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May 24, 2017

Sarah Cho

Emily Fletcher

Hannah Kim

Kacie Komoto

Stephanie Lau

Janet Mao

Sugar Grove, Illinois

EMILY FLETCHER: We're joined by the Northwestern wild cats with us this evening, and we've got Sarah Cho, Hannah Kim, Kacie Komoto, Stephanie Lau and Janet Mao along with head coach Emily Fletcher. Coach Fletcher, if you would just give an opening statement about today's championship match.

EMILY FLETCHER: Thank you. Pretty great week, wasn't it, girls? We talked about doing this and spent so many hours preparing to do it, but to actually get here and experience it, it's pretty amazing. I'm so proud of this group. You know, they're evidence of some disappointment a month ago at Big Ten, where they're just putting your head down and decide that you're going to be better for it and you're going to learn from it, and they decided to do that, and it kind of makes it sweeter. I don't know about you guys, if you're to that point yet, but I think it feels sweeter.

But this was just a tremendous week for us, as a group, with our fans and boosters, administration, student-athletes, the volunteers, I mean, that was not fun weather to golf in or to have to stand out there and report scores or spot balls and that kind of thing. But this golf course is really -- it's spectacular, and the staff to be able to keep it in the condition that they did with all the rain and the elements -- we've been pointing to Rich Harvest Farms for quite a few years; the National Championship is going to be here and we wanted to be here and be a part of it, but I don't think on any level did we really, really think that we'd be sitting up here at this table with the bright lights and the microphones.

THE MODERATOR: Kacie, as the senior on the team, talk a little bit about the experience of this week for you and the validation of this program to be able to get to this point.

KACIE KOMOTO: It's all sort of been a blur really. I haven't been trying to pause and think about things. I've been just trying to keep moving forward and only see what's in front of me, and I think we all have been doing that this week. But it's been amazing. It's a great experience, and I think we all feel very blessed to be here.

Q. What was the plan going up against Arizona State, top ranked team in the country in the finals? Did you have a game plan there?
SARAH CHO: Go out and win. But seriously, just to go out and have fun. We've been practicing every day, and we've practiced in some brutal weather the last couple months, so go out there and have fun and do our best.

Q. Hannah?
HANNAH KIM: Yeah, going off of Sarah, weeks prior to Nationals, we played in really tough conditions, and I think that's what's disciplined us in this week's hard conditions, as well. And going into this match against Arizona State, we knew it was going to be challenging, especially for me personally playing against Monica Vaughn. I just had a feeling it was going to be a fight. But like Sarah said and like Coach said, we persisted to fight hard and just have fun, trust in ourselves, play great, and just staying committed to everything.

Q. Stephanie and Janet, if you would, there's only five girls on this team; what does the experience you've been through here the last week at Rich Harvest Farms do for your career down the line?
STEPHANIE LAU: I think it's a testament to -- I mean, we we can do anything we put our minds to. I think freshman year we were just freshmen, and we've learned a lot in those past, I guess, two years now, and it's been a really incredible experience, and I've really grown from it, and I think it's a big stepping-stone to a lot of things that we can accomplish in the future.

JANET MAO: Yeah, I've been one of the young ones on the team. We couldn't have asked for any better leadership from our upperclassmen, our seniors, our head coach, and the juniors down there, too, they're amazing, by the way. But we still have a lot of fight in us, and coming to the national championship with this team, we wouldn't want it any other way, and we're excited for the championships to come, and yeah.

Q. Emily, if you would, talk about today's match, obviously it's been a long day, got up early this morning, had a big comeback victory this morning. Talk about some of the details of this afternoon's match and maybe the difference maker for Arizona State today.
EMILY FLETCHER: Yeah, it's kind of a surreal experience really because we did play in a match this morning, but we didn't get to talk much about that; we had to quickly turn the page and move on to this afternoon's match. But we will talk about that morning match a lot because it was some really great stuff out of our kids.

But I think this afternoon, as far as preparation, having, I think, about three hours in between, you know, it's a little bit tricky, what do you do, there's not quite enough time to go back to the hotel and come back, but the girls did some interviews and some TV stuff, and then we went off campus, off-site and grabbed some food just to kind of get away a little bit, just the change of environment from thinking, oh, my gosh, we've got to go play for a national championship. And this group, as you can tell, they're pretty loose, so that wasn't too hard to take them to get them out of that for a few minutes and then come back, hit the reset button when we got back and we started our normal routine.

But there was some tremendous golf out there, and I don't think our girls can really fully appreciate that yet. Certainly we were disappointed to not come out the winner today, this afternoon, but ASU played really, really well, and they won the national championship. There was no give-up in this team. I think that we'll be able to build off of that, certainly in the future each one of them will, but you know, I was with Steph most of the day, and I said to her, I felt like on 11 maybe she woke Linnea up a little bit when she made that bomb for eagle. After that, she birdied 12, 13, lipped out on 14, birdied 15. I mean, that's not us not playing well, that's just them going out and winning a championship.

Q. Was it difficult to get back up this afternoon after the big rally this morning?
KACIE KOMOTO: I think we were prepared for it. We wanted to win our match against USC for sure, so we would always have this thinking, we're going to go out there, beat USC, then we're going to come back, hop in our recovery booth, get some food and get right back out there and ready to go.

HANNAH KIM: Yeah, I have to agree with Kacie. I think three hours is plenty of time for us to prepare against ASU. It's enough time to get a quick bite, to rest, and just go through our regular pre-shot routines, our pre-tournament routines. 30 minutes at the range and putting and going through our normal stuff.

Q. What was the difference in the turnaround this morning?
HANNAH KIM: I would say that a night's rest definitely helped. Coming out of the 36-hole round can be very tiring and can be very stressful, but I think after a night's rest, I think we were fully prepared to go against USC and play our best.

Q. After it was all over, you made the long walk in from 15 green. Why was that? Was it kind of to feel what was happening, or why is that?
EMILY FLETCHER: Yeah, I think it was a little bit of that. I quickly reminded these guys that after that winning putt dropped that we needed to keep our heads up, that there was nothing to hang our heads about. But probably a good half mile walk or so was probably good for me, just to kind of take it in and walk it up, and between 16 and 17 and 18, just reflecting on really what we accomplished this week. So that's kind of what I was doing. I didn't want to jump in a cart, kind of wanted to hit the pause button and be able to take it in a little bit, which hopefully they'll be able to do that a little bit, too. So that was just kind of -- just walking off, blowing off a little bit of steam, I think, but more than anything it was really being able to put it in perspective and just realize what this group has accomplished this week.

Q. Coach, you talked about redemption from Big Tens to here. Talk about that a little bit, about from Big Tens to here.
EMILY FLETCHER: Yeah, you know, I think that this group believed that we were going to win the Big Ten Championship this year, and there was never a doubt in my mind, and then when we didn't, it was a bit of -- it really wasn't a wake up call, it was just really disappointing. We played hard. It was hard fought. Michigan State played really well the last two rounds, and we talked about it as a team and said, we can be better for this. We learned something about ourselves out there competing. We played hard, but we needed to make a few better choices here and there, and we each just said, this is going to pay off. I don't know if it's going to be at regionals, making it through, or if it's going to be in stroke play, making it to match play, something in match play, but there's a lesson in it for us and there's something for us to learn from. I think they did decide that they weren't going to feel sorry for themselves but that they were actually going to be better for it and really help themselves to improve and be better.

As far as a little bit of the redemption, Janet making that putt today on the 19th hole to get us into this afternoon championship match, you know, we've had some tears of disappointment coming up the 18th hole at TPC River's Bend, and Janet, again, she was able to respond from that, didn't shy away from being in this situation to have the pressure come down to her. She wanted it and was disappointed at Big Tens, but would she trade that for what she got this morning? I think she might because I thought it was pretty amazing.

Q. So following up on that, talk about your match this morning. Was it almost a redemption for you from the Big Tens to here, to get that third point to get to the National Championship?
JANET MAO: I mean, it wasn't necessarily in my mind. I was kind of focusing on the task at hand. But I think afterwards, that was the first thing that popped in my head was -- I mean, I was devastated at Big Tens, I'm not going to lie. I put myself in that position, and the position I wanted to be in, final group on the last day, and for me to not be able to -- I mean, I just had high expectations for myself, and to not be able to achieve that, I think it was really hard for myself, and for me to -- I mean, I was in a similar position today, and I knew that I needed to go out and win that match, and I was going to do that for my teammates and for my coaches and for everybody, and there was not a doubt in my mind as I stood over that putt.

EMILY FLETCHER: There wasn't in mine, either, by the way. I knew that was going in.

Q. How much does this experience here as a whole reflect on the program in coming years?
EMILY FLETCHER: Yeah, I think it's indicative of something that these girls and those that have come before them have worked towards, so I think it really is a little bit of a culmination of those things. But I think more than anything our takeaway from this week, we talked about at the beginning of the week how we're a program that goes away and competes all but one event a year. We have our Windy City Classic, but all the other events we get on an airplane and go somewhere and compete, and I think these girls have never really felt the embrace and warmth and support of their fellow student-athletes, other coaches, staff, administration, fans and that kind of thing, and I think that that's something that this program will build off of. I think we've seen a greater audience with the Golf Channel and what these girls were able to do, and I think that they're going to garner that support, and it's going to elevate our program.

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