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March 7, 2018

Joe Legerski

Liv Roberts

Taylor Rusk

Las Vegas, Nevada

Nevada - 67, Wyoming - 63

JOE LEGERSKI: I thought tonight's game was very similar to all the games we've had with Nevada: They've come down to one possession. And the teams are matched very closely. And for tonight Nevada made an extra play that we were not able to make. And give them credit.

I thought we got off to a good start. They stepped up defensively. And I thought that kind of got us out of our rhythm. And then we started trying too hard to make things happen rather than just let the game come to us. And I thought Nevada was able to do that. And they kept the second half at about four to six points most of the game and felt like we never could cut into the lead. And we had our opportunities at the end and we came up short.

But there's so much of this season that this team and the two young women next to me have made play after play to get us in this opportunity. And I know last week we were playing for a conference championship and it came down to the last possession. Tonight came down to the last possession.

When I look back through all the games we won on a last possession, sometimes it seems like it kind of evens out.

But Nevada is on a roll. Give them tremendous credit for what they were able to get accomplished not only tonight but for the last couple of weeks. I think it's the mark of a good team that keeps improving and they've put themselves in a position and they have tremendous senior leadership and it showed tonight.

Q. I think they shot 50 percent in the second half and was 8 of 15 in the fourth quarter. Were they doing anything? It didn't seem like you could get enough stops when you needed to. Can you address that a little bit.
LIV ROBERTS: Yeah, that's one thing that we were talking about on the bench and during timeouts. That's one thing we are constantly always focusing on, getting two or three stops in a row. It seemed like every time down the court they were getting some sort of good look at the basket. And more than anything I just think that's kudos to them.

It's hard being here. You have 24 hours to scout a team, and figure out what they're doing to you and what we're going to do to them. And I honestly don't think that we brought our best defense. And that can be to do with legs, but no one cares in this tournament. You have to come out and fight until the end. So that's one thing that's disappointing.

And we didn't play our best. We usually don't give up that many points. But they were making shots, knocking down big shots, big 3s, getting inside and knocking down free throws.

Q. You started strong with that 7-0 lead, and went six minutes without a point. Did they make adjustments there? What were they able to do defensively in that first quarter during that stretch?
LIV ROBERTS: Yeah, that's a common theme that I feel like that we had yesterday and today. We started off really strong and all of a sudden there was a little scoring drought. I don't think it was anything necessary. They were playing great defense, and I think we were kind of beating ourselves up. Especially Natalie and I, I'll be the first to admit I didn't have the best game. And you have to bring your best here to win against the best.

Q. Did they do anything to keep you out of it offensively? Seemed like they didn't want you to get too involved.
LIV ROBERTS: They had Teige on me, and then also a bigger post player on me. It's difficult to shoot over them. And also they can move their feet well on the drives. They know, like, what I like to do. I like to spin. And so they scouted us really, really well. And I think most of it is just mental, most of that is mental. And I wasn't there on offense. And I just have to admit it.

Q. Down the stretch you had some chances, you get a rebound off a missed free throw and then turn it over. And then they missed a free throw, the referee say it's your ball, they look at the review and it's not. What was that last minute like when you had chances and they kind of slipped through your fingers?
TAYLOR RUSK: We had some hope at the end but it got taken away from us. I'm proud, we were fighting, we could have let up the last minutes, and we didn't. I think that shows who our team is.

Yeah, we didn't get those calls going our way. And that last call is nothing we can control and we had to foul. And it is what it is, yeah.

Q. Obviously the score board wasn't how you would like it to be, but you had a couple of nice shooting performances. How do you build off those moving forward?
TAYLOR RUSK: We were talking in the locker room, hopefully our season is not over, and go to NIT. It is a lot of confidence, me personally. But it's we lost and I have to take it like that. I'm proud of our team. And hopefully we're not done, so we can move forward.

Q. What are you going to miss most playing with these seniors?
TAYLOR RUSK: Just the tremendous leadership. This girl sitting next to me is one of the best leaders ever. And I am really going to miss playing with her, and hopefully we're not done.

Q. I guess probably some more games to come. But when you look back on this season, what will you kind of remember most about it?
LIV ROBERTS: The past two seasons have been incredible, and have been something that I've wanted for the past four seasons. And I knew coming my junior year that we needed a leader, and I looked to step up and be that person. And I was that person in high school. And so I felt comfortable in that role.

And talking in the locker room we talked about how we wanted to change who Wyoming is. And I think our senior class did a tremendous job doing that. And that's one thing I'm going to miss is just battling out there with them. We never gave up. That's one thing I loved about this team. Down by 14 last night, 17, whatever it was, and battled back. And we did it a few other times this year. And we wouldn't have done that my freshman and sophomore year.

We definitely changed it and I'm excited to watch these guys moving forward and see where they can take the squad next year. Like Taylor said, we hope we're not done yet, and hopefully get into the WNIT and showing Wyoming and everyone else who we are still.

Q. The good news is usually they only cry in my office, so this is good for me to see the caring that they have. And I don't know how many people would have a senior step up and said she didn't have the best game tonight. I give you a lot of credit.
LIV ROBERTS: Thank you.

Q. A couple years ago Josh Adams led the men's team, the crowd was incredible. You have a quarterback who is supposedly going to be the No. 1 pick. And the crowd, the fans follow those sports, even the women sports. For you ladies, what it's like just hearing and seeing the crowd that showed up tonight? Nevada had a good crowd, but on both sides to see all that gold come to Las Vegas. Talk about your support, about the crowd and the fans the way, they spout the athletics.
LIV ROBERTS: Wyoming is incredible, that's one thing that drew me to that university. They follow you everywhere. There's some people that I haven't met before that came up to me before the game or came up to us after the game, We come every single year, we come to every single game. I'd love to reach out to those people that spend their time and money invested in us. It's incredible, that's what this university is.

I think people are starting to see that, especially with people like Josh Allen and the team that won my freshman year and everything. And they'll follow you anywhere and they'll do anything for you. And so I think that's incredible. And that's one of the reasons why I love playing. I love playing in front of a crowd. And Wyoming knows its sports. They know when to cheer and they get into it.

So thanks again out to our crowd and to all the Wyoming fans who are wearing brown and gold.

Q. Those sequences in the final minute, you get a rebound but it looked like you might have thrown the ball off a player's leg. Just take us through those and how tough were those to go through.
JOE LEGERSKI: Well, one of the things I look at is the amount of missed opportunities that we had throughout the game. And the breaks either go your way or don't go your way, and you've got to move on beyond that, and I thought we did. We still got a look at a three, down three. Clara made a good play getting it to Selale, I thought she stepped up in the last eight minutes when she played and we needed scoring. And she had a good look at it.

So you've just got to keep moving forward and, yeah, you need a break here or there, and we didn't get those breaks down the stretch. And that's a situation that you have to overcome. And like I said, I thought we did it, that we even got an attempt at a three to tie the game.

Q. How proud are you of Taylor for her performance in this tournament and how well she shot the ball?
JOE LEGERSKI: That's a sophomore who is in her first year of starting. And I think she grew up a ton. The way she performed last night against New Mexico, I told my staff in the first half, I said, Taylor is playing with the calmness that we need everyone else to play with. And it just seemed that Taylor carried everybody through that game last night. And she started out well again this evening.

And I think that one of the things that we know that catches up with us is I played Taylor 39 minutes last night, I played her 38 minutes tonight, but as well as she played, she needed to be on the floor. And she shot over 50 percent. She gets one of the toughest defensive assignments night in and night out, so I can't say enough about that sophomore who is just going to continue to get better.

And you saw the emotion when you asked her the question about Liv and Natalie. Those are two seniors that are also her two best friends. So I think she's learned a great deal about leadership from that and expect Taylor to step forward next year as a junior to be a leader of this team.

Q. Liv said it was a matter of them playing better offense than you did defense. But I guess with that similar question about maybe not putting the stops together in the second half, did they switch anything offensively?
JOE LEGERSKI: No, I think they're playing with tremendous confidence. They have a point guard in Moe who understands the game, knows how to get to the free throw line. She has made big shots all week, when you watched those games. They won a game in overtime. Won one in double overtime and won here on basically the last possession. And I think she really stepped up to lead that group. They're very difficult to handle inside. And as Liv mentioned, they can put length on her defensively.

And so I just thought that their pressure when they made their run in the first half, their pressure had us standing around a bit more. We really got short in the shot clock. And I thought that we could not stay in our offense as much as what we usually do and we were a little short, as I said, with the shot clock, and took some bad shots towards the end.

Q. It was crammed at the top of the conference, with three teams being tied first, and 7 seed going to the finals, is this playing out how you expected with the parity in this conference?
JOE LEGERSKI: One of the things that I thought coming in here, that there were 7 teams that had a chance to win it all. And I think that's how this year played out. The number of close games that we had with everyone, for our champ to be a 14 and 4, that hasn't happened in years. So I think you really had to be prepared to play each and every night out. And I think this is just an example of it.

We've had some great basketball games. And it's hard for this group to think that it may be done. But I know they had a big win last night and they were celebrating that and came down to the last possession. And I think that's just basketball in March. And you're going to win your fair share, but when you drop one it hurts.

Q. The players said they want to play more basketball, and are you pretty confident you'll get in the postseason, do you think they'll relish it if given the opportunity?
JOE LEGERSKI: If we're given the opportunity we'd like to be able to play. We have a great track record with the WNIT. But that's not my decision. We'll wait until Monday night, hopefully our name is called in some fashion. And if it's not, you sit here and as I mentioned in the start, that the last week of the season Wyoming played for a championship on the last game. I couldn't tell you the last time Wyoming did that. We come up short tonight.

So this group has really accomplished a great deal in two years, won the most conference games over a two-year span. And I give credit to the seniors of what they've been able to do.

Q. After the men's game Coach Edwards had a lot of praise for you individually and your program. What does it mean to have the support from him and that staff and to just have two extremely competitive programs at Wyoming?
JOE LEGERSKI: Well, that's nice to hear, because I think the world of Coach Edwards. That's why we were at the men's game as long as we could. That was a commitment I've made because as we always talk, there is one Wyoming. And I appreciate Allen's kind words. I know I'll be at the game tomorrow for them. And our team will be there. And that's just part of what we do.

I've been very fortunate in my whole time at Wyoming with going back to Coach McClain, Coach Schroyer, Coach Shyatt, and now Coach Edwards. So I've been the guy that's been around a long time. And all four of those coaches have embraced me. I've embraced them. And I'm able to bounce ideas off them. And it really helps out. But I guess I'm kind of that senior mentor to some of these coaches now. And I pull for Coach Edwards and the Wyoming Cowboys.

Q. Just what are you going to miss most about this senior class?
JOE LEGERSKI: Well, I think the biggest thing was their leadership. They really wanted this group to find success. We finished second last year in the league. As I said, we got third this year after being picked second. They accomplished so much. But they refused to give in.

And for Liv Roberts, the ACL surgery about 11 months ago, and for her to come back in six months time and really end up being the player of the year, I can't say enough things about what she has done, what she's accomplished. But that's pretty remarkable when you think of the short time frame she came back in. And she is just a tremendous leader. Going to be a heck of an elementary school teacher. And we're going to miss Liv.

Q. Going off that, we talk about Liv a lot, too, but it seems like Natalie had her struggles offensively. But even in these two games on the defensive end when the shots weren't falling kind of made a difference. What did you see from her when the point totals weren't there, but she was having an impact?
JOE LEGERSKI: For Natalie it was a year she just wanted to have a tremendous year. And we sat down and we talked some that she was placing too much pressure on herself and just wants everything to just go right. And I think this is a growing experience for her to understand that you can still compete and not have it always go your way but that doesn't mean you give in. And Natalie never gave in throughout this whole year. And like I said, side by side with Liv, my other two seniors, with Marleah Campbell and Skyler Snodgrass, the same way, the leadership is the thing I'll remember about these four.

One of the things I always tell my teams is the wins and the losses will fade over time. Twenty years from now you'll tell everybody how great you were, because we all believe we're better than what we were 20 years ago. And what you'll remember are moments on trips, whether it's at a hotel, whether it's on a flight, maybe something that was funny in practice, but you're not going to sit here and remember each and every game. And I think the friendships that are created is what sports are all about.

Thank you everybody, for all your time and everything else, I appreciate it.

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