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March 19, 2017

Lindsay Gottlieb

Courtney Range

Kristine Anigwe

Asha Thomas

Waco, Texas

THE MODERATOR: On the dais is Asha Thomas, Kristine Anigwe and Courtney Range, along with Coach Lindsay Gottlieb. Questions for student-athletes?

Q. Courtney, you have had the experience of playing here. How do you explain to your teammates that have not had the experience about playing against Baylor here?
COURTNEY RANGE: To be honest, it's bigger than a Pac-12 tournament. You're playing for a Championship. To keep it simple, just go out and do what we've been doing all year and do it even better. The competition is going to get harder. Come out and have fun and know that just like the Pac-12 Tournament it's one and done. If we want to extend our season you gotta play how we all know we can play and to continue to go far.

Q. What do you think are the main challenges you will face against Baylor?
KRISTINE ANIGWE: We're fully aware that they have size. They're athletic. They have guard play. We're going to try to do our best to contain the post and just put pressure on the guards. We've talked about it in film. We've talked about it with each other, and I think we're very confident going into this game.


ASHA THOMAS: Yes, sir.

Q. Kristine, following up on that, you know what they're going to try to do especially with Kalani Brown and the big girls inside. Talk about the challenge that gives you and how much do you relish that opportunity? It's not something you face every game anymore.
KRISTINE ANIGWE: Pac-12 did a good job of preparing me. Oregon State has really good post players. UCLA has really good post players, Washington. I'm prepared. I've faced this before. We watched a lot of film again. I think we're ready to go into this game. We had nothing to lose, everything to gain. They're the No. 1 seed. They deserve that seed. We're going to do everything we can to win.

Q. What do you guys have to do better in this game to make it competitive and pull out a win?
ASHA THOMAS: I think we need to be sharper. I know we had a lot of turnovers. Baylor is a great team. They're going to pressure us more, attack us even more and try to limit us from our strengths. Definitely we need to be sharper, know our options and continue what we need to do.

Q. After a shooting game last night can you carry something over into that?
ASHA THOMAS: I don't want to stop. I don't want to stop. If they limit me from my shooting I need to do other things, whether it is attacking the paint, rebounding defensively. I have other things to do for my team.

Q. Asha and Kristine, you guys both talked about how nervous you were beginning of the game yesterday. So talk about how you're feeling now and do you anticipate more nerves, less nerves as it comes to this game?
KRISTINE ANIGWE: More nerves, bigger game. We're in the second round. Not a lot of teams can say that they have done that. This is my first time being in the second round, because my first time being here. They have really good -- all the fans come out. All the people come out, their band. It's their house. Their home court.

We're just going to try to do everything we can to be calm and steady, so not talk like -- be within ourselves, play within ourselves, know our strengths, know what we are good at, not try to do too much. Just always be level-headed.

ASHA THOMAS: Again, I will be nervous. But my teammates will have my back and I will have their back.

COURTNEY RANGE: I want to say they don't play like they're nervous!


Q. I spoke to CJ West yesterday, and she said one of the things that you guys did well was play possession-to-possession and not try to look ahead, get too far ahead of yourselves and that you stay within the game. That's going to be challenging with the crowd and everything else. Courtney, can you talk as a senior how you intend to help mentally with the team playing in this game?
COURTNEY RANGE: Starting off before the LSU game, the week of practice after the Big 12 we were waiting to see what tournament we were in. We find out we were in. We were playing LSU. That was our focus. LSU, then if we get to Baylor we'll work on that. We played Saturday. We won that game. Now we're on to the next one. No longer looking back. Now, we had a great film session today. We feel prepared. We're going to go over it in practice and do what we need to do.

As far as what to say, I mean, to me I'm not the only voice. Everyone is talking. We're at the time where everyone's voice is going to be heard. Everyone usually has something good to say that's helpful for the team and right now I believe that this team can too a lot of things. When we stay composed and relax and not worry about, you know, what's next, what's next and just taking care of each possession, I feel like we're going to go far. If we do that, we're a team to beat.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you. Questions for Coach Gottlieb?

Q. Lindsay, you said last night you didn't have to watch much of Baylor to know how good they were. Now that you've had a chance to absorb this team and the team you're facing what are your thoughts?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: I mean, they're really, really good. They're like a WNBA team and I say that with a lot of respect for the WNBA. I watch WNBA. They have pros on the floor. They're in sync with one another and they do a great job. They're 30-3 in a tough league or whatever it is now, 31, not sure. They don't have real weaknesses and they do a great job of playing to their strengths. The inside game is unreal. They're bringing in the next big body after the next big body and at the same time their guard play is good.

Just digging into the film, obviously, they're as legit as I thought they were. That being said, you can always -- that's what we do. We study film for hours and hours and hours and you try to find things to take away, ways to attack them and I've never been as excited to practice as I am today, because why not? Why not take a shot at being able to make history or bring this team in here and do something that's unexpected?

They're supposed to win. They're supposed to go to the Final Four. They're a legit National Championship contender, but we're going to come out here and that's what the NCAA Tournament is about, try and play our best forty minutes.

Q. One of the areas of concern is rebounding. They are huge and they crash the boards. That's something your team has struggled with throughout the season. Can you talk about that?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: They're plus-20 on the boards. They devastate people because of the size and the aggressiveness. It's simple. We have to box out. We have to limit them to one shot attempt, and are you going to do two hours of rebounding drills in this practice today? No.

But I think at this point you hope the players understand from the film and can get it done. We will do some things positioning wise to put ourselves in a position to succeed there, but you've gotta get that done. They're big. We also have athleticism and we're capable of it, just need to make it a point of emphasis.

Q. Trying to put your best forty minutes on the court, and last night you called it a survive-and-advance game, which it was for you guys. But what do you tell your players that even when they're not playing their best they were still able to pull it out and now you can kind of turn it up a notch?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: Yeah, we talked yesterday before the game about using our entire 30-something game body of work, our resume to our advantage. We have been in a lot of situations. I think this team has shown a lot of resilience. Maybe two months ago we don't win that game last night when LSU came back and took a lead. I thought we did a good job of establishing ourselves early; but, sure, we always feel we can be better and that's a good place to be.

I do think we always feel like our best forty minutes of basketball is in front of us. That's what we're going to try to do.

Q. A lot of focus has been on the post players. But you said last night they have really good guard play. Can you talk about that as well?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: You always look at what can you take away. If a team is so devastating inside, maybe make 'em shoot from the outside. But then you have Prince at 42%, and Wallace at 41% and Natalie off the bench at 43%, so it's not like they have a glaring weakness. All my friends in the WNBA I've known for months that Alexis Jones is a first-round pick if not a top-6 pick. So add that to the mix. They're good all the way around. They really are, so they have legit inside/outside.

We have thoughts of what we have to do, but it's not like there is one glaring weakness that you exploit, which is why they're a top-3 or whatever they are team in the country. They have a lot of things they do well and not too many things they do poorly. It's a legit challenge. They belong where they are and we have to play really, really well. I think our players are excited to do that.

Like I said, this isn't business as usual for us. This is an opportunity, and I think our players will take it with that kind of mentality.

Q. When you were here three years ago you were coming off an unexpected Final Four to some people. You said up here, we're trying to establish something like what Baylor has got. Present time now, where do you think you are in that? I know you guys weren't happy with missing the tournament last year, but where do you think this foundation of this program is at?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: We want to be a top-10, top-20 team every year, so that then you go to the Final Four and it's not a surprise. You have that kind of culture and then you get the right pieces in the right places and then all of the sudden you are a top-5, top-6.

Kim and Bill have had this thing going for a while. We do think we're on that track. This is a big step for this team this year to go 12-0 in nonconference and to make the NCAA Tournament and then to win a game. We will have most of our team coming back next year, so it's all part of a larger process.

The goal is still to be one of those programs that's in the conversation when you talk about UConn and Notre Dame and I think Baylor is at that level year-in and year-out. I think the strength of the Pac-12 helps that, and we're trying to capitalize on that. Stanford is in that realm, too. We want to be in that realm. You have to beat some of those teams to do it and you have to continually be on this stage and continue to advance further. Definitely pleased with the success we have had, but hoping that the next five years are even better. It would be nice to start that tomorrow night.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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