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March 4, 2018

Kim Mulkey

Kalani Brown

Lauren Cox

Alexis Morris

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baylor - 94, TCU - 48

THE MODERATOR: Coach, would you like to make an opening statement?

KIM MULKEY: I'll let Kalani. Her defense got better in the second half.

KALANI BROWN: Not all at once, please.


KIM MULKEY: She can do it. Her mom is a coach.

THE MODERATOR: We will take questions from the floor for our student-athletes.

Q. Alexis, after a couple of games do you feel more comfortable? How much does it help you with Juicy at the other spot in the backcourt?
ALEXIS MORRIS: Coach always tell us we're the two quickest guards on the floor, so we know we can get out in television and get transition buckets and it's a relief having a guard that can run with me, yeah.

Q. Alexis, you play without fear which belies being a freshman that has only made one start, two starts already. Where did that part of your game come from where you are in total control all the time?
ALEXIS MORRIS: In practice, playing against a senior point guard in practice every day who pushes me. Always in my years to just lead me to do the right thing, lead my team. So I give all the credit to Kristy. She prepared me in practice every day just pushing me to be better every day.

Q. Lauren, when they went to that 1-2-2 starting in the second quarter it seemed like it opened things up for you and Kalani inside passingwise. What did you see when they switched and how were you able to find that much success?
LAUREN COX: I think they were playing is so wide. They were out trapping our guards and once we got into the middle Kalani could wedge down there and I could throw an easy lob to her. It opened up things a lot and once we got to the middle we could score whenever.

Q. Kalani, seemed like TCU came out trying to be physical with you guys. How do you feel like y'all responded in those opening minutes of the first quarter and throughout the rest of the game?
KALANI BROWN: Coach prepared us for that. We know TCU is a very physical and tough team. We expected that for the most part. Coach just told us to keep a cool head in a hot game so that's what we did.

Q. Alexis, you talked about Kristy's value as a leader in the last two days have you tried to assert yourself more than you had before?
ALEXIS MORRIS: Of course, I have to. With Kristy being out I have big shoes to fill. So yes, I have.

Q. Alexis, when you knew Monday that it was going to be your job as a point guard, what was that like for you and what has this week been like for you that you've proven that you can handle this?
ALEXIS MORRIS: At first I was kind of nervous, but then reality hit. It's always been a dream to run a division I basketball team. I was kind of nervous, but there is never a challenge that I run from. So I'm not afraid and I just attack the challenge.

Q. Lauren, the post-to-post pass that you've worked on. I think last year you had 45 assists, you have over 80 this year. How much have you worked on that part of your game and how much has that helped this team offensively?
LAUREN COX: Me and Kalani have worked on it a lot. Last year we didn't get to play much together just because we had five most players and this year we're playing together all the time. We're getting to showcase it and a lot of that comes from practice. We work on it every single day.

Q. Kalani and then Lauren, how do you balance staying out of foul trouble and defending the way that Kim wants you to?
KALANI BROWN: For me, it's always been keeping my hands up and moving my feet. I've had trouble moving my feet for a long time and I feel like I've gotten better at that and keeping my hands up, sometimes they can come down a little bit. So that's been two things I've been working on and I think I've gotten better at.

LAUREN COX: We just have to get in there and see how the refs are going to call it first and then we have to adjust our game to that. Like Kalani said, keeping your hands up because once we bring them down they're going to call that foul.

Q. For all three of you, playing for another title tomorrow night. I know it's pretty regularity now, but what has Coach done in your opinion to enable you all to have such consistent winning on a year-to-year basis?
LAUREN COX: She is just -- she is always motivating us, keeping us focused. She has done really well with not working us too hard because we only have, what, eight players that are playing now. So she has to be smart about resting us and she has really prepared us for this.

KALANI BROWN: Also it falls on us a little bit. Me and Lauren have to do our work early if we want to get rest. You don't want to come out in such a tight game. But I thought that we've been coming off to a great start where me and Lauren don't have to play 38, 40 minutes at one point.

ALEXIS MORRIS: For me, she has held me up, lifted and motivated, helping me run a team, helping me with the plays and getting everyone in their right position. So she has helped me lead the team.

Q. Lauren and Kalani, does the loss last year in the championship, does that stick with you at all, motivate you going into tomorrow's championship game?
KALANI BROWN: Absolutely. There are two great teams about to go play out there and I played both in the Big 12 championship since I've been here. So I know what they bring and I know their intensity is going to be super high and we just have to match that.

LAUREN COX: It's a huge motivator. We always want to win. We hate to lose. Those are two great teams out there that are going to battle and we're going to have to face one of them tomorrow and play our game.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, ladies, thank you. Questions for Coach?

Q. Kim, you mentioned that Alexis can play on any stage because of what she is been before she arrived on campus. Has she answered most of the questions you had, if any.
KIM MULKEY: I didn't have any questions, honestly. The only thing Alexis doesn't have that Kristy had is minutes played and game experience as you go along in the playoffs. She has the talent. She brings different things to the table than Kristy does. She is quiet, sometimes when I call out something I need her to be a little louder so that others not around her know what we're doing. But talentwise, there is not -- what beautiful jump shot that kid has.

She has done remarkable. She really has, but I'm not surprised. You have to remember when Kristy was healthy I moved Kristy to the 2 quite often and let Alexis play the point so it's not like we're throwing the ball out there to her for the first time. She has been doing this all year for us. I thought she stood a chance to be Freshman of the Year in this league, but she plays on a team and she was behind Kristy Wallace. But I would have voted her Freshman of the Year if they would have asked me.

Q. Kim, how much does it help Alexis having Juicy there? And is it almost like two point guards out there?
KIM MULKEY: What's funny is I have to catch myself with those two. Those two are like sisters and you watch 'em jaw with each other and you think they're getting on each other and they're mad at other, but they roomed together. They played AAU ball together. Their parents are up in the stands up there jawing at 'em, and it's the funniest thing and I'm like what do y'all say to each other right there. And it's just how they all play together.

I think Juicy, that's a kid you need to be writing about, too. She is behind Natalie Chou until Natalie Chou gets hurt and look what she has accomplished against some pretty darn good teams in our league and her confidence has just shot out the roof. They know each other, Jerry. They've been together since they were little playing summer ball together.

Q. Coach, other than winning be basketball games year after year, what are the steps that it took for Baylor to become the elite basketball program that it is?
KIM MULKEY: Well, for me, it took an unfortunate circumstance for me to every leave my Alma Mater and that's when I didn't get a five-year contract when they wanted me to become the head coach. Thank God for unanswered prayers. I come to Baylor, Tom Stanton was the Athletic Director and his vision and his commitment to wanting a relevant women's basketball program, they had dabbled with the NIT and made it to the championship I think and lost to Penn State. But when we got there they had only won seven basketball games.

So it wasn't like I was beating the door down begging for that job. It was more a fit of what was happening to me at Louisiana Tech and my principles and what I believed I had turned down three jobs at Louisiana Tech and I spent 19 years of my life in Ruston, Louisiana. And what more could I prove and do?

So I came to Baylor and we won it in five years and I don't have a blueprint to tell you how that happened. We started out, I guess the first thing I would tell you was my coaching staff. I had to think outside the box and get a coach that could help me on the floor at that time and get some copies of that would help me recruit and not try to be on the phone every day getting a head coaching job. I needed continuity, and those coaches are still with me today. Certainly I have more than three assistants which is all I had back in 2000. We wouldn't even knock on the door of a blue chip recruit, so we had to stay in the gyms from daylight to dark and say, okay, regionally let's start in Texas. Let's look at my roots in Louisiana, and let's find those kids that will want to come play for me with the history I had. We didn't have anything to sell at Baylor. What were we going to sell? Seven wins? The those kids that helped us, the Shelia Lamberts, the Steffanie Blackmons, the Sophia Youngs. They took a chance on me and our program and five years later we won a National Championship.

We were able to knock on the doors. People weren't getting them yet, people thought it was a fluke. Then you have to feed the monster, how do you feed the monster? You stay hungry. You have that chip on your shoulder and we just do. There is not a day go by, ask my AD, there is not a day that goes by that I'm not thinking of something to maintain it. How do we maintain it? What do we need? Because in women's basketball once you lose it, you're not getting it back.

My Alma Mater struggles to get it back and I can name some in this league that are struggling to get it back that have won championships, and long as I'm at the helm I'm going to demand, I'm going to challenge the media, I'm going to challenge my players because once we lose it you won't get it back like you think you can in women's basketball.

I know that's a long answer, but it is very difficult to maintain it. We've gone to four Elite Eights in the last four years and isn't it a shame that I have to apologize for that? But that's my mentality. The day I accept Elite Eights as being where I want to be then I need to turn the keys over to somebody else.

Am I grateful for it? Is it an unbelievable accomplishment? You betcha. But that's not where I want to go every year. Some years I may have to go that far because we don't have the talent to do it, but I thought in the last four years we had the talent to do it and we would have a bad break here, didn't execute a play here.

That help you, Rick? You are starting to like me. You are coming to all these press conferences. I know, man. You better tell Bowles he's missin' out.

Q. Coach, we hear how difficult it is to beat a team three times in a season. Have you found that to be the case and if so why is that?
KIM MULKEY: Would you like me to give you the perfect example? We had to play Texas A&M four times. We beat 'em three times and the NCAA Selection Committee stuck us together in Dallas. I lost Melissa Jones, she lost her eyesight in one eye, so I knew we were in trouble. It's no fun to play somebody again that you've already played in the league. It's percentages, it's, I guess you could just say, you know, it just happens. If you play somebody ten times and you win nine, but they win that one important game, well, don't play 'em ten times.

It's tough. It's tough. If you're referring to who we would possibly play tomorrow without Kristy Wallace. It's not going to be easy, but we're not going to throw in the white flag and say we're not going to play. We're getting ready for the NCAA playoffs. This is what we have created and we have to play it and win or lose we're going to get on that plane and take a few days off and we're on Spring Break at Baylor, and let 'em enjoy a couple of days free and wait for the Selection Committee on that, I guess the 12th.

Q. Coach, could you have imagined a better two-game start in this conference tournament? If you had to pick Texas or West Virginia?
KIM MULKEY: Well, I'm not going to pick either, because that would be bulletin board material for the opponent for tomorrow. Can you predict how bad you're going to beat somebody or if you're even going to win? No, but see that goes back to our hunger. When you become complacent and you don't prepare, we're at breakfast guys this morning and I'm up there drawing inbounds plays on the board because I'm dealing with a freshman who hasn't been in this situation before, keeping her mind sharp. You just keep coaching and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win by big margins. Sometimes you can put managers on the floor in two straight games. Sometimes you can't.

We'll take it. I thought today was a physical game. I thought we saw every defense imaginable. You saw a press and we burned them at the end of presses. You saw a 1-3-1, we handled that well, you saw a 2-3 with traps. There were only about two possessions that I thought Morris and Juicy were uncomfortable and if you take forty minutes of basketball with that many changing defenses and only two possessions really didn't look good your chances of winning are going to be very, very good.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much. Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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