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March 5, 2018

Karen Aston

Ariel Atkins

Brooke McCarty

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baylor - 77, Texas - 69

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by the Lady Longhorns. Coach, your thoughts about tonight's game?

KAREN ASTON: I thought our team played really hard tonight. The two previous games that we've played, in particular the first one against Baylor, I thought we were not as competitive as we needed to be. And I thought we played hard, and really competitive, but we just didn't execute things the way that you have to execute against a team as good as they are. At times we did, but offensively we really struggled to reverse the basketball tonight. I think that's a reflection of just eight assists when we've been a team all year long that's had a high assist/turnover ratio and we just couldn't get that turned around tonight at all, couldn't get the ball reversed. It got stuck too much. And defensively we had some lapses where we didn't play particular actions the way that we needed to, but, again, in saying that we were right there and I had a poorly, poorly timed technical that I take full responsibility for. I'm disappointed in myself. Definitely my fault on that one. But, again, I'm proud of our effort. But just didn't execute the way we needed to to win.

Q. Brooke, the feeling from people sitting court side was even though you lost the game you showed so much fight, poise, things that maybe you hadn't shown in games that you actually had won previously. Talk about how proud you guys are of the fight and that you could have won?
BROOKE McCARTY: I think it goes back to what Coach said about our effort. Our effort was great tonight, but we just came up short.

Q. Brooke and Ariel, how difficult was it at times with Cox in there the way she is able to block shots and she takes up a lot of space in there and obviously Brown. How difficult did that make it at times in terms of you guys executing the offense the way that Coach was talking about?
ARIEL ATKINS: They definitely present a challenge, but like Coach said it goes back to executing the ball, executing our plays and what she wants us to do in sticking with the game plan.

Q. I know you're disappointed now, but does this game sort of represent to you the fact that you guys can play with anybody in terms of going forward now with the NCAA tournament and the way that you played? Are you going to be able to sort of get over this disappointment and go into the tournament fresh?
BROOKE McCARTY: Definitely. I mean, this loss is disappointing, but we have a bigger picture to look forward to.

Q. For either of you, they got the 4 free throws. Did you still feel like you were going to win the game even after the technical foul?
ARIEL ATKINS: Yes, we still felt like we had a chance.

Q. Either of you again, what will you think about when you think about missed opportunities tonight? When you think back on things that you could have done or almost did or should have done?
BROOKE McCARTY: I think we'll think about execution and following the game plan.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you. Questions for Coach?

Q. Karen, was there sort of a, I know you can't talk about officiating, but was there a frustration there that was in the moment or something that built up with the technical?
KAREN ASTON: Yeah, I felt like there was a lot going on at times that it just seemed to maybe in that moment it felt like a knit-picky call based on everything that was going on and it was a timely call but also a timely technical, no question.

Q. What were you asking the kids in terms of turning the page on this? Baylor could very well be a No. 1 seed if not a No. 2. You guys are going to be a No. 2. Even though those games have been disappointing, can you take how well you've played against them and use that as a motivating factor going into the tournament?
KAREN ASTON: I told them in the locker room, one of the things that was glaring tonight, again, I said a few minutes ago just that we didn't have any assists. I think we had three at half and that's really unlike our team. We had a few turnovers in transition that are uncharacteristic of us. But, again, in the half-court we have to be able to execute certain things that are called. A lot of those involve ball reversal against really, really talented teams.

Obviously we have some time to work on that, but I thought that our shot selection in the first half, I felt we played really, really good in the first half. But our shot selection shot us in the foot a little bit.

The other thing I would say, this probably has to do with extra passes and recognition, but I thought Jatarie White was having a real good night and we just didn't get her the ball enough. She only shot the ball 8 times and it was talked about a lot. We were in a hurry individually to look for shots, but I thought we could have played off Jatarie a lot more than we did. She competed at a really high level tonight. To answer your question, we should be able to move forward in that sense because I think she went through a stretch where she was questioning herself a little bit a few weeks ago and she has kind of found herself in this tournament and that's a good thing for us as we move forward in the NCAAs.

Q. Coach, I know that you know the answer to this, but does a game like this solidify in your mind that you can beat anybody in the country?
KAREN ASTON: I've never thought that we couldn't, honestly. I understand that this is an important game and an important team for us to beat as all the ones are that you get into that elite level. I completely understand that, but I also think that we have beaten some teams that are really, really good and I think we're just a few situations away from being able to beat anybody in the country. But, again, you have to be able to do that and I understand that.

Q. Karen, when you guys made that 10-0 run after Landrum hit the three, was that a moment where you thought maybe you had broken through mentally against Baylor and that was a chance to maybe take it to the next level?
KAREN ASTON: I don't know that I thought about that in that moment. We were just trying to play. We were trying to get stops and I just thought there were some critical moments where had we just played the tendencies. Obviously nobody does anything in conference tournaments that would surprise -- we've played each other twice. We all know each other's plays. We know each other's tendencies. So it becomes who can really stay focused on the individual tendencies of the players or the tendencies of the team.

After we made that run, I thought we kinda let 'em off the hook a little bit by just not playing smart enough, overaggressive instead of just playing the tendencies of the players and make them make tough shots.

Q. With facing Cox and Brown in particular, they may very well be the best duo in the whole country in terms of post players. What is it that makes them particularly tough? Is it how well they complement each other?
KAREN ASTON: I think they definitely have chemistry. They've learned how to play off of each other. There is no question about that. I think Lauren's ability to hit the perimeter shot helped tremendously as opposed to maybe last year. And then on the flip side of that, just their shot blocking ability changes a lot of driving lanes and that's where you have to force yourself to recoveries the basketball to get them moving or they're going to stay camped where they're at and we just didn't do that tonight.

Q. Karen, with a freshman point guard and a sophomore at the other spot I know you tried to press. Did you think they would turn it over a little more?
KAREN ASTON: You know, some of the press was not necessarily to get 'em to turn it over. They have a tendency to try to walk it down sometimes and make sure that they're set wherever they are and make sure the big girls are where they need to be. So just to get them in a little bit of a hurry and throw their timing off a little bit. At the end we were trying to get them to turn the ball over, but we picked up full court quite a bit and most of it was for that purpose.

Q. Did you see any difference with the loss of Kristy Wallace? Did you prep differently? Did you think about how they would counter and expect Alexis to handle it the way that she did?
KAREN ASTON: She definitely played really well. She had some really good shots for them. But, yeah, you're going to look at it differently than with Wallace in there, and there were opportunities especially with Dekeiya Cohen getting in foul trouble. There were opportunities to pack the paint and I thought we did a good job of that, at times we got anxious and didn't play the player tendencies, which I think are really were important.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations on a great season. Good luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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