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March 26, 2017

Kim Mulkey

Kalani Brown

Natalie Chou

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mississippi State - 94, Baylor - 85, OT

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Baylor. Questions for Coach or the student-athletes.

Q. Kalani, particularly for the seniors, how difficult was this?
KALANI BROWN: It's a disappointment. Just sorry I couldn't get them there.

Q. Kim, the sets where Mississippi State ran, how much had you guys seen that in film preparation? What was the difficulty in stopping it?
COACH MULKEY: In stopping William?

Q. Yes.
COACH MULKEY: Well, the kid hit 41 points. They doubled the number of threes they even make all year. I've said all year that when you beat us, you're going to have to hit 10 or more threes or beat us on the offensive boards, and they did.

Their one kid kicked our rear. We saw all those screens, to answer your question. Vivians, she did more of it than she usually does, because the ball's usually in her hands.

But kudos to her. I knew we were in trouble when they were hitting bank shot threes to start the game when the shot clock was winding down. What do you do?

Q. Kim, what did you think about your team's resilience despite them hitting shots at the biggest times?
COACH MULKEY: Well, we had a shot to win the game. Jones I thought took a good look there at the end of regulation, blocked it, or two or three of them collapsed on her there.

I'll say it again. As good as they played and as poorly as we played in handling the basketball, we still had an opportunity to win, and we didn't.

Guys, I played the position of point guard. If you look at Nina Davis' stats and you look at Kalani's stats, she didn't miss much. The problem was we couldn't get them the ball enough. That goes back to ball pressure, being able to run the show out there. 17 turnovers to 4, you shouldn't even be in the ballgame, not at the Elite 8 level.

We hung around. We hung in there. Ended up being a high-scoring game. But when you've got that much down the block, you better find them every time and have the ability to get them the ball.

Then you turn around the defensive end of the floor, you let a point guard score 41 on you. Don't know how to say it any simpler.

Q. Kalani, like Kim said, the posts were scoring. You only had 13 shots. Were they denying? Were you not showing your numbers? What was the difference down low for you not to get more shots?
KALANI BROWN: I guess they were denying me the ball. That's pretty much it. It made it hard for me to get open. Made it hard for me to get post touches.

Q. Kim, Wallace didn't have her best game. What do you tell her after a game like that?
COACH MULKEY: Nothing. She's crying. She's upset. I just went in the locker room and apologized to the four seniors that I couldn't as their coach get them to a Final Four. I thanked them for four wonderful years of Elite 8 basketball. Many players and schools across the country would trade places with them in a heartbeat.

But at Baylor, we have expectations that are higher than an Elite 8, whether that's egotistical, fair, it is what it is. We have to keep feeding that monster we started 17 years ago. You don't really say anything to anybody's else. You say the Lord's prayer and come to the press conference.

Q. Coach, you turned and smiled to your bench after Morgan hit that bank three at the end of the first quarter. Was there a sense, as the game went on, that you could tell when a player gets that hot, that just about everything she throws up is going to go in?
COACH MULKEY: Yeah, you can get a sense of, you know, the kid's playing unbelievable. She did. Is that her career high? Have they made 10 threes all year?

We seem to be very poor defensively or bring out the best in people. She was very good today. She took her team on her shoulders, and consequently they're there in the Final Four.

Q. Kim, Vivians got off to a hot start as well. Y'all cooled her off. I don't know if that was all Alexis? You went to zone a little bit. Talk about what you were able to do against her.
COACH MULKEY: Well, Alexis Prince fought through a lot of picks today, and was late on a lot of them. That's tough. When you're constantly being hit on screens, you know, it wears on you.

She took it off the dribble a lot. She hit big shots. She hit big shots. She's a big-time player.

I don't know that we did anything to her. She hit 26, 24. Those two players really beat you.

Q. Coach, what legacy has your senior class laid out? What kind of foundation have they laid for those coming back?
COACH MULKEY: Well, I think their record speaks for itself. I think the number of Big 12 championships that they've won, both regular season and tournament, four Elite 8s. Looks pretty good on someone's résumé.

Those kids are all graduates, or are getting ready to graduate in May. You have just four outstanding players, All-Americans, All-Conference. Good students.

Their legacy is what it is. They've kept us at an elite level. I just hate for them, because they really are Final Four type of kids. This was a Final Four type of team. But we just didn't get it done today.

Q. Coach, Kalani had a great game, despite the difficulty of getting the passes in to her today. Could you compare her potential as a sophomore right now to Brittney Griner and some of the other bigs you've coached.
COACH MULKEY: Well, I think Brittney Griner's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player. She plays above the rim. It wouldn't be fair to compare Kalani or any player to Brittney Griner that is a post player.

I think Kalani, from her freshman year to a sophomore year, is a completely different presence in the paint for us both offensively and defensively. I think she worked extremely hard in the summer to be able to play for longer periods of time.

I think everything that we really do goes through Kalani. Unfortunately we couldn't get her the ball enough today.

Q. This game was previewed by the media - hopefully we're not the fake media, but as the media - as being a battle of the bigs, given the height you have inside, their potential as well. You clearly got the better of that battle today, but it ended up coming down to the guard play for Mississippi State. Can you comment on that, please.
COACH MULKEY: I think you said it best. I don't know what else I can add to what you said.

I thought, as I said earlier, that we didn't get the ball to the bigs enough. Credit Mississippi State's defense for creating turnovers. It was ridiculous. I mean, guys, it was just one turnover after another after another after another after another. What do you do?

We got to fix it, because we have all those bigs back. We have Cox and Beatrice and Kalani. They're as good as any bigs in the country. But we have to fix this turnover problem. We got to fix, I guess you'd say, point guard play.

Q. Coach, what did you say to Vic Schaefer after the game?
COACH MULKEY: Congratulated him and wished him nothing but luck. I can't remember any more than that. They were so excited. You don't want to take away from their excitement by talking too much. But just congratulated all of them.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on a great season. Take care.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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