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March 24, 2018

Jeff Walz

Myisha Hines-Allen

Asia Durr

Arica Carter

Sam Fuehring

Jazmine Jones

Lexington, Kentucky

JEFF WALZ: Just, again, want to say what an honor it is to be back, to have the opportunity to continue to play at this point in time. Being involved in the Elite 8 is quite an accomplishment by these young women next to me and our young women that are still in our locker room.

It was a great game last night against a very, very good Stanford ballclub, and we're just excited to be here and have the opportunity to compete again tomorrow against Oregon State, who's just been playing fantastic basketball. Very well-coached. Scott and I had the opportunity to get to know each other at USA Basketball a few summers ago, and he just does an outstanding job. And I know it should be a very entertaining game tomorrow.

Q. Arica and Asia, this is a very much dual-threat team. They can go inside to their center and they're also shooting over 40 percent from three. How do you manage that?
ASIA DURR: I mean, it's been the same thing from day one, from the first game. We've played teams that had great three-point shooters, who had great post players, so it's going to be the same thing, the same principles, the same thing that we've talked about throughout the whole year. But yeah, they have some great scorers all across their team, so it's going to be a challenge for us.

ARICA CARTER: I agree, just making sure that teams score over us rather than around us, keeping people in front of us.

Q. Sam, your coach last night was describing a typical play of yours as having three players lying on the floor. Has anybody ever described your game as delicate or dainty?
SAM FUEHRING: Well, they always say that I'm really aggressive. Honestly when I got the rebound, I didn't even notice that I knocked three people down. I noticed one girl was on the floor, and I tripped over her, and that was about it. But yeah.

Q. Myisha and Sam, when you look at Oregon State's front court, what's really the challenge of defending them, particularly with Gülich?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: They're big. Their post players are pretty big. That's really it. AC touched on it, making them score around us, not just having our hands up and trying to contest every shot that we can. But I mean, yeah, they're good.

SAM FUEHRING: Yeah, they're really big. I mean, heart over height. I mean, as long as we work hard, we should be able to stop them from scoring.

Q. When you look at how they pass the ball and how she moves around the perimeter and around the post, what kind of challenge does that present for you all or present for anybody really trying to stop her, physically?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yeah, I mean, she's able to move, so it's going to be different. We haven't really faced a post player with her size that's able to move, do as great footwork.


MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yeah, and that can pass the ball extremely well. But we're ready. We're ready for the challenge, me, Sam, Bionca and Kylee. We're ready all to dial it in and help our team in any way we can.

Q. Jazmine, there was a play last night where you had a breakaway layup and missed it and ran down the court holding your head. What was it about that one that was so aggravating?
JAZMINE JONES: I don't even know how I missed it, but it was just embarrassing. Me and Coach Walz looked at each other, had the same expression, like what in the world? So I apologized to my teammates afterwards. It was just so embarrassing.

Q. As easy as it has looked for you all, Myisha, in these three games, where do you feel like there's room for growth? Where do you feel like you haven't really touched upon something that you can do in this postseason?

JEFF WALZ: I'll help her out. It's not been easy. That's the thing I'll say. These young women, the entire team, how hard we defend. It's not like we're just walking out there and not playing hard. They're playing as hard as any group that I've had, and because they're playing as hard as they are, they've been able to capitalize on those things. So I promise you, there's nothing easy about what these young women are doing. The scoreboard might make it look like it's an easy big win, but it's a battle.

Q. I guess the question is where do you feel like there's room for improvement?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Everywhere. Every game you learn something new, and every game you've got to grow. We didn't start the tournament off like we should have, and then from then on, I feel like we've gotten better, but we're not stopping here, we're trying to go far in this tournament. There's room for improvement in every aspect of our game.

Q. Sam, watching you over the course of the season, quite often you're the one getting knocked down. Is that just a factor of being in there mixing it up, or why does that happen so much maybe to you and not to others?
SAM FUEHRING: Why I fall? I'm like the clumsiest athletic person you'll ever meet. I don't know, I just can't catch my balance sometimes, or sometimes I try to sell a foul that they don't call. I mean, that's like mostly why I'm on the ground all the time. Yeah, trying to sell the foul. Got to act it out.

Q. Was there anything now that you've kind of watched Oregon State a little bit that surprised you about them? I don't know how familiar you guys were with them being in the Pac-12 and everything before this weekend.
SAM FUEHRING: I feel like nothing really surprises us. Going into the NCAA Tournament, you have to expect everyone is going to be good, especially going deeper into the tournament, everyone will be better and play harder. So I mean, we're expecting them to come out and play hard because they made a deep tournament run.

Q. Arica, Coach before this round was talking about the challenge of getting past Stanford's defense and really just trying to score and push the ball against them. Do you see any kind of similarities with them, with Stanford and Oregon state, that you have to kind of do the same thing or do it better or do something different?
ARICA CARTER: Yes, like when we played against Stanford, we have to box out against Oregon State. They play very hard, and they go after rebounds hard, so we have to make sure that we're boxing out and make sure that we push the ball in transition. When we push it in transition, we're almost unstoppable, so we have to make sure that we continue to do the things that we've done that got us where we are.

Q. Being that it's been four years for you to be in this game, how have you prepared your players for this stage, or do you try to get them just to treat it like just any other game or appreciate just the magnitude of the moment?
JEFF WALZ: Well, you know, we've sat here and talked about it all year, about what our goals are. One of our goals was to compete for a National Championship, and we know you can't do that unless you get the opportunity to get to a Final Four and keep going.

We understand the importance of this game. Oregon State understands the importance of the game. But at the same time, you're not trying to throw any extra pressure. It's basketball. You know, it's what we do. They work their tails off to be good at it and to perform on the floor.

But you know, we've always talked all year about the next game. You know, we're going to worry about the next game. So we focus on what's at hand right now, and then we'll worry about the next one when that comes. But right now, our next game is tomorrow. We don't look past that, and these young women have done a great job of focusing in.

Q. What makes Oregon State so effective from behind the three-point line?
JEFF WALZ: Well, they make them. I mean, they shoot the ball. They're really good shooters. I mean, they've all spent time in the gym. They've worked on their game. You know, when you've got four or five that can step out and make the three, it opens up things. It opens up driving lanes. It opens up the post game.

You know, it's just like us. We get open shots from the three-point line because of what Myisha and Sam can do in the paint. You know, you've got to have good post players in order to have a good perimeter game, or one can cancel the other out. Because their post play is so good, it helps open up the three-point shot.

Q. I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit about Sam and her bull-in-a-china-shop approach to basketball? Did you see that scouting her in high school as it developed, or is this innate?
JEFF WALZ: Sam has always played hard. Sam has always played extremely hard, in high school, in summer ball. Sam was not always as efficient around the basket back then as she is now. Sam is in probably the best shape of her life, which is translating over onto the basketball court. Her ability to finish with her left and right hand is as good as any post player that I've coached in 22 years. She keeps it high. She finishes with it high.

And then her ability to finish with contact, you know, that's one thing you don't see a lot. When someone gets hit, sometimes they'll end up going to the free-throw line for two shots, but they can't finish it. Sam finishes a lot. Our ACC championship game she finished a huge and-one against Notre Dame to basically seal it away, and she got hit pretty good but was still able to finish it.

Sam has always been one that's embraced contact. She never shies away from it.

You know, we wear all of our technology, our Catapult, our Polar, everything, to track what our kids are doing during the game, and last night's game Sam had the highest output that she's had the entire season. That's high-intensity jumps. That's all her explosive stop and starts. It's pretty impressive.

Q. You mentioned the similarities between your team and theirs with post players, obviously being able to shoot the three. When you watch them, what's the biggest difference you maybe see between the two teams?
JEFF WALZ: Well, you know, Scott does a great job of making sure he's got -- normally four shooters out on the floor at one time. We don't have four shooters, per se, to throw out there, so we're going to try to use a little bit more athleticism, try and get the tempo of the game more in our favor. I thought Scott did a remarkable job of controlling the entire game last night against Baylor. I thought the game was played at his pace, at their pace. They slowed it up when they wanted to. Very seldom did you see a shot go up with 16 or 17 left in the shot clock. They normally got a quick score, which they got a few of them, or they made you guard for 19, 20 seconds, and then that's when it becomes difficult because the more cuts they get the chance to make, the harder it is to make sure you're keeping track of the ball and your man.

Q. On the other side of that, with the way that you all pass the ball and try to push that quick pace, how do you adapt when a team tries to slow you down, maybe try to make more passes, maybe try to go deeper into the clock?
JEFF WALZ: Well, we've had teams that have done that before in the past. We have a great league where we have a lot of teams that play different styles. And we have some that will play a more -- not conservative but more methodical, trying to make you defend. So we face that. What we have to try to do is speed them up offensively some, try to put a little pressure on the ball.

And then we've got to look to run in transition when it's there. The thing you can't do is take bad shots early. You know, a bad shot early then is going to turn around to you going down there and guarding for 30 more seconds, and then you've got to rebound the basketball. Because you know, you guard for 25, 26 seconds, they shoot, they miss, you give up an offensive rebound, you're possibly guarding for a minute. You know, so rebounding the ball is going to be very, very important for us.

Q. How would you assess your distribution just particularly with the assists? I think last night you had like 17 or 18 assists or something like that. Are you pleased with that aspect, how you've been able to move the ball around in games like that?
JEFF WALZ: Yeah. No, I think that's why we're playing at the level we're playing right now is because we have five, six players that can score. You've got to have a threat on the floor at every spot if you want to have a chance to get to a Final Four, have a chance to win a championship.

You know, you've got to have people that have to be guarded. You know, those are the teams that we play throughout our career here when we can say we're not going to guard this player, make them shoot, then it puts some pressure on them.

But there aren't many as you get into this right now. I don't know who you want to guard on our team. I think everybody has shown that they can score the basketball when needed. But at the same time, I've been really impressed with our kids because if someone is open early in the shot clock, they don't take a bad shot because they know they're going to get that shot again after ball reversal, and it's hard to rebound if you take a quick shot because the defense has never had to rotate or adjust.

Q. The one-day turnaround in a tournament is always tough. How tough a preparation is this game, and you get even less time given how late it was and how early it is on Sunday? What's the preparation like here?
JEFF WALZ: Well, we had the chance, the staff, we went through some film late last night once we got back to the hotel, so it was a late night for us. But the players, as soon as we could get them out of here, we got them out. We got them back. They all said they slept good, so that was encouraging. We watched some film again this morning, went through a scouting report. We'll go out here today in practice and just walk through things. It's not going to be anything intense.

You know, whatever we are, I mean, 30 something and 2, we're 36, 37 games into the season. If you don't know what to do by now, we've got problems.

So I think we can verbally tell them this is what we need to do, show them on film, and then go out and execute. You know, sometimes early in the year you need more reps to be able to get a good understanding of what your opponent is trying to do, but now I think we can get some reps out there on the floor today, but it's not something where we're going to go out there for an hour and a half and practice real hard. We need fresh legs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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