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March 24, 2016

A'ja Wilson

Alaina Coates

Tiffany Mitchell

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the South Carolina student-athletes.

We'll go ahead and take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. A lot of attention is being paid to Syracuse's press. How do you prepare for that or do you let the guards handle it?
A'JA WILSON: I think it's the second one. We let the guards handle it. They know if we need help, there's an outlet spot that we'll always get the ball to, we'll throw it up, go and get it.

It is a guard-type thing. I think our guards handle it well. We're going to let them do them and we're going to do us.

ALAINA COATES: We have faith our guards will see through the light and get to us.

Q. What has the experience been like here so far?
TIFFANY MITCHELL: It's pretty cool. South Carolina didn't get any snow this year.

Did we get any snow?

It was cool. We had a whole hill of snow. We had snowball fights. It's been fun since we've been here.

A'JA WILSON: It's been a lot of fun. I mean, South Dakota is not your vacation spot, but we made it a vacation spot here. We're here to take care of business, but at the same time, we went to the mall. So we're really enjoying it here. It's different, but, hey, we're making fun out of it.

ALAINA COATES: We are having a great time here. I have enjoyed all the snowball fights I have participated in.

Q. Can you speak to what it's like being back in the Sweet 16. Does that experience change your approach to this year at all or are you just doing what you do?
TIFFANY MITCHELL: I think it helps us because we're experienced. It's not new to us. It helps us playing in this knowing that we've been here before.

ALAINA COATES: It's definitely a great feeling knowing we made it back to the Sweet 16. We're in the present right now, trying to make it to another Final Four, possibly be national champs. We know at the end of the day we have to take it one day at a time. Syracuse is up next. We know we have to handle our business.

A'JA WILSON: They said it pretty much all before. We know what it kind of takes to get to be regional champions. I guess we're just going to continue to do us.

Q. You were all on a team last year that played Syracuse twice in the regular season. Syracuse, much like yourselves, is a team that's trying to crack to a higher level. You have a perspective on how they were last year. You've watched them on video last year. What are your overall impressions of where they were a year ago and now, what you've seen of them overall as a program?
ALAINA COATES: I definitely feel like they have upped their level of aggression, especially in their press. Last year just from watching film to how they are now, they've definitely caused issues for other teams with getting the ball down the floor, just getting traps and stuff.

I feel like one of the main things that they've changed is definitely their aggression.

A'JA WILSON: I think she said it all.

Q. You talk about the aggression Syracuse has. How do you make sure you're the ones who dictate the pace of play?
TIFFANY MITCHELL: I'm sure the first five minutes will probably dictate some of the game. Everyone is going to come out hyped. Probably going to be fast. Probably going to be a little sloppy at first. Once we get things under control and calm down some, I think that's when things start to open up for us. We can kind of look over their press, get the ball inside, just knock down shots.

Q. I was asking some of your teammates in the locker room, after the comments of the other day, do you still feel that USC is not viewed as the likes of UConn and Notre Dame and you are still clawing for respect nationally?
A'JA WILSON: I'm not sure. I just feel like it kind of is what it is. People are going to say things. People will think the way they think.

As long as we are true to ourself, stay true to who we are, represent our state very well, I feel we do a very good job of that. We have great support, great fans that really back us up.

We can't really dictate what people say. We have to stay true to ourselves. We're just going to go out there and play.

Q. Tiffany, does that fuel your fire when you hear stuff like that?
TIFFANY MITCHELL: I mean, like I just said, only thing we can go out there to do is play. I mean, Gamecock Nation has our back as far as taking care of the people that say things about our team. All we have to do is put out a product that they're used to supporting.

Q. What has Coach Staley stressed since you arrived here? What is the focus level like for you now the night before the big game?
TIFFANY MITCHELL: I feel like we're pretty focused. We know what's at stake. We know what's at hand, the tasks that need to be done to get to where we need to be.

I don't think focus is our huge thing right now. Just taking care of business, because we've been here before. Now it's just executing when we need to.

A'JA WILSON: Staying disciplined is something she really harps on, too, staying disciplined.

Q. Alaina, I know you play most of your games with that intensity and a fierce level, but does it pick up during tournament time?
ALAINA COATES: I definitely do. It's just something about tournament time that really just brings the fire in me. I really think it has something to do with the fact that it's do-or-die, you win or you go home.

I don't want my seniors to go out without a bang. So whatever I can do to, you know, help my teammates out in any sort of way, whether it's aggressive rebounding, whether it be trying to shut down the other team's center, I'm going to go out and do it to the best of my ability.

At the end of the day, I want my seniors to get a ring, along with the rest of my teammates. But I really do play for my seniors.


ALAINA COATES: You're welcome (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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