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March 6, 2018

Ryun Williams

Hannah Tvrdy

Stine Austgulen

Las Vegas, Nevada

Colorado State - 71, Fresno State - 55

RYUN WILLIAMS: Fresno has had our number this year. They're a really tough bunch to handle. This is a good win because we beat a really good Fresno team.

Just proud of our execution, proud of our fight. These two seniors were exceptional today. So good win. We get to stay in the tournament, which is always a good thing. Just a real good win.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. It's not going to show on the stat sheet, but Grace's play in the third quarter, two big blocked shots, probably should have had three or four more assists with some no-look passes, talk about how she sparked the offensive stars of this team.
HANNAH TVRDY: Yeah, I mean, Grace, when she comes in, she's such a spark player. She brings so much energy for our team. I think when she gets going and has that spark and energy, that gets us going. The ball just keeps rolling with that.

Yeah, like you said, what Grace did might not show up on the stat sheet, but that hustle and energy, all those blocked shots, was huge for us in that third quarter.

Q. Third consecutive year you have advanced to the semifinals. Been kind of a different feel each year. How confident are you going into the semifinal this year compared to some of the years past?
RYUN WILLIAMS: I think we've been confident going in every year, so it should be no different. We approach every game the same, with the same mentality, whether it's a final, a semifinal, the first game of the year...

We respect the opponent that's in front of us, which we know is a tough one in Boise State. I thought the kids today, the ladies played with a really nice edge, just the perfect edge. We weren't over the top with it and out of control, but we really competed.

There was a lot of intent and purpose behind what they were doing today. We're going to need to do that tomorrow. They played with a little chip on their shoulder, and it needs to stay there.

Q. You almost looked like a different team today effort-wise. How much do you think the impact of a week of preparation had on you?
RYUN WILLIAMS: We had a good week of preparation. The kids were really locked into what we needed to get done. I think our kids always compete hard.

So today, it's the tournament, right? You don't want it to be your last game. There's always a little more purpose and energy into your performance.

Again, I thought it was just the right amount. I thought our mindset was really locked in. We just made it a basketball game, an intense one, but we didn't let the moment or the stage become bigger than it actually was.

Q. Stine, how did you feel about your team's ball movement and shot selection there?
STINE AUSTGULEN: I think it was great. Just we got it inside, passed it outside, hit big shots from the three, but also our post players were just feeling the ball really, really well today. It was a lot of fun to play, so...

Q. You both came in as seniors, this could have been your last game. Was there extra motivation in this game?
HANNAH TVRDY: Yeah, I mean, this whole past week, Stine and I have talked a lot about what we want to do in this tournament, what we want to do to end our senior year. We kind of talked to the team about that, too.

Like Coach said, I think our practice this whole week was focused, a lot of effort. We know what we want to do. We're not ready to be done. It kind of hits you like this is your last go at it.

Yeah, we're just literally giving it everything we have right now.

STINE AUSTGULEN: Yeah, I agree. We actually talked a lot together. We didn't want to end the way we did in conference. We felt we were a better team than that. Just being able to come here and have another opportunity is good.

Q. How big is the maturity of this group this season as far as keeping a level head?
RYUN WILLIAMS: I mean, a lot of people say it was an up-and-down season, but for us, we felt we always were playing good, especially the latter half of the year. I know we had some tough losses, and that might sound silly, but we were still playing good basketball. Defensively we were really good. We just had some tough losses.

I think the maturity level came in how we handled that. A couple of tough stretches there. These kids, they kept moving forward. In some games, we bumped forward a little faster than others, but we never, ever stopped moving our team forward. That's a credit to these seniors.

It was evident today. If we would have kind of sulked a little bit about the type of year we had, which I think is probably a little better than you do, we probably don't perform like we did today. The maturity level, off the charts.

Q. Would you say this is some of the best ball movement you have had the entire season?
RYUN WILLIAMS: Well, probably. We did a much better job attacking their zone. Fresno, they're tough to score the three ball against. I think they lead the league in three-point defensive percentage, if I'm correct.

I thought we had a different attack today. We played a little different personnel in some different spots, tweaked it a little bit. But the kids were just locked into what we had to get done on every possession. I love the mentality. When we caught it and we were open, the conviction behind every shot.

I mean, when Stine gets on a roll, she likes this place, she likes Thomas & Mack. I'm glad we found her as many times as we did today.

Q. Lore Devos also had four team points as well. How big was it to have the presence down low?
RYUN WILLIAMS: Lore is a tough matchup. We can play her on an inside player, she draws a big. She's a big driver of the basketball. Can handle it, be a play-maker. I thought when she got settled into the game, she was outstanding.

We need that. So it was nice to get them out of the zone there in that fourth quarter so we could spread them out and drive the ball. We got to the foul line a little bit.

Lore is really a big key for us when we get to play that way.

Q. Talk about Grace's play and her coming off the bench, what she did that's not going to show up on the stat sheet.
RYUN WILLIAMS: I'm checking to see if she had any turnovers (smiling). She had zero turnovers and four assists. That's a great game for Grace.

Grace is a very talented player. Her skill set is really special. But today the game was calm in her head. It wasn't too fast in there. You're right, she's got some sauce, some flash to her. It does spark our basketball team. She's got great vision. She's a good passer.

That was much needed in our zone attack today. Her decision making, I think, really sparked us in that second quarter, and got us really going in that third quarter. So Grace was really special today.

Q. You get a rematch with Boise State. You've had a couple tough games with them this season. They eliminated you in the conference tournament last year. Are you excited to get another chance to play them?
STINE AUSTGULEN: Yeah, I'm excited. You know, they beat us twice in the regular season, but it was both close games we could have won. Kind of get our revenge from the previous years, too.

That's what's fun with the tournament. Everyone starts from scratch. Everyone's got a record of 0-0. Yeah, I think we've got a good shot.

HANNAH TVRDY: Me, as well, we're all competitors. When you lose twice to a team, you always want another shot at them. Especially last year, what happened in the tournament.

We're going in confident. We respect them, but we're confident in ourselves. We know what we have to do, just play with energy, like what we did tonight.

Q. What makes Boise State such a tough draw?
RYUN WILLIAMS: They're a good team. I mean, congrats to Boise for winning a share of the league title.

Gordy is a heck of a coach. They have good players. Offensively they're just difficult to handle. They've got a lot of interchangeable pieces they can put on the floor. They shoot the three ball really well. Shaw is a really good stretch four. They play physical inside.

Making it sound like we can't beat 'em (smiling). But we have a lot of respect for them. Again, we've had two close games. Our kids will be ready to play. I think it's two programs that kind of the championship in the league, you just know Boise is going to be at the top. We've been there for a while now. I think you have two teams that respect the heck out of each other. Both teams have good players. It will be a heck of a game.

Q. Hannah, how helpful is it to have this first-round match with Fresno State, a team that beat you twice, then go into the match with Boise State?
HANNAH TVRDY: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we knew coming in they beat us twice, Fresno did, in the regular season. So we had a little bit of a revenge, like Coach said, a chip on our shoulder. I think it was really good for us to be able to get that win.

Boise is the same way. We beat us twice. Yeah, I mean, obviously we want to come out and do everything we can because no one wants to lose to a team three times. We know what we have to do, but definitely was a good win tonight.

Q. It seems like you really emphasized slowing down Candice White this afternoon. Was that the game plan, to double up on her?
RYUN WILLIAMS: Well, she's a heck of a player. I mean, Candice White is as good a guard as there is in our league, that we've maybe faced all year. She's been a Ram killer. She's made big plays in the fourth quarter to beat us each game.

Yeah, that was a huge key for us going into this game, was to just make her work for everything. She went 0-4 from the three, her twos were all contested, and everybody guarded her. They put her in some ball screen action, we switched it. Everybody had to guard her.

I think we really competed good on a big-time player. Yeah, the fact that we guarded her well was a big reason why we won.


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