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March 19, 2018

Charli Turner Thorne

Robbi Ryan

Kianna Ibis

Austin, Texas

Texas - 85, Arizona State - 65

CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, obviously, we didn't have the game that we wanted to have this evening. But I could not be more proud of this team and everything that they accomplished this year.

I guess I'll just start by thanking everybody here in Austin for the hospitality. We have had, minus this particular game, a wonderful experience. Thank the NCAA for hosting the championship and everything they do to make it a first class experience. We really appreciate that.

Then, obviously not the way we wanted to go out. We just didn't have it working on all cylinders on either end of the floor, which is kind of rare for us. But credit Texas, they played really well.

We're a little bit undersized, so the physicality of the game kind of caught up with us a little bit. I thought our team down to the last possession kept their character, just kept playing hard. I'll take that over anything in the country, so I'm really proud of them.

Q. Robbi, in the first half of the game (Indiscernible)?
ROBBI RYAN: Like Coach said, we're undersized, but we just need to play better on team defense, and we didn't have our posts back. They got a lot of points in transition, and we needed to pick it up. We were inconsistent throughout the game with that, and they took advantage of it.

Q. Kianna, it's a two-point game early in the third. You guys came out fast in the third and that's when Texas took over. What was the biggest difference after you guys had cut it to two to when they took over?
KIANNA IBIS: I would say the biggest difference is rebounding. They just took advantage of their size and they just kept on taking it to us when we weren't ready. They just took advantage of it. Yeah, they just took advantage of the mismatches, and we didn't have help side today. We didn't have great defense today. We didn't play our best defense today, so they really took advantage of that.

Q. Kianna, you had 19 at the half, and you didn't take many shots in the second half. I don't know if you were sitting a long time or what, but why did you not take as many shots in the second half?
KIANNA IBIS: I was just saying we were looking for different people to keep on scoring. When they key in on me, anybody else on my team can score. So we just looked at different options.

Q. Did you like the tempo you all played at?
ROBBI RYAN: Did I like it?

Q. Yeah.
ROBBI RYAN: I don't think we played fast enough throughout the whole game. Just like I said before, Texas took advantage of that, especially in transition offense. We didn't play fast enough to get back. We could have pushed the ball better also.

Q. How would you describe Texas' guards?
ROBBI RYAN: They're very athletic. They're good players. They were on the better end of the stick today.

Q. Do you have a description of them?
KIANNA IBIS: I would say they're really fast, and their senior guards really took over today and they're really crafty players.

Q. You guys have no seniors, but how far do you think -- a year away is a long time, but how much will this experience help all the players that are coming back?
ROBBI RYAN: It will help tremendously. We're going to be the same team plus adding a few new players. So all this experience will really help us. Each year we're getting better and better, so even though this sucks right now, I'm excited for next year.

Q. Did you feel like you all kept Brooke McCarty in check until she went off in the third quarter there with like ten points?
ROBBI RYAN: Yeah, I mean, we let different players kind of get hot. We just were inconsistent. When the play gets hot, we've got to key on them and we didn't. It's just one of the things that didn't work out for us today.

Q. Why they faster than you expected?
ROBBI RYAN: I didn't know what to expect.

Q. You had talked about the need to try to slow down McCarty off the long rebounds and in transition. She got ten boards tonight. How do you try to stop that and why didn't it work tonight?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, we didn't have a safety. We didn't have one in the half, and we really had none back. We just didn't execute at all tonight, nothing. Our whole game plan was don't give them points in the paint. I mean we wanted to overhelp. We knew from the first minute of the game, their whole game plan was just to rip and go on us. And we have to rely on help side; we don't rely on, hey, I got you, don't worry about it.

We play team defense, and we weren't in sync tonight. We weren't there for each other. We let them iso us. We let them get to the point too easily. We weren't tough enough and consistent enough on our boxing out. Yeah, we really wanted -- our game plan was normally we'll come down and be very aggressive and take the first good luck. We saw early that wasn't going to play well, and we said no. We've got to be a little more patient, you know, and work the ball, get to the other side.

And they're good at defending your first and maybe your second action. After that, we knew we'd get a great look. But it's a young team. So they get all happy out there, and we didn't stick with the game plan as well as we could. We just missed.

I mean, we were on fire in the shootaround, on fire in warm-ups, and it's so funny because as Coach says, it doesn't mean anything. The game starts and you're hot, and we had some really good looks that we didn't hit. But more importantly, we just didn't defend. We just don't give up this many points. This has to be the most we've given up all year. We just weren't in sync defensively.

Obviously, I said it before we played this team, McCarty-Atkins is just a great combo. Playing with a sense of urgency. Obviously we gave them way too many looks. It didn't help us that our starting center had two fouls before we could blink. They really never let -- I mean, that's the key to shut down (Indiscernible), okay, and she was standing on the play. So she didn't get to play.

That hurt us, that hurt us a lot. That hurt our rotation, and our interior defense, and she's one of our best help side defenders. They called it, so it is what it was, but obviously that affected us.

Q. Did you think communication on defense was what you wanted it to be?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: No, definitely not. And they said that at halftime. They have to talk better. We were just out of position, you know? It was kind of like we were in the Nebraska game. We didn't have our help side in the Nebraska game, and we said, you guys we cannot worry about the three point shots. We are in. We know they're going to drive a lot. You know, we just didn't quite lock in.

Q. Were you surprised Texas went small in the first half? They went with 12 guys.
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: No, they've been doing it quite a bit. We anticipated that. We figured Kianna's a tough match-up for anybody. When they went small, put her inside. They went big, and we put her on her shots. It's hard to know how to guard her really.

It's hard because we need three people going, and we only had her going today. We didn't get our other scorers going, and that was tough.

Q. Yet, Coach, you were within two points early in the third and something broke loose. Was there a turning point, a play, something specific that happened that went the other way?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Yeah, I think that's the difference between a senior-junior team, and a sophomore-junior team. We're right there, and then all of a sudden we go back to a quick shot, safety lay-up. Then we carried that over and would let it bother us and we'd get a silly foul.

It was, to me, just that level of experience and maturity where even though we've been that team that's done it to other teams, obviously Texas is a little better at it than us. We needed to respond a little bit quicker. Next year's going to be very exciting. We just didn't have any depth this year too.

We see our guards. We just got tired. Everybody wants to talk about us subbing. Texas is the one subbing a ton of people. I'm like why are you having me sub? I don't have depth. I don't have one guard in the rotation. And then a freshman who did a mice job for us. We have two, but we were pretty limited this year.

That's why I'm just so proud of this too. We just toughed it out. That team as physical, fast, explosive as they are, coming, coming, coming, you would have loved to have two more players to keep up with them. Because I thought we were down a little bit, and we overplayed Kianna a little bit too.

Q. You guys lose Sabrina early on and still find a way to finish impressively in conference play. What is the outlook looking for this program for next year?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: I think we're very excited to be back up to like a Top 10 level next year. We're going to be the senior-junior team next year. The kids that we have coming in are really, really good. Really good. It's going to be exciting to have the depth and experience. We're going to look a lot more like the teams that are still playing right now, with just that great depth and more scoring.

But, again, these guys, you've got to love them. They battled and fought through. If we had one more guard, if we had Sabrina, I know that obviously that would have made a huge difference in terms of being able to sustain like Texas sustained because that's the difference. The top teams, the elite teams just sustain it.

Q. How do you see the Texas match over UCLA?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, they're both great transition teams. I think it's going to be a fantastic game. I think Texas probably has a little more depth. I think both have really good seniors.

So I think UCLA's challenge might be the inside game a little bit, but they've handled that with Oregon and Stanford and other teams in our conference. But it's going to be a track meet. It's going to be a really fun game.

Q. Did you do anything special for Brooke McCarty early with screens because she's so small?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Well, we were just trying to get up over her, you know, chase her over and we just got soft. We played soft on a couple possessions, and then I think one she might have gotten on the kickout. I can't quite remember. But Robbi was on her, Robbi had been guarding Atkins, and Robbi's not ready for the refusal, so it was just a tough night.

Q. Tough night to guard?
CHARLI TURNER THORNE: Yeah, yeah. No excuses. Hat's off to Texas. Karen's done an unbelievable job with that program. We played like Mississippi State. We played everybody in our conference. There are three Top 10 teams right there, maybe four, and Texas is as good as any of them. So I'm sure they'll -- it will be interesting.

I got to back the Pac so, go Bruins, but, I do think Karen's done a great job and they have a great team.

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