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March 15, 2018

Carolyn Kieger

Allazia Blockton

Erika Davenport

Danielle King

Amani Wilborn

Louisville, Kentucky

Q. Erika, obviously a big matchup against Layfield. What have you been kind of scouting? What's the key to shutting her down?
ERIKA DAVENPORT: Just, you know, playing our hardest, just basically taking away her strengths and stuff, and just basically -- just basically just playing my hardest, and just basically, like I said, taking away her strengths.

Q. You had quite the performance against Quinnipiac last year at this stage. What kind of confidence boost does that bring, and what did you take away from that?
ERIKA DAVENPORT: Basically from like just that, just never take anyone lightly, to play your hardest at any stage because you never know when it's going to be over. You have to win to survive.

Q. If you could each talk about what you think a team's strength is of Marquette and then what you feel like a strength is that you've seen when you've scouted Dayton.
AMANI WILBORN: A team strength of Marquette, of course, is our tempo. Just playing fast, and I think a strength of Dayton's would be rebounding. We have to keep them off the boards.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I'd say a team strength of us is our chemistry. We really know where each other is on the floor, and we do a good job of when someone is hot or someone is on a roll, feeding that hot hand and finding each other. Like we know our strengths really well. And the team strength of Dayton is they run their sets really well. They're very deliberate, and they know what action they want. They do a good job using that action.

DANIELLE KING: I would say our strength would be our disruptive full-court defense. We really get after the ball, ball hawk a lot. And a strength of Dayton is their point guard. They have a strong point guard. She runs the team a lot, so disrupting her would be a good strength for us to attack.

ERIKA DAVENPORT: A strength of ours is our speed. We want to try to get them down the court as fast as we can in transition. And a strength of Dayton is that they have just phenomenal players, like they have players that can be on the perimeter, go inside or outside, and their transitions are really well.

Q. Most of you guys have -- actually all of you guys have been here before, but one player that hasn't is Selena Lott. What have you guys been telling her to prepare her for this experience?
DANIELLE KING: Stay aggressive. She's a great defender, and when she scores, she helps us a lot, too. She had a strong game against DePaul in the tournament, and we just want her to keep that same energy and bring it.

AMANI WILBORN: Again, our defense, and just knowing that defense creates offense, and when she's out there playing hard in defense, that brings the energy for us and to keep the tempo going.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: Just keeping her confident, also. When you're on this stage it doesn't matter if you're a senior or you're a freshman or sophomore. It's just all about confidence at this level, and everyone has come to play hard, and obviously she doesn't play like a freshman, so it's just keep reminding her of that and how she's a big part of our team, just keeping her engaged.

ERIKA DAVENPORT: Kind of like what they said, just to stay aggressive and most importantly to have fun. It's March, and this should be a fun time.

Q. Does it get any less nerve-racking the second time around?
ERIKA DAVENPORT: I think it's even more fun.

DANIELLE KING: Yes, it's always fun and a privilege to play in March. Not a lot of teams make it this far, so we always look at it as an opportunity to have fun and show our best basketball.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I think the most nerve-racking time is during the selection show because you're kind of just sitting there. You really don't know when your name is going to be called, but once you found out where you're playing, you know, another game that you prepare for and you get focused for, then it just goes out the window.

AMANI WILBORN: Yeah, I think the same thing. It's not just nerve-racking when you're preparing for it, but just as a team going out there confident.

Q. I'd like to hear what your one pregame ritual is.
AMANI WILBORN: I'm superstitious, so I have a lot. But I think the biggest thing that I think my most important ritual is praying. Not necessarily praying for a win but praying that we go out and give it our hardest, pray that no one walks away injured, so I think that's something that I keep in the forefront.

DANIELLE KING: I'm a big hype person, so I have to listen to music. My favorite artist is MacNeal before the game, so listening to him gets me pumped up.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I also pray before each and every game, and I'm kind of with Dani, too, I like to listen to music.

ERIKA DAVENPORT: For me, I'm not really superstitious, so I really try to like go over scout in my head and what's our strength and what we're trying to do, so I just listen to music, relax, take a lot of deep breaths.

Q. First of all, how does your approach change having coached this team, almost this exact same team a year ago on this same stage?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I think the biggest thing that I learned is last year we were just so intent on making the NCAA Tournament, we talked about that all year, and then when we got there, it was like, okay now what. And all year long we've been talking about going farther than this program ever has been before, so I think that was one thing that I changed is let's not just make the goal to get to the tournament, let's make the goal to win a couple games and advance as far as we can.

Q. JaVonna Layfield really provides tough matchup terms, a double-double machine. How are you guys kind of preparing for her?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Yeah, I think their entire team is really versatile, so they have a lot of good players that we need to key in on, but we have to keep her off the glass. Obviously anyone who can put up a double-double the entire season is phenomenal, so I think we'll throw different bodies at her, change it up a little bit, and just make sure we're focused on the glass.

Q. How important is it going to be, you mentioned sharing the ball before, and Dayton really one of those really good defensive teams, I think 35 percent shooting that they allow. What's been the focus going in with that?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I think we're at our best when we're sharing and we're taking Marquette shots. We've done a really good job, and I think we led the Big East in field goal percentage, so for us we have to take the shots that we want and not the shots that Dayton is trying to force us into. I think we do a good job of an inside-outside presence, and we have to continue that as we play this 40-minute game.

Q. Obviously Dayton is the focus, but if you win, two days away, Louisville, a top seed. How do you balance playing for tomorrow and also -- if you play Louisville, obviously a very tough matchup that's going to take a lot of planning?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Yeah, there is no tomorrow if you don't win today, so that's what we're focused on. We haven't talked one ounce of Louisville. We've been focused on Dayton, and that's one thing that I think we've got to make sure you can't overlook any team in March, and obviously Dayton is a phenomenal team with a phenomenal tradition in the NCAA Tournament and what they've been able to do over the course of their program history. So for us, you know, we're just focused on that.

Q. And then do the emotions change, too, with last year you were coming off a Big East title, highest seed in program history, now a bit more of a low after that big loss, the biggest loss while you've been a head coach. How does that change the mindset?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Wow, buddy. No, I mean, every game is different, and for us, last year we won the Big East and we lost our first-round game. This year we're planning on doing the opposite. We didn't win the DePaul game, but we're planning on going further. That game is over, and it might still be in your mind but it's not in ours, and we're focused on this game right here, so that's all our team is worried about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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