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March 3, 2017

Vic Schaefer

Ketara Chapel

Morgan William

Greenville, South Carolina

Mississippi State - 78, LSU - 61

THE MODERATOR: I want to welcome Mississippi State.

Coach, if you would start us off with an opening statement, please.

COACH SCHAEFER: Well, first of all, just really want to commend LSU on a tremendous game. Those kids played extremely hard. They had a great plan. Coach Nikki does an unbelievable job, her and her staff. They really caused us some problems, especially in the first half. Just seemed like they got every loose ball, things that we pride ourself on, toughness, hustle plays. They just seemed to make them.

I thought the second half, we really settled. I thought Morgan was really big for us. Ketara, what can you say about her? Y'all don't know she went down yesterday in practice in a heap with her back. She has a little bit of a lower back issue. She went down and stayed down off the floor. I didn't know if she was going to play today.

She comes in the second half, goes four for four, two for two from the line for 10. It's great to have, between her and Brea, Brea went five out of seven, Ketara goes four for four. My four players went 9 for 11, were really big in our zone offense against them.

I'm happy for her. Between Brea and Ketara, those are both starters. They've started off and on their whole career, veterans, been to the war, know what it's all about.

I'm glad to get the win. Hard-fought. Sure doesn't feel like a 70 whatever to 60 victory. It felt like a one-pointer.

Thought our kids showed some toughness and resilience tonight.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions to the student-athletes, please.

Q. Ketara, can you talk about what happened in practice, how you felt, and when you knew you would be able to play today?
KETARA CHAPEL: I think we were doing a rebounding drill. Me and Brea both went up for the ball. I kind of tweaked something in my back. I immediately felt pain in my lower back. I went down.

But Mary, our trainer, does a great job getting us well and healthy, going in with treatment, ice. I told coach that I was fine. Coming in and playing like that, that's what happened.

Q. Morgan, were there any concerns coming in this week for you guys after last week's defeat? Did you get over that pretty quickly and refocus yourselves or was there any worry?
MORGAN WILLIAM: Well, first off, we had a day off after we lost. Immediately went in, watched film, practiced, worked on everything defense-wise.

COACH SCHAEFER: Let me clarify that. We did not watch film on our day off.

MORGAN WILLIAM: My bad. Sorry (laughter).

We didn't watch it on our day off. He made sure we watched the film the whole 40 minutes. We worked on everything. We watched the film. It was like, This isn't us, this isn't what got us here.

In practice, we worked on everything we supposed to have been doing. Today it was good to finally show that we back, doing what we supposed to do.

Q. Morgan, can you talk about that fourth quarter, how you were able to pull away from them. What were the big keys there?
MORGAN WILLIAM: We had to get some stops. Coach kept telling us we have to score, stop, score. Felt like we exchanged buckets. We did extend the lead. Felt like every time we went down, screen, shot, restarted rebounding the ball. They kept putting me on the foul line. I feel like that's where we got away, too.

Q. Ketara, the fourth quarter, considering you guys came into the game losing two straight, do you feel like you figured things out offensively in the fourth quarter that you could build off of going forward?
KETARA CHAPEL: Yeah. I feel like our offense was good the fourth quarter, our zone offense. We ran a certain play we kept getting great looks at. Our inside game with Teaira in the fourth quarter was also great.

Q. Ketara, second quarter in particular seemed like you were struggling a lot, started the second half the same way. Somewhere about midway through the third quarter you, hit three straight buckets. Did it feel like at that point you started getting momentum back?
KETARA CHAPEL: Yeah, I feel like in the first quarter you could tell Brea was on fire. Coming in in the second half, trying to follow up what Brea had done, I scored three straight buckets, I felt like our momentum started coming. Our press picked up a lot.

Q. Ketara, when you come in in the fourth quarter, the game is that close, what is your mindset in terms of coach's saying is always, Fix it if it's broken? I don't know if it was broken, but what was your mindset in being aggressive, trying to contribute?
KETARA CHAPEL: I don't think anything was broken. Just coming in, like you said, coach always says, Fix what's broken or keep going what's good. We knew we had to get stops, score.

Being help side, boxing out, rebounding was a big deal in the fourth quarter.

Q. Morgan, what was it like without Victoria as a big part of the offense today? She only hit one field goal late in the fourth quarter.
MORGAN WILLIAM: Yeah, some people had an off night. We're a team. Can't be our only scoring option. Can't be one-dimensional. We got to play, do what we do. I feel like I stepped up, made some shots. It was able to get my teammates open for open looks.

I'm sure she'll have a good game tomorrow. I'm not worried.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies.

We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. What do you think was going on with Victoria tonight? What does it say about this team that you can win a tournament game without her best?
COACH SCHAEFER: Again, I think we've shown tremendous balance all year long. We've had a lot of games really early in the year. We've had a lot of kids scoring us. Roshunda Johnson came off the bench, had big games, Blair has come off and had 18.

Our bench has been great all year. Tonight I think we -- our bench out-scored them 29-12. We've got a good bench, got depth. Just got to get them playing better.

Again, Victoria gets everybody's best defensive game plan. Tonight our game plan really wasn't centered on anything other than we were going to try to establish an inside game and work from there.

Between our four and five, with Teaira in the second half, we did a good job of that. That loosened it up for some other stuff.

Again, I think our team is talented enough to make up for that.

Q. You ended that game against Tennessee saying things needed to be fixed, you knew how to fix them. Do you feel things are fixed, given the fourth quarter?
COACH SCHAEFER: No. Here is what I should have said. I was emotional. We had 10, 500 in there, and we laid an egg.

The fact of the matter is this: if we would have lost those two games in January, went 13-3, 27-3 on the year, nobody would have said anything. The fact we lost the last two games of the year, a chance to win SEC championship, the sky is falling in StarkVegas, Mississippi. It's part of the monster we created.

It's the SEC. We lost out of top 25 Kentucky on Senior Day. I got the NBA version of Tennessee on Sunday. They were awesome. Give them credit.

So we didn't play well. We had some mistakes. Yes, I know how to fix it. I think we're in the process of fixing it. We had three really good days of practice, which we didn't have three good days in January or February combined.

I was pleased with how we came out and practiced. I thought tonight we were better. But, look, we gave up 20 points in the fourth quarter. That's not good. We'll watch the film. Our kids will learn from it.

But, look, Chloe and Raigyne, those of two big-time mid-range jump shot kids. They're going to play a long time after they get done at LSU. They're hard to handle.

The thing about guarding a kid off of a ball screen, your hedge has to be perfect. Your turn-and-run has to be perfect. To guard it correctly, you have to have three people in help on the person that's setting the ball screen.

Kids get tired. I thought Chinwe got tired tonight in the first half. She got caught out of position. Again, our problem at halftime wasn't the two guards. We let their five players go five for seven. 44 and 20 were five for seven at halftime. That's where I was disappointed.

We were undisciplined. We came off of ball-side penetration, which you're not supposed to do at the five spot. We had get to get it fixed.

Q. When Ketara comes in, what do you see from her mindset and impacts the game? I don't know if anything was broken, but she fixes it.
COACH SCHAEFER: Right now, she's playing with a lot of confidence. She's shooting the ball really well. We went in the men's gym. They've got a real neat toy in there that tells you the arc on your shot. Her shot can get real arc-y. Is that a word?

We go in there one day. Basically she fixed it in one day. We were in there for 30 minutes. She understood exactly what it was.

But the kid's playing with a lot of confidence. I'm telling y'all. She's got a bad lower back. She couldn't walk hardly yesterday after she got tangled up in practice.

I didn't play her the first half, really wasn't thinking much about playing her in the second till Brea got winded. But the kid is playing with a lot of confidence. That's a kid that started off and on her whole career. Her and Brea, they're basically starters.

That's the biggest thing for me right now. I can see it in her eyes. She's confident. She's battle-tested. She wants to be in the moment. That's what you have to have right now at this time of year. You better have some kids that want to be in the moment.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

COACH SCHAEFER: Praise the Lord and go Dogs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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