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March 9, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Boise State - 62, Nevada - 60
GORDY PRESNELL: It was an exciting game. I want to congratulate Nevada. That's a hard one to take, a tough pill to swallow for them, I'm sure. We've all been in that spot. But they had a great postseason here and knocked off the 3 and 2 seeds, and pretty much all but for about two seconds knocked off the No. 1 seed, as well. So she's doing, Amanda is doing an outstanding job with their program and they're really building something there.
I was proud of our team for hanging in there. We've done a great job this past two months handling adversity and being tough and never letting anything really escape us. We reeled it back in sometimes.
Proud of our school and appreciate our president, Dr. Kustra, and Curt Apsey, our athletic director, and Christina Van Tol, our administrator, and my wife. Christina is not my wife. My wife is Susan. Thank you to them for all our support and getting us to this moment.
Now to these guys, I'm just so proud of them. I can't tell you, we played without a traditional post, and we play without a traditional point guard. And it's really been something to watch and be a part of and they're a group of really unselfish, jealous-free kids who have excelled and they've achieved. And couldn't be more proud of them.
Q. Those final seconds were almost hard to process in watching it, in watching the video back. I'm already seeing things I didn't see at the time. Kind of describe the final play and how it went down as the ball leaves Marta's hands.
SHALEN SHAW: We wanted to take the last shot. The play was for Marta to drive the baseline and get a layup; she didn't get the layup. She stopped for the pullup and I was rebound the ball, do everything I can to get the ball back. And I got pushed under. So I did everything I could to tip it out and tipped it out to T and she laid it in and she went crazy.
Q. Have you ever made a buzzer beater before in your career?
A'SHANTI COLEMAN: No.
Q. You see the ball coming to you, and take us through that and the feeling.
A'SHANTI COLEMAN: I felt like it was a normal shot for me, kind of confident, because I knew I had enough time, but I didn't want to rush the shot and get it off. I felt like when it came out of my hand it was going to go in.
Q. See the ball going through the net and the buzzer sound, and all the players congratulating you, what's that like?
A'SHANTI COLEMAN: The best feeling.
Q. You guys were down at halftime, down heading into the fourth quarter, down in the fourth quarter, what does it say about the resiliency of your group?
SHALEN SHAW: It says everything. We had to keep chipping away and doing what we do. We had to get stops, and that was really important for us, get stops and that translates into offense. Just getting stops was really instrumental into getting this win.
Q. This is your third time winning, third time heading to the NCAA tournament. How special is this for you?
SHALEN SHAW: It's great. I couldn't have done it without the team, every team over the years, because they're all different. Great coaching staff and a great school behind me and the rest of the team. It's a great feeling.
Q. How much of the zone in the second half stopped Nevada and what they were trying to do?
RILEY LUPFER: I think trapping them, they weren't expecting it and that's a good call Coach Cody, our defensive coach called. That's smart plays by him. And we needed to execute it. It's huge because we didn't do it the whole game, to pull it out of nowhere, it just surprised them.
Q. Zeller only got 7 shots against you. How big of a factor was that in the final outcome?
RILEY LUPFER: It was big. I think we are a good team paying attention to the scout, and our coaches spend so much time on scout. So it's our responsibility to make sure we know it. To do something like that says a lot about our players, but more about our coaches.
Q. For you, in terms of the titles you won last year, talking about Brooke and Yai on the team, the names are different, but the constant there as far as the supporting cast role. How much different is the complexion of this team and why it's been able to continue the success?
SHALEN SHAW: I think it's been able to continue because we had a lot of the same players from last year; we only had two leave. But we had a lot of newcomers, the core people that were here last year and in the same position kind of knew what to bring to the table and knew what we expected. And we kind of relayed that to the new people.
I forgot the beginning of your question.
Q. Talk about the supporting cast and the --
GORDY PRESNELL: I think it says that people like T over here step up and do what they're supposed to do and represent Boise State.
Q. I know you're only like four feet up in the air when you're up on the ladder, but it feels like you're on top of the world. What's the feeling like cutting down the net? And you obviously are a veteran of this, you're getting pretty good knowing how to cut down the nets.
SHALEN SHAW: It's different going up there first. Previous years I've watched the seniors go up first and them cut it down. Okay, I'm cool, I can do it next. This year was different because I went up there first. And that feeling was just kind of -- I was in awe, almost. And then to have everybody cheer, it was really fun and I don't really have a ton of words for it.
Q. Riley, you've had such a big week to get most outstanding player. What was it like for you watching T take over and get the winning shot, get that spotlight moment?
RILEY LUPFER: She can have all the headlines she wants. In the end we got a trophy, that's what matters. When you're jumping up in the middle and you're dog piling, that's the feeling you hope for. For game winners, it doesn't matter who shoots it. But T stepped up this game, and I believe we have a whole team of people that can take that last shot.
Q. You mentioned Sha is the only senior on the team. How much of an opportunity was this to kind of prove that she can pass the torch off to the next generation?
RILEY LUPFER: We have two seniors, Brooke Wheeler, she got hurt midseason. Brooke is a good leader on the bench, and we wanted to win for her, too. No one wants to play the last game of basketball, and unfortunately that was her situation.
But Sha, I think she set the bar high about what this program is going to be all about. And we've been building it and we're going to keep building it. We're going to really miss Sha, but I think she left a legacy, and that's what she came here to do and that's what she did.
Q. The latest bracket from ESPN had you a 15th seed. You're going to be going on the road, play a tough team like you have the last couple of years. What are your thoughts of going to the tournament? I know you haven't lost in over a month, and just more adversity and another challenge and how excited are you guys?
SHALEN SHAW: We're really excited. To the adversity thing, it's good. That's about our go-to word is "good" for everything. And we want to get that first NCAA win. And I think that's pretty much all we're focused on.
RILEY LUPFER: I think right now we're just like, bring it, give us who you want, let's go, let's get it done.
Q. Coach was saying you haven't played with a true post and a lot of times you're undersized. Early on Nevada was killing you on the offensive glass. It seems like you understand your identity, you get under a more inexperienced team's skin. How were you able to battle that and hang around and pull it off in the end?
SHALEN SHAW: What we really focused on towards the end was them not getting second-chance opportunities. They did get a couple of them, but we focused on boxing out and trying to tip it out to us so that we could get the ball and go the other way.
Q. What is going to happen with that trophy tonight? Does it get its own seat on the plane, who's holding it?
RILEY LUPFER: We're going to go celebrate with it. We don't leave until tomorrow. It will be everywhere we go. We earned it, and take advantage of it, before it goes in our locker room or coach's office where it belongs.
SHALEN SHAW: T is going to carry it everywhere.
RILEY LUPFER: That's coach's net.
Q. Third time in four years for you stepping up that ladder and cutting down the nets and the way it happened with being down and coming back, and the buzzer beater. We saw you throw your hands up, you weren't sure what to do.
GORDY PRESNELL: I didn't look very coordinated, did I?
Q. What does it mean to you knowing you're going back to tournament?
GORDY PRESNELL: First year there's exultation and you can't believe it, and then you're trying to take a mental picture. I'll be up at three this next morning and trying to bring that picture back and think about it. And the same thing with going up to cut the nets down, just trying to take a real quick mental picture of everything.
And just really happy for our players. They're just great people. And they're great students. And just proud to be a part of their lives.
Q. Just wanted to ask before I forget, you're collecting quite a few pieces of the net now from here in Las Vegas. Where do you keep them, what do you do with them?
GORDY PRESNELL: This is going to sound arrogant, I don't mean it to be. We're building a trophy case in our locker room. We'll be putting them in our locker room, right now they're in my office kind of stacked around my office. "Stacked" is a bad word. They're put around the corners of my office.
Q. I think you go back and talk about Sha, the composure of this team when you look at Nevada, could have frustrated you guys, could have rattled the girls, but it really didn't, it seemed.
GORDY PRESNELL: Sha, the adversity question, she said "great." We used that word "great" for anytime there's any form of adversity. Bring it on, great. They didn't lose their composure. You can't break emotionally. We were teetering there for a little bit and then we got it back together.
That last play, we call it Bronco Circle Reject, there was about 30 seconds on the shot clock, and Broncos Delayed Motion, and then Circle Reject, Marta gets it and she's going to reject the screen and then she has to either shoot it or read how the defense rotates. And Braydey would be in the slot and Riley would be in the corner. And she chose to shoot it.
And then I just remember A'Shanti coming out of nowhere and Sha hitting it and tipping it in and then jumping up and down and the referees were telling me to get my players off the floor.
And so it was a lot of fun. And one thing before I go any further, I have just an incredible staff. And Cariann does our guards, and our guards improved. If you saw our guards this week, they did a really nice job. And our post players, we're limited in numbers, but Coach Sower does our post. And then Cody is our defensive coordinator and coordinates our defense, and has done an outstanding job, as well. Really proud of our staff.
Q. Sha was playing against her hometown school. How much have you seen her develop over the last few years since she came up from Reno to Boise? What has she meant to the program?
GORDY PRESNELL: Sha is just an outstanding kid. And unselfish. She was in three championship games in high school, and won two of them. She came here and won three tournament championships and a regular season championship.
But the thing that makes her great is her unselfish and her ability -- last year, I get so frustrated at her for picking up fouls early. So we didn't start her, and we shortened the game and made her play the last 30 minutes of the game rather than the first ten. She never griped about it one time, and should have been a starter. She'll do anything. She's played all five positions. And has really been a winner. Should be more aggressive sometimes, but she has just wonderful hands.
And she's always, always bought in. And never causes one bit of problem. She's a great student. So I can't say enough about her. It's a big loss because at our level you don't get multidimensional players the caliber of her.
Q. Do you think part of it is because her dad was a high school coach?
GORDY PRESNELL: Yeah, part of of that. And then the Oregon center at 6-4, and the McGwire sisters, Mark McGwire's nieces, the other starts at center in Santa Clara, so where is Sha going to play if they're the centers? She played point guard. She developed all the skills with her dad and at her high school team and it benefited us immensely.
Q. We were talking with you yesterday, you were talking about you wanted to be the standard and be the bar. And you talked about the success of a lot of other Boise State programs. The head coach of the women's basketball team, what has it been like to fight for that exposure, and you earned it now?
GORDY PRESNELL: You know, I just appreciate being at Boise State. And when I said that about the bar, I hope that we can get to a point where people look at us as the bar. And I read that and I thought, well, I didn't mean it like I'm the bar or we're the bar. I want people to respect our program as the bar.
And I'm really proud of the last 31 games, we're 27 and 4 in the Mountain West. And we've won three of the last four championships, and three in the last four years with the tournament. And so I hope that we get to a point where we are the bar, like football is, like gymnastics is, like our cross-country program is.
And being at Boise State is just such an honor and a privilege and everyone wins. And so hopefully I guess we can mimic some of those other programs that are in our department.
Q. We'll find out one day where you are going. What are your thoughts on the two previous trips, obviously when you played Tennessee and UCLA and now what you're going to be facing probably this week?
GORDY PRESNELL: Probably 18 seed, is that what you're thinking? (Laughter.)
It's going to be hard. Women's basketball, if you're not an 11 seed then you're at a home site. That's just the way it is.
It goes against my philosophy, too, because we try to play a lot early, we have to do better before Christmas, if you don't play better before Christmas then you're going to have the RPI that we have. The hard part is I played people early with our process and reduced it to nine and seven, we've taken some losses early but we've given kids a lot of looks and gotten better.
I don't know what we'll do. We have to sit back and think about that. If we want to win an NCAA tournament, have a realistic chance, you have to finish in 11 or 10 seed so you're playing at a neutral site.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports