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March 6, 2018

Kathy Olivier

Brooke Johnson

Nikki Wheatley

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada - 77, UNLV - 73, 2OT

KATHY OLIVIER: I'm just disappointed because this team really wants to play basketball. They enjoy each other. They had a great run. Mountain West Conference champions, cutting down the nets. They have more basketball to play.

So I'm a little upset that we didn't make our free throws down the stretch, and they did. I mean, the game really comes down to that. You got to give it up for them. They played hard.

But our team has played hard for 30 games. I'm super proud of them. We gave the city a good run. I had so many people reach out. I just don't want it to be over yet. Hopefully we'll get a WNIT bid.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for our student-athletes.

Q. I'm sure thinking about this game right now makes you sick to your stomach, but what did you see was the difference in this game outside the free throws?
NIKKI WHEATLEY: Outside the free throws, probably just the rebounding. We're a top rebounding team in our conference. Just getting more O rebounds, getting more aggressive on the rebounds, probably would have gave us more possessions.

BROOKE JOHNSON: I just think it was the free throws in general. We're usually anywhere from 75 to 85 free-throw shooting team. We shot under 50% tonight. That's unacceptable.

Q. It's been a pretty emotional rollercoaster. Tell us about that rollercoaster. What's it been like the last week or so?
NIKKI WHEATLEY: I didn't think we put our best foot forward in Reno, then we fixed things our next game against Utah State. This game it didn't feel like we played terrible, but we didn't execute on some little things we usually do.

BROOKE JOHNSON: It definitely has been a rollercoaster for all of us. Just a couple of things that we should have fixed, maybe done differently, or went for that extra loose ball, that extra board. That makes a difference in the game. Or making the last shot in the regular play.

Q. In the game you committed 18 turnovers. They had 21 points off turnovers. Late in the game it seemed there were certain times maybe you weren't in sync. Was it their defense disrupting or their comeback that was flustering y'all?
BROOKE JOHNSON: I think it was more of us not connecting. Their defense, we were used to it. It's our third go-around. They did adjust from playing Reno to here. I think it was us just not connecting and making contact with each other the way we should have.

We weren't really flustered by anything. We know how too stay calm. We've come back from 22 or 25-point leads, so a comeback is nothing for us.

THE MODERATOR: We'll dismiss the student-athletes at this time. Thank you.

We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. You lose Nikki in that overtime there. How brutal was that for you?
KATHY OLIVIER: It's rough. I mean, Nikki, just her leadership, what she does, is incredible. She had an outstanding season. We lost her in a few games during the season. She went down, she had a cramp, didn't have a calf injury, a cramp. She was cramping up bad. She kept saying, I could go.

So you lose Nikki and Paris in that little stretch. That was rough. I thought our team stayed with it. Brooke has been outstanding all year, too. I mean, those two both are just leaders. They're soldiers. They have been amazing all year. They come to practice every day. They work their tails off. The first thing is they want to play more. They love this team. We have great camaraderie. We just didn't put our best foot forward.

The foul situation, like Brooke said, I want to say we were third in the Mountain West in free-throw percentage. If you don't make free throws down the stretch, it's going to bite you in the butt. That's what happened.

Q. I hate to bring this up, but at the end of the first half, Nikki got the ball with 15 seconds to go. Did you think about that play?
KATHY OLIVIER: Heck yeah, we did. Nikki was going. She saw a little opening. She kind of brought it back. I think Paris got it. She looked at the clock, pulled it back. Then we drove again and kicked to the corner, shot a quick three. That hurt us, because they came down and made the basket at the buzzer.

We talked to them at halftime and said that we played a good half, we played smart, but we got to play smarter. Those are things that a championship team doesn't do.

We really haven't made a lot of those kind of mistakes all year, but yeah, I thought about that after the game. I was like, Oh, gosh, here we go.

Again, I'm super proud of this team, what we've done. The community outreach, the people, I mean, the professors have been awesome. They know our team, they're student-athletes clearly, but it's hard when you're at home because now you have to do a little bit of both. They've been great, the whole school, just the Las Vegas community. We can't say enough positive things.

Hopefully we can continue to play and get a WNIT bid.

Q. Toward the end of the second overtime, there are times when Brooke is in her zone, you let her go. At that point she single-handedly was bringing you back. There was a moment where you might have had an opportunity to call a timeout and set something up, but you let her keep going. Was the idea that she was in her groove?
KATHY OLIVIER: No, she was in attack mode. We wanted to save one of those timeouts for the end.

Brooke is outstanding. She makes great reads. Defensive Mountain West Player of the Year. But to be honest, she could have been Player of the Year and Katie could have been Player of the Year. Those two had incredible, incredible seasons.

Brooke makes great reads. I thought she could have gotten fouled down there. I thought she made a good read, took it hard to the basket. A little off balance. But if I had to do it again, I would have done the same thing.

We missed Paris down the stretch, to be quite honest with you. I thought Paris was money at the beginning of the game. We talk a lot about Brooke, Nikki and Katie, but Paris, she's one of the best. She's so good, so fundamentally sound on the offensive and defensive end. When she fouls out, we just get in trouble.

The second time we played them, we had so many fouls so early in the game, it really wasn't a contest. But I thought it was a good matchup, a cleaner game the first half, second half got a little wild.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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