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March 10, 2017

Gordy Presnell

Brooke Pahukoa

Yaiza Rodriguez

Shalen Shaw

Las Vegas, Nevada

Boise State - 66 Fresno State - 53

COACH GORDY PRESNELL: Just want to commend Fresno State for a great run in the tournament. Four games in five days is really remarkable. And we felt like if we could get them into the second half and make a little run, at some point fatigue would set in. They're very competitive. Very well coached and there's a reason they've been here so often.

I also want to thank our administration, Curt Apsey, Dr. Kustra, Christina Van Tol, for all their support. I'm really proud of our players. I'm proud of these three, but I'm proud of the other 12, as well. It was a great game. And they made runs at us, and we got in some foul trouble. But in the end I think our leadership kind of prevailed and really fortunate to win. It's been a great season and hopefully we get one more chance.

Q. Brooke, a couple of days ago you talked about how important the chemistry of this team was and how you just wanted one more game. You go back about a month you guys were on a 3-6 stretch and you had been struggling. You've won ten in a row and Mountain West Champions. What made you believe that you could do this?
BROOKE PAHUKOA: You know, even when we had that stretch where we were losing, I don't think that we ever thought we weren't going to come here and win. We always had that was our goal at the end.

Anyone who's played sports enough knows that every season is a little bit of a roller coaster, and you peak at the end. That's what you want to do. And we knew we had that in our future. And I think the injuries that we had and the sicknesses that we had in that roller coaster season led us to be able to come here and win those close games for sure.

Q. You became the second player in program history, 800 points, 600 rebounds, 200 assists. Talk about that accomplishment and just your role in the team during your career at Boise State.
SHALEN SHAW: I found that out walking over here, what an accomplishment. I don't even have words for it. As for my team, it's just playing for them and doing everything I can to help us win and get here and win the championship. And I'm speechless right now.

Q. I remember a couple of years ago you were laying on the floor crying as a sophomore. Compare that moment, that feeling to doing it as a senior?
YAIZA RODRIGUEZ: Well, I'm going to go home. I'm going to stay in Boise, but not to be able to play next year with my teammates, at least I'm giving them a ring and I'm going to have that memory forever. So it feels amazing.

Q. I just want to ask you the same thing. To do it as a senior, to go out this way, what does it mean?
BROOKE PAHUKOA: It means the world and I think that our team worked so hard this year to be able to come here. And I knew, gosh, the second we came here this year, we're going to win. The look on everyone's faces, the attitudes we had, I said there's no one stopping us. And I think it showed the way that we played. We played a different level of basketball here this week, and I think that's going to continue for us.

I couldn't say it any differently than I did yesterday, I love my teammates, I love my coaches, I love Boise State. I want to be here as long as we can, we want one more game. We want as much as we can together.

Q. To do it twice in three years here, kind of cements a legacy within the program. What does it mean for you to win two in three years and get to the tournament again and really try to get Boise State women's basketball to that next level?
BROOKE PAHUKOA: Boise State, the atmosphere when you step on to that campus is we succeed. As athletes, as student-athletes, in the classroom, off the court, you succeed. We're champions everywhere you go. And that wasn't something that started when we came here. That started a long time ago and we got rolling right into it. It's a fun place to be, it's a fun place to be a part of. And definitely that culture has been here before we set foot on campus.

Q. I've got to ask you, two years ago you sat up there on that dais upset because you couldn't get to your cellphone, we talked about this the other night. Tonight you see your parents in the stands. That had to be a special feeling for you.
YAIZA RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, the first thing I did after I was finished with the radio, I went to my dad and I -- it means everything to me. I knew they were going to be here this year. They've been around everywhere with me with the national team. My dad, he's really emotional, when he's emotional I get emotional, too. So it just means everything.

Q. The other night when you overheard me talking to her about the story I wanted to do, you came around for the interview, you were there. How special is it for you for how close, as you talked about the team, the camaraderie, but to be able to see your best friend, your point guard, have that moment?
BROOKE PAHUKOA: It's a really special bond that this entire team has. And we want each other to succeed and be happy and thrive off the court and on the court. And we try to do whatever we can to make it happen for our teammates. And to see the joy that Yai had yesterday, being able to talk about her parents and being here, we want to be a part of it.

I'm like, I'm going to see her face, because I want to see my teammates happy. It brings me joy. I love being a part of it. They deserve it. We have really, really good girls on our team that deserve the best. I want to be there every step of the way for each of them.

Q. It wasn't necessarily the best shooting night, yet timely shots and runs that you took advantage of. Can you talk about how the chemistry sort of kept everything together, and defensively to shut down Bego and that team?
SHALEN SHAW: Yeah, we were just trying to run the clock down at the end. We were trying to control the game. And Coach P was, Slow down, do our thing, move the ball and communicate on defense. And fronting Bego, and making sure they're making a tough pass, so they're not getting easy shots. We just worked together and made sure they didn't get anything easy.

Q. A lot of teams talk about the importance of senior leadership. And I think pretty much every team kind of says that. But it seems like with this group, the two girls to your right, really made quite an impact on you and your teammates. I wanted to know what those two girls next to you mean to you on this team.
SHALEN SHAW: You're going to make me cry. They mean everything. I'm going to miss them. I'm going to miss them on the team next year, but they're not going anywhere, they'll still be in Boise, so I'll be able to see them. But everyone loves them. And I'm happy that we're sending them on with a good note. We have to keep going. We have more games to play.

Q. You get the experience against Tennessee a couple of years ago, and played well for a good portion of that game. What are your thoughts, and probably being the underdog again?
YAIZA RODRIGUEZ: I think going to NCAA, you get a great experience, not everybody can get to go to the big dance. No matter what team is in front of us, if we played with each other like we played in the tournament, and keep one more game playing, we're going to enjoy it, and no matter what it's going to be the outcome of it.

BROOKE PAHUKOA: I think everyone in that locker room right now is excited to represent Boise State at a bigger level. We're going to do our best. We're going to prepare. He's like, we're going to get the rest of the week off. Two days. Then we'll start practicing again. And we're going to be ready to represent.

Q. Can you comment on Shalen's game and just her overall -- to reach that plateau and what she's meant to the program?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: Well, when we went through our bad January where we were 3-6, she was missing in four of those games and we lost three of them. And we haven't lost since she came back. And so the reason she's not starting is she has a bad habit of picking up an early foul, so we wanted to shorten the game for her a little bit. And it gets Joyce involved more. And I thought Joyce came up big for us. Marijke got in foul trouble, and Joyce did a nice job on their big hits.

Sha is an unusual player in that she can play all five positions, and she point guard some of the time, but she can guard a post player as well. So to have a player to have 800 points and 600 rebounds and 200 assists is pretty remarkable in women's basketball. I'm excited about what she can do for us next year when she has to step in and be a leader.

Q. How does it feel right now compared to a couple of years ago? The second one, does it feel any different to be able to do it twice in three years?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: There's so much pressure. We were joking, it seemed like the New Mexico game was a year ago, and it was just last Tuesday. Yeah, there's always pressure. But you just have to grind.

And the thing that I was really proud of our players this year is -- and this week, I'm sorry, is that we did grind, and we haven't done that a whole lot. I've told them over and over if we can get to a higher level than everyone in the league, but can't seem to get consistent like a Colorado State who seems to consistently play well.

That being said, I think we went 12-1 to start and 10-0 to finish, so we had a bad stretch there in the middle. There's pressure and we're just going to enjoy this next part of this season and see where it takes us.

Q. Brooke said that when you guys arrived here she knew in her heart, and she seemed pretty adamant, that she was confident. Coming into today, top three seeds done, did you feel this was your tournament to lose at that point? How much confidence did you have?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: Brooke sat up here with me last year, we were one and done, we lost, third seed, and lost to UNLV, and she sat up here in front of everyone and said, We went one and done my freshman year, and we won it my sophomore year, and now we're one and done, and when we come back we'll win it. And we did.

She has competitive greatness, has the ability to be great when you have to be great. That's Brooke Pahukoa. She's a wonderful leader. Her sister Brittney Pahukoa is a phenomenal leader on our team, and got us through summer conditioning, and team mom, and so many wonderful things people don't see. It's going to be hard to lose them, but they have made a wonderful impact in our program. And have been so thankful to be part of their lives.

Q. I was just going to bring up the seniors, too. Last night Leon Rice sat up here and broke down talking about Nick Duncan. Seems like you have a special relationship with Brooke. Just kind of want to know about your relationship with them and what they've meant not only to you, but to this program as a whole.
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: They come from an extremely athletic family, the Pahukoas. And they just bought in. They didn't just buy into me, they bought into Boise State athletics, they bought into the administration of Boise State, into Boise State academics. And they're ambassadors, not just for our program, but for the university and the school. Boise State is a great place, but those guys, they really buy into it. And that part, it makes people want to be around you if you're positive all the time. And they've been great.

Q. It seemed like every time that Fresno State tried to make a run in the second half Brooke or somebody, seemed like more often than not it was Brooke, had to silence her.
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: She has the ability to step up. But we've had so many close games, and that was our pregame talk was about we tripped up in January and we're accountable for it. No one won at Wyoming, no one won at Colorado State, we went to Pullman and won. We've been on the road, we're battle tested. We're not going to put our head up, we're going to go right through the finish line and when adversity hit we kept on pushing.

Q. You've made runs here in the last few years, what is it about you guys when you get down here to Las Vegas, three games in three days -- I guess three in four days, isn't too much for you guys?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: I don't know, we just had some competitive people that believe in the system and believe in the university. And we're not going to put up a white flag for anybody. And like I said, we had the rough bracket. If you think about it. New Mexico is a terrific program. And Colorado State is the No. 1 seed. And we just kept plugging away.

Q. What is it like stepping up on the ladder with the scissors in your hands, and just that moment, can you realize what you guys had accomplished?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: You know, I'm from an Indian reservation. And I used to play in a lot of Indian tournaments. And one of the guys won a tournament and he went up and he slipped the knife in his hand and it caught his ring finger. And so I wasn't thinking about -- I was just thinking about I've got to get this up, clip it fast, get down before I fall down, because my friend Nick bit it. That was kind of what I was thinking about (laughter).

Q. This is your 12th season?

Q. Obviously you were at Seattle Pacific for a while and now you've been here a while. There's probably been opportunities that have come up. Just want to know what is it about Boise that keeps you there? Why do you keep coming back to Boise?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: It's a great place. And we have progressive leadership that's always looking beyond the next fence and trying to make things better. And there's always that feeling that there's something good coming around the corner. And it's just a great place to work. You've got people that care about you. I'll go back to my phone and there's going to be a bunch of texts from Boise State people, I promise you. I kind of cling to that. It's a good place. We've got great leadership, Christina Van Tol, Curt Apsey, it's great leadership.

Q. I was asking about playing Tennessee a couple of years ago, but that experience to have some leaders that have been to the tournament and played and done that, how can that benefit you and what do you hope to -- obviously hope for a different result, but how will that help having some experience going to the tournament for some of your players?
COACH GORDY PRESNELL: We were picked to finish second. So we've always kind of are the hunted a little bit, except for Colorado State. And then even here we wear white twice. It's fun once in a while, it's fun not to wear white. You want to wear white, that's the goal, but it's always fun to be the hunter. That's what makes the NCAA tournament fun. We do have a high RPI, but we're going to play someone with a higher RPI, and we're going to wear the dark jerseys, and we're going to have nothing to lose and have fun and let it fly.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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