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March 18, 2016

Myisha Hines-Allen

Mariya Moore

Jeff Walz

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville - 87, Central Arkansas - 60

THE MODERATOR: An opening statement, coach?

COACH WALZ: Thank you. Again, as we always like to try to, I'd like to congratulate Central Arkansas on a great season. Quite an accomplishment to go 28-4 on the year. I was very, very impressed with their ballclub, with how hard they fought, how scrappy they were. A team that just never quits, and that's one thing we tried to explain to our kids before the game started.

You have to have respect for everybody. You've got to understand that there's a reason they're here. They came out, I thought, for a first period and punched us in the nose. I was just really impressed with them. I told Coach, as we shook hands there at the end, that I was just really impressed with her ballclub, what she does with them. I think they're well coached. And I told all the kids as we went by just how impressed with how hard they play. You know, it was a very, very good basketball team, and there is a reason they won their league, and you can see that.

Secondly, I'd just like to thank all of our fans. I mean, it's quite amazing, again, to have the turnout that we did of 58.23 down here on the attendance for a 2:30 game. It's one of those things that I know we don't have control of, but I mean just think if we could have figured out a way to get a 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 tip. I think it would have been unbelievable for those kids from Central Arkansas and DePaul and James Madison if they played 5:30 or whatever to be able to play in front of 7,000 or 8,000.

So I'm just really impressed with our fans, thank them, thank all of our businesspeople in town that allowed their employees to come. It speaks volumes for them also. So we'd like to thank just everybody that made it out here for the ballgame today.

Then, of course, you know, it's a ballgame that we were able to pull away and win. And it's one that we have to really look at some film and evaluate ourselves and figure out if we're going to play harder. If not, then we'll probably have one more game left in us on Sunday, and we'll pack things up and start doing individual workouts Tuesday. Because we aren't going to be able to advance with the effort that we gave today.

Q. What did you see as a turning point there in the second quarter that led to that big run?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: We tried to get transition points, get the ball out of our hands and up the court. We started taking advantage of our advantage in the post. We started scoring better in the transition points.

COACH WALZ: Dakota was the whole reason. It's the whole reason. We need to give credit where credit is due, and that's Dakota Weatherford came in the game and changed it.

Q. I was going to ask you about her. The basketing foul there, how great is it to be a teammate and see something like that coming off the bench and doesn't play a whole lot but has such a key moment in the game?
STUDENT-ATHLETE: It's really great, because we know how hard she works in practice, and just to see it transition into the game is awesome.

MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: About what the turning point was, I think it was more of a wake-up call because it doesn't matter what your record is, it's a completely different ballgame when the NCAA Tournament starts, so you can't take teams lightly. So teams like transition points and stuff, we just started pushing the ball and understanding that we need to play hard.

Q. Myisha, how were you feeling out there? There were several key moments in the game where the media and crowd were looking like wow, she's really getting bodies in the paint, bodies on jumpers, but she's make some shots that look a little crazy but they went in. How was your game feeling like out there?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: It felt good out there. Yeah, it felt good out there. That's where it all starts with the lay-ups. My team is finding me for easy shots. Then everything else just starts to flow. Then I started hitting the jump shot and it was just like everything started clicking better.

Q. Mariya, just talk about the effort that Coach was talking about, especially early on in the defensive end where it didn't seem like you guys were giving a lot of it.
MARIYA MOORE: Definitely the effort wasn't there completely. I wouldn't say all five players weren't, but if you have two that aren't, it brings down the whole team. That's why the spark of Dakota coming in gave us better help on defense.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Mariya.

Q. Myisha, what's your mentality when you're down in this situation? You know it's the NCAA Tournament. You go home if you lose. This isn't the first time you've stepped up this season and taken over.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: It all starts with defense. We have to get stops on defense in order to get up on the score because we were down. So it all started on the defensive end with getting stops and that transitions into offense.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, is it too early for you to have any thoughts about DePaul?
COACH WALZ: No, I mean, if we defend the way we just did for that 40 minutes, they could score about 120. So unless we don't miss a shot, it's not going to look very good.

Q. Do you have any comparisons on your inside game today versus what they did against James Madison?
COACH WALZ: Well, what they do is they have so many players that can shoot the basketball. Doug does a fantastic job of recruiting kids into his system, and part of that is to be able to spread the floor and shoot the ball. When you've got your 5 player knocking down threes, you can't really help off of anyone. Then, you know, you try to switch a ball screen, they do a great job of rolling that post to the basket. Their guards do a great job of throwing it up, and they finish.

So it's going to be a challenge. It's going to be a challenge to be able to keep them in front of us. It's like I've told our kids in there before we came into the media room, if we have to chase DePaul around, it's not going to be a good day. They've passed the ball so well. They will dribble it. We like to dribble. I've told a few of our kids, they're applying for a job, as we used to say when we were growing up as a Spalding ball tester, to see if there is enough air in the basketball.

The great teams get that ball moving without dribbling it. So we need to cut back our dribbles. When we do that, we look pretty good at the offensive end. It's actually really fun to watch. DePaul does that consistently. That's why they're able to score like they do, because they find that next player who is open, and instead of taking a dribble or two which allows the defense to shift, they're getting that ball to them. So now it's an uncontested three. It's pretty impressive to watch. So we have to be able to do a good job of containing the bounce and not allowing them to make us have to help. If we've got to help on their dribble drive, on their guards attacking, then we're going to be chasing them, and that's not a good thing to do when you're playing DePaul.

Q. You had mentioned Dakota Weatherford and her incredible play during that run, but it also looked like Sam came in and gave you quality minutes as well?
COACH WALZ: Sam gave great minutes at the offensive end, no question about that. Our key was the effort Dakota gave on the defensive end. She's really the only player I've got right now that will dive on the floor after loose balls. Whenever there is a 50-50 ball, if you watch Dakota in that game, she's on the floor. She understands at this point of the season, because I guess she's listened to what we've been trying to tell her that you've got to come up with 50-50 balls. If you want to win in March, you've got to.

If there is a loose ball, you can't bend over it and get it, you've got to dive after it. Now the arrow might not be in our favor, but now it's going to be in our favor the next one. She was on the floor. She got deflection, she had her hands in there. She ended up scoring 7 points. It's not that she was scoring a bunch, although she had a great attack to the basket and scored, but it's what she did at the defensive end. She comes up with three steals.

Q. Coach, I was just curious, regardless who you all may face in the future, this young team has a lot of hype around it, started coming on strong in conference play. Is there a vulnerability for this team that any team could take advantage of?
COACH WALZ: Well, I mean, in today's game you saw how we defended it in the first period. If we don't come with a toughness that you have to have at this time of the year, it's going to be a struggle. That's one thing that we'll talk about tonight. We're going to watch film tonight, we'll practice tomorrow, watch some more film. And we have to make sure that they're completely prepared.

They watched the first half of that DePaul-James Madison game. If they didn't see how good DePaul is, I don't know what to tell them, because it was quite a performance that DePaul put on. It was fun to watch.

Q. Mariya kind of had a rough tournament, kind of like she was in her head. What did she do tonight and what have you seen the past couple weeks to get out of it?
COACH WALZ: I thought she continued to play. Instead of worrying about missing a shot or two, she plays through. She ends up with four assists and two turnovers. She went to the offensive glass, had three offensive rebounds, and it was nice to see. I was trying to get her in the end there a shot to just see a three go in. It was really important, I think, for her to see her last three-point shot attempt to go in. Then she got to the free-throw line. That's one thing that she does well. So I thought she did some really good things.

We're going to need both her and Myisha, not just offensively, but they're going of to to have solid defensive games for us on Sunday.

Q. You can prepare your team with film and getting ready, but 48 hours, what can you do specific steps to change effort in that sort of time?
COACH WALZ: Well, I mean, it's a matter if they want to continue on. I mean, it's the time of year that would you rather continue playing or have to deal with me in individual workouts? I'd rather play. So, you know, we're going to be happy. I'm not going to be pleased if our effort is not better. Our fans deserve more. Our players know that.

You take away the first period, I felt we did some good things as the game progressed, but you can't start the game like that. It's inexcusable. You might miss some shots, that's fine because of the excitement and adrenaline that's going. But you've got to give the effort at the defensive end. That's one thing that I'm going to be shocked if we don't come out on Sunday and give a much better effort.

Q. Following up on what Mariya was saying earlier, was it a lack of effort from all five starters out there?
COACH WALZ: It was all five. I think Mariya forgets to throw herself in that mix sometimes. So, yeah, it was all five. It was people standing up off the ball, we weren't shifting, we had no ball pressure when we needed to have it in there. There were a few kids on the scouting report that we said when they have the ball, back off of it. We're supposed to go and double a ball screen when it was at the three-point line within the first three minutes. They set one and we don't double it.

You know, those are the kind of things that we've been able to do here in the past that's made us successful. We have to be able to play scouting report defense and know who is out there. It was all five, unfortunately.

Q. There was one play in particular that Myisha went end-to-end and she jumps for that jumper and threw it in and looked over and you're shaking your head. Does she ever surprise you with the plays she's able to make?
COACH WALZ: Well, she surprised herself. I'm not sure she surprised me. She surprised herself. We've really been trying to work with her that when she goes coast to coast, it's like 2 for 10. Now she'll make a remarkable play.

That play she made in the ACC tournament where she went behind her back, did the step through and made the lay-up, that was great. But then they forgot to put the charge highlight on that she had the next time she did it. That's where we've been trying to get her if you're going to do it, you have to come to a jumpshot at times and control your body. She left her feet to pass. And it's like oh, she's not open. She kind of just threw it up and it went in and she knew it. That's why I was shaking my head.

At halftime she was like, yeah, I forgot the jump stop. It's a process. But the progress that she's made this season from last is tremendous. The kid wants to be a special player. I think she's going to continue to work on some things, work on her ball handling, work on her range, extend it out to the three-point line, because she's extremely talented.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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