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March 19, 2016

Kim Mulkey

Kalani Brown

Niya Johnson

Waco, Texas

Q. Niya, tomorrow is your last game at the Ferrell Center. Have you thought much about that, or is that something you have to think about afterwards?
NIYA JOHNSON: Yeah, that's something I have to think about afterwards. My mind has been on taking one game at a time and just winning, so, yeah, I think about that afterwards.

Q. Niya, I think you were nine years old when it last happened but the last unranked team to beat Baylor here was an Auburn team, and I know it had nothing to do with you. Does that play anything into a game like this?
NIYA JOHNSON: No, like you said, that doesn't have anything to do with me. I just know that we have to come out with the same energy we came out with yesterday against Idaho and stay in attack mode and do what we do best -- I don't even know. Last time I checked, I can't remember.

Q. Kalani, your first game in the NCAA Tournament, what was that experience like, and was it different than every other game that you played out here?
KALANI BROWN: Well, leading up to my first game, I was nervous. I guess every freshman is going nervous, but once I got out there and I got up-and-down the floor a couple times, I felt likes, okay, this is a regular game. But it just means more, yeah.

Q. Kalani, talk about the experience it's been for you, from the beginning of the season to now, like you said, you were nervous yesterday because it was a new experience but your comfort level from day one to now.
KALANI BROWN: Well, I mean, at first --

COACH MULKEY: That first day of practice, go ahead. Talk to 'em. It's all right. You're not going to get minus minutes tomorrow. (Laughter).

KALANI BROWN: (Laughing) Well, you know from the first day of practice, I was like, it was overwhelming, the pace of the game was like super fast and something that I had to get used to. I was like, oh my God, we have to come back and do this like every day. Now it's like, okay, we're here, we're going to get in, we're going to get out.

So it's been a process for me. I know it has been for Coach. But I think I'm more comfortable, and we're playing and we're gelling as a team.

Q. Niya, the Auburn team, they forced 25 turnovers last night. They press real heavily. They are very defensive-minded. What do you kind of see from them defensively and what do you guys have to do to kind of keep the turnover count from getting high?
NIYA JOHNSON: They press throughout the whole game and they trap corners in halfcourt sets. We just got to take care of the ball and find open gaps and be strong (indiscernible).

Q. You come to Baylor to play in tournaments, in the NCAA Tournament. This is why you're here. Is there some sort of relief or a different kind of excitement when you finally get here because the regular season is over and you're done, you've built to the point where your goals are now here in the tournament?
NIYA JOHNSON: Oh, yeah, most definitely. This is what we've been waiting for this season, and it's surviving events, you win or go home. This is my last season and I don't want it to end so fast, so we are just taking it one game at a time.

Q. Auburn, that was your third year here, it's been a long time ago. Is there anything to a game like this and what happened 13 years ago? I know that none of these players had anything to do with that. But we've talked about rematches possibly with Louisville, Texas A&M, Duke, North Carolina and all that -- not North Carolina, but UCONN, and now you have Auburn, the --
COACH MULKEY: No, I couldn't even tell you anything I could use with this team. Different coach back then. Different defenses. Yeah, there's nothing I can think of that would even be necessary to bring up, yeah.

Q. Put it in perspective where the program was back then, when you played that game and how it's progressed and could you have seen things progressing the way they have over this time?
COACH MULKEY: Well, it's the only time we've not been in the NCAA Tournament and we were playing in the championship hosting, and it's disappointing to lose when you're playing on your own floor. But we're in the beginning stages of building this program to where it is today.

That being the only year we didn't make the NCAA Tournament doesn't mean that that wasn't a very, very valuable year for our program. I think it helped us but it was a close game. I think it was a one-point game. It was a packed arena.

And Auburn, you know, I've got a history with Auburn. We've played them in the Final Four when I was at Louisiana Tech and we were down 14 at halftime and came back and won the National Championship back in the day when they had Ruthie Bolton and Ola Mae, her sister, and all those guys. So they have got a very proud tradition, if you go back and study the women's basketball program at Auburn.

Q. What was that first day of practice like for Kalani, from your perspective?
COACH MULKEY: Well, I'm getting second-hand information, what, three or four months later.

The pace of our practice is just fast and it's intense. I'm not a coach that likes to line them up on the baseline at the end of practice and run to get in shape. First of all, if I have to do that, I'm not doing my job in a two and a half hour practice.

And secondly, I need to get rid of the strength and conditioning coach for not getting them in better shape. So those days are over, running kids at the end of practice. I never liked it as a player. If you can't get in shape with a ball in your hands, then you have got a very lazy practice.

So I found out later from the kids picking on Kalani and Beatrice, they said, "Coach, they were asking, is it like this every day." But that's how you get them in shape. As far as, they were probably more nervous and out of breath than I was disappointed, because I certainly wasn't disappointed. I can think of very few days I've been disappointed in the freshmen, because they do work.

If there's anything that I've had to really get on them about, it's always going to be defense, moving your feet. And secondly, Beatrice is very quiet, and it's getting her to talk more. Kalani will talk. Kalani has leadership qualities about her that come natural. So she will talk, and her mother is probably harder on her, coaching her in high school and in summer basketball than I will ever be. But I think it was more a shock to their system at how long and how intense you have to be for a long period of time.

Q. I don't know if you had a chance to see the game last night between Auburn and St. John's. What did you see from them last night, what have you seen from film and what do you expect to see from them tomorrow?
COACH MULKEY: Well, I think Auburn, and I have to love this as a coach, Auburn is defensive-minded. They want you to make the game -- they want to make the game ugly. They want to shorten the game. They are 1-2-2, dropping back to a 3-2. Sometimes it looks like a 2-3, trapping you here and there.

It shortens the game. It takes away a lot of your possessions with deflections and using up the clock and turning it over, and they never get away from it. That is who they are. That is their identity.

And if you go and you look at the scores in the SEC of the games, they don't score a lot of points, so they are trying to keep from you scoring a lot of points, and if you look, their last game against South Carolina, South Carolina only scored 58 points. They are very committed to what they do defensively. So that's the first thing you have to address.

But we're committed defensively, too. So it could be a very low-scoring game.

Q. It didn't seem like y'all have been pressed that much this year, but with your lineup, with two, sometimes even three point guard types out there, is it hard to press this team?
COACH MULKEY: Well, their press is not your typical full court press. Their press is more, I like to call it a -- I don't know if possession is the word but a presence; that you're just not going to go down there and easily run your offense.

They are not there to just necessarily steal it and click and then they go score and get right back in it. It's more of, here we are, and this is what we do, and you'd better make sure you take care of the ball. You'd better make sure you get it to the right spots.

They have enough size with the people that are on the floor that, you know, they are going to get deflections. The angles that they use on their press, you know, just kind of makes it difficult.

So it's not a full-court deal where they are really going for steals and that type of stuff. It's more just shorten the game and keep it low-scoring.

Q. I know the goal is bigger than a Sweet 16, but having made seven straight Sweet 16s, do you use that as motivation to maybe even some of the younger players that haven't been here, that you guys need to carry the torch?
COACH MULKEY: No, won't even mention it to them. When you recruit players to come here now, they know. The expectations are laid before them when you're sitting in that recruit's home and when they sign to come here. They are coming here because they want to get to a Final Four. So we won't talk about it.

We'll talk about Auburn. We will spend the entire two-hour practice today in the film room and on the floor, you can only do so much on the floor with your legs and trying to rest kids. But I don't even know that we'll talk about it. The only goal that will be talked about is how many more you have to win if you get to a Final Four; and then if you make it to a Final Four, you'll talk about what you have to do to win a National Championship.

And we'll break it down in twos, two here and two at the next place. But I don't even know if the word Sweet 16 will even be mentioned.

Q. Coming from a conference that put nine teams in the tournament, how deceiving do you think their ninth seed is?
COACH MULKEY: Well, they are 8-8 in the league. I think they were tied for seventh. So there's three of them I think that were tied for seventh place in the league. So who are you going to take? So just take all three of them.

I don't think anything is going to be deceiving. All you've got to do is watch them on film, see how they are defending people, how low-scoring their games are. No, they are very worthy of being where they are. They started the year beating Kentucky and we know how well Kentucky is playing right now.

And like I said, South Carolina only beat them nine in the last game in the conference tournament, the SEC Tournament. They are good. I think that they are more committed to that press than any team I've played in my 16 years at Baylor.

Some teams are press. We know A&M through the years will press you but then when we played them, they didn't press you, but it was a different kind of press. They don't care. Auburn doesn't care who they are playing. You're going to see that and you're going to see it the entire game.

So we've got to take care of the ball. We've got to run. Don't let them get in their press. And we've got to play our traditional man-to-man defense, and if it's a low-scoring game by us, credit their defense, but we've got to make sure that it's low-scoring where they don't score a lot of points.

We're going to have to play. It's going to be a very good basketball game.

Q. After seeing all these three-point shooting teams, this seems to be a little bit more of a traditional team. Is that a good thing that you're going to face --
COACH MULKEY: Their offense will certainly be easier for us to guard than the three-point shooting teams that spread you on the floor, because it takes away your help side. It takes away your ability to cover down on the post. They are more of a traditional team offensively, pretty much like we are.

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