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March 2, 2018

Lindsay Gottlieb

Mikayla Cowling

Asha Thomas

Seattle, Washington

UCLA - 77, Cal - 74

LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: Thanks you guys for being here. I thought that was a great basketball game and representative of the type of competition we have in the Pac-12 Conference.

There's a lot of reasons I love this job, and a lot of reasons I love college sports, but I have to remind myself that this hurt and the way it feels and the way it feels to look at a group of young women is part of that, even though it sucks in the moment.

I think there are a lot of lessons for us to learn from it, but I'm really proud of our -- the way we handled ourselves and the way we competed. I think we could have been a little better from start to finish, but I thought when crunch time came, we put ourselves in a position to beat a very good UCLA team.

This UCLA team is elite. Obviously, they have a shot to win this tournament, and I think they have a shot to go as far as you can go.

It's really been a joy to compete against particularly those seniors. Canada Billings and Hayes today. Obviously Hayes had a day. I've said this, I think Canada is one of the, if not the, top pure point guard in the country, and any list that says otherwise isn't the best list to me. Those three did what they needed to do along with the rest of their team, and they get to move on tomorrow.

But I'm proud of our group, and we have more basketball to play, so I'm looking to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament in two weeks.

Q. This was a tie game with three minutes to go, and you lost your big gun. What did you think of the call on Kristine Anigwe on the rebounding?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: You're going to walk me right into that?

Q. Sorry. Got to ask you, Coach.
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: I think with these two teams and how many athletes there are on the floor and the type of competitors, it's a difficult game to officiate. I thought we put ourselves in a position with the way that our players played to win the game. I think it was really tough that we were in foul trouble all game.

I think it was really tough that Kristine fouled out with 3:00 to go, and I think it's tough that they got, you know, 24 points from the free-throw line. So it was tough.

Q. But that's all you're going to say about that particular call on Kristine?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: I think -- it's a tough game to officiate, and I think down the stretch not a lot of the calls went our way, and that's really unfortunate. When I watch the film, I'll have a different feel, but, yes, at the time it was hard to swallow.

Q. What do you think of your NCAA chances now? You're playing a really excellent team. You took them down to the wire. What do you think of your chances?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: Yeah, I mean, I think we're in. I think USC who is even finished behind us in the league is in, as they should be. I think we should have at least 7 in. I think what this does is -- as committee members watch games, this should help our seed. UCLA is a 2 seed or a 3 seed, depending on who wins this tournament here.

So I think it's clear that we're at a level that I think we've done a lot this year that makes for a strong resumé. I think beating Stanford a couple weeks ago was big. Beating USC who is a top 50 RPI team is good. We wanted to get this win for a lot of reasons, but I think this should help our resumé, even though we weren't able to do enough to get the win.

Q. What happened to Kristine when she went out? She came down hard and got taken to the locker room. What happened there?
LINDSAY GOTTLIEB: Yeah, she hasn't been feeling well, and just had a moment where we just needed to have our excellent medical staff give her a look. She's a competitor and wanted to get back in the game. Our medical staff cleared her to do that, and then we got here back in for about a minute before she fouled out.

Q. On that score, what happened to -- maybe I could ask Asha this. What happened to you in the first half when you had to leave?
ASHA THOMAS: I couldn't even tell you what happened. It happened so quick, but I'm not going to let that stop me. I came back in and did what I needed to do for my team. I'll make sure I'm ready for the tournament.

Q. Asha, what do you think cost you the game?
ASHA THOMAS: Just our little things. Lot of boxing out. They got offensive rebounds in the first half and critical ones at the end. Just the little things, really. I think our game plan was really solid. We just came up short.

Q. While I've got it, Mykala, this is the third time losing to UCLA, and that's probably pretty tough to handle. But you folks had a real struggle at the foul line. They had twice as many free throws as you did, more than twice. Do you think it was just a case of -- obviously you had to foul at the end. But were you a little too quick to foul in this game early on?
MIKAYLA COWLING: I thought we played some solid defense. I think it seemed like we were there. We didn't get some of the calls, but I think our defense was solid. They're a good team. They were able to get to the line. They hit their free throws. Yeah, I thought we played solid defense.

Q. AT and Mykala, obviously we expect to see you guys in a few weeks in the NCAA Tournament, and you don't have time to be down on yourselves about this game. What kind of lessons, I don't know if you can reflect on it right now, but can you take to move forward to be successful in the tournament?
MIKAYLA COWLING: Like I said, just the little things. Really being dialled in, being focused on the little things. Then take this anger that we have, and have it fill us for later on when we get to play in the NCAA Tournament. And hopefully go far with that. But it's just doing the little things a lot better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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