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March 20, 2017

Keyona Hayes

Katie Meier

Jessica Thomas

Coral Gables, Florida

Quinnipiac - 85, Miami - 78

COACH MEIER: That was just a great performance by Quinnipiac. I mean, just phenomenal. The assisted field goals, I don't even know, what, 24-for-28, percentages, but that was the one thing I was concerned about, and the one thing we tried to disrupt. And, boy, did they find and hit. They found and hit. And it wasn't lack of effort.

On a couple of occasions perhaps lack of discipline, overexcited. But it still takes incredible composure to hit it. I mean, we were scrambling them up and they just stayed a very calm mind.

Maybe if I watch the film I'm going to be really, really, really upset. I'm very sad. Because I love my team so much I'm sad, because the community showed up for us and the university stepped up for us, and I feel bad.

I really wanted us to say thank you. And I'm just going to say thank you and I don't think that we did a whole heck of a lot horribly. They just were really special tonight. And I'm not surprised by it. But if we hadn't played as hard as we did and have special performances, too, it could have been embarrassing.

They were very, very special tonight. And at the handshake line I told Tricia, she was being so classy and I said, go celebrate, my God, go celebrate with your team. I appreciate the handshake but what a moment for you and what a moment for them. And they're going to have a lot of people on their bandwagon if they continue to play like that because that was really special.

And then I'm going to try to talk about my seniors but I'm not going to get through it because they're just awesome. So maybe I'll text y'all how I really feel about them. But great careers. And special , special people.

They carried the banner, and they did everything I needed from them. So I love them and we're going to be in each other's lives forever. And this isn't the end of our journey together, but it's the last time I got the honor and pleasure to coach them. And that hurts a lot, too.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Jessica, it seemed like every time you guys, like when Mot hit those two free throws and it's a one-point game and they go hit a 3, there's so many times in the game you guys closed in, and they just seemed to hit those shots. What was that like emotionally for you guys? I mean, for the fans, it was a roller coaster. What was it like for you guys?
JESSICA THOMAS: I think we were missing a lot of poise, like Coach mentioned. So just for shooters to be open -- the coaches do a heck of a job on the scouting report, and we know who the shooters are. We know who we have to identify in transition, and who to look for, and who make sure doesn't get an open look or open catch.

For the shooters to be wide open with a late contested defender flying out at them, I just think we were missing a lot of poise. But emotionally the game moved so fast, they get a quick hit and we gotta make a quick run. So they started off really well. They started off really hot, and we knew it could either go two ways -- they'll cool down or they'll keep hitting. And they just kept hitting. And like I said, we continued to let them keep getting open.

Q. Jessica, with this team they have balanced scoring, nobody scores more than 10.6 points. Did that make it tougher to defend them knowing they didn't have one go-to score?
JESSICA THOMAS: I think that was a positive for us because we know how our team defense can just bother a lot of people. So we knew nobody could take a second off on any defensive possession. So, no, it didn't bother us.

It didn't make it harder, but they're a really solid team from top to bottom of the roster. So everybody plays their role really well, and they had another great run tonight.

Q. Jessica, how much energy got expended? It never got away, but you guys were playing uphill it seemed like the whole time. Did that just wear you guys down a bit too much, do you think?
JESSICA THOMAS: I mean, it's a horrible position to be in. I think we were down 13 at one point. And then we had to crawl our way back and fight our way back. And then from there on, like, you still got a whole other half. We brought it into two and then we still had a whole other quarter.

But, I mean, there's been times where we've been up and there's been times when we've been down, and tonight was another time we were down. And we were looking forward to coming back making a big-time win. But it just didn't happen like that.

Q. Key, I know Jessica just talked a little bit about it, but what was it like every time you guys pulled within one, every time you made a run, they answered, usually with a 3. How frustrating was that from your perspective?
KEYONA HAYES: It was a little frustrating. We were a little frustrated, but I mean we kept pushing. We kept trying. We know what we're capable of and what they're capable of. And we thought that we could do better.

Q. Could both of you, as seniors, just talk about what went through your minds at the very end there? I saw Jessica you were down on the ground, I'm not sure where you were. But what were you feeling thinking about in those final moments after the buzzer?
JESSICA THOMAS: I just honestly didn't think this would be the last time I get to play for Katie Meier.


JESSICA THOMAS: Disappointed just because I know how much we wanted it. Just wanted, as seniors, we wanted to take this program somewhere it's never been. So when that buzzer went off, and you try to fight to the end, but when that buzzer went off, I really didn't see this conversation I'm having with you all right now happening.

KEYONA HAYES: Like she said, I wasn't prepared for this either. I thought we were -- we didn't overlook them but we thought we were going to go further than what we did. And I wasn't expecting to have this conversation with you guys either. And it's frustrating. It's hard, and it's like today is the last time we'll ever wear a Miami jersey.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Meier.

Q. The spurt at the end of the half when you got it from 13 to seven, how vital did you think that was and what sort of boost --
COACH MEIER: I thought Jessica was real special there in that stretch. And there were some really, really special plays by some really, really special players throughout the course of that game. When it came down to it, I think they answered that huge 3 by Martucci, I think it was. That was a heck of an answer.

But even when she made it, it wasn't like, so. We still thought, okay, four-point game. We had gone through all the scenarios. I don't think we were ever deflated until that last foul and whatever, with the intentional. That was the only time, I think, we just thought, well, we might be out of time here. But it wasn't like we were playing a soft zone. I mean, they were really sharp, really, really sharp.

We did make some personnel mistakes, but not 100. I mean, you make one and they find it and it's three points. And the quality of their passing, they're right in the shooting pocket. So you can't be a second late. It's not like they go and get the ball and bring it into their shooting pocket. They're on time, on target with their passing game, and they were tonight. They were what I saw on film. And they had tremendous poise.

I'll tell you, they are -- that team tonight was very, very good and would have beaten a lot of people. And we played well and got beat.

Q. Katie, can you talk about the pressure defense? You had, the press, and maybe something that you -- I know you don't look ahead, but you had studied them in the time between games. You got some turnovers but also maybe led to some open shots. Can you talk about your thought process behind that?
COACH MEIER: Well, I think as Tim referenced, we were playing uphill. And so we had a couple of different presses there. It wasn't the same one. We were trying to do some schemes. And, you know, there were a couple of times we got real excited because it worked and then we were down one and then we overran something that -- we know better.

But you know, they also were very balanced. And the pressure, then when we sat back in our man and just let them isolate us, they were scoring on that, too. So it was a certain point I was just thinking, let's just make sure we answer because it could have gotten away from a lot of teams if they didn't -- Jessica had a career high tonight.

This game could have gotten away from a lot of teams to combat 14 3s. Like I said, we weren't sitting in the 2-3 zone saying, we dare you. We were challenging their shots, too, and they were making them.

To overcome that and still have a chance to win it or be within one on a performance like that, I think, I'm disappointed but I gotta tell you, that that's one of the -- that is really a lot of points to try to combat.

Q. What's it say about the depth of women's basketball that -- sometimes people say there isn't the depth, but this is a 12 seed that knocked off Marquette and you guys? What does it say about the growth of the game and some of the teams that people don't know much about?
COACH MEIER: I think you're seeing it, like I said on Saturday, you're seeing it on the women's side now, too, that you're starting to see on the men's side -- you get a group that's real connected. They're veteran. They're well coached. And they have a style that they are committed to and they don't waver from it.

And you're starting to see that pop up on the women's side too. So I guess it says that, stylistically, you can win a lot of different ways in women's basketball. And that's good, that's good for the sport, because I thought they were two amazing styles. That had to be a wonderful game to watch on TV. I mean, it was not boring. It was really a big-time basketball game.

I just want to say, again, thank you for the administration and the community and all the support we got, because I'll never forget that. It really meant a lot. Thank you.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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