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March 1, 2017

Sylvia Hatchell

Jamie Cherry

Taylor Koenen

Conway, South Carolina

North Carolina - 72, Pitt - 60

SYLVIA HATCHELL: I'm just really, really proud of these kids. We've been so short-handed with some big-time injuries as we've gone through the season. We've lost -- we started out with a major one at the beginning of the year and then we lost Hillary Fuller and then Destini Walker and then Stephanie Watts, so we've just had to keep adjusting and adjusting and adjusting, and we started three freshmen, and they played -- well, let's see, 40 minutes. Jamie played 40 minutes. Paris played 40 minutes. Olivia. And so anyway, Taylor played 40.

I mean, they played their hearts out. They really did. So Jamie just did a tremendous job at point guard, and really getting to the foul line. Her penetration and all was just really, really good.

You know, the freshmen contributed when we needed them to. Taylor had a double-double with rebounds and points and all, and even though Olivia didn't score, we put her out there on 23, and she did a great job with that because they were really hurting us in the first half, 23 and 5 was. So we tried to give a little more attention to them in the second half.

We played the freshmen, and they did a really nice job for us, and Emily Sullivan went in there as did that for us, as well.

And on Paris, Paris is just so versatile. I mean, Jamie is a great point guard. She was scoring and driving. But Paris plays a lot of different positions for us. You know, I was concerned that she is the fourth -- she was No. 4 in scoring in the ACC, and I'm thinking how has this kid gotten overlooked, because I was really disappointed when I looked at all the ACC awards and she wasn't anywhere, and fourth in scoring in the ACC.

I know, I told her before the game, you've got to make your presence known because you've been overlooked. Same thing with Jamie. And so they were very motivated, and the rest of the kids hung on to their coattails, and they just played their hearts out, so I'm very proud of them. We've got a few hours to regroup and everything and get ready for a very, very good Syracuse team.

Q. Jamie, did you know when you were at the free-throw line at the end that your career high was coming up? Did you know that?

Q. You looked really disappointed when you missed the first two. What was going through your mind?
JAMIE CHERRY: I don't miss free throws. I take pride in my free-throw shooting. I really get upset with myself when I miss a free throw because I really am in competition with my percentage that I saw last year and trying to shoot better than that percentage, so when I miss free throws I really get on myself. Just to see those last two free throws go in were big for me.

Q. Coach, you're down by 4 at halftime coming out on a 10-0 run to start the second half. What did you say to them to turn this thing around?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, let's see. We changed up what we were doing on defense. We were actually running three different junk defenses out there in the second half, and then also we were trying to use the clock a little bit more but also trying to break down their defense some with the ball movement and everything, and then get some ball screens for Jamie and for Paris and everything like that, just because, again, we don't have subs to put in there, and so that was our plan.

I thought we got some really good shots, and then I thought our defensive plan also worked.

Q. Taylor, you had a double-double tonight out there. Great second half out of you. What were you doing differently in the second half that wasn't working in the first half?
TAYLOR KOENEN: I just tried to get out of my own head and also just knowing that this could have been our last game and going out there and giving everything you have and being able to get rebounds and get my team to have second chances at shots is a big thing. So really just going after the ball was major.

Q. I'll give you a chance to brag on Jamie. How great a ball player is she?
TAYLOR KOENEN: Jamie is great. Obviously she can do it all, drive, pass, finish with contact, hit the three, and she showed that tonight.

Q. Coach, as you get ready to play Syracuse, who kind of had a good game against you up there, what can you do differently to play them closely tomorrow?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, I can guarantee you we're going to be praying a lot. But no, they're just an outstanding, excellent team. They had Player of the Year. They've got a lot of experience, you know, and you look at the teams, the top teams in the conference with Notre Dame and NC State, Syracuse and all, you know, and Louisville, and they all are very heavy with seniors, upperclassmen and everything, and of course we have no seniors, and Jamie is our only junior. And we've got one sophomore. The rest of them are all freshmen.

I mean, we're very, very young.

But again, we're going to go out there and try to handle their press was what bothered us before, but we'll try some different things. I may have our centers bringing the ball up the floor, you never know, throw something different at them, something that they're not used to, and maybe give them some different looks. But we're honored to be playing tomorrow and everything, and again, it's the ACC Tournament, and we love it. These folks down here at Coastal, they just do a great job, and it's so great to see so many good people down here.

Q. Your long coaching career, is this the youngest team you've ever brought to the ACC Tournament?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Yeah, I don't even have to think about that. Yeah, because we really have no seniors, one junior, one sophomore, and the rest of them are freshmen. But hey, I love them. They're great kids. Just think how good we're going to be when we get all those hurt kids back, and we've got some really good kids coming in next year, too. So I'm excited about them. But they're great. Our chemistry is tremendous, it really is. They're fun to coach, and really, this is what it's all about. You know, but I'm just happy for Jamie, and again -- and Taylor, you know, the freshmen, they were really successful in high school, but this is a whole different level, and they've had to learn that a lot of the things they did in high school they can't do on this level, so a lot of it has been decision making and everything like that.

At one time tonight out there, Taylor was trying to do a couple things and everything, and then she settled back down, and she really does some things that helps get other people open, and she can really get in there and get some key rebounds when we need it, and she can make some key baskets when we need it, too, and she's just going to continue to get better and better as she gets more experienced. Same thing with Emily and Li-Li and all those young kids.

Q. You mentioned Syracuse has the Player of the Year; what are your thoughts on Alexis Peterson and the season she had this year?
SYLVIA HATCHELL: Well, there's a lot of good players in the league. You know, she is an outstanding guard, there's no doubt about that. I mean, she can do everything. She can do it all. I've seen her, she's played really, really well against us.

But when it came time to voting this year, I changed my vote about four times before I actually voted because I thought, well, this one did this in this game and this one did this in this game because I really did, I could have easily voted for four different players and everything.

But there's no doubt that she is one of the I'd say top four or five in the conference, but we've got some really, really good players this year in the league. I'm just glad that the majority of them are seniors and they will not be here next year.

Q. Jamie, when you hit back to back threes, kind of felt like the tide was turning, you turned around, threw three fingers up in the air and smiled at the crowd. What was that moment like for you?
JAMIE CHERRY: It was great. Just being able to put our team in the lead and being able to put points on the board was great, and it was, of course, getting everybody hyped. So we love the hype, and it's exciting, and for us to be able to come home with the W is very exciting.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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