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March 19, 2016

Robin Pingeton

Sophie Cunningham

Jordan Frericks

Austin, Texas

Missouri 78 - BYU 69

COACH PINGETON: First of all, I'm just really, really proud and excited for our girls. We've got an awfully special group, and it's been a really good year for us. Hit a speed bump at the end of the season and to see the way that we've been able to great resiliency and bounce back in the way we played in our first game here in the NCAA Tournament is really exciting.

I felt like at times we bent but we didn't break. I have so much respect for BYU. I think they are a tremendous team. They have a lot of tough weapons and we knew it was going to be a battle but really challenged our players to get it done on the boards and ended up out-rebounding by ten, which I thought was huge. We had some great play off our bench with Juanita and McDowell, in particular, which was so important to us. Just a great team win. I thought Jordan had a heck of a first half and Sophie came out in the second half and really did some nice things for us. It was a great team win and I'm really proud and happy for our players.

Q. For both players, they talked about you having miss matches against them inside. Did you know that going in, because you seemed to take advantage of it.
JORDAN FRERICKS: I think going into every game, we try to utilize the mismatch and if we see it, we go to it again and again until it stops working. But I think we really found it early with Sophie, and got some good looks off of it.

Q. Jordan, you really established yourself in the first quarter there. How do you think you were able to do that?
JORDAN FRERICKS: I mean, I just think just the mentality of going out and really being aggressive. My players, our team did a great job of just getting the ball to the open players and we moved the ball great this game. Like you said, found open players like Sophie on the block and other people found the shooters and everybody was able to knock down their shots. It was a great team win.

Q. Is this typical for you to be able to play against little guards or smaller guards where you could move inside like that?
SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM: Most definitely, it helps a lot, if they do, everybody collapse on me, I'm going to kick it right out to our shooters and they are going to knock them down and tonight they did that. So props to my team, giving me the ball inside.

Q. Your first couple shots came from outside, didn't go in. Then you scored in the second quarter in the paint and kept going in there. Did you sense at that point that maybe you needed to get to the rim a little more often?
SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM: Offensively, first half, obviously wasn't falling for me but my teammates picked me up and I just wanted to get it back for them on the defensive end. Second half, it started to click, get to the block, really utilized our mismatch and I went to work, but my teammates gave me the ball, so props.

Q. Jordan, you were probably about five years old the last time Missouri won a playoff game in this tournament. Do you understand the historical significance of what you just did, because it's been forever it seems.
JORDAN FRERICKS: Yeah, I think at first we didn't realize it, until Coach came in and announced that. I mean, it's just an awesome thing for our program to feed off of, and I think it's just so exciting that we're back, back at it. Really, I mean, it's on to the next game now and so we want to keep making that history, so it's going to be a fun ride.

Q. Sophie, you probably weren't even born, but can you understand the same question?
SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, I think it's huge, just being a homie, hometown girl (laughter). Just being a hometown girl, going to all their games and then finally being out here, and making Mizzou basketball known with these girls is huge, and 15 years is the last time we won a game. So this really is a huge thing for our program.

Q. What was going through your mind when BYU was able to make it a two-point game and then your team is able to get a couple of -- a ton, a bunch of free throws at the line. What does it say about the composure of this team?
JORDAN FRERICKS: Yeah, they were coming back, but I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to keep our composure. We learned that the past couple games obviously and we didn't -- we weren't successful in it, but we have learned from it and I thought you could really see our composure tonight and we really did stick together as a team.

Q. The only two non-free throws in the fourth quarter there, did you sense you needed to take it to the rim when you guys were struggling in the fourth quarter?
JORDAN FRERICKS: It was never my mentality to go to the rim, but I mean, Coach called some plays that were for me to go to the rim, and so I mean, it's just our coach calling the plays and my teammates getting us open and finding the areas that will work. Like he was talking, because Sophie was saying, we had great composure in that time and like coach said, we bent but we didn't break.

Q. I think your last 12 points were at the free throw line. Are you always this good a free-throw shooting team or just responded tonight?
JORDAN FRERICKS: I think that we take pride in our free throws and I thought we had confidence and we knocked them down tonight.

Q. Sophie, you guys were able to limit what they could do from three point change. What made your three-point defense successful tonight?
SOPHIE CUNNINGHAM: They are a very good team and they are very hard to guard. 21, she's quick. She's very quick and she can shoot. She can get to the rim and she burnt me a couple times, but then I finally got help side, we shut them down so we could guard the three. We just needed help side a little bit. But props to their guard because they are quick and they are good.

Q. Did either of you know it had been since 2001 since you won an NCAA Tournament game?
JORDAN FRERICKS: I know it was a long time ago.

Q. How did you feel like your team handled itself late in the game, especially when BYU was able to come up late in the fourth quarter?
COACH PINGETON: Yeah, I thought there was a couple possessions there where we just got a little bit loose with the ball but I thought we regrouped. I think I referred to it as bending but not breaking. I didn't feel like we were ever going to put ourselves in a position to not win that game. I thought our kids mind-set was really strong. I thought they were playing really confident and I never saw that look in the eye that made me concerned. I felt like they knew what they needed to do to finish it off, and really proud of them for doing that.

Q. I know Jordan and Sophie get a lot of the publicity from this game, but your bench, especially Robinson and a little bit Morgan, what can you say about their support and how they helped the team, especially in the second half?
COACH PINGETON: Morgan has been so solid for us as of late and doing a really, really good job for us, and I know our seniors are not ready for this to be done yet. You know, I'm so excited for Juanita Robinson, a kid that's really struggled and been up-and-down. It's been a challenging two years here, but truly, what you saw tonight is what we recruited her to do.

She's awfully, has abilities to be very, very special. And for some reason or another, the last probably week and a half, after their five days off, there's been a different aura about her coming back in practice, and you know, I don't know, she's just taken some ownership and really worked hard. She's been very efficient in practice and doing a lot of really good things for us which led me to playing her extended minutes tonight. I thought she really capitalized on that.

Certainly McDowell came in, had some big minutes for us, more minutes than she had been playing as of late, and you know, we started off the season going pretty deep into our bench. We've had some injuries, but tonight I thought our bench was key for us.

Q. Throughout your teen tour, people have talked about your team being a three-point shooting team and you won this game with your post play tonight. How does that make you feel to know it was that inside play that made the difference for you?
COACH PINGETON: Well, I always said we're an inside-out team but I know a lot of people refer to us as a three-point shooting team and that's certainly part of our motion offense and we like to recruit kids that can score the ball. But just to talk specifically about Jordan and the growth that I've seen in her in the last year, it's been pretty incredible. She's had an incredible freshman and sophomore year for us.

I just feel like this year, she is so strong and so explosive and finishing at a really high percentage around the rim and playing with a lot of confidence and toughness and certainly McDowell did a nice job. Sophie is probably one of our bigger guards that we've had in recent pasts that allows her to play some of that stretch for and take advantage of maybe some miss matches inside.

So we're finally getting to the point as we build this program that we've got more size than we ever have, which has allowed us to take advantage of some miss matches and some inside play.

Q. 16 days is a long time, some might fear rust, that's the last time you played a game. Seemed to benefit you today. I could be wrong but you tell me.
COACH PINGETON: We needed it. Like I said, you got to that point at the end of the season where it felt like we were more like 9-21 instead of 21-9 and that's unfortunate because it's been such a really good year for our team and they did a lot of great things throughout the season, the first time in a long time that a lot of things were accomplished. But just at the end, we just hit that speed bump and we were playing heavy, almost playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

And so going after that last game in the SEC Tournament, to take five days and exhale and just regroup and get proper perspective, it was really important for all of us, myself included. We just came back and I was so impressed with how refreshed we looked, and we talked a lot in the locker room and said, you know, we can talk all we want about the shoulda, coulda, wouldas, but I want to talk about what we did accomplish this year. We really tried to focus on all the success that we had, and then to go build on it over the last week and a half of practice and I thought our kids have really knocked it out of the park the last six, seven practices.

Q. If you guys play Texas, do you know enough about them to know how you matchup?
COACH PINGETON: I do not yet, no. I've had a pretty good idea, but no, I need to watch a little bit more.

Q. Just in general, the quick turnaround, when you're playing a game every other day, how hard is that to prepare for your next opponent?
COACH PINGETON: It's not hard at all. You know, you just go on adrenaline and this time of the year, coaches don't want to sleep. They just want to be up watching film and it's a great opportunity when you get to stay up late hours and kind of get together as a staff and kind of game plan. I couldn't think of anything more than I'd like to do right now tonight, so it's not hard at all.

Q. BYU got in foul trouble and they kind of rolled the dice and left their players out there. You leaned on your bench a little bit. Were you comfortable doing that? Did you think about maybe leaving those kids out there or pretty comfortable putting in the bench at that point?
COACH PINGETON: You know, I thought we got the players that needed a rest a rest when we needed to, both when Sophie picked up her fourth -- she picked up her third, we gave her a rest. She picked up her fourth, and we took her out. Same with Jordan. They keep telling me, I won't foul, I won't foul. It's hard, because maybe we haven't always been the best with that all season long.

But I do think that there's been a lot of growth and I think in those situations, you go with your rotations for as long as you can, until you feel like, wait, maybe something's slipping and then you get them back in. But again, I thought our bench did a great job tonight and I thought both Jordan and Sophie did a good job playing through their foul trouble.

Q. The 15-year gap, how much does it mean to you as a coach to be here and don't have to hear about that piling up again?
COACH PINGETON: Well, you know, honestly, it's really exciting and it's fun to be a part of. But we've really focused a lot on the process, and I'm really proud of not only our team this year, but also some of the players that have been a part of our growing process over the last couple years that have graduated, excited for our administration, for our community, because there's a lot of moving parts in regards to building a program. Everybody's been both feet in and everybody's been working really hard.

And so it's a great opportunity for our program. Obviously everybody wants to win, everybody wants to compete for championships. But just the quality of young ladies that my staff and I get to work with every day, there's no win and no win and no loss that will define this team. It's so much bigger than that. We're trying to help prepare them to be successful in life, and certainly along the way, no doubt about it, you want to compete for championships. But it's even bigger than that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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