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March 25, 2016

Nina Davis

Alexis Jones

Niya Johnson

Dallas, Texas

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by our student athletes from Baylor, Nina Davis, Niya Johnson and Alexis Jones. We will take questions from the floor for our student-athletes.

Q. Nina and Niya, y'all played in this building before. What does it mean to have played in this building. I don't think any of the other teams have played in this building before.

NIYA JOHNSON: I think there is no difference. Closer to home, the fans get to come see us play one more time. Hopefully it won't be the last. But being here it's going to be a great feeling and a great atmosphere.

NINA DAVIS: I don't think it makes a difference. It is a benefit for our fans since here only a half hour away and they can get here and don't have to fly or anything like that. But as far as playing before, a gym is a gym, a rim is a rim and so you have to go out on the court and be ready to play.

Q. Niya, Coach talked about when you didn't play against Oklahoma State and you guys lost how much that hit you and that sort of thing. What was it about that? You're a veteran, you've been through losses before. But what was it about that one game that struck you and do you think that loss had an affect on this team going forward from that point?
NIYA JOHNSON: Leadership and just not being out there and helping my team out, weathering the storm. I was heart broken but after that loss we came back and we responded, not only me because I couldn't play, but Alexis Jones and Nina Davis stepping up and being leaders as well, just leading the team as well and saying, hey we have things to work on inside, post presence and especially as guarding people as well and I think we responded very well as you can see. Now we are in the Sweet 16.

Q. Alexis, this team has so much size and a lot of teams try to take away the size by crashing the paint and that's opened up the perimeter for shooters like you and Kristy and Alexis Prince. Talk about how the 3-point shooting has evolved since you've joined them.
ALEXIS JONES: I think we started shooting the 3-point shot the first game of the tournament and I think us shooting the three helps the inside game and also helps us as a team because if we couldn't shoot that three I think it would be easier to guard us.

But us being able to shoot that three and also taking girls off the dribble and penetrating and kicking and finding other players it helps a lot on the post area, too, because they're going to double our post no matter what.

Q. Nina, then Alexis, you just heard Niya's answer about the Oklahoma State game. I'm sure you remember it too. How did it push you guys going forward?
NINA DAVIS: We definitely took it upon ourselves. Me and Alexis, we felt bad we weren't able to carry our team to a victory, especially starting the conference off with a loss. But it was definitely a wake-up call that I think we needed. I'm not sure we would be the team we are today if we would be the not have taken that loss. It allowed us to know we have things to work on we're not as good as we are and it just kind of put us in check and helped us to realize that we have to be leaders and carry this team.

ALEXIS JONES: What Nina said, I think it was a wake-up call for us and it motivated us and I think it made Niya and Nina to become better captains and to want it even more and to push this team to be the best they could be at all times.

Q. Alexis, you would have faced these guys a couple of times, couple years ago. What did you see from them then and have they evolved, or what do you see from them now compared to when you played them a couple years ago?
ALEXIS JONES: When I used to play against them they were the same, probably a lot older. They're the same kind of players, she always picks up. I think she is becoming to play a man more. She used to play a zone when I was at Duke. They've always been athletics. She picks kinda like the same players as normal. She might have some better players on the perimeter and she has -- she always picks up the same post players, too. I think they're identical from the years when I used to play 'em.

Q. Alexis, Coach has talked about you coming back from two knee surgeries and everything. From your standpoint when did you start feeling like the old Alexis Jones during the course of this season?
ALEXIS JONES: Um, I don't remember, but I know it took time and I know it took a lot of aching and paining at the games, during the games, and I just had to push through it. I didn't believe that I was ever going to overcome my knees aching. But my dad was like, you just gotta keep pushing through it and they're going to keep aching for a while until you get back into the flow of the game and get back and pick up on the speed that you normally play.

After a while, during, like, maybe the middle of conference or the end of conference, they really didn't really ache as much no more.

Q. Nina, then Niya, when you look at Florida State there are a lot of similarities, size inside but everybody can score so talk about that match-up and that challenge when there are so many similarities to what the teams can do?
NINA DAVIS: It should be a good match-up. We have so many similarities and I think it's going to come down to who take care of the ball more, who plays the better defense because we're two teams that score in the 70s. So we're identical on offense, but the winner will be whoever plays the most defense tomorrow.

NIYA JOHNSON: What Nina said and not only that but knowing your personnel, knowing who drives, who shoots and who crashes the offensive and defensive boards and knowing who running in transition, just watchin' and looking at the scouting report.

Q. Niya then Nina, you hear about how coaches try to measure someone's heart regardless of the skill level. How do players know about somebody else's drive that you're playing with or against? How do you recognize that?
NIYA JOHNSON: I can speak in terms of playing with these guys just their motivation and determination, trying to get better, trying to make each other better on the court, going against each other hard in practice, just making each other better overall and showing excitement and drive and that you want to get better.

NINA DAVIS: Heart is something that you can't teach. I think it's just something that you kinda learn on your own and either you have it or you don't. Playing with my teammates I know we have heart just to see after the loss that we took at Oklahoma State. The team had heart to come back the way we did to win so many games in a row to get here.

As far as other teams, you have to know at this time of the year we are in the Sweet 16 and everyone is going to play with drive and with heart because everyone is trying to get to the Final Four.

Q. Niya, you are one of the few left over from that 2013 season. Y'all wear the bracelets. Eight is not enough you. Didn't make it to 8 that year. How much does that loss resonate with you and motivate you going into this game?
NIYA JOHNSON: Going back to the Sweet 16 against Louisville and I lost. Going from that and going to playing against Notre Dame and playing them hitting the wall twice and not being able to reach to the Final Four, you know, it speaks about it. Eight is not enough and you get tired of reaching to that one step where you can get beyond that and reach to the Final Four. It just hurts hitting that wall. You're almost there and going into my senior year. It's my senior year, so one last chance to try to get there. Just take it one game at a time.

Q. Niya, over the years we have heard about Coach Mulkey and her expectations for her point guards. You have played for her for four years you've been a key part. What's it been like playing for her at that position?
NIYA JOHNSON: My freshman and sophomore year, tough. Always on me for some reason. I was just like, why it on me? It's not my fault. But she usually says I get on the point guards most because you're the leader and you have the ball 90% of the time, and I was there going through my junior and senior years. I was there to understand what she really meant by that and not only that, but listening to the message and not the tone of her voice. And I took that into consideration and I've been able to be a leader and a legend on the court and lead my team to victories.

Q. Niya, following up, you said listen to the message not the tone of her voice. Talk about adjusting to Kim especially for young players and for developing. I know you and Nina probably have a different relationship than the younger players, how does that work?
NIYA JOHNSON: Just telling them I was once in their shoes and she is always yelling at them unfortunately, and trying to encourage the freshmen because she always thinks she is yelling and always getting on them and she just wants you to be a better player for the team and not for that moment. But for later in the NCAA Tournament it's going to pay off and just try to encourage them and say, relax. It's going to be fine.

Q. Nina then Niya, you saw what Alexis went through coming back with the two knee surgeries and you knew the talent she brought to the team. What kind of impact has she had, and just look at the way she overcame it. What was your take on that? Was that a bit of inspiration for you guys?
NINA DAVIS: It was for sure an inspiration. We can't say that we know the struggle she was feeling, the pain that she was going through. He knew her knees were hurting and the type of player she was and the type of player she was before she had the knee surgery. So a lot of credit to her. She is a great player and she has definitely made our team more complete, just the offense she brings to us, the defense, the energy, and the leadership she brings. It's amazing to see how far she has came since the beginning of the year and I'm glad she was able to overcome that why are and make us a better team overall.

NIYA JOHNSON: Being able to bounce back with two knee surgeries it's just something amazing for her to come back and do what she does and get to the NCAA Tournament. Being a big impact on offense, scoring, passing, you don't know whether she is going to pass it or shoot it. Being able to be a point guard, whatever she needs to do, willing to sacrifice for the team and it wasn't easy at first as you can see, I'm pretty sure she knows about. But just being able to let down and come back and be her old self and be able to score whenever she needs to or wants to and making our team better overall, whether it's become a leader or better player or just stuff like that, taking a charge, it's amazing, she makes our team better overall.

Q. Alexis, playing close to home, do you almost have to keep your emotions in check when you get out there for that first game? Are you concerned about that at all? Have you played in this building?
ALEXIS JONES: I haven't played in this building before. I don't think I have to keep my emotions in check. I feel like I'm back in high school all over again, and I'm really just excited that my mom and dad are going to have the opportunity to finally get to see me play in the first Sweet 16 of my college career.

So, I mean, it's just exciting to know that I'm going to have a lot of family and friends. That's just going to be real excited to watch me play out there.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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