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March 22, 2018

Monique Billings

Jordin Canada

Kelli Hayes

Kansas City, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our student-athletes from UCLA, Jordin Canada, Kelli Hayes and Monique Billings. Welcome ladies.

Q. Kelli, you guys are going to your third straight Sweet 16 prior to the one when you were sophomores, this program hadn't gone in a while. How would you compare your feelings to going into that Sweet 16 game versus the one that you have now going into this third one?
KELLI HAYES: I think there is less anxiety because we've been here before. Three times in a row that's a good luck charm, but it's also something that not every team gets to the and we've done it and we say there is a legacy we want to build at UCLA and we've built it. No program in UCLA basketball history has made it three times in a row and we've done it and we're not done. There is more ease with the maturity and growth we have had and the experiences we have had to get us to this moment and where we're at now. If anything I think we're ready. I know we're ready to conquer this and exceed in ways that we haven't before.

Q. Jordin was talking to Coach, and she mentioned with the other 3 seeds going down that got your attention. What was your mindset when you saw the other 3 seeds go down, a little more excitement to get the game going?
JORDIN CANADA: It's the tournament, so we know there is always going to be upsets, but Christian, our video coordinator, brought it to our attention. We didn't have a great game against American. They stuck around throughout the majority of the game and we didn't play to our potential. Seeing the upsets that day and coming in having a mindset that that wasn't going to be us and we wanted to conquer bigger things. So by that we just had to play our game. When we played against Creighton we came out strong and played consistent throughout the whole game. I think that's how we need to play the rest of the tournament.

Q. Jordin, Cori was talking about when you guys watch film together she learns from you. You have become adept at breaking down film. She also talked about you sat down a few years ago and said this is what I need to do to become a better point guard. Talk about that process, how the two of you have worked together because I know she played point guard, but what that relationship has been like and how that's helped you grow?
JORDIN CANADA: Our relationship at the beginning was up and down at first. I came to her I sat down and we had a conversation. We talked it out. How can she make me better as a point guard, the things that I wanted to do to get better and from there we just kind of grew our relationship and that came with watching a lot of film together, just seeing ways, what she is thinking and what I'm thinking and how we can combine our ideas to help our team as well as to help me grow.

But our relationship wasn't always great. But now I can definitely say that we're at a great spot right now, and I really love Coach and what she has done for us and for me as well. I can say it wasn't always a great relationship.

Q. Kelli, Coach was talking about how important rebounding is going to be in this battle. You know what you're going to get from Monique and Lajahna. What do you do to compete against rebounds against Texas?
KELLI HAYES: When we watched film this morning Coach said we need guard rebounding. Obviously we are going to get what we get from Mo. She has been consistent. But people like Michaela coming off the bench. She is a huge spark for our team. When she comes in the game she is resilient at getting boards. Doesn't matter who is in front of her, or people like Chantel. She comes off the bench and gives us great spark of getting the ball, or me, Jordin, KB, JD. We need to get those boards and it's not always easy. Sometimes guards are bigger than you or you're going against a post player but at the end of the day we have this thing called passion play and passion play. One of the passion plays are assist box outs and maybe I could box out a player and I may not get the ball, but I box out so well that Jordin gets the ball. Those are ways we can build the rebounding margin. Those are little things that we can focus on and every possession matters. Getting every rebound on offense and defense and knowing that the ball is ours versus just like staring at it, we have to go and get it.

Q. Monique, you and Jordin played with Ariel on the under 23 team and the scrimmage, too. You have familiarity with Texas. They're such a good guard team and rebounding team. What are the biggest challenges you face especially as well as you know this team?
MONIQUE BILLINGS: That's a really good question. I think we match-up pretty evenly in all positions. They're fast and athletic and that's how we describe our team as well.

I think it's honestly about who wants it more. They play with a lot of passion so we have to be able to match that and maybe exceed that. I think that's how we have to plan on starting the game. We have to set the tempo and we just have to come out on fire and just come out with a fire about us that they have to catch up to us. I think that's the plan going into the game tomorrow.

Q. Jordin, Kelli was talking about the tradition and history. Where you went to high school is not very few from Pauley Pavilion right? 5 miles in traffic?
JORDIN CANADA: 10 to 15 minutes.

Q. What's it meant to you to be this team that's been the first to go to three Sweet 16s? When you came here it had been a while. What does that mean to you?
JORDIN CANADA: It's amazing, an honor and a blessing to be a part of this group. That's what I came here to do. I came here to create a legacy with UCLA basketball and with the girls I played with, the girl that I'm with right now, next to me. It's an amazing feeling that we set out what we came here to do, and to know that we're a part of a legacy that we created and to be a part of UCLA history is just something that you don't come across every day, and I'm just thankful to be a part of it and to represent, you know, where I come from and to represent UCLA and west coast basketball. No matter the result of what happens, just knowing that what we did here at UCLA is something that no one can take away from us and I think that's what's most important. It's not just about the legacy that we left, but it's also the impact that we left on little girls' lives and other people, honestly, adults as well. Just being able to impact other people, I think that's what's most important. Just to be a part of something great is an honor and a blessing and I'm thankful.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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