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March 18, 2018

Carolyn Kieger

Allazia Blockton

Natisha Hiedeman

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville - 90, Marquette - 72

CAROLYN KIEGER: First of all, just want to congratulate Louisville. Obviously they're a phenomenal basketball team. They share the ball so well. They have numerous weapons in different positions, and obviously the atmosphere here is top-notch. It says a lot about women's basketball and where it's come. I commend the whole entire program and the whole city of Louisville for putting on this event. You guys did a really good job.

Q. Allazia, you've got matched up against Myisha a few times. There's a big physical difference inside. How do you cope with that, and how much did that have to do with her making her first 10 shots?
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I think it's just relying on your teammates. Like obviously she's bigger than me, so just trying to front, get around, and rely that my team is going to be there for the help, and just in the first quarter we didn't do a really good job of boxing her out. We got her to miss the first shot, and shy just was a beast on the boards. So we've just got to do a better job of that, knowing that we're smaller stature.

Q. Allazia, really much different second half from first half. What did they do that locked you up in the first half and what changed in the second half for you to get freer and get better looks?
ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: I think I had a lot of open shots in the first half, just wasn't knocking them down. So in the second half I just came out and just was being aggressive. I think I was aggressive the whole game. It's just about believing in yourself, and I think I believed in myself the whole game, so that's why I think there was a difference.

Q. What did Louisville do initially that you didn't see in the scouting report or see on film that they kind of shook you up at first?
NATISHA HIEDEMAN: They really didn't do anything that we didn't see on the scouting report. We just lacked focus in the first half, which led us to a bad start in the game. But coming out of halftime, we talked about it, and we said that we need to get our focus better, and I think going into the second half, we picked up our focus and created more problems for them.

ALLAZIA BLOCKTON: Yeah, I think we came out a little bit timid, probably saw the crowd, got a little nervous, and against Louisville, a top team like that, you can't come out flat, and I think that's what we did. In the second half, we didn't see anything in the first half that they didn't do. They did everything in the second half. It was just about us picking up our aggression, our intensity.

Q. Natisha, you went from 32 points on Friday to nine today; was it just shots not falling, or was there something that Louisville did different?
NATISHA HIEDEMAN: Yeah, shots just weren't going in today. They have a great defensive team, and they were just taking it away.

Q. You knew that Louisville was going to do a lot in the fast break, but still even with that, they really thrived. What did they do that made them so tough to defend?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Their points in the paint. Obviously they had 60 points in the paint, and when you allow a team to have 60 points in the paint, it's going to be hard to win. Our game plan was to change up defenses and keep them out of the paint, and obviously we didn't execute that very well.

Q. In addition to the points in the paint differential, seemed like they were maybe just a step faster on the fast break at times. Any comments on that?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I don't know if they were a step faster to be honest. I mean, I think it was our defensive coverage and their rebounding. I thought our speed, we were able to keep up with them speed-wise, but size-wise and their rebounding, so I think their advantage was they got rebounds on missed shots and then were able to start their break faster, and when they're able to get rebounds and long outlets, that's when you can run. For us, on the flipside of that, they were scoring at such a high rate that we couldn't get our fast break going because they made shots every time, so I would say that was the advantage there.

Q. What made Hines-Allen so difficult to defend?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I mean, her size. We don't have a physical presence like her that we can just keep throwing bodies at her, and obviously that's something that we want to get to as a program, where we have more size and more physicality. But right now, they obviously had the size advantage, so for us, we tried different schemes and tried to throw different stuff, but we're just one too many big bodies short.

Q. You've talked about the growth from being in this tournament. What does your team kind of take away from a game like this going forward?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I think the first thing we've got to look at is we've got to look at Louisville as a team, and if we want to become a top-10 program or keep evolving as a women's basketball program that gets in the top 25 annually, we've got to look at the best teams, and what do they do, and what do they do on a consistent basis. So for us, I think it shows when we won that second half, so for us to be able to come back with confidence and knowing if we do our game plan right and we focus and play hard and we do the intangibles, we can play with anyone. When we play with immaturity and when we lack focus and we don't follow the game plan, well, then it's a story of the first half.

So for us I think we've got a lot of things to fix in the off-season, but I think you'll see a Marquette team next year that people will not want to face in the NCAA Tournament.

Q. How nice of a luxury is it to have pretty much all five starters returning, most of the team starting, only losing Shantelle?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I mean, that's huge. It's the bulk of our team. We'll miss Shantelle in so many ways. On the flipside of that, to have everybody returning other than Shantelle, I think that just helps with your chemistry, I think it helps with your experience. Even last year to this year, from the Quinnipiac game to the Louisville game and the Dayton game, I think we've grown up a lot, so you give us another summer, another off-season to improve and get better, and I'm really excited to see what this group can do. I think there's big things ahead.

Q. You referenced it kind of off the top; how much did the crowd really affect your team early in this game?
CAROLYN KIEGER: You know, I think the crowd -- one thing that has been our achilles heel all season has been our communication, and that's where we need to really need to evolve. We need max level, and I think when you throw that and a crowd like this in, that's a recipe for disaster. I think that's what you saw is a snowball effect in the first half, first quarter I should say. The crowd was loud, the crowd was into it. Our team wasn't talking; they couldn't hear each other. So like I said, a mixture of things, but definitely when you have a women's basketball crowd like that, and the fans here are fantastic, it's a huge advantage, and like I said before, I tip my hat to everybody in the building today.

Q. And then you mentioned doing things that a team like Louisville does. What are some of the things that you've noted that they've done that maybe you don't see Marquette doing quite yet?
CAROLYN KIEGER: Well, I would say obviously their physicality, their toughness. If we can capture what they do on the boards and how physical they play and how they handle adversity, I think we're going to be in great shape. I have a lot of respect for Jeff and what he's been able to do here with this program. I'll say their players compete, they compete for every rebound, they compete for every loose ball, and I thought you saw our team play like that in the second half; not so much in the first.

So we've got to become more consistent, and obviously when you're 34-2, you're a consistent basketball team. So that's where we've got to fix is we've got to become more consistent. We've shown spurts of it, we've shown quarters of it, we've shown games of it, but we've got to show an entire season of it, and 40 minutes every night.

Q. And then I saw you kind of embrace Jeff at the beginning. Has he given you any advice as you've built this program?
CAROLYN KIEGER: I just think we were just chatting before the game and both have mutual respect for each other and what we've been able to do. I always like to pick people's brains, but before a game you don't have much time.

Q. You took both Tennessee and Notre Dame to overtime earlier in the season. How would you compare Louisville to those two squads?
CAROLYN KIEGER: You know, I would say the thing about Louisville is their depth. I would say that's the biggest difference, to be honest. Obviously Notre Dame is injury-plagued right now, and Tennessee is young, but I would say Louisville, when they sub, they come at you with the same intensity as they had with their starters, and I think that speaks volumes for their recruiting and what they've been able to do. Off the top of my head, that would be the biggest thing.

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