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March 18, 2017

Shauna Green

Saicha Grant-Allen

Jenna Burdette

Louisville, Kentucky

Tennessee - 66, Dayton - 57

THE MODERATOR: Coach Green, can you give us an opening statement, and then questions for the student-athletes.

COACH GREEN: I mean, I'm really proud of our effort and really proud of how we came out. It's just one of those games I felt like nothing, nothing could go in. A lot of the shots that we normally make, and we got some good looks and they weren't going, you shoot 20% from three, and that's not us. We rely on those.

And even with that, it was still we were still in the game. We were still battling. I was really, really happy with our defense and the job that we did on the people that we were concerned about. Obviously, DeShields had a great game, but she's an unbelievable player. We had contested shots that she made great plays, and you've got to give her credit for that.

You've got to give Tennessee credit. Whenever we made a run, they came back and made a run as well. You know, they're a tough team.

But I'm really proud of our toughness and how we played defensively. And we made runs. We kept pushing. We got it tied up at the half after being down, and that's a testament to our players and their toughness and their belief and their togetherness, which they've shown all year. So really happy with that.

I feel for our seniors. They've done an unbelievable job here, and I've been with them as an assistant coach and now had the privilege to coach them as a head coach for a year. They're just unbelievable. They've set the tone. I just can't thank them enough for everything that they've instilled into this program and what they've given. They've made three NCAA Tournaments, and Kelley's made four. Just really proud of them.

Q. Saicha, as far as coming into the tournament, Tennessee had some size with them, most notably with Russell and also Nunn. How did that compare with what you faced in regular season play in non-conference play?
SAICHA GRANT-ALLEN: Well, we definitely don't have a 6'6" girl in the A-10, so it was a bit of a drastic change in terms of size. But our game plan didn't change. We tried to get into the paint so Russell couldn't really foul because she's such a significant player to that team. So we tried to get inside and use our length too. The we're a tall team. So the game plan didn't change, but it's definitely a difference.

Q. Jenna, your coach talked about it just wasn't your day shooting overall. But did Tennessee's athleticism and quickness on the perimeter maybe get you guys out of your comfort zone, did you think?
JENNA BURDETTE: I mean, yeah, it did at first, and that's why we came out to such a slow start. But like she said, in the second quarter, we went on a pretty big run. So I think we let the game come to us a little more after the first quarter, and we just needed to calm down.

Q. Saicha, you had come in on Russell early. Is she the best center that you played against, do you think?
SAICHA GRANT-ALLEN: I'm not sure the best. We've had Jonquel Jones before in the A-10, she's also good. But she was definitely a really good player, so.

Q. I think at one point your team was 1 of 16, and you kind of refer to that in your opening remarks. When you have a team struggle like that, is there anything you tell them or anything you talk to them about during the timeouts or after the first quarter? And how did you see your team respond after that? What was it that really kind of helped them get back in the game?
COACH GREEN: Yeah, I thought we came out a little timid. That's all you talk about all week is attacking them and being confident. We shot the ball the last shootaround, and yesterday we shot the ball extremely well here.

I just thought we were timid. So we didn't have a great start. So I just kept telling them, yeah, we were 1 for 16, but I'm not going to tell them to stop shooting. I'm telling them to shoot, shoot, shoot. Still yelling at Kelley to shoot, because I thought she passed up some open jumpshots. If you're a scorer and you're a shooter and you shoot like we shoot, you keep shooting.

We wanted to get the ball inside some, and I thought we were successful. When our bigs attacked them at times, we got lay-ups. Our guards got to the paint. That was a big goal for us, is paint touches. We got to the rim. We couldn't finish lay-ups either.

So I think you have to give some credit to Tennessee. Their length does -- even though they alter some stuff and we haven't seen a 6'6" kid in a couple months since Texas A&M when we faced Hillsman. Even in the back of your mind, she tried to alter some. I think that was there.

But I thought we got open looks. Our stuff was working. We were getting the looks we wanted, we just couldn't hit them. In the past games we'd hit some of those corner threes or hit one of those kickouts, and that would give us a lot of momentum, and they just didn't go today.

Q. Coach, can you talk a little bit about Jordan's performance today coming off the bench? Career high 7 points, and kind of what change that made when she went down in the third quarter?
COACH GREEN: She was great. I thought all of our young kids were great. I thought our bench was awesome. We talk all the time about when you come in, you bring energy, and you add fuel to our fire. I was so happy with them. Jayla came in and was fearless. That's what I love about her.

I think sometimes when you're a senior, or even Jenna, they press because they want it so bad, they wanted to win so bad, and sometimes you get timid. I thought Kelley kind of did that today.

So that's where sometimes the freshmen, they don't know any better. They come in and they shoot. Jayla was a spark for us. Jordan was huge defensively, hitting shots. And I think that was really good. I told them after the game, after I addressed the seniors, I talked to them, because we made that run with freshmen on the floor. I don't even know if there was a senior on the floor during that run because Kelley was in foul trouble and Jenna was out, Lauren was at the point. So I think that taking this and growing from this experience, that's going to be something we can go towards next year and that they have a taste of it and they know they can play with the best.

Q. Coach, a couple times you mentioned the word "timid." Are you surprised that the ballclub came out being timid, and knowing that you probably prepared them for this moment and this big stage? Were you surprised?
COACH GREEN: Yeah, the last two games in the A-10 tournament, we've had some slow starts the first quarter. Obviously, I mean, I thought our start was going to be really, really key today in how we came out. We've been known to make runs and come back, and that's exactly what we did today. The exact same pattern as our last two games in the tournament.

But all we talked about was being aggressive, attacking them. Again, I think, and I knew that initial wave of Tennessee's man-to-man when they're really up and they're pressed in, and especially that first five minutes they were going to really get into us. It's one thing to talk about it. It's one thing to have your practice players do it, and it's another thing to actually feel it on the big stage.

It happens. It happens. But I was really proud of how we came back. We settled in, we calmed down, and we made a lot of good plays and used their aggressiveness to our advantage, too, with some back door, easy lay-ups, and they executed well the stuff that we drew up.

Q. After you guys took the lead briefly in the third quarter, it was a close game, two-point game. DeShields hit about three field goals kind of off the dribble over defenders. Was that just kind of a great player stepping up in that situation?
COACH GREEN: She's a great player, and great players make plays. A couple of them, and I'll have to watch it on film, but a couple of them I thought we did everything we could. I thought we had a high hand. She elevates so high. Players make plays, and she did. I'll have to look at it a little bit closer. But you've got to credit her. I thought our defense was good. I thought we contested the way we wanted to contest it. She rises up high, and she made plays.

Q. You've got a senior class you're not going to see for a while, if ever. What do you say to those girls as they move up from under your wings?
COACH GREEN: Yeah, you look at Kelley, who has been here five years and been to three NCAA Tournaments, an Elite Eight, won two conference championships, an A-10 Tournament championship. I could go on and on. Defensive Player of the Year. She's done so much here and been a rock for us. She's done it on both ends of the floor. Played 40 minutes a game a lot of times and just will run through a wall for you.

What she's done for this program is -- you can't even put into wording. Saicha, the same thing. She's played a lot of minutes in big moments. Macioce hasn't played as much, but so important to our team, every single day is there and works. And Andi, again, big-time moments through a lot of different games.

I just told them -- I thanked them. They took me in as an assistant, and coming here as a head coach under the timing that we came and from the beginning, they completely bought in. They did everything that I asked of them and our staff asked of them. And they really led and made sure the younger guys were doing that. I just told them: I love you guys. I'm going to miss you like crazy. Thank you for everything.

They'll be around. I mean, it's a family, and they'll be around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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