half which you can't do when you're coming into a championship game.

So credit to Oregon for executing really well. And they were red hot in the first half. I think they were 7 for 14 from the three-point line, which that can't happen in the first half and against that kind of team. We were just laxadazical. We didn't have enough focus so, yeah.

KARI KORVER: Yeah, what Jordin said, just focus. We had plans to come out and trap and really pressure them, and we didn't get into that. We can't just turn it on in the fourth quarter of the second half. It has to be a full game against a team that's that good.

Q. Jordin, you were able to get it going there in the fourth quarter, but in the first three quarters it looked like Gabriella Hanson really made things difficult for you on the court and trying to get off shots. So what was she doing specifically to make things tough?
JORDIN CANADA: Well, I mean, she was trying to take away my right-hand. I mean, that's all I can say. When it comes to me personally I feel like she did the best job she could, but I just felt like I still had a slight advantage over her. I mean, that's all I can say. I have nothing else.

CORI CLOSE: I don't think it was a one-on-one match-up. I honestly thought Jordin got into the seams. It's the back side of the rotation that's made it difficult for Jordin. I don't think it was the one-on-one match-up. She doesn't want to say that, but she got past Gabriella Hanson, and Gabriella Hanson's a phenomenal defender and their stopper and she does a great job taking away from them. But the reason it was hard for Jordin was not because was of the one-on-one thing, it was the team defense. And obviously, Ruth back there, it's a different ballgame.

Credit to Gabriella Hanson, she's really good. But it was their team defense that slowed Jordin down. Not an individual.

Q. Oregon State's big three, if you want to call them that, have had a pretty substantial night. Is it just tough because they're all three such talented players to sort of hope you're going to be able to shut one down?
CORI CLOSE: Well, I think we had confidence. Even up there at their place on their Senior Night, we really competed for a long time. After we lost Kacy we sort of had a tough time and then we battled back. So I don't think you can expect to shut all of them down. I think you can't do it -- I think you have to force some other people to take some hard shots and we didn't do that enough. A lot of the times when Weisner and Wiese got three, it was off an offensive rebound.

So give Hunter credit. She was running down offensive rebounds and then we were out of position and they got it out to the three-point line. So I don't think you can shut them down, but I really think you can slow them up. But they're a very big rhythm team. They know how to find their big three as you called them, and we had to disrupt their rhythm. We knew if they were in a rhythm, they could find them in stride and in a way they run, especially their player to player shots, that that would not be to our advantage. But they are a really good team, and I think they played their roles really well. I think Gabriella Hanson may not be their leading scorer, but they were the toughest.

They had Plum all night last night and Jordin Canada all night tonight, give them credit. They played their roles. Hunter wasn't the prolific scorer in the first half, but those kids don't get off the threes if she doesn't give them the second-shot opportunities.

I think it's their team work and their commitment to playing their roles that really allow the big three to be as successful as they are.

Q. Cori, you mentioned the weaknesses that they had last year. What specifically from your standpoint do you see being a strength for them?
CORI CLOSE: I think it's more just the mentality and confidence. I think they are so consistent on the defensive end. They play scouting reports very, very well. But I think it's more of a different kind of confidence and swagger about them. There was no fear. I think they played tight last year. I mean, they would know.

I'm a big believer you don't know about another team unless you're in their practices and film sessions every day. It would be speculation on my part. I just noticed the different level of confidence.

There was sort of a calm about them, a very business-like approach. Even after the game last night as I was scouting it and they watched, you could just tell it wasn't a huge deal. That that was the next thing they needed to do and it was on to the next step. I thought they had a very business-like approach. They had a good balance of being loose and having fun, but also knowing exactly what their job was. I think it was a mentality more than a skill.

Q. I'm sure you feel the same way about your team, but do you look at the construction of that Oregon State team and see a team that could make a Final Four run?
CORI CLOSE: Yes, I mean, I think you look at going to Notre Dame without Wiese and losing our one-possession game, absolutely. I think that they definitely have that level of potential. The NCAA Tournament is a lot about match-ups and who you get paired up against. But I also feel the same way about our team. I feel the same way.

I mean, there's just a lot of really, really good teams. You look at what Arizona State did last year in the tournament and then bring in almost everybody back, I expect them to make a deep run. I sure wouldn't want to meet up with Washington. I just think the conference, when you're the number one conference in the country, anybody -- anyone can make a Final Four run because we've been prepared so well. We've had to play at such a high level for so long.

Obviously, we played Notre Dame to an overtime game and had chances to win it. We played South Carolina to a one-possession game. So I really believe that my hat's off to Oregon State, and I think they've proven that they're at that level and people should be -- make sure they're paying attention to them. But I really, really like my team, and I believe in their hearts, how they will respond to this, and that we will be different.

Q. To clarify, when you talk about Oregon State talking about playing with more confidence and more swagger. Are you talking about the whole season or the tournament?
CORI CLOSE: Mostly the tournament. But I don't think it just happened at the tournament. I think all the talk surrounding them that they had early exits. I thought they handled that really, really well. It's easy. I'm a big believer that performance equals potential minus interferences. And sometimes the way that's taught can become an interference and I thought they processed it very well. They were very focused and they weren't going to let anything or anyone disrupt that focus. And I think that's the lesson that I want to be a good teacher with to our team is us coming into practice and having a focus and not letting anything disrupt us from that focus, then we'll be more ready to execute game plans come NCAA Tournament time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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