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March 17, 2017

Coach Meier

Laura Cornelius

Jessica Thomas

Adrienne Motley

Coral Gables, Florida

COACH 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, and we see it. And we really appreciate it and we just want to make sure we say thanks. It's great. Looks great, feels great. Big-time basketball is going to occur and we're really happy to be a part of it. That's number one.

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. We've never shied away from the goal of having a third tournament here this year. Very first meeting we talked about it.

We actually had the -- some friends in the conference office at ACC and some RPI people analyze our schedule the year before and say 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 would have 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. 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. Anytime you can get any type of win in the NCAA tournament, I don't care where it is and I don't care who it's against, but anytime you have an opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament, it's awesome. But we want to get a win.

Q. Mot, what's this buildup been like the last few days since knowing you're going to host, obviously, and it is a different feel. It's home but it's not home, but it is home. What has the buildup been like, even with the guys not here and school on break. Do you notice the electricity? Do you notice there's more of a buzz this week than usual?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: Yes. Not having school we're basically here all day. And we know the stakes are high and 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 in the gym and just seeing how great everybody has done with the signs and just security, and just everything here. It's a little bit more livelier here.

And I think we're excited. I could just see it in everybody's faces. We're just ready to go. We 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. Mot brought it up, 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 excitement, it is about basketball. Will there be any rust or 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 have done a great job of getting us prepared for this first game and this first round. I just think we're ready to go, like she said. It's 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 don't know how prolific they are from three. What are the things that jump out that you guys are going to have to really keep an eye on defensively to try to disrupt them as best you can against that system?
LAURA CORNELIUS: Well, we watched a lot of film, and I gotta say Florida Gulf Coast is a great team. As she said, they have a great spacing on offense. And 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, so we gotta be low in our stance. Everybody gotta defend everybody. We might switch. You never know.

So yeah, they are a pretty good team, but I think we are a pretty good defensive team as well, so we just gotta 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 we wanted them to. How much have you all even thought about that at all or just making sure it doesn't appear 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.

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. So 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. Tim Reynolds of the Orange Bowl Committee?
COACH MEIER: (Laughs).

Q. I'll give you a minute. It's been like a month and a half since you played a game. How much does that concern you?
COACH MEIER: I'm not concerned. We just -- 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 get RPI updates all year. So we knew. I mean there was a point in the season where you know, I think we were a little down because of our standings in the conference, and I'm like, guys, look at your body. 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, really special job.

But that ACC tournament we played our guts out. We really played hard. And so I wasn't sad to have a couple of days of rest to sort of regroup and get their legs back underneath them because it was that third game where the shots -- 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 mean, I'm excited. I cannot -- it's like Christmas Eve and I cannot wait to open up that present that's sitting under -- I cannot wait, because when they're fresh, we're good.

Q. Scale of one to ten, Mot, how fired up is she?
ADRIENNE MOTLEY: Oh, a 20 (laughs).

Q. Coach, with the balance that they have, knowing obviously you gotta 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 different kind of worry knowing that you have to be prepared for one of their players to get hot the way some of them can?
COACH MEIER: Yeah. I don't think it's any extra special worry. I respect their talent, and I think they have great isolation sets and great mentality. But, I mean, a balanced team.

I think we're one, too, and I think you 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 matchup 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: We thought a lot about this, but they are 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 -- we all want to go far for them. 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? I mean, it is a game 7 atmosphere. They're all game 7s from here on out obviously. Is it something that do you find you're doing things a bit differently when you get to the tournament or do you try not to?
COACH MEIER: You know, I sort of have a philosophy and I'm pretty clear when I'm hiring and 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.

You do have to have a few more special situations probably ready because every opponent is going to be so great from here on out and 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 --
COACH MEIER: I thought you were going to say just between me and you.

Q. Just between us, what's the secret game plan (laughs)? Between the last press conference on Tuesday and Wednesday and the preparation from the film, anything else that you can share that maybe you didn't expect that jumped out at you at all in any way?
COACH MEIER: That actually is a just-between-you-and-me question. You're not going to catch me on that one.

Tons of respect. Tons of respect. Their system is what they are and their players make it work, and they do a great job. So 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 films, because it's just like watching us.

You're going to watch Florida State's games for Miami because we play each other three times a year. So you get a lot of information from seeing what their conference is trying to do to them.

Q. Did you talk to Lynn Bria? Did you call her at all for any tips?

Q. Or North Florida?
COACH MEIER: No, they're going to protect their conference?

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

Q. Jessica, how important are the first five minutes going to be? Just the start really in general. You know it's going to be hopefully anyway for you guys I would think it's going to be a pretty exciting atmosphere. There should be some people there. Is it critical to just get a jump early and sort of dictate the flow instead of having it dictated under you?
JESSICA THOMAS: Definitely, 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 or whatever. So we take pride in the starting lineup to make sure that we start off right, set the tone early and get everybody else going because they know we set the tone.

MODERATOR: Any other questions? Okay.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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