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March 27, 2016

Holly Warlick

Diamond DeShields

Jaime Nared

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Syracuse - 89, Tennessee - 67

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the University of Tennessee.

We'll start with an opening statement from Coach Warlick, followed by questions for the student-athletes.


COACH WARLICK: Congratulations to Syracuse. They were outstanding today. They just played tough. We got ourselves in a hole. We couldn't get out of it. Had a lot to do with Syracuse's performance.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Diamond, you did a really good job against Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State. It looked like Alexis Peterson posed more problems today. Could you talk a little bit about the versatile game she has.
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Our defense just wasn't as crisp as it was against Ohio State. We weren't talking as much. We weren't as connected. I think that allowed Alexis Peterson to get into a lot of the gaps, find her spots.

But, yeah, it just wasn't our day. I mean, clearly it was theirs, so...

Congrats to them.

Q. Address the defense that Syracuse was playing. Looked like it was causing problems, especially the second half.
JAIME NARED: They were playing a pack 2-3, keying in on our posts, Bashaara and Mercedes, because they're such great players. It forced the guards to shoot more shots.

I think we didn't get it in as much as we should have. We were kind of stagnant in our offense. Their defense made us a little more stagnant. We just got to get better at that, I guess.

Q. Diamond, a long time ago you did get the ball into the interior and out-scored them significantly in the paint. What was the difference today? I know you had a guard out today. What was the big difference in not being able to get the points in the paint that you did before against them?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Well, like Jaime said, we were pretty stagnant in our offense. I feel like the guards cut a little bit more, it could have opened it up, made the post more available.

We took 22 three-pointers, which isn't something we do. That's kind of way more than what we've been shooting.

Q. Diamond, although you came one short of the Final Four, one game short, do you leave the season in a positive fashion because of how much better you played in the last part of the season?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: No. We're all pretty disappointed. I mean, as much as we want to be proud of how far we've came, based on the season we had, we could have gone farther. We know that. I think that's what hurts the most.

So, you know, our season got cut short we all feel like. So we're not happy about that. Never happy about losing. We never will be.

This is a program full of winners. Winning is what we do. That's always going to be the goal.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you very much for your time. We'll excuse you back to the locker room.

We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. Can you take away something, I know it's raw at this point, but take away something positive with this run you got on here?
COACH WARLICK: Oh, absolutely. I understand where Diamond's coming from. There's only going to be one team that's happy at the end. If you're not disappointed and sad, then you're not a competitor. I understand her point.

But to take it a step farther, yeah, I see how far this team has come, how far they've progressed since we first started, through the month of January. You can't do anything but learn from it.

For us to be in this situation, have 13 losses, is a credit to them and their commitment to turn our season around and play with each other.

It's kind of a bittersweet for me. I'm proud of how we came back, but obviously disappointed in the outcome today.

Q. Not to have an excuse, but not having Jordan out there, it seemed like you kept looking for answers, rotating guards in. This is as tough a team you can play.
COACH WARLICK: I thought we missed Jordan's leadership. She's been in these situations before. All fairness to Te'a, she's not done this. Then Andraya, her finger's broken. Bashaara's finger is broken. So Draya couldn't dribble with her left hand. Bashaara had a hard time catching the ball.

As we won against Ohio State, we had three pretty not-so-great injuries for us.

But you have to have kids step up. It's kind of been our MO, what we had to deal with. We've dealt with injuries. It's a part of the game. Just seems like it's more part of the game for us than anybody else.

We had to have kids step up. Injured or hurt, you don't to allow a team to get off 14 threes. But, yeah, I think we missed Jordan's leadership.

We're not going to play her when she has a concussion. It just worked out that way.

Q. Turnovers seemed to be a big factor. Your team turned the ball over 21 times. What do you feel Syracuse was doing to cause all those turnovers?
COACH WARLICK: I think they were making us play fast. We've handled, for the most part, pressure in the past. But you look, Te'a had five, Diamond had five. You go down the list. It goes back to what I just said, we didn't have anybody to calm us down.

We tried to dribble through it, we'd get turnovers. They made us play fast and turn it over.

Q. When you came into this regional, Tennessee, because of its great tradition, South Carolina, a No. 1 seed, then Ohio State with all the offensive firepower, really seemed like Syracuse was underrated coming in here. They really look like a great team. Did you feel like it was just that, an outstanding team?
COACH WARLICK: Absolutely. When they shoot the ball the way they do, their ability to move their zone around the way they can, I mean, they're well-deserving of being where they're going: to the Final Four.

We had a lot of respect for Syracuse. I've watched them quite a bit. I watched them in the ACC tournament. I've just watched them throughout the year. I thought there were four solid teams here. I thought it was going to be a very difficult regional, which it was.

But give Syracuse credit. They knocked off the No. 1 seeded team. It wasn't an upset tonight. We were seeded seven and they were seeded four, so they should have beat us tonight. That's how the rankings were, so...

Q. We have two first-timers now with Washington and with Syracuse. They're going to be in the same half of the bracket. With all the attention given to UConn and their dominance, is this another storyline that you think should get a lot of attention?
COACH WARLICK: Well, I mean, I think so. Look what they did. This is going to be the four teams in the Final Four. Two of them aren't going. So absolutely it's a storyline. They knocked off people who were supposed to be there. Already had footage, ESPN. ESPN is going to have to scramble a little bit.

I mean, I don't care what you do. You knock off a No. 1 team, you're doing something right. So my hat is off to them. Hey, they had to battle.

Sometimes you beat a No. 1 team, then you come back flat. Both those teams did not come back flat. They were on a mission.

Q. It looked as though when you were switching defenses, Syracuse's versatility, seemed like they had an answer for zone or man. Also talk about Cornelia's play. Looked like she was a big factor in that second-quarter spurt because of her ability to get to the basket.
COACH WARLICK: When you're getting your butt beat, you try every defense you got. So we tried everything we could do.

You can't give up 14 threes. I mean, you just can't do that. We did.

Cornelia attacked us. Obviously when you're concerned with Butler and Peterson, then you open it up a little bit. She drove it to the basket and did a great job.

We weren't on our A game on our defensive end. They took total advantage of it.

Their guards outscored us. You can go down the line. We had 21 turnovers. You're not going to win too many games if you turn it over 21 times and give up 14 threes.

Q. Can you put in perspective Peterson to have the two games back-to-back she did against two very good SEC teams. Is it the speed? Fearlessness? She seems to be able to get to the basket against almost anybody.
COACH WARLICK: Yeah, I think she's outstanding to get to the basket. Not only has she got great speed, she has a great hesitation. It's difficult to guard. She also can shoot the three. Those types of players are special.

I think she's a special kid. She's competing. It's her time to shine. She stepped up and made things happen. She ran her basketball team. She kind of put them on her back and said, We're not going to be defeated.

She had three steals. I thought she had a complete game today. She also played 38 minutes. She just had a fantastic game and ran her basketball team. Don't forget that. She scored, did those things, along with running her basketball team. That's pretty special.

Let me say this. The people here in Sioux Falls have been absolutely fantastic. We appreciate it so much. Class act. Great host of a region. Just appreciate all your hospitality, so thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. It's been a pleasure having you and your program here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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