home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 24, 2018

Dawn Staley

A'ja Wilson

Alexis Jennings

Albany, New York

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations on the victory.

COACH DAWN STALEY: We're excited to be moving on to the Elite 8. We played an an incredible Buffalo team that took a long time to get control of the game and that was due to the way they played us. I'm extremely proud of our players staying resilient, not playing their best basketball but they did enough to move on to the Elite 8.

Q. Alexis, can you talk about the size advantage?
ALEXIS JENNINGS: You know, I just feel like we just did what we do best. You know, we have four good post players. We just used our advantage, you know. We're all back to the basket type of players and we like to get in, and once we got position on them, it was just focusing and finishing at that point. I think we did a good job with that tonight.

A'JA WILSON: I think everyone kind of knows that's our bread and butter and that's kind of our go to, getting in the paint, whether we are dribbling or using our size inside, that's something we're blessed with and we used that very well. We all bring something to the able to it's hard to stop us in ways.

Q. You seem like an extension of Dawn out on the floor. How do you think about that and do you view it that way?
A'JA WILSON: Man, thank you for saying that. Coach Dawn Staley, you feel me? (Laughing).

I don't know, I just feel like my energy really helps my teammates and that's the biggest thing and that's my goal and whether it's just screaming at one or screaming at everyone or putting the ball in the basket. I feel like that's how I operate to help my team and I really try to use that in every possession that we have. Because I mean, we -- that's how we roll. That's how we have to get hype. We have to let everyone know everything is going to be okay and push through when times aren't in the game. That's my role in this team and I try to embrace it anyway I can. I don't know if I'm trying to be an extension of her because she yells more but I definitely try to help my teammates out in any way.

Q. You talked about how the fourth quarter, you've been in close games throughout the season, but you've turned it on. Seemed like today at the fourth quarter, especially what happened at the end of the third, seems like there was no life on the bench to start the fourth. What changed? What clicked?
A'JA WILSON: It's just us. That's just us. I think we all really kind of came together and said, you know, this is us, and even before the game, I told my team that losing the Sweet 16 is not a good feeling, and I did not want them to have that feeling.

So we were going to do whatever we can and whatever we could in the game to pull out the win. We came together and set the tempo and got the momentum back the way we did and stayed within our system, and we executed pretty well.

Q. You had two points in the first quarter and picked it up in the second. You had a few games that it takes you awhile to get going. What changed for you in the second quarter?
ALEXIS JENNINGS: I don't feel like it takes awhile for me to get going. I feel like I contribute in other areas if I'm not scoring. I play defense and rebound and I just do the best that I can.

I did have a slow start tonight, but I picked it up. I just did what I needed to do for my team tonight and that was just focusing and finishing at the rim, and I appreciate my teammates who were giving me the ball.

Q. There were moments in the game, I sensed, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you were getting pretty frustrated, missed some lay-ups, maybe a couple fouls that you didn't necessarily want to pick up, turnovers. How much did they frustrate you and what did they do to frustrate you?
A'JA WILSON: Honestly, I don't think it was them that really was frustrating me. I think it was myself. I really kind of got -- this whole tournament I've really been inside my head a lot. We were just talking about it on the way here; I feel like I'm defending myself and I'm blocking shots of my own, and that's really not good.

It's going to come. It's going to click. Yes, there was times in the game I was very frustrated at my game, I was very frustrated and I felt like I wasn't contributing to my team the way I should, and I can't stand that feeling. I hate it. And they really helped me lift up and they lifted my spirits. They might not know that, but they definitely do.

I don't think it was necessarily anything Buffalo did. They are a great team but I think it was more myself than them.

Q. Can you talk about the feeling of getting back to the Elite 8 again, and also what you thought of the crowd here today?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I'm excited to get back to the Elite 8. Obviously I don't know a whole lot of people outside of our camp thought we would be here today, but it's always good to prove others wrong and be odds beaters.

I thought the crowd was terrific. Obviously it didn't favor us but just the atmosphere created here, I thought everybody that organized getting people in the stands did a great job of filling it and it felt like a postseason place. It felt like a berth to the Sweet 16 and to the Elite 8. So a lot of energy was in the gym. I take my hats off to the organizers. I thank the MAC for doing a great job at getting people in the stands.

Q. Some of the turnovers, especially early, was that just a result of their pressure or were they trying to force the ball into the post?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I just thought we played too fast. I think our team was anxious to play. We've been working on Buffalo for four days, and you know, we saw ways in which we could be effective and we just played too fast.

I don't think they were speeding us up because they were sagging. It was us. A'Ja walked like five times. That's uncharacteristic of her. It is characteristic of the last few days' games in which we've turned the ball over. We've got to figure out a way in which we limit those turnovers and turn them into at least shots at the basket.

The way we were shooting the ball today, we would score at least half, or even a quarter of them, and I think we would feel a little bit better about getting control of the game a little bit earlier.

Q. You've seen all kind of games in the southeast conference on your schedule. How did all that experience help you today when things weren't going right early?
COACH DAWN STALEY: Yeah, I mean, when you play in the best conference in the country, you sometimes won't play your best basketball for one reason or another.

But it was familiar to us. I don't think we're playing our best basketball. I don't think we're playing, you know, as well as we played two weeks ago in the SEC Tournament. I think the long break really was a disadvantage for our team.

You know, I probably fought myself because I gave them more time than I usually give a team off, just because I thought we played -- we don't have a whole lot of depth and we needed to kind of rest and recover. I think they looked pretty good from a physical standpoint, but from a -- just the chemistry and the cohesion is not there. But at some point, it wasn't there during the season when we played some other SEC teams, but we found a way to win the game. I know there are a lot of other teams that would love to be in our position and winning ugly and continuing, rather than losing pretty.

Q. Apologies if you've already addressed this. But in regards to playing Buffalo now and having played them, what impressed you about them, what do you think about their future, and maybe becoming someone that comes to the Sweet 16 more than just once?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I think they are a great, well coached basketball team, that they play for 40 minutes. They always give you their best, and when you're playing against someone's best, a lot of times, they impact the game. They have got a great quality point guard. They have got a shooter. They have got post players who understand their role and play them to a T. That's why they find themselves always in basketball games and winning a lot of those basketball games.

My hat goes off to them. Felisha does a great job with her team and she had them ready to go today.

Q. When you hear A'Ja talk about that she's fighting herself and you're in the midst of this, you know all to well what it is to be the centrifuge of a team. What are you going to tell her and what have you done in the past to sort of get her right the way you have done in past seasons?
COACH DAWN STALEY: Basically you just talk to her. You don't get her overthinking because she's already overthinking. You get her to familiarize herself with what she does best.

You know, she's by far the best player in the country and she has to get back to feeling the best, and not invincible, but surely, taking a glimpse down at the "S" on her chest because shears been Superwoman for us, and not playing her best basketball. She ends up 20-13, but I'm hoping sooner or later, Monday night, she gets back to playing like A'ja Wilson.

Q. How comforting is it to see Alexis be engaged early?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I'm extremely proud of Alexis. You know, obviously Alexis does a lot of, you know -- she's our bull. She's the physicality. She plays a lot of physicality. I don't think we get her the ball enough, especially when she has two feet in the paint.

When she does, she's pretty efficient, like she showed today. I'm glad that she gave the contribution she gave us today. Kiki is playing tremendous basketball, Lele on the perimeter gave us a bright spot in the second quarter. It's going to take that kind of effort from multiple people in order for us to continue in this Tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the win. Thank you for being here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297