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March 4, 2017

Cori Close

Jordin Canada

Kari Korver

Seattle, Washington

Oregon State - 63, UCLA - 53

THE MODERATOR: Great, welcome. Good evening, UCLA. We are one more time streaming live on Pac-12 Facebook.

Coach, we'll have you open with a statement and then take questions.

CORI CLOSE: Well, thank you all for being here. And the more coverage we can give this conference, the more the national media understands how good it is. Obviously Oregon State's a really good team. They were the No. 1 seed for a reason. I thought they -- in the second half, they outexecuted us. Especially to start the second half, they got layups and we got misses, and I thought that was really the telling part, especially at the turning point. And we sort of lost our focus.

But I love these young women. These are tears right here because they're invested, they care, they care about UCLA, they care about each other, and they're competitive. They want to win. And I could not be any more prouder of the hearts of these young ladies.

And the bottom line is they wanted this really, really bad, and I could not be prouder of their effort in these two leadership. And this will propel us into deep things in the NCAAs.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

Q. Cori, can you just talk about the third quarter? And offensively, were they -- Gaby Hanson was back in the game. She obviously missed a lot of the second quarter in foul trouble. Did that make a big difference? What did they do that was different that you guys were struggling well?
CORI CLOSE: Well, I didn't think they were doing that many things different in that third quarter. Gaby Hanson is obviously a great defender, but she can only guard one person at a time. Obviously Jordin was getting some good looks in that second quarter without her.

But I thought we got -- we were talking in our huddles that we're getting good shots; we just could not knock them down. We were getting some one-on-one opportunities and we were getting the ball out out of the double team, and we just weren't making shots. If you don't make shots against them, they're so packed in the key that it's really hard to get second shot opportunities. We weren't pulling away from the basket at all. Some of those shots we knocked down yesterday against Arizona State. We just weren't hitting those three-point shots. Hersler had some open threes, Nicole Kornet had some open threes, not just in the second quarter, third quarter, but throughout the game. And when you don't knock those things down versus Oregon State, they just get closer and closer to the rim, so it makes it harder not only to make your first shot, but it's harder to get a second shot opportunity.

Q. Cori, Jordin is obviously awesome. She had to do a lot tonight --
CORI CLOSE: She did.

Q. Did you feel like more people needed to step up, that she couldn't do it by herself, and were you talking about that?
CORI CLOSE: Well, the good news is that Jordin has been doing that all year, so this is not a new thing. Jordin does a lot for us. I mean, she is a really good player on both ends of the floor. She did get a little bit of -- a little tired at the end, and I thought maybe in hindsight, it's 20/20, I might have needed to rotate Kennedy Burke on Wiese sooner in the game to sort of mix that up a little bit and give her a little different look. Jordin was doing such a great job that you didn't want to take something away that was working. But obviously I'll look at the film and see that. But the reality was she did get tired down the stretch. I didn't think it was the fourth quarter that really affected us, that was when she got tired, I thought it was the third quarter when they executed and got lay-ups, and we got mid-range jumpers and didn't make them.

Q. Jordin, when the shots weren't falling, does frustration build at that point and does it make it even harder? And the emotion that you guys are showing tonight, there's still basketball to be played, but obviously this was something that you guys wanted to come in and accomplish?
JORDIN CANADA: To answer your first question, I mean, we weren't getting frustrated. It was just, you know -- it just sucked that we weren't making shots. But I thought our offensive execution was great. I don't think it really frustrated us. I just think that, you know, it just didn't translate on the defensive end. But I don't think it frustrated us at all. I mean, obviously we still have a lot of basketball left to play, but let me just say I wouldn't -- there's no other person that I'd rather play basketball with than this one right here. She is the epitome of a basketball player. Her heart, her dedication to this team is unbelievable, and sometimes it doesn't show on the court, but off the court, you guys have no idea how much she affects this game and affects our team. It's emotional because this is her last chance to get a PAC-12 ring, and it sucks that we didn't get it for her. But I know we've still got a lot of basketball left to play, but this one right here, she's going to do a lot of things, and I'm very proud of her.

Q. Cori, you can make a very deep run; this is the toughest conference in the country, NCAA Tournament is probably going to be a little bit of a break. How do you make sure you can channel the emotion into something good?
CORI CLOSE: I actually told them about some other Pac-12 schools that allowed a tough loss in the PAC-12 Tournament teach their hearts. We beat Cal in the semifinals the year that they let it teach their hearts and go to a Final Four. Last year we watched Washington lose to Oregon State in the semifinals and let it teach their hearts and be different and better and propel them to a Final Four.

So I think these are just great tears because they're wonderful human beings. They're incredible kids. They compete like crazy, and they're invested. So I have no doubt that because their hearts are invested, the hurt in their hearts right now will teach them, and they will allow them to propel them forward. We will be different going into the NCAA Tournament as a result of this loss, and it doesn't make it any easier. It still stinks. We wanted this really badly. So I'm not diminishing it. But I do think that because we care so much and because we really are committed to each other, we will let this teach our hearts and we will be different, tougher, better going into March Madness.

Q. Coach, on the positive side, you guys forced them into 22 turnovers, and I thought your guys' defense was really intense throughout, especially Jordin's. Can you just elaborate on that?
CORI CLOSE: Well, I thought it wasn't just Jordin, and of course I give Jordin so much credit because to chase around Wiese -- this old lady had to be Wiese in walk-through, and I was out of breath trying to put our team through the plays. Even coach JORDIN over here said, Coach, you okay? So I know that it's really difficult. But I thought the rest of the team had some great deflections, 50/50s. We rotated really well, in a lot of situations. We forced a lot -- especially in the first half, and even in the fourth quarter I thought we forced some really difficult shots and possessions for them. But the difference, we forced them into those turnovers every time we've played them, and the difference was we didn't capitalize as much off of those turnovers. We didn't get as many points off of those turnovers as the previous couple of games. We had a couple of run-out lay-ups that we didn't finish, or sometimes if Jordin gets to the middle and is able to flip it back to a shooter, we weren't really able to gain that momentum off those turnovers on a consistent basis, and I think that hurt us.

But I love the progress we've made on the defensive end. Coach Tony said this yesterday. He's like at the beginning of the year, he was telling our staff, We're going to have to score 85 points because we can't guard anybody, and to watch this team's growth on the defensive end of the floor has been really fun to watch, and I believe that defense and rebounding are what you need to make deep runs. We'll get our rebounding better, but I think our defense is pretty solid.

Q. I just wondered if you could speak to Sydney Wiese has hit a lot of big shots over her career. You have players that have done that, too, but what's it like to go against a kid like that?
CORI CLOSE: Well, I think she's a really great player. You just look at the run of their program, they've had some different -- the two pillars are Scott Rueck and Sydney Wiese. Scott is a really good coach, and he's got a system and a culture now that's bigger than any individual. But when you've got a kid who can make big shots like that, who can control a team, who has a high basketball IQ, who's committed at the highest levels, she's going to do that. I've watched it all on film. Every time they made a bucket, she knows how to find the shot that she wants. We showed our team, this is at this moment, and for the most part I thought we took it away, but there was that couple of times where she got those, and she's a really good player.

But what I like even more about her is I think she's a really good teammate, and I think she's a great representative of the game, and who she is as a human being is even better than she is as a player.

Q. Jordin, first half you had 17 points, and then in the second half for probably the first 15 minutes you only had the two. What kind of defensive adjustments did they make on you to kind of slow you down?
JORDIN CANADA: I actually thought that I was getting good looks, it's just I wasn't knocking them down. That's all I can say. I don't really think they -- I mean, tried to stop me. I just wasn't making good shots. That's all I can say.

CORI CLOSE: I do think they sent another post player, and they dared Monique Billings and Kelli Hayes or Hersler or Nicole Kornet, any of those other people to make shots. I did think they sent another player to try to help with Hanson. But I know that was our last question. I don't want to leave this table without echoing Jordin's sentiment about Kari Korver. This program would not be knocking at the door of elite without Kari Korver. Our program, our culture has been not only based on her commitment to what we believe in but also her entire family. She is one of those players that she has given to us and to me more than I could have ever given and invested in her. And Jordin Canada deserves all the credit she's gotten. She's a phenomenal player. I believe we've got the three best point guards in the country in our conference, but I will tell you, just as Jordin said, none of us would be talking about these things if it wasn't for this young lady, and she is spectacular and she will be greatly missed, and we're going to send her out in style.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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