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March 7, 2016

Kim Mulkey

Alexis Jones

Nina Davis

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baylor - 79, Texas - 63

THE MODERATOR: We are joined on the podium by the Baylor Bears, Coach Kim Mulkey and Nina Davis and Alexis Jones are here. Coach, would you like to make any comments? Okay, questions for our student-athletes.

Q. For both of you, when you close the regular season with a win like that against Texas in a championship caliber game and you run through the conference tournament like that, what confidence does that give you coming into the tournament?
NINA DAVIS: It gives us a lot of confidence. We have two freshmen that get a lot of minutes and they need confidence going into the NCAA Tournament. It is basically a whole other whirlwind. Around this time the pieces should be coming together, the team as a whole, I feel like we're all coming together as a team and what better way to end this next chapter than to end with a win in the championship.

ALEXIS JONES: I think this gave us a lot of confidence. Also with our freshmen playing good it gave us real big confidence knowing that they can compete at this high level during this championship game. So I mean, I'm really proud of the freshmen and everybody on the team including Niya and the seniors and how they led us this year.

Q. Alexis, all the adversity you went through last season with the two knee injuries, sitting out the season after transferring and fast forward to today and you're MVP of the tournament. How much do you feel like you exceeded your own expectations coming into the season?
ALEXIS JONES: It was a struggle, knee injuries really do suck.

COACH MULKEY: They sure do, don't they, babe?

ALEXIS JONES: Going through the knee injury was very tough for me on the defensive side and trying to get my speed back. It was really hard during the season, but I just managed to work through it and to try to get better and overcome it, and I overcome it now.

Q. Nina, can you talk about y'all's defense tonight particularly their guards in their lineup you have to go out a lot, but talk about what you guys were able to do in controlling their guards?
NINA DAVIS: Defense is something we take a lot of pride in and we knew coming into the game if we wanted to win we have to play good defense. They have Brooke that is the best 3-point shooter on their team and she loves to penetrate. And they have the freshman guard, Higgins, who loves to penetrate. We really just wanted to slow them down. We just played them a week ago at our place and they got a lot of transition baskets that they couldn't really capitalize on and we knew if we gave them that tonight it was going to be a possibility of a close game. So we wanted to focus on our defense and let our offense come to us and it worked out for us.

Q. Nina first, Alexis second, you guys will be a one seed and there is a probable chance that you're going to be in the Dallas region. How good do you feel about your chances of being a Final Four team knowing that you probably won't have to leave the state of Texas?
NINA DAVIS: It feels great. That's why we wanted to win this tournament to make sure that we ensured that we would be a number 1 seed and be in the Dallas Regional, and we have one of the best fan bases in the country, and to know that we will get to play the first two rounds in Waco and our fans will be able to travel down the street with us, that's going to be a great feeling. And home court is always something that helps you.

ALEXIS JONES: I'm excited. I've never been a 1-seed before, so I'm excited. And I'm from the Dallas area, so I'm going to have a lot of family there and I'm really just proud of this team because we really worked hard to get this number 1 seed.

Q. Alexis, then Nina, given the fact that you will be a 1 seed and the Final Four is a bigger goal here, how long are you guys going to enjoy this one?
ALEXIS JONES: I mean, we can enjoy it on what is the selection show? The 14th? We're going to enjoy it that day and then we will get right back to business, I guess for a day, or this spring break we have we're going to enjoy it through this week and this championship that we just won.

NINA DAVIS: Basically what Alexis said. We will take a couple days off. Hopefully a little bit more than a couple days since we won the championship. But our main goal is the Final Four and we wear wristbands. We've been wearing them since the beginning of the year. Eight is not enough for us, and the championship is a great step for us. But after this day and maybe our off day tomorrow we will get back in the gym and start to get prepared for the rest of March Madness.

Q. Alexis, how important was that three-pointer you hit right before the end of the first half there, because Texas was within single digits for much of that quarter? But that pushed you guys over the edge and obviously that momentum carried over into the second half.
ALEXIS JONES: I was out of control during that possession, but I didn't want to miss the shot to be honest. So I pump faked it and I held my follow-through. So I guess it was important for the end of the half, but I was really out of control and trying to get back under control to settle down.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, congratulations and best of luck in the NCAAs. Questions for Coach?

Q. Kim, Alexis particularly in this tournament, maybe even toward the end of the year, her development and the way she -- there were moments when she kinda took over?
COACH MULKEY: I don't know if you saw me when she came off the floor. I made sure I grabbed her and that's pretty much -- just watching a kid fight through knee injuries, sit out a year, play for a new coach, new system, great players around her, try to fit in, trying to find her way, but yet at the same time understand, my God, she is so talented.

She is finally comfortable. She's comfortable. She can do things with a basketball that a lot of girls can't do. She can find people open and it's taken a while for her to not overpass and for her to learn her teammates. Some of them can't catch those passes. She can score anytime she wants, but to watch her assist-to-turnover ratio just improve it makes her an overall complete player.

She's been playing like that for a while, for about the last month or so, and shooting good shots. She can shoot shots off balance and they go in. It's just -- it's what you strive for as a coach and sometimes they don't understand it along the way. I'm just really, really happy for her.

Q. You guys handled Texas pretty well three times now. This is a team that's pushing really hard and talking about trying to get back to the level that they have been at in the past. How significant is it in particular to hold them off, A, because it's Texas, and B, because they've been a top-7 team pretty much all year long?
COACH MULKEY: I don't know about A, you know, we're in Texas. They're in Texas. We're Baylor. They're Texas. There's so dang many schools in the state of Texas, you know? But, B would be you always help yourself when you play a team that is ranked, win or lose. It helps your RPI, and we just happened to win the three that we played 'em this year. They are a much improved program. Karen has done a tremendous job in recruiting.

Q. Coach, talk about the development of post-play. What I saw tonight it was significant, especially when stops helped and when they needed to get shots late in the game when the shot clock was winding down?
COACH MULKEY: Well, if you've watched Kalani and Beatrice, the two big freshmen I have, if you saw them play early in the season and you've seen them today, you go, wow! To think that they're just scratching the surface on what they're going to do in their careers at Baylor because there will be a day when they're both on the floor together. And I don't do that much right now, but can you imagine the two of them on the floor together in the future.

I thought Beatrice was that close to a double-double. She battled in there with a senior that was All-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. I thought she battled as hard as she could. I thought she discard as good as any post that we have.

Kalani didn't do as much today as she has done in the previous games. When you have post touches and you have Nina your All-American as your undersized post player it allows guards to get better shots. It allows them to do things because if you look at our roster, you have to play everybody honest. I don't know if we have a weak scoring position and then if they are struggling, then I'll just try somebody else because we have that much depth.

Q. Coach, expanding on Beatrice, she rebounded well, scored a lot of points. She had three blocks too and she was perfect from the fellow line?

Q. Where she had been struggling this season, do you feel like this was the game she brought it all together?
COACH MULKEY: Beatrice's high school coach was here. First time I think he's seen her all year, came in from Miami and that just lifted her. He is so special to her. If that's what it takes, I guess we need to tell him he needs to be at every game! (Chuckles.)

When you have success in areas that you have been struggling in, it gives you self-confidence and for her to step up there and make 3 out of 3, she'll get ragged on all the way back on the plane. We'll pick on her.

Q. Coach, six in a row, what does this one mean to you?
COACH MULKEY: Well, you're happy for all of your players, but the freshmen and the new ones, this is their first, and you need to make sure you keep it exciting. You make sure that it means as much to you today as it did the very first one that you won, and you let 'em enjoy it.

Fortunately for us, we get to go back and it's spring break and we'll take a few days off. I'll go to LSU and watch my son play next weekend. First time I've seen him, and then when we get back Monday and sit at the Selection Show. We'll quit smiling and put our business faces on and go back to work. Honestly, we've been playing pretty good, and I wish we could just keep playing. You hate to stop and take a break for fear that you can't get back to where you just finished these last two or three weeks, because we've really played good basketball.

Q. Kim, the Big 12 has committed to keeping this tournament in Oklahoma City through 2019 with the goal being to allow Oklahoma City to establish this and market it and build it. Are you in favor of that? Or would you rather see the tournament move around?
COACH MULKEY: Well, we discussed that a lot at string meetings and I think that's where it needs to stay because there are a lot of us from Texas. We want to be in Texas, you know that, y'all want the Oklahoma schools want it to be here.

But I'm for women's basketball. Selfishly I would like to see this arena sold out, regardless if it's Baylor and Texas playing in the championship. I don't know the answer. I don't know the answer. I don't know if it's every two years we need to move it. I don't know if we need to establish a place like softball does here or baseball used to do here.

I'm for what is good for the league, and right now I don't know what is good for the league. I didn't see attendance here today, you know, with no Oklahoma school here today, that probably hurt attendance. I don't know. I don't know the answer. I'm just for whatever is best for the league and we do discuss it and I tell you, it's brought up just about every spring meeting and I don't know that it's every a unanimous thing that any of us every agree on.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, Coach, congratulations on a great season and best of luck in the NCAAs.

COACH MULKEY: Thank you.

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