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March 19, 2016

Charli Turner Thorne

Kelsey Moos

Arnecia Hawkins

Quinn Dornstauder

Tempe, Arizona

COACH TURNER THORNE: Yeah, we've just started our preparation for Tennessee. Just reflecting on yesterday's game, I think our team is happy with the win, but I think we know that we can play a lot better, you know, especially just kind of letting up in the second half.

So we're excited to get back, to be still playing. But you know, just rebounding better, controlling the possessions better. Obviously Tennessee is going to be a little bit more formidable in a lot of ways, and we're excited for the challenge.

Q. Quinn, Mercedes was talking about the University World Games and you guys know each other. Can you talk about her and the challenge of playing against her tomorrow?
QUINN DORNSTAUDER: Yeah, we've played each other, I think last summer for sure and I think a couple summers before, too. Yeah, she's a really talented player, a big presence in the low block, and it's going to be fun to see her again in the college game.

Q. For any of the players, what do you take away from what Green Bay was able to do to Tennessee late in the game yesterday?
ARNECIA HAWKINS: I don't know if we saw late in the game yesterday but --

Q. What were your impressions?
ARNECIA HAWKINS: Well, both teams were really good yesterday. I think Green Bay played them very well and their tendencies for the most part. Tennessee was still able to obviously pull out the win and do what they do, and I think that it will be a good matchup for us.

KELSEY MOOS: Yeah, Tennessee is a great team. They are long and athletic but at the end of the day, it's just about us getting better at the things we should have done yesterday, such as taking care of the ball and rebounding and then we just have to lock them down. They are great basketball players, especially individually, they have just phenomenal talent, so it's about us just playing team defense and locking it down.

QUINN DORNSTAUDER: I think they kind of already covered most of it, but yeah, they are a really good team obviously. So we're just making sure to get ourselves prepared and play our best game, because we know that we definitely have a lot to show and yeah, we're excited to play them.

Q. How do you feel, this is definitely going to be your last game on this court, and how do you feel making it to the Sweet 16 as a senior?
ARNECIA HAWKINS: I didn't think that far ahead about this game, my last game on the court. We've just been focusing on playing the game. But I'm excited and honored to have another chance to play at Wells Fargo, and making it to the next round would be a big deal. It would be very nice and it would be fun, but I don't want to look that far ahead. I just want to focus on tomorrow.

Q. Tennessee, eight-time National Champion, great history and all that. Does that come into play at all for you guys, or are you just solely focused on what they are right now?
KELSEY MOOS: Yeah, I mean, Tennessee is obviously always been a fantastic program, but as of right now, we are just focusing on this team, as of right now and preparing for this team.

QUINN DORNSTAUDER: Yeah, I mean, we definitely respect them and it's going to be a really great challenge for us.

But yeah, like any game, I think it's important to just like keep your mind on the task at hand and go out there and play your best basketball. It's not so much about numbers and rankings and stuff like that and the past. It's just who is going to go out there and play their best game.

ARNECIA HAWKINS: I agree with my teammates. There's no reason to think about the past. I think focusing on who their team is now and who we are now, and what we need to do tomorrow to match up well is what's most important.

Q. How do you feel and did you ever anticipate that you would be a team with a target on its back when playing Tennessee, the favorite in the game?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Well, I don't think we really think about things like that. You know, we've had a strong -- not Tennessee's tradition, but a strong winning tradition. And I mean, as you've seen in our conference alone, obviously nobody kind of stays on top forever. Things kind of shift and cycle around.

I would say for us, we have played Tennessee, every other time we've played them, they have been pretty much top five in the country. So this will be the first time that we've played them that they probably haven't had one or two All-Americans on their roster since I've been coaching at ASU. I think one year they might even have had three.

So it is a little different, kind of like Stanford, a little bit in our conference, because for so many years, playing against Stanford, at least two, sometimes even as many as possibly three All-Americans.

And at the same time, I agree with my players. We don't even think that way. They are just a great team, very talented, have a lot of really good strengths. We are just kind of getting our game plan together and trying to play our best basketball in March.

Q. Is this a little bit of a hard Tennessee team to scout in some ways in that they have been up-and-down, they have had times when they have looked like they are quote, unquote traditional, and at times they haven't and it's even happened in the last three weeks. Does that present some challenges in that you don't always know exactly what you're going to get from them?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Some people might say the same about us the last couple weeks.

You know, I think what we do when we scout is we look at their best, and we just scout from there. We don't say, oh, well, sometimes they are great and sometimes they are not. We show our team when they are great, how well they play, what they do, all their multiple defenses, their go-to plays, everything that is their best basketball.

And regardless of our opponent, we respect everybody we play, and we always prepare and show our team what they are at their best. And in particular, in this season, that's what we get, especially by the time we are going into conference, we were pretty highly ranked and we're getting everybody's best efforts, so we expect nothing less.

It's March, so they are going to bring it. I mean, they are going to step up, and it should be just a really fun game because we're going to bring it, too.

Q. There's a fair number of common opponents for these two teams. How does that play into trying to scout and prepare for this game?
COACH TURNER THORNE: You know, basketball is such a game of matchups. I think we look at that a little bit, but not that hard to be honest. It's matchups and when you play somebody in November, December versus March, teams grow and change and evolve, usually get better.

So I don't know -- yeah, sometimes you look at it in terms of when we're scouting and how people played them and what things they did that were successful and not successful, but I think it's so interesting, obviously as a coach, when you look at teams and are like, well, why did Green Bay have such a hard time with Oakland and Oakland wasn't even that great this year. So it's just matchups.

Yeah, I don't know that we really glean that much from our common opponents. We're just really looking at our matchup with them.

Q. You talk about scouting a team in terms of looking at them when they are at their best. Do you also look at them maybe in recent games, like how much does yesterday factor in to how much -- in your preparations?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Well, obviously we broke that game down and we look at it. I thought they played, what we told our team is they looked a lot better in the SEC Tournament, and that, don't take yesterday -- they were looking at the transition going, they didn't do a lot of the things that they have actually been doing really well in our opinion.

So we showed our team this morning film more from their conference tournament and looking to do some things, they play faster, might use some of the presses they have been using lately in their halfcourt trap and things like that. We'll be ready for all that.

Q. Last night, I asked a question about whether or not there were certain things that Green Bay did that you guys could use, even though you're a very different team philosophically. I wonder if after looking at them, do you think you might mix it up a little bit and even go away a little bit from what Arizona State does, or do you feel like this is a strength versus strength thing and you want to do, especially defensively, what you always do?
COACH TURNER THORNE: I think that we have done a good job this year of making adjustments and adapting our defense to who we are playing, not always, but for the most part. And we certainly at this point, you're completely scouted, right. There's no secrets about anybody.

So we pretty much know Tennessee, any game film now that anybody ever plays. We're going to put our best game plan together to take away their offensive strengths and be ready for the multiple defenses, because obviously they play a lot of defenses.

And they play a lot of people, too. I think they are a team -- we like teams that play six, maybe seven, because we like to really work hard and maybe wear them down and really Tennessee has got a nine-player rotation, so I don't know that that's going to factor in.

Q. With what you guys do defensively, how key is it, the pressure that your guards get on the ball up top?
COACH TURNER THORNE: I think it just depends. We definitely want to take things away from them and not allow them to be too comfortable. We're going to play the personnel smart. Lili is going to pressure the ball and she's great at it and I think she'll bother them. She's bothered everybody this season.

Q. Along the matchup lineups, trying to matchup with Russell and trying to matchup with DeShields, do you guard against that now at least in the starting lineup, or how do you look at that?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Yeah, you know, we've got kind of our six starters, and I will be honest, I'm not 100 percent sure right now, because we sub so regularly with that six; we'll rotate around.

So obviously Quinn and Sophie will be on Russell a lot. And Sophie and Kelsey will be on Graves a lot. And we're eventually just going to see how well they do in terms of how deep they go into our rotation. But I think Neci is probably our best player to start on DeShields but we are still kind of working through that a little bit.

You know, we are obviously just going to rotate a lot of people on to her. You're not going to completely shut her down. You've just got to contain her.

Q. I guess if I can follow a little bit on that, when you're approaching a player like DeShields, she's had extremes, highs and lows. There are times when she can just fill up the basket, but she can also be a high-volume shooter who doesn't score tomorrow, or takes a lot of shots to score. Wonder how you approach her in particular, and does your defense change depending on how she comes out in terms of if she's hot from the field or not?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Well, it could. Yeah, we'll make adjustments if we're doing something and we're not taking -- if she gets really hot and we're not doing a good job on that. So we'll definitely -- we have Kelsey Plum in our conference, and she's a high-volume shot-taker and a great scorer.

So we've got a few players actually in our conference that are similar that we've prepared for. You know, we always have Plan a, and then Plan B, and sometimes Plan C, if we have to go to it.

Q. I asked Holly that question about who -- reminded her of from an SEC standpoint. Is there a team in the Pac-12 or team that you've played that is kind of comparable to you from Tennessee's -- a team comparable to Tennessee?
COACH TURNER THORNE: Well, I mean, Cal comes to mind. I think obviously Tennessee has more experience than Cal and deeper and better. But Cal is so big and long and great in transition and they are a great rebounding them. There's some similarities there.

I think there are similarities with UCLA in terms of transition, and then you'd better cap the help side in transition and get in front of the ball, especially when DeShields has it. I think we actually have been drawing comparisons with certain players and certain teams that we've played this year, and that really does help our team. We say, hey, this is like this team; this how you need to approach this, and this is like this game and this is how we're going to approach it. Because we won most of our games, so, yeah, kind of helps them lock in and gives them confidence.

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