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March 5, 2018

Kim Mulkey

Kalani Brown

Alexis Morris

Dekeiya Cohen

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Baylor - 77, Texas - 69

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the Lady Bears and Baylor, Coach Kim Mulkey, congratulations on the win tonight. Questions for our student-athletes?

Q. Kalani, congratulations on the title. You guys have been playing a lot of minutes. Can you talk about how you sort of have that mindset when you go out there that you're going to need to put those minutes in and how you guys have gotten adjusted to that?
KALANI BROWN: It definitely took time to get used to playing those amount of minutes, but it's not like Coach didn't tell us. Definitely we get a lot of rest, and I don't know, you just go out there and play. It's not really a plan to it. Just know that my team needs me and I'm not coming out.

Q. Kalani, describe the play where you run down court, make the layup and you get fouled and they take you out for a little bit, or they called a timeout, I guess. Exactly what happened and how did you get hurt?
KALANI BROWN: My ankle kind of twist and my pain tolerance is zero, so I guess you could call me a big cry baby. When I went over there I popped some ibuprofen in and my team was like, come on, Lani, we need you. And I know they needed me. I was like, I'm okay. I'm okay. Got up and walked in and said I'm in it. Let's go!

Q. Kalani, there was a long delay in that moment as well. Did that give you a chance to get some of that gas tank filled back up?
KALANI BROWN: Absolutely.

Q. Alexis, how much fun was that going back and forth with Brooke and those huge shots that you were able to knock down in the fourth quarter? How much fun were you having out there?
ALEXIS MORRIS: It's always fun to compete. It is. Anytime I'm competing I'm having fun. We came out with a victory, and that's all that matters.

Q. Kalani, can you put into perspective what Alexis was able to do in this tournament for the team?
KALANI BROWN: She was phenomenal all tournament. She made good decisions, made shots when she need to do, was a leader leading this team and when she needed to look to somebody she had me, Lauren and Dekeiya to help her. She is just a great player and she hasn't just been doing that at this tournament, she has been doing it all year. Now that Kristy Wallace has gone down that's sad, but I think she stepped into that leadership role and she is comfortable and I'm just proud of her.

Q. Alexis, you said after of the first game to me in the post game that you were ready for this moment but you had to take a deep breath early on. Now that you've been through this, look back on what you have accomplished and how much fun was it to compete and play very well?
ALEXIS MORRIS: It was fun, started in practice every day. Like I said yesterday playing against Kristy, being prepared, I mean, it was fun, I guess, yeah.

Q. Kalani, you've played Texas a lot of times now, and they didn't play great tonight, but I thought maybe she showed more fire than I've seen in previous Baylor/Texas games. From a player's standpoint what did you see from them?
KALANI BROWN: As long as I've been here I have seen Texas bring a lot of intensity and fire, even before I got here, it's a big rivalry between us and they're a fun team and talented players and giving us a good run for our money and we always see that when we play them.

Q. Dekeiya, after coming short last year as a senior, now to get back to the championship and this time win it, give us your emotions and what you're feeling right now?
DEKEIYA COHEN: Me and Kristy are really excited about winning and taking the regular season conference championship and now the Big 12 tournament. It means a lot to us to redeem ourselves going out as seniors and we're just happy our under classmen get to experience it.

Q. Dekeiya, what stands out to you about the fight that you and your teammates showed in this fourth quarter to pull out this win?
DEKEIYA COHEN: Super proud of them. It shows that we never gave up. We can rely on each other. It gives us a lot of confidence in each other going into the NCAA tournament. I think we have a lot of momentum going for us right now.

Q. Any of you three, you have faced adversity all throughout the last several months, even over a year. What is it about this team that allows you to be able to handle it and almost thrive on it?
KALANI BROWN: I think we just have each other. We lift each other up. We laugh together and we cry together and you can't say that about many teams, but we genuinely love each other on and off court and I think that's why we're so successful.

DEKEIYA COHEN: The same thing she said. We do a lot of things together and we lean on each other in times like this when we need to keep going and that's the only thing we can do is rely on each other and we trust in each other and we just keep pushing forward and we genuinely love each other and I think that gives us our edge.

KALANI BROWN: Also, we have a coach that is very passionate and she loves us as well like her own kids, so when you got love like that, then it doesn't matter. She can be mean but also she can be nurturing.

KIM MULKEY: Tell 'em what I said to you after Hosey fouled you?

KALANI BROWN: She said, "My momma spanks me harder than that."

KIM MULKEY: A whole lot of X's and O's going on in that timeout. All I said was, "Your momma spanks you harder than that."

Q. Dekeiya, I noticed that Kristy was crying on the bench. I don't know if you had a chance to talk with her and I don't know if it was the win or if she was excited for Alexis. What was she crying about?
KIM MULKEY: It was when she got hit. She thought Kalani was seriously hurt on that foul.

DEKEIYA COHEN: I think she felt for us. I think she was hoping another person didn't go down. I think it made her relive her injury and she seen how it affected us, so I think it was her emotion feeling for Kalani and for the team.

KALANI BROWN: She came up to me and she said, "You made me cry." And I said, "I'm sorry."

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach now?

KIM MULKEY: Where did Michelle go? I was just getting ready to call her out. Quick, 5 seconds, show 'em the back of that laptop. Y'all see that St. Louis Cardinals emblem. Y'all know where my son plays, right? St. Louis Cardinals, baby. You got it! All right, bye, Michelle.

Q. Kim, you've been tested some here late. Is this a good way to go into the NCAA tournament, you think?
KIM MULKEY: Let me just tell you, there was two fine basketball teams battling and grinding it out, people. I mean, we've got six players and another one played 30 seconds and you just beat a team that's full of great players, that's full of depth. It's hard to beat somebody three times. I've been around a lot of basketball and this is going to go down as one of the gutsiest performances I've every been a part of. There wasn't a lot of X's and O's for me to draw up the last 5 minutes of that game. What it boiled down to is kids that had to play three games in three days and they had to play every game because we had nobody substitutes really and that's what made it special.

The game itself, will it prepare you? I think maybe half the games in the Big 12 prepared us. I can't say all of 'em have, but I know this: I told 'em in one of the timeouts, guys, you're not going to play anymore back-to-back-to-back games. You're not even going to play back-to-back games anymore. You're going to have rest now. For them to do it three days in a row, my hats off to them because that's what it takes. It's not coaching at this point. It's just kids gutting it out and then you go out there and do it with a freshman. Because, see, everybody was watching that. Can they do it without Kristy Wallace? And I kept telling y'all, the kid can play. She just came in here and had to learn from a senior. I thought playing Texas, because I know some of you will ask these questions, you had to take away their transition baskets, and I thought we did.

Second thing, we didn't do a good job of was offensive rebound. You can't let 'em just go to the offensive boards. Good grief. They can leap out of the gym. That's where you saw a lot of our fatigue, put Kalani in a position at 6-7 and she just couldn't jump. To just gut it out and give up that many offensive boards and still win the game is special.

Q. Was this your best-ever coaching job?
KIM MULKEY: No, man! You think I would have any clue what my best coaching job was? Coaches don't think like that. All we think about is winning and moving on to the next game. I've had horrible games I've coached, good games I've coached. I've coached too many games to know my best coaching job.

Coaches just don't do that. You don't walk around with your chest poked out. You go to the next game, get in the film room, try to fix something. That wasn't about coaching tonight. That was about just gutsy kids.

Q. What separates you from everybody else in this conference, including Texas?
KIM MULKEY: You've got to have great players. I think Texas has a lot of great players. We have great players. They have more great players than we have this particular time with all the injuries that we've had.

Great players that want to be coached. You can be a great player that can't take criticism, I don't want you. I don't enjoy those kind of kids. I want the great players that are like sponges that say bring it on, Coach. Give me some more. I can handle it because the great players want to be coached. The mediocre players don't want to be coached. The good players, they don't want to be coached. The really great ones, they really do. I think Kalani said it best, you have to love each other. When you have 9, 10 players can all can sit at the same pregame table you've got a special little team. And they've laughed together. They've dealt with some real-life issues this year, the death of a grandchild, the death of a former player, three major injuries, couple kids going through things in their own personal family life. Those are things that we've had to cry about. We've had to address. Lauren Cox has a sister that was diagnosed with diabetes like her two weeks ago. We had to cry and get her out of that. She knows what her sister is getting ready to face. It's been some real-life things that these kids have had to deal with.

They lift me up. When I'm in my darkest moment, Kristy Wallace gets hurt the other night on Senior Night, and the meltdown came at halftime of that game. And it needed to come at that time or else we were just not going to be able to perform the second half and we all had that meltdown. But when we came back out we did just like we did tonight. We just kept grinding.

Q. How important was this in terms of solidifying your case as a No. 1 seed, and do you feel that you did that tonight?
KIM MULKEY: I quit trying to figure all that out years ago. We've got a very good basketball team. No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, I think we won a National Championship as a No. 2 seed. We've won it as a 1 seed. We ran the table in the Big 12. We won the tournament. We did it without Kristy Wallace.

Your only loss was to UCLA who was ranked at the time. We did not have Lauren Cox on that trip. I didn't go on that trip, not that I was a difference maker. But Cox could have possibly been. So you could potentially be sitting here undefeated. I really don't invest much time in trying to figure it out anymore. I just invest in the team. Go play.

I don't know enough about what they really are looking for. They say nonconference strength of schedule, I don't know. Alabama got criticized for their nonconference strength of schedule in football didn't they? Roll Tide. I'm glad they didn't keep them out of the four seeds. I'm a Nick Saban fan. I bet y'all could guess that, huh? He's a winner, man. I don't know what. Let us enjoy the victory. Whatever happens I know the Committee will do as good of job as they possibly can. Okay?

Q. Kim, you're super passionate. But you had a little dust up during that timeout with Tina Thompson. What was going on there?
KIM MULKEY: I just wanted to know what they were talking about.

Q. Was it the referee, you mean?
KIM MULKEY: Yeah. I said all I needed to say in the timeout, I think they were looking at the monitor and I saw her over there talking to Tina so come over there and share the conversation with me.

Q. Coach, after everything the team has been through this year, the accomplishments they have had. Did you learn anything about your team tonight that maybe you didn't know going in?
KIM MULKEY: No, not really. You expect to win. Kristy goes down. I just wrote on the board, we expect to win. Why would we not expect to win? I've seen Alexis Morris in action. I've seen Juicy take over for Natalie Chou when she had the wrist injury. You expect to win. So I'm not surprised. I knew it would be a lot tougher game because when you play somebody three times. Percentages tell you it's hard to beat 'em three times. So I knew it would be tougher, but we just expect to win.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations. Best of luck.

KIM MULKEY: Let me say this about strength of schedule. I'm going to plug the Big 12 here. If strength of schedule is that important to the Committee, you can't leave Sherri Coale out. Doesn't she have one of the toughest strength of schedules in the country? So you can't have it both ways. I think I read somewhere where Sherri Coale, some of you Oklahoma people look it up, has one heck of a nonconference strength of schedule. Now you gotta win some of those games, but if we're going to push coaches and programs to play these strength of schedules, don't punish them if they don't win those games.

So when I read things that you're only going to have two or three in the tournament, how do you punish somebody who tries to do what you set the standard for? They want to tell me to go play a better nonconference strength of schedule. Do they understand that's not all in our control sometimes? You know, we played UConn a year ago. It would have been nice if they agreed to come here, but they wanted to skip a year. It would have been nice to go play in New Orleans where I would have played two ranked teams, but there was a problem there. So sometimes it is out of your control.

But I want to put a plug in for Sherri Coale's team because that is a complicated deal. She did what most coaches won't do, and I'm just using them as an example because I read that in the paper. Well, if strength of schedule is, you know, why we don't get a 1-seed, then don't leave people out of the tournament that go play a tough nonconference strength of schedule.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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