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March 15, 2018

Gordy Presnell

Riley Lupfer

Braydey Hodgins

Shalen Shaw

Louisville, Kentucky

Q. For any of you guys, you've been in a similar situation before, last year in the tournament playing UCLA in the first round. How do you approach these games where you know that everyone is kind of expecting you guys to be the huge underdog?
SHALEN SHAW: I think it's something that we kind of use for fuel. No one expects us to win. Everybody is kind of almost against us, but we kind of rally together and try to play our best game.

RILEY LUPFER: I think coming into this game with your head held high, don't be intimidated, you can't play scared. Just come in with a chip on your shoulder. Why not us?

BRAYDEY HODGINS: I definitely think the whole year we were predicted No. 1 in our conference starting off, but we still had to play the underdog role when we didn't find ourselves there the whole conference season, so it's something we've kind of gotten used to. Even though we were the No. 1 seed in our tournament, we still felt like we had to play and be the underdog a little bit.

Q. For any of the players who would like to touch this, the men's tournament does not allow teams to play on their home floor. How do you feel about having to come in here?
RILEY LUPFER: I think it's exciting. Our coach was telling us about how they get like 7,000 a game, and I'm like, the more fans the better, so they bring in a good crowd. I think it's just fun. We don't mind it.

SHALEN SHAW: I think it's fun because we get to play somewhere that we've never been. We watch them on TV. We get to see the court, and all the fans, too, I think it'll just be a good environment and kind of exciting.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: I think it's going to be really fun, and obviously like Shay said, it's a different atmosphere that we're playing in. We see them on TV, we see this arena, so it's a good opportunity for us to get out of the Northwest and come down here.

Q. Playing so far away from Boise, an unfamiliar audience of course you're playing in front of, so the question is who is Boise State? What kind of team? Who is this Boise State basketball team?
RILEY LUPFER: I think our culture is we overcome adversity. We go down to Wyoming with one of the biggest crowds we ever have to win a regular season championship, and I think we came up, we showed that we were the best in the Mountain West. I think we come into situations like that and we play our best basketball, and I think that says a lot about our culture and how much grit we have.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: I think the resiliency that our team has shown is something that will be showcased tomorrow. We're faced with adversity being a No. 16 team coming in to play Louisville, and so I think the adversity that we're going to face tomorrow is something that we might not have faced at this scale this season, but we've had little bits and pieces to prepare us.

SHALEN SHAW: Yeah, I think the adversity we've had throughout the season and the injuries we've had, the elevation at Wyoming, I think it's something that says that we take on adversity and we hold on to it and play behind it.

Q. I wonder if any of your families have had any difficulties getting here. It must have fairly challenging. I know that Kentucky fans going to Boise are looking at two connections. Any interesting anecdotes?
RILEY LUPFER: Yeah, it's crazy. It's a lot of money to travel here. My mom works for Southwest and she can fly for free, and she can't even come because the flights are so crazy here and it's just too much time. But I know we'll have one fan there for sure. My family lives in Memphis, and hopefully they make it, but you never know. It's a long travel, no matter where you go.

SHALEN SHAW: Yeah, my mom works for American, too, and she looked at all the flights, and they were all booked. There was nothing to get here.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: My dad is a road tripper and surprised me at plenty of games, but I don't think he's going to be able to manage this one. He joked to put him on the list just in case he finds a way, but flying is expensive, and driving, that's a long trip.

Q. Shay, for you, it's your third NCAA Tournament, first Boise State player to play in three. Is there anything you're looking to get out of this one other than a win that hasn't been the case the last two?
SHALEN SHAW: I was going to say a win. That's all that I think we're looking to get out of it, just get that win and hopefully after that get more wins and just take everything in.

Q. Pardon me if you've been asked this question before, but in terms of coming here, and you were just alluding to the travel issues. How much of a change practice-wise or schedule-wise to adjust to the time zone change have you had to make coming here, just anything with studying and practicing and what kind of effect that's had?
RILEY LUPFER: We were joking it was our teammate's birthday yesterday. It was her 21st, and we just felt like we lost a whole day, coming here, losing two hours. We were on a plane most of it, and we were like, Ellie, you kind of missed your whole 21st birthday; that kind of sucks. But otherwise I think we handled it pretty well.

SHALEN SHAW: Yeah, we haven't really made a whole bunch of changes in practice or anything like that. Maybe just went to bed a little bit later.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: I think something, at least for school, I have a couple things due today, so I have a little extra time to turn them in. That's the only thing I can think about.

Q. Knowing that Louisville has hosted here before and they've lost here before in the first couple rounds, does that give you guys a little bit of a different perspective on the game?
SHALEN SHAW: I think it just -- I don't think it gives us a bit of a different perspective. I think that we just need to be who we are and play how we play, and I think that some good things will happen for us.

RILEY LUPFER: Try not to worry about statistics as much as other people would. I say don't -- just come in here and play our game, play confident, and don't worry about the past because it's the past. We've just got to be in the moment and just appreciate that we're here and play hard.

Q. I think the only time a 16 has beaten a 1 was in the women's tournament in '98. Have you seen that video, or do you take any heart from that, any of you?
BRAYDEY HODGINS: Personally I haven't seen the video, but we've been kind of given -- I've been told about it, and I was one at the time, so I wasn't able to watch. So I think that just proves like something that a 16 seed isn't necessarily the worst thing that can happen to us. We talked about, it's just adversity that we have to face.

SHALEN SHAW: I personally also haven't seen the video. I just know it was Harvard over Stanford, which that's a good game. I'd like to watch it when I get home.

RILEY LUPFER: I'd say that was a long time ago, and it's basketball, anything can happen. It's one game, and like anything can go our way. We have to just get ready for the game and not worry about that.

Q. Three years ago wasn't that long ago when you were 15, Boise State hung with a 2 in Tennessee at Tennessee, and you guys started out pretty well in that game and then last year at UCLA was a rough start, so how important is the first five minutes of the game against Louisville?
SHALEN SHAW: The first five minutes is everything. That'll set the tone where we are and who we are. I think that in those first five minutes, it's important that we play our game and don't let them control the game because in those five minutes we can do anything, we can shock the world basically.

RILEY LUPFER: Last year against UCLA we kind of came out and got ourselves in a hole, but the rest of the game it was like the same point margin, and we showed if we didn't get in a hole, we could stay with them. I'm a big believer that you set the tone with how you start the game, so if we come in confident, hit a couple shots, we'll be like, okay, this could go our way. So I think it helps a lot with confidence the way we start a game.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: I think we found ourselves some holes in the beginning of the season in some early games and we were able to climb out, but when you're playing on this stage, those holes are the whole game and they decide everything, so coming out with a confident, strong start is something that we need to focus on to carry us through the rest of the game tomorrow.

Q. A lot has been made obviously about how you guys are underdogs in this matchup, but you're riding the 10-game win streak coming off a conference championship. Do you feel like you guys are on the up right now?
RILEY LUPFER: For sure. I think we are flowing as a team and we started flowing at the perfect time of the season, so I would say to keep the flow that we got at the tournament, keep it going here pretty, but we're confident in ourselves.

BRAYDEY HODGINS: Yeah, just like Riley said, we're on a 10-game win streak and we want that to continue, obviously, but we know we're up to face a challenge tomorrow morning, and I think we're ready for it. We've practiced hard, we have a good scout, and we're going to be really prepared to play in the morning.

SHALEN SHAW: Yeah, I think we've been playing well together, doing the right things and not being selfish with the ball, which is important, and I think that we'll be ready to fight tomorrow.

Q. Along that line, Riley, when you look at this winning streak, where do you feel like you all have really progressed and how that carries over into a came like this?
RILEY LUPFER: We started off the season really struggling finding ourselves, and we lost a lot of games in the fourth quarter, which like giving it to them. And I think these last 10 games we feel way more confident in our fourth quarter, and we're like, this is our game. Our shots are going to go in, we're getting stops. And I think that is the grit and resilience that we have built as a team this year, and we're gelling right now, so I think that has really changed a lot for us.

Q. As a follow-up, when you look at Louisville on video, what is the challenge in trying to slow them down?
RILEY LUPFER: The challenge of trying to slow them down, I would say trying to focus on the scout, know the personnel, know that Asia Durr wants to go left and know who their shooters are. Just do what we do and make sure -- our coach has spent a lot of time on the scout, so I feel like we need to be really focused in on that and how to slow them down.

SHALEN SHAW: I totally agree scout is very important. If you don't know the scout, then you're going to be lost the whole game, and knowing the scout also helps us on defense, just knowing who the shooters are, knowing who wants to rebound and who you need to box out in order to get the ball to go the other way, so I think scout is very, very important.

Q. Is Louisville one of the deepest rosters that you've seen in terms of just scoring and just the number of things that they can do?
GORDY PRESNELL: I think they're one of the most dimensional, multidimensional. They only played six or seven players the whole ACC Tournament if I recall. But their ball screen motion is phenomenal. They have post presence, they have size, they have a go-to player. They play multiple defenses where they can get out and just get after you, and then they can play pack line a little bit. What they've done here in the last few years is remarkable, and what a great coaching staff and the job that he's done. They've knocked on the door a few times, and now they're about ready to step on in and have their place.

Hopefully we will perform at the very best that we can tomorrow, and looking forward to the game, that's for sure. I think our kids are, too.

Q. How does your team rebound so well with such limited height?
GORDY PRESNELL: Yeah, emphasis on limited height. Even though we had an all-conference post player, 6'3", an ACL about the fourth or fifth game into the season, it just really crushed us before Christmas. So just an effort, and we have a post coach that her whole job is post and also rebounding, and that's all that we focus on. I do think we are very, very obviously undersized, but that's where we are most athletic is Shay Shaw and A'Shanti Coleman and Joyce Harrell are all rim touchers, and so that's an area that we've just really tried to put a focus on, and the same thing offensively. We try to go hard, and I've never run so much 1-4 high stuff in my life because we've always had post presence. So it's been a great learning experience for me this season, as well. But just emphasizing that's where our athleticism is, and let's make someone block us out every time.

Q. Can you perhaps give some perspective on how the parity of the women's game has improved, and there's still a pretty significant point differential, particularly in first-round games? Do you see that changing?
GORDY PRESNELL: I think there's a handful of teams that get some really, really special players, and then the rest of us are battling like crazy. I think the home site thing is a humongous advantage, and we've done this, what, three times the last four years, and four times since I've been at Boise State, and we've got to figure out some way to get to that 11 or 12 seed so that we can play on a neutral floor because I truly believe on a neutral floor we can compete with some teams in the tournament. That's on us, and we've got to figure out -- and on our league, and we've got to figure out a way to be able to do that, because it's frustrating, last year I think we were 46 RPI going into the tournament, and we're a 13 seed at UCLA. So we've just got to get a little bit better so that we can get someone on a neutral floor and see what we can do.

Q. Kind of as a follow-up to that, when you guys are playing really well in conference play, winning your conference tournament and you're considered to be one of the top teams and then all of a sudden you come into the NCAA Tournament and it's kind of flipped on its head, how does that feel to kind of have that dichotomy?
GORDY PRESNELL: I don't know, that -- I guess we're the 64th best team in the tournament if we're a 16, or we could be a 61. I think our RPI was actually a little bit better and there's some travel accommodations met, so we went from a 14 or 15 to a 16. I don't know, we're just going to come in here tomorrow and compete our tails off and see where we're at. We've great respect for their program and great respect for their coaching staff and what they're accomplishing here, and we want to get everything we can out of this. We want to enjoy every second. We're going to observe every second. We have one senior that plays a lot, we have one junior that plays a lot, and everyone else has got two years in our program. We have the 46th ranked recruiting class in the country. It's the first time we've even been in the top 100, and we've got some great kids coming. We've got a kid that led the Spanish national team in scoring that's sitting out this year on our team, a kid from Kansas sitting out. So we think who we have returning and who we have coming in that maybe we can get to that next little notch we want to so that maybe if we're sitting here next year, we're at a neutral site.

Q. A couple of the players said that they've seen Louisville play on TV before, and it's certainly a tough task with a team with only two losses. How do you normalize the game and not let the moment get too big?
GORDY PRESNELL: You know, we let our players handle some of that. If you know Riley, she's a pretty tough kid, and she's really competitive, and so I don't think she's in awe of much of anything. Shay -- we've walked into Tennessee and Pauley Pavilion and some of those places, so this is a great opportunity. I don't know what's expected of us, but we're going to come in and we will try our very hardest, and we're going to defend and we're going to try to handle their ball screen and try to figure out something to do with Asia Durr on the ball screen in the next 24 hours and just see what happens.

I'm proud of our team. We are so young. I'm so proud of them. I'm proud of their grit and I'm proud of their toughness. We worked a lot on toughness this year. And I'm proud of our conference, too. You know, we have four teams at NIT, and our league will be better next year. We are a very, very young league, and everyone is going to be better next year, and you're going to hear about the Mountain West Conference in the future.

Q. You've alluded to the neutral floor advantage or the lack of a neutral floor advantage. Do you see that evolving? Do you think there will be a point where the women's tournament is not played on campus sites or home sites?
GORDY PRESNELL: You know, I don't know. I can only control what I can control, and what I can control is we've got to figure out a way to schedule better or win some games or not get hurt or whatever those things are so that we can be an 11 or 12 and be hopefully in the thick of it.

But it's hard to play a whole season and then end up at Tennessee or UCLA or in this case a No. 1 seed, Louisville. But they've earned that right, and that's the rules, and they get to host. So welcome in here, and we appreciate all they've done. It's an incredible facility. We have an incredible facility back in Boise that some teams are playing in, too. I think Kentucky is down there today. But we're just honored to be here and honored to represent our conference and our school and honored to play Louisville.

Q. You mentioned the recruiting class that you guys have coming in. How have the prior NCAA Tournament experiences helped with that aspect of putting Boise State on that kind of scale?
GORDY PRESNELL: You know, there's not a whole lot of teams in the west that get to the tournament regularly, and we feel like we've gone three of the last four years where that's beginning to be regularly, so that is something that we're selling as hard as we can, and we feel like we have a good conference. We feel like we have a great university, a progressive university, and so we do have a good group coming, and we have the No. 3 scorer in the nation coming in out of high school, 36 points a game. So we're looking forward to the future of our program and the future of our conference.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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