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March 17, 2017

Holly Warlick

Diamond DeShields

Mercedes Russell

Louisville, Kentucky

Q. I realize you're all emerged in the tournament right now, but you don't have much time before this draft, this WNBA draft. Have you had any time in the season to weigh the pros and cons of turning pro early?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Personally, that's not something I'm worried about at the moment. I'm just worried about the tournament at the time. That's something I'll think about after the season.

DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: It's definitely a decision that's looming over both of our heads. But like Mercedes said, it's not something we put too much thought into. We're committed to being here in Louisville with Coach Warlick, and the rest of our teammates and currently where we are in Louisville right now, and focused on Dayton. That's all I'm thinking about.

Q. You talk about Dayton. Do you want to go into preparation for that?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: From watching film, they're definitely a solid team. They've won their conference championship. They've got some pretty good shooters on their team. They have good posts that can score around the basket, and step out and shoot the threes. So just all around, they've got good scorers. Then on the defensive end, they really get after you.

DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Yeah, I mean, most important thing for us is just to respect all of our opponents here. Being in this tournament, there's no team here that can't be beat. So that's the first thing for us. The year we've had has been full of lots of ups and downs. We don't want to repeat that cycle. We want to stay on top of our game and get to a good place so that we can compete deep in the tournament. But they're a great team, just like Mercedes said, and we understand that and respect that. We've prepared for that.

Q. Mercedes, do you like playing against taller post players, or would you prefer to be shooting over somebody that's five or six inches shorter than you are?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Yeah, I would say I enjoy playing against shot blockers. I know Dayton has a couple of posts, 6'5", 6'3" that like to block shots, and I think that's always a fun, challenging game.

Q. Diamond, you talk about competing and playing this time of the year. The whole season culminates with this, right? So all that hard work, I mean, is this the fun part? Is it all fun? Are there times when it's not fun?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: I mean, when you lose, you know, it's not fun when you lose. But, yeah, this is why you come to college. This is why you play. This is why we're all here for March, to compete for that trophy. So, yeah, it's a lot of fun just being here with you guys and with each other, and all the fans that come on the road with us and support us. This is definitely a fun time for us.

Q. Mercedes, your take on it?
MERCEDES RUSSELL: Yeah, same what she said.

Q. Diamond, you've been playing in the SEC regular season and tournament, you're really familiar with those teams. They're familiar with you. Do you kind of like going into playing a team that doesn't know that much about you and how you play?
DIAMOND DeSHIELDS: Well, I mean, you hope that they don't know a lot about you, but I mean, they wouldn't be here if they came into games that unprepared. I'm sure they've scouted us and know our personnel very well. Like we said, it's all about respect moving forward. We respect their players. We respect their coaching staff. They may not have seen us before, but they know what we're capable of and they know what we've got and likewise. We know what they're capable of, we know what they've got. Not overlooking anything or anybody.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Kind of an unusual start to the season with a coaching change right before the season. As a coach, can you relate to the challenge that presented where you would come in with the season just very close at hand and not much time for preparation? Can you relate to that?
COACH WARLICK: Well, absolutely. I knew Jim real well, and it is a challenge. It's a challenge, but it's something that I think that anybody would look forward to to run their own program. So as you feel a little nervous about taking over, you're also excited. I think that's the same situation that I went through. And I know Coach Green has done a great job and got an opportunity, and has really stepped up and taken advantage of it.

Q. Looking not at the coach but at their players now, who stands out to you? Who could give you fits?
COACH WARLICK: Well, they're very well-coached. Their guards can shoot the three and also penetrate so that, as a team, poses a difficult assignment for anyone defensively. They're a great rebounding team, so I just think they've covered all aspects of a winning team.

They're smart, they're intelligent. They run a system, and they do it very well. So it will be a challenge for us to limit their threes. Keep them in front of us. Keep them off the boards. Just all those things that make a competitive basketball team, and I think that's what Dayton is.

Q. Is there any team you played during the regular season or the SEC Tournament that reminds you of Dayton's similarities in size or style of play?
COACH WARLICK: Maybe Missouri. A little bit of Missouri. Except maybe not take their bigs out so far away from the basket. But I think they're patient. I think they shoot the three ball like Missouri. Probably I think that would be the team that comes to mind right now.

Q. Do teams now -- I realize similarities in size, style of play, but when you're playing a team now, do you pretty much know how they're going to play you defensively? That they've looked at the film and they see what your strengths and weaknesses are?
COACH WARLICK: I think so. I think coaches do their homework. I think we watch a lot of tape, lot of film, and see how they've guarded certain teams a certain way. I think there can be a tendency that you put in something new or do something different because it's postseason. But it boils down to players making plays and understanding what you want, what your coach wants. So I don't expect them to do a lot of things different. We're not going to do a lot of things different.

We've tweaked a couple things on you are offense, on our defense. We're going to go with what's successful for us, and I'm sure Dayton would concur as well. There is a reason why they're here and we're here. But your players got to make plays. We tell them to make plays, and the ball's in their court by the time the game starts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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