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March 19, 2017

Katie Meier

Keyona Hayes

Emese Hof

Laura Cornelius

Coral Gables, Florida

COACH MEIER: Well, we've been busy. We've been busy sense you last saw me. And the kids, I think they're well rested, but the coaching staff has been grinding it out. It's a heck of a challenge. We had not looked ahead to either opponent. So from the minute that buzzer sounded, we moved on; and Quinnipiac is very good. Of course, they're extremely well coached. They have great mental discipline. They have great balance in terms of the who, where, when and why is very well done. It's very, very well done.

The players just got their first look at them, but you gotta really see a full game to understand how unselfish they are and how impressive they are in sharing the basketball and just taking whatever matchup or whatever shot is the best shot for them. So it's a very, very tough matchup for us. But of course it is. I mean there's 32 teams left, and we're one of them, and nothing is going to be easy.

So we're excited. We are definitely realistic. We're not too high, we're not too low. We're not considering this some, oh, we're so happy that there was an upset and we play -- no. No, no, no. We watched that game and a very, very good team beat a very, very good team, and one of them we were going to play if we were fortunate enough to beat a very, very good team. And so there's extra excitement or energy or anything. We're still in business mode. And we gotta fix some mistakes from last night in a very short amount of time.

But we made some big-time plays. We had a lot of pressure on us and we made some big-time plays when it mattered. And you don't know who's going to do it. The other team does not know who on Miami is going to be -- you know, make those plays, and I think that makes us pretty special, too.

Q. Laura, when you looked at yesterday, just what did they take away from the perimeter game, because it seemed like -- obviously everyone knows 1 for 14 from three, but it just didn't seem like a lot of those looks were real clean either. What did they take away and how much are you expecting maybe a bounceback from the outside tomorrow?
LAURA CORNELIUS: I think Florida Gulf Coast did a great job on their scouting report. They know who were our shooters. They pressured us. So I think they did a great job, but you know, we know what we are. We know -- you know, our shooters keep shooting. So it's not that we are discouraged or whatever by yesterday's game, because I think we were 1 for 14 and we still won the game. So you know, that shows our balance; if we can't score from outside, we score from inside. So you know, and tomorrow we'll just keep shooting, because you know, shooters shoot.

Q. Key, yesterday you guys had a nice lead, Quinnipiac had a nice lead. Both of you guys had to weather those late pushes. How much do you think that was just composure coming into play for both of you guys that you were able to weather what you did in Gulf Coast and what they did in Marquette?
KEYONA HAYES: Can you ask the question again, please?

Q. Just how much do you think it was composure that helped you guys kind of hang on when Florida Gulf Coast made their run and the experience of having been there? Quinnipiac had the same thing. They had a nice lead against Marquette. It got away from them. They still managed to hang on. So how much do you think composure came into play for both of you guys yesterday?
KEYONA HAYES: I think a lot of composure was there. We were up and we let a big lead go, and I just think that, you know, we kind of relaxed, and maybe they relaxed as well, and then it's like, okay, let's -- we don't want to lose. No one wants to be out. So I think we all -- like them and us just were like, okay, take it a play at a time. We were up. So we know what to do to get back to do what we have to do to win the game.

Q. For any of the players, I don't know how much you've seen of Quinnipiac this year or if you've seen the film from yesterday or if you've watched film on them. If you have, what do you know about them and what kind of challenges they might present?
EMESE HOF: We watched the third quarter yesterday before our own game, and they were just a really energetic team. They were really unselfish, like everything that was going on. They had a really good game yesterday. We just got out of the film room and we saw some more breakdown. They're a good team, but we are too, so we'll be ready for them.

Q. Emese, when you came here, how much did you dream about moments like what's coming tomorrow night, a chance on your own floor to go to the Sweet 16? I guess how much of a lure, I guess, was that for you when you decided to come here?
EMESE HOF: Like for me, back home those are not terms you heard about. It's not even like real touchable. I've never been in the United States before I went on any of my visits here. So to be able to, yeah, live that American dream almost, it's great. And it's just fantastic to get an opportunity like that.

Q. You do know what those terms mean now?
EMESE HOF: I definitely do. (Laughs.)

Q. Katie, can you just sort of give us a tick tock as to what the last 18 hours have kind of been like, and was there any sleep involved for you last night?
COACH MEIER: Yeah. It took me a while to come down from that game. I think I really, really tried to keep it together, so when it's over -- my heart rate was fine during the game. It's amazing when you watch it again, then I know how everyone else felt that was texting me the thousand texts, because I was like, what's the big deal? It's the next play, and then you watch it and you're like, oh, my God. That was really something.

So it took me a while to come down from that. But the staff, we gathered at the hotel at about 8:30 and started our work. So we didn't stay here. We got away, because I knew it might take me a little bit, and got back to the hotel. I just thought all eyes on Quinnipiac, really focused. We met again this morning. You know, about four films I've watched between the game and now, and I'm comfortable with it. I think we're in good shape.

But it's not a time for sleep. I'm sleeping so that I don't snap on you all. (Laughs). The sleep is so that I remain human. But it's not the priority. As long as I keep my wits about myself and my staff, we're all on the same page, the priority is preparation right now.

Q. Kate, the 9:00 start, does that give you -- were you happy with it, just maybe them getting some extra rest or is it the whole think about it all day before you get on the court?
COACH MEIER: Right. We're going to do the same routine for a 7:00 game. We're just going to bounce it back a couple of hours. And you know, I don't know, whatever gets a crowd here. I really, really hope that our crowd can come.

I don't think if we're looking for that to knock us off track, then we're not the team I thought we were. We're going to be highly focused. We're very clear that we don't think we played our best basketball game yesterday, and we still haven't played that perfect game. But it's coming, and we have won in one thousand different ways, and we're going to have to find a way to win tomorrow.

Q. Laura, like Emese said, they were just terms to her, things like Sweet 16. How aware were you of what the NCAA tournament was and all that goes with it before you came over here?
LAURA CORNELIUS: Well, I've been prolonging it for a couple of years now. They actually show March Madness on TV back home, so that's awesome.

But you know, it's just really special to host, first of all. And I'm just really grateful that we have a chance to play another 40 minutes here in front of our own fans, and we're just trying to take it one game at a time. I mean Sweet 16 is close now, but you know, the only thing we have at the end of the day is 40 more minutes of basketball. So yeah. But we're ready.

Q. Key, Katie and talked about this the other day, just having the vision that this program has at this moment. You signed on when this wasn't -- you know, when this was what the goal was. Has it played out the way you've envisioned, and again, what would it mean just to have it be that moment tomorrow for you as one of the seniors on this team?
KEYONA HAYES: As in winning tomorrow? It'll be great. I mean we've never made it to the Sweet 16. Growing up for everybody, it's a dream to continue to go up and be in the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four. That's what every basketball player dreams of. It'll be amazing for us to reach Sweet 16, and go further.

But like Laura said, it's one step at a time, one game at a time.

Q. Coach, can you just give us your breakdown of what you've seen from Quinnipiac on film or in person, what challenges they present?
COACH MEIER: I mean that's the thing. That's what we talked about in the locker room. There's no thing out there. There's no, whatever, Sweet 16 thing out there that we're going after. We've got a heck of an opponent. And they are -- they don't fear anyone. Tricia and I spent some time together in Portugal this summer watching her kid, my three, and I was impressed by her confidence. You know, they're very confident. They don't back down for anyone, and they have a chip on their shoulder. They feel like they're an underrated mid major. They are an underrated mid major. I mean they're major as far as I'm concerned. And so they don't have to worry about us disrespecting them because that's not going to happen. They're awfully good, and they've been good; and she's been a heck of a coach for a long time, and she knows what she's doing. So that's where we're at.

Q. What was in Portugal?
COACH MEIER: It was the European championship. Laura and Emese and Serena were there. And Tricia was there with Paula Strautmane. She's playing from Latvia.

Q. Katie, you look at them, and to kind of touch on Tricia again a little bit, too. Carly Fabbri, is she the prototypical coach on the floor?
COACH MEIER: Yes. It is a mini me out there. It really is. She's really smart, knows what to do with the ball. Completely just the moxie that Tricia has you see in her daughter, too. So they're fueled. They are fueled by a belief that is pretty special. And this isn't some fairytale for them. They completely expect to be here and they completely expected to beat Marquette. And I knew that. I knew that when I saw the brackets come out.

Q. 12:55, obviously. There were some other really good games, UConn and Baylor did what they did, but are you seeing that gap from 1 to 64 start to condense maybe a little bit more?
COACH MEIER: Yeah. And I think stylistically it's really something to -- and I think that that's -- you see it on the men's side a ton, and now you see it on the women's side, that you make certain choices in recruiting. I'm not -- the power conferences, that's not my term, but that's how I can just relate it to you, that they're going to recruit in a certain way and then other certain conferences recruit a totally different way, and then you gotta meet up in a really important thing.

We've spent two months not playing against a certain style, and then poof, your first couple of rounds here it comes. And you see it on the men's side, too. They have a hard time, the bigs get neutralized a little bit. And that's what I thought Gulf Coast tried to do to us. They tried to neutralize our bigs, saying we have this style that you haven't seen because we see a lot of these kind of bodies in the ACC, and then you come into this moment, and I just think it takes a real maturity to sort of reinvent your defensive schemes and then to figure out how to make sure that we got our way, that we got our bigs in the paint where we need them.

And Quinnipiac and Gulf Coast are just so established, they're just such established programs that they go out of conference and they play against our style a lot more than we play against their style. That's what they do in the nonconference. And we went and played Ohio State, and Kentucky and St. John's, we didn't play that style so much. So that was a real task and it's a task again for Monday and maybe that's something we keep in mind scheduling moving forward.

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