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March 3, 2017

Charli Turner Thorne

Jamie Ruden

Kelsey Moos

Seattle, Washington

UCLA - 77, ASU - 68

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement and then questions.

CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, thank you to everybody in the Pac-12 Conference just for hosting the tournament and all the hospitality and everything. You just can't spot a team 19 points. You know, I mean, we beat them the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. You know, we just dug way too deep of a hole.

Credit UCLA. They shot lights out, and those were not lay-ups, they were three-pointers, they were jumpers. They were scoring every which way. Got to set up our zone pretty quick. So I thought that was about as well as I've seen them play, so I do want to credit them.

Then I'm proud of our team. We just battled back. We knew we had lots of time. We got down on them the first game and battled back. You know, we needed to sustain things a little bit better, and that's kind of our story this year just for the younger team, just kind of keeping that consistency.

But, you know, I'm excited. We get a little window now to recover and obviously, Jamie Ruden, these are her first two games since December, and 12 points in 13 minutes, that's not too bad.

Q. UCLA came out 26 points in the first quarter, and you guys shot for 22%. How did they continue in that first quarter to get that huge run on you?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, they came out and pressured us, and we've played against pressure defense the last three weeks. I mean, this is a six-game -- except for Utah, minus the Utah game, every game we played UCLA, USC, U of A twice. We knew how they were going to play us, and we just didn't handle it well.

Our young guards in the back court didn't stay aggressive. We turned the ball over. We played sideways. I don't know why. We knew what to expect and we knew how to attack it, and we just didn't do a great job.

Credit UCLA, but I thought we settled down. We stopped turning the ball over and did what we know how to do. Maybe chalk it up to this is the first postseason for half our team, almost half our team. So a little bit of a learning curve, I guess, there.

Q. You talked about the younger team. It seemed like there were a lot of times where the shot clock was running down and they had to chuck up a three or even the shot clock violation. Was that just due to a young team or was UCLA playing tight defense?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, I think, again, you credit UCLA's defense. We passed up shots. We've been doing that all year long where we'll create a shot, we don't take it. Then against a really good team, it's hard. Then we don't really know because everybody was ready for that person to take the shot.

When they didn't, I thought that happened -- it's been happening, if you've been following us. But it happened a little too much today. I think we're actually shooting the ball well, and we have really good shooters, and that's something that we'll work on in terms of preparing for postseason. We've got to catch to shoot and be ready when that shot comes. We did pass some up for sure.

Q. Coach, trying to dig out of that kind of hole in such a game of runs, is that just two insurmountable? I mean, you use so much energy climbing that hill.
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: At halftime you saw us come out and we came out really strong. We definitely felt we could overcome it. It was just right when we get to single digits, we would foul or -- or UCLA would hit a big three. Like even down the stretch, I mean, Kelsey pitches on Canada off Burke, I want her to do that. She's a low-percentage shooter, but she makes the shot.

So in some ways they stepped up and people that we gave some things to did a great job. I think, you know, obviously Canada is a great player. If we had a more veteran guard that could just handle her, she just makes everything happen for them. It's the third time. That's why we tried to play zone, because we knew we didn't have anybody. We have just freshmen that are trying to handle one of the top guards and they're getting a great education on that.

So, you know, I thought she was the difference the entire game because it was always helping her on an on-ball screener, and she's getting deep in our key and she draws a pinch. And her teammates really stepped up and hit shots.

Q. Jamie, what's it like being a freshman and coming out in one of your first games being in the playoffs? What's that like?
JAMIE RUDEN: Honestly, it's exciting that I'm able to play, and I just found out this a couple days ago that I'd be back for this season. So it's exciting for me to see what I could do to help, especially for the seniors and just to see any way I could impact the game just to help us win just for the seniors.

Q. Coach, what are some of the positives that you can really take out from this game? Your team shot 19 of 22 from the free-throw line, but what are some of the positives you can build on as you head for this week off and decide your fate in the NCAA Tournament?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Right. Well, I thought we beat them three out of the four quarters, and we played tough. I think at the same time -- you're asking a coach after a loss the positives. We're looking at all of it. I mean, you know, this team, I think we scored 68 points needs to be enough for us, and we scored -- I don't know. You guys do the math. We scored a lot of points, 47 points in the second half. That's a huge positive for us, because usually our issue is scoring. It's not defending. You know, the zone really, we thought we could do it, we did a great job the first time. Didn't work the second time, and that's kind of where we dug our hole for ourselves because we were in a different mindset.

But we come out man for 40 minutes like we normally do, and we score 68 points, we win, easily. So I think our offense as we settled down and got going in our perimeter shooting combined with our inside attack, bringing that into March Madness will be exciting, because we know we can defend.

Q. Kelsey, what was the message to your team that you gave to keep them in the game and keep their heads in the game? What did you tell them to keep fighting for?
KELSEY MOOS: I just kept trying to remind them who are you as a person? What's your character? When times get tough, are you going to quit? Are you going to quit on each other or are you going to lock arms with each other in the eye and know that we can take this game.

Believing not only in yourself, but believing in the other 11 people that are out here with you, going to war with you every single day. When the going gets tough, how are you going to handle it? What are you going to do? What are you going to do later when basketball's not here?

Games like this rebuild your character and show who you are. I'm really proud of the team coming out after halftime. We didn't quit. We did not give up. We tried our hardest until the final buzzer went off. So I'm really proud of the team for that. Just staying true to our character.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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