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March 20, 2017
Louisville - 75, Tennessee - 64
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement, and then questions for the student-athletes.
COACH WALZ: First, just want to congratulate Tennessee on a great season. It was a great basketball game. I thought it was up-and-down the floor at times and impressive shots were made by both teams.
I thought our crowd was great. It was just a really, really exciting college basketball game. I'd also like to thank again Tom and Christine and everybody with the University of Louisville, our athletic department, the Yum! Center, all the volunteers for putting on such a first-class event. This is not possible without all of them. I'm quite aware of that. We don't take it for granted, so I just wanted to make sure I said thank you to all of them.
Q. What was your mindset going into the fourth quarter, and can you describe some of those plays where you got the big threes?
MARIYA MOORE: My mindset was we've come so far, we can't give up now. And I need to do whatever I could to make sure my team pushed through. So not only was it trying to hit big shots, but it was also making sure that when they made mistakes, just let them know it was okay and to keep going.
Q. Asia, what did you see in Mariya? It seemed like you were looking for her there late?
ASIA DURR: I saw that she was very confident. Basically what she just said. She didn't want to lose, and I think that she showed that when she came up clutch with those two threes in a row. I was just so hyped. I'm so excited, and I'm proud of my team as well. I think we fought hard. This is a great game, and our fans are so amazing. I'm just so happy to be here as well.
Q. Asia, you and Mariya were responsible for 14 straight points in a row there. Did you have any idea that you two were going to be the keys to start the fourth quarter?
ASIA DURR: I had no idea. I was just trying to focus on stop, score, stop. Because I know for us to score as a team, we have to get stops first. That's what we did as a team. We came up with some huge stops, and I was just so happy to see those stops that took place.
Q. Myisha, what was it like for you matching up with Diamond? Because it seemed like in the beginning, you guys were giving each other a little bit of trouble, and your game really opened up in the second half.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Well, she's a great player. Projected to go high in the draft. It's just basically trying to keep her in front of me. And I know I have my teammates' help in the back. If she beat me, I knew my teammates would be there to help, and I would have their back.
So it was just a team effort, though. But just trying to keep her in front because she's such a great player and she's so fast. Her pull-up jumper was probably the best in the country. So it was trying to keep her in front and knowing that my teammates would have my back, too.
Q. Asia, it was a tight game throughout, but you guys were -- you guys held a slight advantage for most. What was the message from Coach when Tennessee did go on that run and took a five-point lead?
ASIA DURR: Well, coming into this game we knew it was going to be a game of runs. So that's what Coach Walz stressed to us way before the game even started. He told us: It's going to be a game of runs, but we have to get stops first. And I think we got like three stops in a row, I think, and that was huge because then we came down and scored as well. So we just had to get stops.
Q. Mariya, after I think the fourth of your five three-pointers, you made a gesture that looked like you were putting pistols in a holster. Was that an accurate description? If so, what was the message you were sending?
MARIYA MOORE: I'm going to be honest, I --
COACH WALZ: She was feeling pretty good. After our last five games she was 1 for 21 from the three-point line, so she could have done a cartwheel for all I cared.
MARIYA MOORE: I was so happy because Coach always stresses how we need to get in the gym. And so after the ACC Tournament I've been in the gym as much as I can, so to finally see the hard work paying off, I was just so happy.
I knew before the game I was like, hey, Mariya, if we do this, don't celebrate. Get back on defense. So I don't even know what happened, really. I'm going to have to look at the replays, but it just came out.
Q. Asia, in the first quarter, I think, first, second quarter you had like nine points and you had that rush stretch, and you seemed kind of frustrated there. It seemed like it just took one basket to kind of get it out of you. If you could just go back to that point and feel like you were pressing and maybe that was part of it?
ASIA DURR: I think the most important thing for me is to stay patient. Coach Sam told me a few times slow down. I think I was playing way too fast. And once I finally calmed down, I finally started to see the ball go in, and that was good. But I think it all started on the defensive end getting stops first, because that's what gets us going.
Q. Tennessee has never lost a second-round game. I think the number is 28-0 coming in. So what's that say about not only the level of competition, but the accomplishment of beating them?
MARIYA MOORE: Well, this is the first time we're hearing of that. Regardless if they had lost or hadn't lost, we just came to play our game. It's a huge accomplishment. All these second-round games have been very competitive, so we weren't expecting ours to be any different. But I'm happy our team was able to pull through.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Like she said, it's the first time we've heard of that, so thanks. But it's March Madness and anything can happen. They came and played their best game of basketball, and we also did. So, I mean, two great teams just going at it, anything can happen.
We're lucky enough to get the win in front of our fans because last year we weren't able to accomplish that goal. But just knowing this year we were able to do it in front of an amazing crowd. The crowd was loud. When we were down, they were still with us, even when we were up, they were still with us.
So, I mean, just the fact that we were able to get this win not only for ourselves and for our confidence going into our next game, but for our fans as well.
Q. Mariya, after the game was over, you were obviously celebratory, like everybody else. You were also in a ton of pain. What's it like, those two things going on at once?
MARIYA MOORE: It's just a hard lesson I have to learn because our nutritionist preaches to me all the time and our trainer that I need to drink more often. And when I'm in the heat of the moment --
COACH WALZ: That's water. That's water. Just want to make sure we clarify that now.
MARIYA MOORE: Drink water, water, drink water. When I'm in the heat of the moment, all I'm really focused on is the next play instead of my body. So I was in pain, but it was my fault. Water.
Q. Myisha, you touched upon this about getting back to the Sweet Sixteen. I know it's not a given every year, but how appreciative are you all of this after missing out last year and coming so close last year?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yeah, my freshman year was the first time we made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and we had seniors on the team. You know, you just play for your seniors once it gets to the end, because you know this could be their last game. You don't want to see them go home heartbroken.
But getting back to the Sweet Sixteen gives everyone else confidence. We know Coach Walz and our staff will give us a great game plan going into this game. We've just got to stick with it and stay pushing and get to the Elite Eight next.
Q. How long will you enjoy this win before you start thinking about that Sweet Sixteen game in Oklahoma City?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Today and tonight.
ASIA DURR: Yeah, I would say the same thing. I think the next game is Friday. Yeah, I'm not sure who we play. But we need to be prepared for that game because it's going to be huge. I mean, it's one game here. We can't get too up about this game. We have to stay right at the right point. So we've just got to keep our game plan going.
Q. Myisha, it seemed every time you had the ball in your hands in the fourth quarter, you had a smile on your face, whether you were taking the rebound or ripping the lay-up. Were you aware of how close you were to clinching?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yeah, every rebound I pulled down, I was just like, we're one step closer. That was just a mindset. If you get the stop, you're one step closer to getting to the Sweet Sixteen. We get a stop, and we're one step closer.
So every time I was able to get up there and get a rebound, because they're great rebounders, they're top in the country in rebounds, so every time I was able to get one in the fourth quarter, it was just like, yeah, we're one step closer. Get the ball up to one of our guards, and let's go work on the offensive side. It's just like one step closer. That's my whole mindset going in to the fourth quarter.
Q. Coach, you talked yesterday about the importance of your bench, in particular Ciera. How well do you think she played in her minutes, and how big was her role in limiting the Lady Vols' inside game tonight?
COACH WALZ: I thought our bench was fantastic, right down the line. Ciera did a great job of buddying up in the post on Mercedes, which we need to keep her as far out from the basket as we could. She made a big-time hoop for us. She hit a big-time basket when we needed a bucket. So I was really proud of her. I thought Briahanna Jackson came in and gave us a lift and did some good things for us. Sam Fuehring hit two big shots there in the first half.
You know, it was a team effort. I'll tell you, Sydney Zambrotta is one that you look at the stat sheet and you're not even going to see that she did much except for pick up two fouls, but she picked up a huge charge. Then all I care about is plus-minus. At the end of the day, I look at when they're in the game, what did we do as a team? And I'm really looking forward to seeing what she did in her six minutes, because I'm willing to bet you we're probably a plus-six or plus-eight in the six minutes that she was in the game.
Because it puts another shooter on the floor, which then helped spread the floor, which is what we needed to do, because things were getting a little clogged up and jammed up, and they were backing off our non-shooters. But she did a really nice job of coming in there and staying composed and doing what we needed her to do.
Q. Coach, we just saw a video of you coming into the locker room for the first time after the game. What was that moment like?
COACH WALZ: Oh, it was great. You know, it's exciting to see these kids and as excited as they are. I demand a lot from them, because I just don't know any other way to do it. It takes hard work. If you want to be great at something, you've got to put the time in, the effort in, and the work. I hold them accountable to that.
So I know what we've gone through. I know how hard they've worked. To see the celebration, the excitement, the smiles on their face is what makes this job as fun as it is and makes everything worthwhile.
Q. In the first three quarters, it seemed every time you'd get a little separation, Jaime Nared would come in and nail something on you. She had quite the game this evening.
COACH WALZ: She's a big-time player. Nared, Russell, Reynolds, DeShields, you just go through the list, they're all big-time players. We lost her a few times at the three-point line, which I can't even make an excuse for because it was just bad. She made some tough shots too.
But it's like I try to tell them, we started the game with some breakdowns, so she got some open looks. She knocks down two in a row, and all of a sudden she's got confidence. You can't do that against good players.
What I did think we did well with her was forcing her at times to turn the ball over. I thought we then got some pressure on her and we were able to create some turnovers.
Q. How did you keep Mariya encouraged with a game like this? Her NCAA Tournament games hadn't exactly been great.
COACH WALZ: They've been bad.
Q. Yeah, okay. I was being kind.
COACH WALZ: We keep things real around here.
Q. Okay, in particular the three-point shooting, how do you keep a player like that encouraged when they struggle like that?
COACH WALZ: As we keep telling them, shooters shoot. What I did is I told her after we came back from the ACC Tournament, I'm like, Mariya, if you trust me with anything, when you shoot, follow your shot. Just run after it. Shoot it and go after it.
The same thing I told Antonita Slaughter four years ago, if you go back and look at the way she played for the NCAA Tournament. As we like to say, she couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Antonita was just throwing a brick. It was awful. I finally told her, Antonita, when you shoot it, just go run after it and get it. I told Mariya the same thing.
What that does for some of these kids is now you stay with your shot. Instead of falling back, you get balanced. I just said, keep following it. I was really proud of her, because every one she took tonight, she stayed with. She didn't release it and get back. She kept going with her shot. And we made some big ones. She made some big ones. It was a great ballgame for her, and I thought she rebounded the ball extremely well, too, especially at the offensive end.
Q. Pretty evenly matched game for the most part. Both teams kind of had some scoring droughts, had some struggles. What do you think it was that really set you guys apart?
COACH WALZ: I thought we executed extremely well. When I go back and look at this game, I think we may have called three timeouts or four timeouts, three of them I think for sure on baseline out of bounds where we got tangled up, we called timeout, and I think we scored off every single baseline out of bounds play that we had.
What makes this game fun for me is there are two or three that we just drew up in the timeout that we hadn't run before. Because you get a feel of how they're guarding you and what we're going to do. As a coach, that's what makes it fun. But you've got to have players that can sit there for two minutes or 30 seconds, see it, and then go out and execute it. And we did. We made big-time baskets at crunch time when we needed them.
Q. How important was it to kind of break through this level and get to the Sweet Sixteen and for these young players to experience what they're about to experience?
COACH WALZ: I think it was an important step for especially Mariya, Myisha. And Myisha said it perfect, her freshman year we get to the Sweet Sixteen, but like I always told Mariya and Myisha, all they had to do was score. I had Bria Smith out there guarding two people at one time because Mariya wouldn't guard anybody. Shawnta Dyer's out there guarding Myisha's man too. All they had to worry about was scoring.
Now they've got to do a little bit of all. I was really proud of them. I mean, Myisha, and I'll show her on film, this was probably one of the best games she's played since she's been here because she stayed engaged. She missed some shots, she didn't make things, but she kept rebounding, kept defending. And normally she'll check out on me for three or four minutes, and she did not do that tonight. That's her next step in the evolution of her game.
Q. Coach, going back now to Oklahoma City and potentially facing the same team you did back there in 2013, what kind of memories does that bring back? What do you need to do to replicate that magic that you guys had the last time you were there?
COACH WALZ: Well, four years ago it was a special run that we put together. You know, Shawny is not going to come back and play, Antonita is not. So we're going with this group. It's a whole new team, it's a new year. Sure, it's going to be fun for us as a coaching staff and Cortnee Walton because Cortnee was a part of that team to walk into that arena. You know, just kind of put a smile on your face, going, boy, we did some pretty special things here four years ago.
But you can't really look back at the game and take anything from it. Everybody has pretty much moved on from their team, from our team. It's just going to be a great ballgame whoever we would play.
Q. Holly was a little reluctant to give you guys credit for the defensive effort you put up. She said there were a number of factors that contributed to their loss. So looking at it from your side of the fence, what is the one big thing that you think contributed to you guys winning and them losing?
COACH WALZ: We scored more points. That's really what it comes down to. To me, it doesn't bother me if somebody doesn't say we did this good, we did that good. At the end of the day, we've just got to figure out a way to score more points, and we did that tonight. I've never seen a game, for the 20 years I've been doing it, 2-0. So we figured out a way to put the ball in the basket.
Like I said, I thought we executed. I thought our execution was off the chart at times. I thought we did a great job on our baseline out of bounds defense. We came up with two steals and then forced them into some bad shots where we're getting lay-ups on ours. That's what we take pride in. We take a lot of pride in how we sit there and go through and execute. It was fun to watch.
Q. I'll try not to get you in trouble on this, so I'll ask it this way: When one team gets 18 out of 20 of their free throw attempts, what do you say to your kids to keep them focused?
COACH WALZ: Well, it was poor coaching. It was poor coaching. I've got to do a better job of figuring out a way to get our kids to the free-throw line. That's all it is. I'm just bad at what I do when it comes to that. Okay. I thought we did some really nice things of driving the ball to the basket. I thought we attacked, but I've got to do a better job of teaching them how to get fouled. So that's what it comes down to. It's all on me.
Q. This question's for Lola. Lola, how do you think Dad did tonight?
LOLA WALZ: Good.
Q. Is he the best coach you know?
LOLA WALZ: Yes.
Q. Thank you, Lola.
COACH WALZ: Did you cheer hard tonight?
LOLA WALZ: Yes.
COACH WALZ: Who did you cheer for? Tell him who you cheered for.
LOLA WALZ: Mariya and Myisha and Asia.
COACH WALZ: All right. Thank you, everybody. And I really appreciate the media coming out here. We just really, really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports