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March 17, 2017

Katie Meier

Adrienne Motley

Laura Cornelius

Jessica Thomas

Coral Gables, Florida

KATIE MEIER: Well, it's nice to be able to thank my own people for putting on such a great tournament so far. I'm really impressed. It really does have an NCAA feel to it. Just a big-time athletic department, a bunch of people have been putting in a lot of work. We see it, and we really appreciate it, and we just want to make sure we say thanks, because it looks great, feels great. Big-time basketball is going to occur in this building this weekend, and we're just really, really happy to be a part of it. So that's number one.

And then number two, this is just great. It's just awesome. We're thrilled. We know it's a big moment. We all came to Miami because we wanted pressure, and we wanted big moments, and here it is. I mean, we never shied away from the goal of having a third tournament here this year. The very first meeting we talked about it. We actually had the -- some friends in the conference office, the ACC, and some RPI people analyze our schedule the year before and say, well, swap out one or two games, whether we won or not, and would that have put us in a top 15 or 16 RPI, and it turned out that the Syracuse game at home last year that we lost, had we won that, and perhaps maybe beaten Notre Dame in the tournament, there was just one or two games that we could have turned and gotten us there. That's how I opened our first meeting this year with the team was, this is a goal of ours, like let's get there, all right.

But that was November. So now it's March, and we're here. So our next goal is to do something really special, and that's to win. Any time you can get any type of win in the NCAA Tournament, I don't care where it is and who care who it's against, any time you have an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament, it's awesome, but we want to get a win.

Q. What's this buildup been like the last few days knowing you're going to host, and it is a different feel, it's home, but it's not home, but it is home. What has the buildup been like, and even with the guys not here, with school on break, do you notice the electricity, do you notice more of a buzz about this team than usual this week?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: Yes, I mean, not having school, we're basically here all day, and we know the stakes are high. It's a big tournament, and just to be hosting it, we're blessed just to be hosting it. But I woke up this morning with a little bit more pep in my step knowing this game will be tomorrow. I came to the gym and just seeing how great everybody has done with the signs and just security and just everything here is just -- it's a little bit more livelier here. I think we're excited. I could just see it in everybody's faces. We're just ready to go. I haven't played in a little over a week, I think, and just to play against somebody other than the practice squad in such a big stage is just exciting, and I think we're ready. We've been watching a lot of film and just critiquing our last games, and I think we're just ready to go.

Q. It has been a while since you guys have played a game, and it feels like an eternity. What are you kind of expecting when you step on that floor tomorrow even though there is all this buzz and this excitement, it is about basketball, and will there be any rust? Are you worried about anything like that?
JESSICA THOMAS: No, I don't think so. I think we're well-prepared, the coaching staff and practice squad, they've done a great job of getting us prepared for this first game and the first round. I just think we're ready to go, like she said. It's just a feeling of urgency, honestly. It's been a little over a week, a long bye week. We're just ready to go, ready to get going and playing.

Q. Laura, they're a team that obviously they use great spacing. Any team that runs that system would have to, and we all know how prolific they are from three. What are the things that jump out that you're going to really have to keep an eye on defensively to try to disrupt them as best you can against that system?
LAURA CORNELIUS: Well, we watched a little film, and I've got to say Florida Gulf Coast is a great team. As you said, they have a great spacing on offense, and you know they all can shoot. Even their post players, their five, they can shoot. They move very well without the ball. They set a lot of off-ball screens. You know, so we've got to be low in our stance, and everybody got to defend everybody. We might switch. You never know. So yeah, they're a pretty good team, but I think we are a pretty good defensive team, also, so we've just got to lock down and get ready for their movement.

Q. Mot, you guys were the favorite last year in your opening-round game. Obviously things didn't go the way you wanted them to. How much have you all even thought about that at all, or just making sure it doesn't happen again because you know what it feels like to have an underdog coming after you?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: I honestly haven't thought about it. It's a new year. It's a new feel to the season. But just knowing that every game might be your last, you just play with a little bit more sense of urgency. But as far as thinking about last year, I think that's long gone. We have our minds set to something bigger, and we're just focused on making sure we pursue that.

I think we just have a better vision of what we want to accomplish, and I think we're ready just to get the ball up in the air and just get going.

Q. It's been like a month and a half since you played a game; how much does that concern you?
KATIE MEIER: I'm not concerned. There are times where our conference -- just think about game after game after game against ranked opponents and how much pressure we had on us to finish strong and to do something special in the tournament. We were very, very honest about our position. They'd get RPI updates all year, so we knew. I mean, there was a point in the season where I think we were a little down because our standings in the conference, and I'm like, guys, look at your body of work, don't worry about it. It was a schedule that had us playing away on most of the ranked teams' courts, and we had done a really special job, but that ACC Tournament, we played our guts out. We really played hard. So I wasn't sad to have a couple days of rest and sort of regroup and get their legs back underneath them because that third game, the shots that -- you can't say that we were fresh. We weren't. And we need to hit when we're fresh, so I'm really excited.

It's been a minute since I've seen these guys fresh. It has been a minute, and I'm happy. I'm excited. I cannot -- it is like Christmas Eve, and I cannot wait to open up that present that's sitting under the tree. I cannot wait, because when they're fresh, we're good.

Q. How fired up is she, Mot, scale of 1 to 10?

Q. Coach, with the balance that they have, knowing obviously you've got to defend all five positions all the way out to the arc, do you still even knowing that, though, pay any greater notice to any -- they've had so many different players step forward with some 20-point games and occasionally 30-point games. Does that give you any kind of different worry knowing that you have to be prepared for one of their players to get hot the way some of them can?
KATIE MEIER: Yeah, I don't think that's any extra special worry. I mean, I respect their talent, and I think they have great isolation sets and a great mentality. But I mean, a balanced team, I think we're one, too, and I think you've got both coaches trying to -- we're going to have to coach really well in the game because you can't just say, well, they're all about this, and Miami is just all about that. I mean, it's just not true. So throughout the rosters up and down both teams, what match-up is going to work, I don't think either one of us can go into the game knowing for sure who's going to be on who and what's going to work.

But I think that both teams will give the ball to whoever is hot. There's no selfish player on either team.

Q. Laura, we asked coach this the other day, but those two players that are sitting right next to you, how much have they meant to this program and helping bring you guys along to where you are here today, the two ladies up there on the dais with you?
LAURA CORNELIUS: I mean, we talked a lot about this, but they're just two great players. They're great people, and you know, they've brought us here. So yeah, I'm really proud of them, and we just all want to go far for them. You know, it's their last go-around. So yeah, we're just trying to do it for them a little bit, too, yeah.

Q. How does your game day philosophy change in a Game 7? They're all Game 7s from here on out, obviously. Do you find that you're doing things a bit differently when you get to the tournament, or do you try not to?
KATIE MEIER: You know, I sort of have a philosophy, and I'm pretty clear when I'm hiring and when I'm recruiting, if you're blessed to have 35 game days, if you're blessed to have that many, or more, it comes down to, what, 70 hours of your whole entire year that you should be pretty awesome. You should be great. And I'm going to be the best version of myself in those 70 hours because they deserve that from me, and in order to stay in that, I have exactly the same routine every game day for as many years as I have coached.

Do you have to have a few more special situations probably ready because every opponent is going to be so great from here on out and there's going to be -- you want your kids very comfortable and familiar with what calls you're going to make. You don't want to surprise anybody. Sure, that might be one adjustment, but that doesn't change on game day, that's more in preparation.

Q. Just between the press conference that you guys had on Tuesday or Wednesday and the further preparation and the film, anything else that you can share that maybe you didn't expect that jumped out at you at all in any way?
KATIE MEIER: That actually is a just between you and me question. You're not going to catch me on that one. Their system is what they are, and their players make it work, and they do a great job. It's complicated, and I think that you see their conference and you know how they've just been so great in their conference, and so you watch their conference foes because it's just like watching us. You're going to want to watch Florida State's games for Miami because we play each other three times a year. You get a lot of information from seeing what their conference is trying to do to them.

Q. Did you talk to Lynn? Did you call her at all for any tips?
KATIE MEIER: No, they're going to protect their conference.

Q. Is that protocol?
KATIE MEIER: That's pretty standard.

Q. Yes, Jessica, how important are the first five minutes going to be, or just the start really in general? You know it's going to be hopefully a pretty exciting atmosphere, there should be some people there. Is it critical to just get a jump early and dictate the flow instead of having it dictated under you?
JESSICA THOMAS: Yeah, especially on the home floor. Our main focus this season has just been about starting the game off right. We're probably one of the most complex teams where we have different starting lineups, different games, different weeks, whatever. You know, we take pride in the starting lineup to make sure we start off right, set the tone early, and get everybody else going because we know we set the tone.

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