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March 3, 2017

Katie Meier

Laura Cornelius

Adrienne Motley

Conway, South Carolina

Miami - 56, Florida State - 54

KATIE MEIER: We're really excited. I told the team in the locker room that we've done this before. We've been in the semis and we've beaten Florida State to get there. We've done that before. This is the team that's supposed to go somewhere Miami hasn't gone before. So as excited as we are, we're going to get right back to the hotel, we're going to watch this game and we're going to prepare for our game tomorrow. I'm very proud of the grit. I don't know that that was the fourth quarter for the ages. It was not. Eight points in the fourth quarter and winning is good, but boy, did we get some great defensive stops.

Florida State is so very good. This is ridiculous to hold them to 54 points, and I'm not -- I'm telling you that that's how hard these young ladies had to work to hold that team to 54 points. We've beaten Florida State before, but we've not kept them at 54, and I really don't know that it was anything except just herculean efforts and a no-quit attitude by my team. My bench was as in tune and talking and calling plays and Tia Jackson did the scout and she had their plays just down.

It was a matter of we deserved it, we knew we deserved it. We sort of Chernobyled there in the fourth quarter in the last two minutes and tried to give it away, and that will be a nice lesson for a postseason game because when you learn lessons and win against your rival and you learn lessons in wins, we take them and we'll take them seriously. We did celebrate in the locker room. I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to be too cool up here. We really did celebrate in the locker number. This team has been amazing. They've been tested, and we're like chameleons. You don't know if you take away the three from Miami, can they still beat you? Yeah. We went 1 for 11, but we can still beat you.

We used to be -- we had to hit the three. We got a pretty nice inside game now, too. We got a nice pull-up jumper and I thought Laura Cornelius, I told her -- she had missed a couple shots, she was going hit a big one. But more when she woke up, and she just changed her game and got downhill and started being -- instead of thinking too much about the strategy and just played to her world-class instinct, it changed the game for us.

Q. That last 30 seconds they had four shots if not more, and then the free throws. Is that kind of a microcosm that you played the defense you had as opposed to falling apart when they had the last chance to win or tie?
KATIE MEIER: That's where I meant Chernobyl. That was awful that we gave them so many chances to rebound the ball. I thought we hustled, but I mean, we got to close the door, and we had them. They ran the same baseline out of bounds play three times, which we knew, and Romero got the three out of that. We knew Shakayla that they wanted to go to her so Laura was helping the double, but we should have known that flex screen was coming and then Laura can clear up at the, so we made one adjustment in the huddle for that.

I think the biggest deal is Jessica Thomas was not having -- she wasn't hitting so well, wasn't hitting her three, but at halftime I told her -- we're a really honest team, very authentic. I said, hey, you're not hitting tonight, but you already have five rebounds. Who came up with the huge rebound? Smallest kid on the court. So that's where this team has in grown because we couldn't have done that in November. We would have been a little bit in ourselves.

Q. If my memory serves me correctly, and it doesn't always, you lost by 15 and 9. What specifically did you do different in this game?
KATIE MEIER: Not a heck of a lot to be honest. We had a quick turnaround. We couldn't assume that we were going to win that game last night so our eyes weren't on Florida State yet, so it was the quick turnaround. We taped up some lines in the hotel and did a walk-through. But I'll tell you, the team was begging me -- I was like, okay, we're done. They were like, no, we're not, we want to go through this play and this play and this play. They begged me to stay and I kind of needed a nap. But they wouldn't let me leave. So there we were in the hotel with a taped-up key and a three-point line and they're like what about this play, they called that three. They were on it. So what we did differently this time I think is we were just more grown. We were grown women.

Q. Adrian, were you surprised how easily y'all jumped out to the lead on them at the start of this game?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: No, starting yesterday at Georgia Tech I told the team if we start how we started last game -- this game like last game at Georgia Tech we could beat a lot of people, and I think we really took that to heart, and I know what we can do. I play with these guys every day, and I know what everybody is capable of. So when we started off hot, I knew right away we were going to win this game, and it was just boosting my confidence, so no, I wasn't surprised.

Q. Laura, can you discuss sometime in the middle of the third quarter you just got hot and something changed. What changed for you because you scored the last six points of the third quarter and you just seemed to be in tune for the rest of the game?
LAURA CORNELIUS: You know, a little before that, I think I missed a couple open shots, and the whole bench, the coaches, my teammates, they just told me, you know, you're taking great shots, and I was like, yeah, yeah, I know. Listen, they gave me a lot of confidence, and that's what's so great about this team. We talk to each other. We believe in each other, and I was just able to get to the rim, get a couple shots. But it's really a team effort overall. This is everybody's, not just Mot, not just the people who are on the stat sheet. It's literally everybody on this team who got this win for us.

Q. For either one of the players, can you take us through from a defensive standpoint Florida State's last offensive possession?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: Like what was going through our heads?

Q. Yeah, what were you doing and how did you bring it off without their scoring?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: We knew they were going to go in to Shakayla, so like coach said, everybody on that team can score, but we knew they were probably going to go to Shakayla so we focused in on there.

Honestly what was in my head, I knew they were going to miss; it was just getting the rebound. Jit fouled, and I kind of thought like, hey, that's a bad foul, but then Ivey Slaughter missed two free throws, and it was just -- it turned out to be a great stop for us. You know, I think everybody was locked in on that defensive possession. We do possession awareness in practice, and it's for games like this. I think we just locked in and said, you know, we're not going to lose this game. We're going to get the stop, and I think that's what we did.

Q. Points in the paint seem to be one of the big keys for y'all's victory tonight. Talk about the effort in the paint.
KATIE MEIER: I will because I think that has been the story of the tournament for us. Really talk about growing up, we're going to have that one magical night where that combination of points in the paint and the threes are falling. This team has been on a journey, and it's not even close to over, and we know it. That's one thing we wanted to establish coming into this tournament is like big-time teams, we've got to rely on defense and points in the paint, and the extra, the lagniappe, as they call it in Louisiana, little something extra, that can be our three-point shooting, but we're not going to start and end. That's not going to be the story of Miami, but it will be why we win a big game because we're gonna get hot from outside and then people better watch out.

Q. This conference season has been a bear and you had to beat a No. 8 team in the country tonight, you have to play another one tomorrow who's in the top 25. Talk about how tough this conference is and if you do advance and go to The Finals how tough it's going?
KATIE MEIER: Well, I guess my best example for how tough this conference is is that I think that UVA could go into the NCAA and win two and go into the Sweet 16. That's how good I think this conference is. And I'm not just saying that because Joanne is a friend of mine. I watch UVA and I'm like, oh, my God. I'm surprised how many wins we got because I have so much respect and just, we go through the scouting report, and there's been years, you talk about two or three players, our scouting reports, you start going, well, this kid can do this, this, this and this, and then you've got the greatest coaches, too. So it's a heck of a conference. It got us ready to win this kind of game, because this was kind of a little bit like that Louisville game where we were just real physical and it was in the 50s and whatever and we were on the road and whatever. And we'd kind of been there before.

You know, the response and the effort and the great at this -- you've got to win in every different way to win in this conference. However many ACC wins we have, I'm telling you they're like little trophies on your mantle. You're just so happy to get them.

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