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March 2, 2017

Lynne Roberts

Malia Nawahine

Emily Potter

Seattle, Washington

ASU - 72, Utah - 54

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.

LYNNE ROBERTS: Certainly not the game we hoped for, and the fun part of March is there is kind of new life, new hope. Everybody kind of has visions of advancing. We didn't play, I don't think, how we've been playing the past couple weeks, which is disappointing.

But, you know, you do have to give credit to ASU. I thought they did a nice job. Their front line is very experienced, very physical. Their guards are young and very good, and they just -- their culture is in place. They're good at what they do. What I think they're best at is taking you out of what you're trying to do, and they were effective in doing that today.

So congrats to them. They did a nice job. So we'll regroup. I'm hopeful and confident that we'll get a WNIT bid, which is great, and we can improve on last season, even though we didn't finish as high in the regular conference season as we did last year. We can still improve upon number of wins and just keep moving forward. I think building a program takes time, and it's a process. We're in the middle of that.

But I'm confident in our players and what we're doing. So we'll get there.

Q. Emily and Malia, the slow starts to both the third and fourth quarter, what was going on with you guys, or was there something ASU was doing defensively that tripped you guys up a little bit?
MALIA NAWAHINE: I thought their pressure really kind of took us out of their game, and I think at the end of those quarters, we got going. It kind of took us too long, and I think they got tired, and I think that's why we did better at the end of quarters and that's why the pressure got to us in the beginning.


EMILY POTTER: Yeah, I agree with what Malia said. Maybe the break at halftime was too long. I think we came out flat in the second half, and we brought it to six points at the half. We had that little run, and I think our momentum halted at halftime, and they went on that run to start the third quarter, and we couldn't recover from that.

Q. Last year you guys came in here and played Cal very close in the first game of the tournament. Did you take anything from that going into this tournament experience?
EMILY POTTER: I think we've been I personally didn't think about last year. I think we were just trying to carry the momentum we've had for the last couple weeks. I think since we played Oregon State, Washington State, and Washington, we were playing harder and more as a team, and we just wanted to carry that forward to this game.

MALIA NAWAHINE: Yeah, I think that every game gives you experience, so last year was close, and it kind of showed us that any team can win in this conference. We saw that today, and we just wanted to come out and try to win this game.

Q. Emily, I know you were blocking a lot of shots, or trying to, and obviously contesting and rebounding is tough. But what made them so tough overall to rebound against and come down with it?
EMILY POTTER: It's not enough to be there and be in the right position. You need to make a conscious effort to continually push back every time on every rebound. They're very strong and they pursue very well.

Q. Coach, what was happening in the second quarter that allowed you to outscore them and take momentum into the locker room?
LYNNE ROBERTS: I think we were just more aggressive on both ends. Kyle mentioned it, but the start of the first quarter and the start of the third quarter is kind of where they won the game, I feel. You know, in the fourth quarter it was just kind of too much to make up.

But I think in the second quarter we were the first quarter and third quarter we missed some shots that were good shots. We always say we want to take good shots, that gives you a better chance of making them. And we missed some good shots. That just gave us a little bit -- put us in a hole.

I think Malia kind of mentioned it, too, I think we started to be more aggressive and wore them down a little bit where our pressing was effective. And I think we stopped -- I don't know if it's nerves or youth or what, but we're playing a little tight to start both halves.

Then in the second quarter, and even in the fourth, it was just the free throws were tough to defend there in that fourth quarter. It's hard to get a hand up on the free throw line.

But other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job, but I think we missed some easy shots, and they converted on -- they were scoring; we weren't. Both halves, I think first quarter we were down 14 2 or 14 4, and they went on a 9 0 run to start the third quarter. That, to me, is the game.

Q. Lynne, you mentioned the free throws. They took 26, I think. What was that chopping things up pace-wise and kind of hard to get into rhythm, or was the game maybe a little too far gone at that point?
LYNNE ROBERTS: Yeah, I mean, I think ASU's incredibly physical and defensively very, very good, very tough. So, you know, it's just one of those things you can't control. You can't control how the game's called. It was frustrating, though.

Q. Emily, Lynne was just saying that pretty confident about a WNIT bid. How are you feeling? What are you thinking about when you think about maybe the possibility to turn one or two things from this game around and improve upon them?
EMILY POTTER: I'm excited for the opportunity to keep playing. Any extra games are great games and still want to make this a really great senior season for Paige. I'd love to get to 20 wins. So right now that's my goal, to win the whole thing in the WNIT. Why not? If you're going to do it, you need to do it, as one of our assistant coaches said, collectively and consistently. So that's our mindset moving forward.

LYNNE ROBERTS: I would add on that: I think the rigors of this conference, whether you make the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT, you're competitively ready for whatever. It prepares you for postseason.

Q. Lynne, you talked about how this is a process and it's not going to be fast. What did you see from this season, your second with Utah, that stands you in good stead for years to come?
LYNNE ROBERTS: As I've always said, we are young. We have only one senior. But we have really good kids. They're not kids, but we have good players, good people. And, you know, I'm confident in how we're doing things.

It just takes time. We've got good recruits coming in. We've got a great nucleus returning again. I'd like to end the season on a high note on the WNIT.

But I think this was a really -- sometimes hard lessons are the most valuable ones. I think this is a really learning year for us as players and as coaches, just how competitive this league is and how good it is. We can look back on two, three games that we played in conference. Whether it was in January or early February, we didn't play to our potential at all. And those, you know, that's why we're the 12 seed today.

And that's what -- I think we can learn from that today, this season and taking it into next, that every game matters. If you want to have a good seeding and you want to be playing past the first game, second game in this tournament, you've got to give yourself a good chance by winning those games that you should win in January and February.

So, like I said, not all lessons are fun ones to learn, but I think that's the one thing that I would think the players would agree with me on that, that that's what we learned the most and can take away from it.

Fastscipts by ASAP Sports

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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