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March 18, 2016

Moriah Mack

Brooke Salas

Mark Trakh

Sasha Weber

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State - 74, New Mexico State - 52

COACH TRAKH: Yeah, I thought Arizona State came out and really made a statement in the first half. They came out and they played and they were at a different speed and they got us on our heels early, and I thought in the second half, our kids calmed down and it was a competitive second half. I think we lost the second half by one.

So it was a competitive second half but I just thought we dug ourselves too deep against a Pac-12 co-champion. It was really tough. They are really aggressive defensively and they got after it. It was a great team that we lost to, but I was proud that the kids didn't pack it in at halftime. They came out and they battled in the second half, and I think that's good, because we're building for next year.

We only lose three kids. We get everybody back next year, have a pretty good kid red shirting and have a pretty good recruiting class coming in. Our goal is to eventually come to the NCAA Tournament and win a game. I think we just continue recruiting, continue working and like I say, we'll have five seniors next year that will really give us a great culture of working hard.

Proud of the kids. Arizona State, my hat's off to them. They are really good. I hope they go to the Final Four. Love their coach, love their style of play. They are aggressive. They are tough. They, would hard on the board. Every one of their kids is together, works hard. No, I'm really impressed with the way they played, especially in the first half.

Q. Wondering what it's like, the mentality when you have a player who is as hot as Katie, five of five 3s in the first half, what does that do to a team?
MORIAH MACK: Sometimes it can take you out of it a little bit. You know, she's hot and she keeps hitting every shot she shoots and even if we are in her face, she's making them. We tried to continue to get out on her, continue stopping her and we didn't. Tried not to let it knock us out of our game plan. We tried to do the best we could to stop her but she was hot. She made almost every shot she shot -- yeah, she made everything she shot.

Q. Sasha, was there anything in particular you guys feel like they were doing, or is it more yourselves maybe being a little too quick that caused so many turnovers in the first half?
SASHA WEBER: I guess personally, probably jitters a little bit, uncharacteristic turnovers, usually don't do. Speaking for myself, my teammates, we started off a little bit slow collectively and something we've been battling with all season and can't do that against a co-Pac-12 champion. So we turned it on in the second half but it was a little too late. But at least we picked it up.

BROOKE SALAS: Like he said, we came out hard in the second half, and we knocked down shots that we should knock down but it happened a little bit too late and if we would have come out with the same intensity that's we did in the second half in the first half, it would have been a different outcome.

Q. When you were recruited out of MSU, it was sold as hope, like there's so much hope and now you're leaving as a senior, the program now, can you talk about how much the senior class really helped change this program to what it is now?
SASHA WEBER: Yeah, coach track when he recruited me and Abby, I think we are the only originals left out of the coaching staff's first recruitment class. We had to be sold on hope and just hope that we could rebuild a program, and leaving, I can say that we did that. Back-to-back championships and we have a pretty good recruiting class coming in.

People want to go to our school now instead of having to be hopeful that we could turn it around. I think we did our jobs turning it around and putting our school on the map, so I know we didn't really show that today in the first half, but this team has a lot of fight in them, and I think they are just going to be even better, even if I don't have another year, because they are going to be even better next year.

Q. Can you just touch on that, too, how much the senior class really helped build this program? Obviously a lot of excitement for the future, too, with a lot of people coming back.
MORIAH MACK: The senior class, definitely helped build this program. Sasha and Abby are great players, along with Shenise, even though she was not an original. We are truly going to miss them next year and I'm really excited for what this program has in the future. You know, they have left a great legacy for all of us to follow and all of us to chase after, and so we're going to continue the legacy that they left here.

BROOKE SALAS: I would say that they have been great leaders on and off the court throughout the year and we are definitely going to miss them. But we have a great junior class next year to help lead us, and make us an even better team.

Q. I might have asked you yesterday about ASU's diverse offense, you don't know where it's coming from and today it was Hempen. What did you see that she was doing to kind of get the team going there, two 3s right off the bat, and then three more in the second quarter.
COACH TRAKH: Yeah, she was, can't get any better than six of six. She was just making outside shots. We broke down a couple times on our coverage, especially when we played the zone against her. It would have been nice if they went and introduced themselves to her and said, hi, we know you're the best shooter, we can't leave you alone. But they left them. We gave her a lot of space and she -- she was open, but you know what, you could be open and then you don't have to make every darn shot, and she did. She was just on fire and she did a great job and she got it going for them. It was those 3s that got them going early.

So she did a great job. And those things didn't touch nothing but net. They were great shots and she started like she was ready to go and got them going. And a couple times, we were up there in her face and she still made some really tough shots. So hats off to her. She made every shot she took. Can't get any better than that.

Q. Do you feel like there's something in particular that they were doing, maybe just more yourselves -- that caused the players to make turnover, jitters or being too quick?
COACH TRAKH: We are an experienced team, so we don't -- one thing, I hate when coaches come up after they lose and they say, well, we didn't play well or we didn't play our best game or this or that. You know why we turned it over? Because they were aggressive, they got in our face and they stole the ball. They just flat-out outplayed us in the first half and it had nothing to do with us not playing well or we didn't play our best game or we didn't make shots. We didn't make shots because they defended us. It was great defense.

It was all Arizona State stealing the ball. How many turnovers did we get in the first? I know we got six in the second half which was good, but the first half I think we turned it over 21 times so it was like 14, 15 turnovers. So that was all Arizona State's pressure defense. They got out, they stole the ball and they went out and took it. It was nothing like we weren't ready to play.

You've got to play at that level, especially when you play a Pac-12 school in the NCAA, and I think the second half we did. I think we can use the second half to build.

But it was Arizona State, just kicking butt in that first half, and you know, I looked up and I said, man, we've got to play -- it's going to be a 100 to 40 score if we don't play better the second half but luckily we played a lot better in the second half. Hats off to Arizona. They just totally out played us.

Q. Whether you recruited this class, you sold it as hope; just talk about how much the senior class really helped build this and how much they left a legacy to?
COACH TRAKH: Senior class I think was ranked 16th mid-major class in the country, which is for us in our first year. It was a good class and then the junior class was a good class and the sophomore class was ranked top 60 in the country and we are the only non-BCS school and it was blue star report and we got a freshman class that's go and we've got a freshman kid necessary that's not playing and Brooke Salas, best freshman -- we have got a good class coming in next year.

Now, those classes are all good enough to keep us at the top of the WAC but I don't want to coach and stay at the top. I want to actually come to this tournament and win a game or two. So we'll see if these classes are good enough to come here and get a good seed so we don't have to play the No. 2 seed on their home floor.

Hopefully we can win enough games to give them 11 or 10 seed but I'm not going to coach New Mexico State university to win the WAC every year. I want to come in here and like I said have more than a cup of coffee. I want to eat a whole sandwich next time I come to the tournament. I think that's got to be the recruit. We've got to recruit to the tournament. Recruit to get an 8, 9 seed, recruit to try to win a game or two. Otherwise, I think that's got to be the goal and that is going to be our goal. So hopefully we can just continue in the right path and get it done, that's all we've got to do. We've just got to get it done.

Q. Can you just talk about Sasha's career, too? I know you touched on it a couple weeks ago. Can you talk about her growth and what she's meant to the program?
COACH TRAKH: She's been a great kid, great ambassador, 4.0 student, I think she's in the top five or six in scoring, No. 2 in three points, she's in the Top-10 in rebounding. She's been to the tournament two years in a row. She's been conference champion, tournament champion two years in a row, I think the best player since Anita Maxwell.

I'm going to talk to our athletic director in the next four or five years, see if we can get a number retired in the modern era. We have not had a number retied up in our rafters since the several 90s. What these kids have done, when you consider it's a different era, there's 360 competitive schools that give 15 scholarships and everybody is competing for players in a small town pool to do what they have done now, the record in the past couple years, I think Sasha deserves to have her number up there and I think that would be a great thing if she wants it right up next to Anita Maxwell. Might be a four or five year process but she definitely hopefully deserves it.

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