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March 18, 2018

Kim Mulkey

Lauren Cox

Juicy Landrum

Alexis Morris

Waco, Texas

Baylor - 80, Michigan - 58.

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Lauren, talk about trying to with defend Thome. What did you do differently in the second half to slow her down?
LAUREN COX: She's really long and she's really skilled around the basket. We had to really adjust. We kind of bodied up to her a little bit, just had to time our blocks better.

Q. Lauren, talk about how your game has kind of come together. Four straight double-doubles. You seem to be playing well right now. Just the difference of what you learned this year.
LAUREN COX: I think a lot of it goes back to last year. We had five really good post players. I learned a lot from that. Then this year just working with Kalani, we work really well together. This time of year, I know that I was going to have to step up, especially with Kristy going down. All of us had to step up. We have a small roster. We're all going to have to step up and do our part.

Q. Juicy, what did you think of your defense tonight?
JUICY LANDRUM: I think I played great defense on Flaherty. She's a really great player. They set a lot of screens for her. But I think I really did a good job of chasing her around the screens and getting over screens. So, I mean, I held her to three points in the second half. I guess that's a pretty good job.

Q. You came out in the third quarter and made a run. What did you talk about at halftime?
LAUREN COX: Start of the first half and the second half are always big for us. We always want to get off to a really good start.

I think we let Flaherty and Thome go off. I think they had 30 of their 34 points at the half. We really focused in on them. We had a lot of good help side.

Q. Alexis, talk about what the Big 12 tournament, these two NCAA games have done for you, the change in your role. How do you feel moving forward?
ALEXIS MORRIS: It's taught me a lot about being mature on the court and just my preparation before games. Like now I know it's win or go home. I have to take every game seriously. I can't take players lightly. I can't take anything lightly.

It's just me having to be more mature, yeah.

Q. Lauren, I know you haven't been here for all of them, but this is 10 straight Sweet 16s for Baylor. Talk about keeping that tradition going.
LAUREN COX: It's a huge honor. This team has gone through a lot this year, a lot of adversity. We fought through all of it. We stayed together.

Getting to the Sweet 16 is really important for us. That was obviously one of our goals. We just want to get over the hump of that Sweet 16, Elite 8, get ourselves to the Final Four.

Q. Looked like y'all were trying to push it on every play, get the ball in transition. Was that a point of emphasis for you guys?
JUICY LANDRUM: I know coach always says -- well, our last game our transition offense wasn't the best. In practice we kind of worked on that. She said we just need to run, so look for that in the game.

ALEXIS MORRIS: I feel like when we push the ball, it makes us a better team. Coach always tell me to work on the John Stockton curl. Is that what it's called?

KIM MULKEY: She doesn't remember who John Stockton is.

ALEXIS MORRIS: She always tell me to work on that curl, push the ball. When you make decisions in transition, can't nobody stop that.

Q. (No microphone.)

KIM MULKEY: Someday they won't know who Michael Jordan is either. We may be dead.

LAUREN COX: Never heard of him at all?

ALEXIS MORRIS: I never heard of him.


KIM MULKEY: I kid you not.

LAUREN COX: That's crazy.

KIM MULKEY: She thinks I just made that name up.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q. You ended up winning pretty comfortably. Was this almost a perfect type game as you head to the regionals?
KIM MULKEY: We ended up winning comfortably. I thought it was a well-played game. I thought both teams were fatigued at the end. You're just playing hard. Everybody knows you go home if you lose.

The game's getting better. We don't have the parity that the men have on playoffs with all the upsets you've seen on the men's side. But the game is getting better on the women's side. There's some upsets, but there's not as many blowout games.

Great crowd today. I don't know what the attendance ended up being. If you're saying did we get pushed today? Sure, we got pushed. Played basically six players. I think Juicy Landrum needs to be written about. That kid comes coming off screens, guarding. Flaherty, she's a hard kid to guard. We tried Morris on her. I said, Forget that, put Juicy on her. You can't wear Morris out who has to communicate with me.

I thought Juicy was tremendous today. She hit big threes, took the ball to the rim. I just thought her defense on that kid, especially in the second half, was good.

Q. You have been here for all 10 of the Sweet 16 appearances. Is there something different and special about what this team has accomplished?
KIM MULKEY: Comparing teams is like comparing your children. You can't do that. Each is different.

So to answer your question, I'm not going to say these things to compare them to other teams, I'm going to talk about this particular team.

This by far, no question about it, has been my roughest, toughest year away from the court for personal reasons both for myself, my child, and these kids and their families. Then you add injuries to it, depleted roster. I kid you not, if you walked up to my office, I looked at this, every day, I'm not big on journals, but every day, I don't know if you say the word traumatic that happened, I wrote it down. Some of it you guys don't even know about because it involves those kids and their personal lives.

To think we're still winning. I'd like to take credit for I kept the stern face, went in there and acted like nothing happened. You can't do that. You have to be real with these kids. You have to address it. It's not going away.

I think anybody that knows me knows I wear my feelings on my sleeves. I say what I have to say. It's not personal. We move on. I don't leave white elephants in the room. Sometimes that offends people.

But these kids cry. These kids have laughed. These kids have pulled for each other. It's been a tough year. But now you go on the court, it is my most enjoyable team because when I turn that corner out of that tunnel every day, I know what I'm getting out of them as people. I know what I'm getting out of them as competitors.

It really is the highlight of my day.

Q. Their two big players scored 30 of their 34 in the first half. What specific adjustments did you make in the second half?
KIM MULKEY: They, like a lot of teams, want to get off to a good start. You're not fatigued early in ballgames. When you start the third and fourth quarter, that's usually where games are won.

I thought Juicy's composure. She was tired. Her ability to not fatigue created some of their missed shots. Then I thought Kalani was challenged at halftime. You got to go up and block a big girl's shot. She's nine for nine at the half.

I just thought that some of their shots they missed was fatigue, but some of their shots was just Juicy and Kalani and Cox and those guys just grinding it out and saying, You're as tired as we are, but whoever defends the best is going to win.

Before the game, to help you guys a little bit, how do you beat a team like Michigan? I gave these kids five things in a scouting report yesterday.

Run. We got athletes, you better run. We're not very polished in running. We want to run when people are back and think we can take them off the dribble. We have to know when to run and when not to run.

I thought taking care of the basketball was very important. We only had nine turnovers. Give us a shot every time, and I thought that we did that.

I thought that offensive boards would be big. We had 21. I challenged Dekeiya at halftime. She had no rebounds. She's our best offensive rebounder. She almost finished with a double-double. She accepted that challenge in the second half, got us nine boards. Lot of them were offensive boards.

Free throws, I said get to the foul line more than Michigan. We did. We missed too many, but we did get to the foul line. So there's our scouting report.

Q. What have you thought of the job that your strength and conditioning staff has done to get the girls to where they are right now?
KIM MULKEY: Matt is new in our program. It's a great story about Matt. He ran the entire athletic department strength and conditioning at Arkansas State, all of it, football, men's basketball. He hired people to do the specific sports.

The first thing that caught my attention was he got in touch with us. I'm thinking, Okay, is he about to get fired and looking for a job. But when he told me the reason he wanted to come to Baylor, it touched my heart. He had his first son. He wants to spend more quality time with his family. Instead of being charged with however many you have on a football team, specific sport in women's basketball, it's 15 kids. That was the first thing.

The second thing is I needed to make sure he was good. I called people. They said, this might make all the coaches at Baylor mad, they said, He'll be the best Baylor has. And I do believe that. He's got energy. He has creative mind. Basketball is a different sport. You have to work individually with those kids. You have to motivate them. They have to want to eat right. You have to figure out what does Kalani need, Juicy need, Cox need, Natalie need. It also allows him to be with his son.

To answer your question, I think he's the best in the business. I think he's the best at Baylor. He speaks all over the country. We're fortunate to have him.

Q. Four straight double-doubles by Lauren. Forget the numbers. What development have you seen in her?
KIM MULKEY: Lauren Cox signed to come to Baylor when we had a slew of post players and All-Americans. That tells you what an unselfish kid she is and also how confident she is in her ability.

Her freshman year, as all of them will tell you, is the most difficult year of your life, not just in sports, but in life. You're leaving your comfort zone after home. While she's close, Flower Mound is certainly not that far away. She has to deal with diabetes. Now she doesn't have mom every day to nag her about, Did you check this, do that?

All the things that a normal student would have to deal with as a freshman, add a little bid to Cox's plate. I challenged her in the locker room, I won't say exactly the way I said it in the locker room when it was over last year, but I challenged her right in her face. I think she accepted the challenge. She's in the best shape of her life. Her diabetes is under control. We had the little episode earlier in the year, but that was because she had Strep throat and fell asleep and didn't check it.

When you do all the things you're supposed to do and you feel good, you play good. I've said this, if you don't understand basketball, you don't understand what she brings to our team. It's easy to see who scores, who rebounds, who blocks shots. Lauren Cox's presence on the defensive end of the floor, her knowledge of the game, where I need to be to help, the angle I need to be, can I get on my man, guard a perimeter player. If you understand the game, you understand her value if she never scores a point or blocks a shot or gets a rebound because she understands what a coach is looking for even when she's on help side.


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