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March 30, 2018

Asia Durr

Myisha Hines-Allen

Jazmine Jones

Jeff Walz

Columbus, Ohio

Mississippi State - 73, Louisville - 63 OT

THE MODERATOR: Joining us on the dais from Louisville, head coach Jeff Walz, student-athletes Jazmine Jones, Asia Durr, and Myisha Hines-Allen. We'll take an opening statement from Coach Walz, and then we'll take questions for the student-athletes.

JEFF WALZ: Thank you. Just first want to congratulate Vic and Mississippi State. What a great ball game. I mean, back and forth runs by both teams. It was a great ball game. I thought we competed, we played our hearts out. I thought they played their hearts out. Just an unbelievable basketball game.

I'd like to thank these three next to me and the nine in our locker room right now. It was one of the most enjoyable seasons that I have had in coaching, and it's not because of our record, it's because of these young women. They're not only great basketball players but they're great people. And I told them, I said, you know, the most disappointing thing to me right now is that we're not going to get a chance to practice tomorrow, and that's the tough part of this.

Athletics is a wonderful thing. It's a great thing, boy, but there's some ups and downs that just kick you square in the ass, and right now this is one of those. But you can't let a moment define you. You've got to figure out what are you going to do to be able to get back here next year and then make sure that doesn't happen.

Myisha Hines-Allen, she's a young lady that we've had four wonderful years together, and I truly -- I treat them all like they're my own daughters. There's ups and downs. They don't like me a lot. My 4 1/2-year-old doesn't like me a lot. It's okay. It's called parenting. But the one thing I do know is this young lady is going to walk out of here with a degree, and she's prepared for life. There's no doubt in my mind. No matter what Myisha decides to do, she's going to be successful, and we take great pride in that here. Not only winning basketball games, but making sure they are productive citizens, can make a contribution when they're out there because, as my grandfather says at 96, that's the most important thing I can do as a coach is make sure they go out there and they are productive and they contribute because he needs to keep getting his social security check. So he wants them to get good jobs and pay taxes.

So it's just -- it's a tough one, but I couldn't be more proud of these young women.

Q. Myisha, end of regulation, overtime, what was going through your mind as you see the shot go up right there at the end of regulation?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: The one when she shot the ball? Who shot?

Q. The shot right there at the end of regulation.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: I don't know, to be honest. I seen it go up, and I was like hope she misses, of course, because we would have won the game, but she's a phenomenal three-point shooter. Phenomenal team that we just played. It was a mental breakdown that we had, and she got that open look.

Q. Myisha, on your layup near the end of regulation, you cut to your left, and it was an open lane to the basket. Did you think for a second about taking the ball out rather than laying it in? And did you think you left them too much time?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Well, the last play I had an open layup, and I decided to dribble it out. My teammates told me, you have an open layup, shoot the layup. I got the opportunity again, and I wasn't going to disappoint my teammates.

JEFF WALZ: That was the right decision. You want to score. You're going to go to the line anyway, and you'll have to make two free throws. So that was the right move. I told them, if you've got a layup, you take it.

Q. Jazmine, how tough was it to defend this Mississippi State team that had so many different options?
JAZMINE JONES: It was really tough. They have great guards all down their team. Victoria, she's a great player. She was an All-American. It was really tough guarding her. And their three-point shooters, because they can spread out the floor while driving. So it was really tough tonight.

Q. Jazmine or Asia or Myisha, there at the end of overtime, it seemed like their No. 15, Teaira, kind of stepped it up a bit. Did you sense that out on the court? Did she become a little bit more of a force?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: No, she was doing that all game. How many rebounds did she have today?


MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: 25 rebounds. That didn't happen in the last five minutes of the game. She's a phenomenal player too. She's an All-American. Kudos to her. She did a great job in overtime.

Q. Question for Asia. When you think of Myisha Hines-Allen, what comes to mind?
ASIA DURR: (Crying.) I'm sorry. I can't talk.

When I first got here, she did so much for me. My first year here was so hard for me. She's the one who brought me through, took me underneath her wing, and she's done so much for our program. She's a great person, and she played her butt off tonight.

It's been so fun to play with her my three years. I will miss her a whole lot. I'll be by her side throughout her career. If she needs anything, I'll be here. I wish the best of luck to her, and I know she's going to do great things.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. We're going to start with questions for the head coach.

Q. Coach, congratulations on a wonderful season.
JEFF WALZ: Thank you.

Q. You mentioned in the press conferences before McCowan was probably the biggest difference. What did you tell your post players to try to do to try to keep her out, maybe push her out, so she wasn't a factor on the offensive glass?
JEFF WALZ: We were trying to push her out away from the basket, trying to make it as difficult as we could. I thought Sam competed and fought all night long. I mean, all of them did. Myisha did a heck of a job in there competing and fighting.

Teaira's a great player. I mean, we all know that. She did a phenomenal job on the offensive glass, and that was the one concern that we had was trying to keep her off the offensive glass, trying to face guard or do whatever we could. Unfortunately, we just weren't able to do it.

But I couldn't be prouder of a group. I mean, it's a tough one. It's just tough. Yeah, it sucks.

Q. Jeff, what was your view of Sam's fourth foul and her technical foul?
JEFF WALZ: Well, I can't comment on much. I mean, I'll get in trouble. But I just can't -- you know, she slapped the floor out of frustration. She wasn't trying to mock the officials or anything like that. You know, whatever. They're all paid a good amount of money to be out there officiating. So what do I know about that? It's just, it's -- it's tough. She's battling the entire game, getting beat up too. It was physical underneath there.

It's a shame it has to come down to that. If she had said something derogatory to the officials, which if she did, then she definitely deserved it. Slapping the floor -- you know, who knows?

Q. Did it impact the game?
JEFF WALZ: It was a five-point swing. So it impacted the game.

Q. Congratulations on the season that you had. I just want to return to Teaira for a minute. You talked before the game about having a plan A, plan B, plan C. A lot of that really did pay off. She didn't get a field goal until two minutes left in the first half, and you guys down the stretch were denying her the ball. You see her end up with 21 and 25, does it feel like this is the best you can hope for as a team playing against her?
JEFF WALZ: We had a three-point lead with 11 seconds to go. You guys make it sound like we just got our ass kicked. I mean, we competed. These young women, we did a heck of a job. We knew we weren't going to be able to hold her scoreless.

I had talked before about just guarding everybody else and seeing if she can score 50 on us. She's got 25 rebounds, halfway there on the boards part. You know, I thought we did a really good job on her. I thought we did a really good job. But you've got to give Johnson credit. She goes 2 of 6 in the field and hit probably the biggest shot in her career.

Q. When you think about Louisville greats, you think of, obviously, Angel McCoughtry, Candice Bingham, Shoni Schimmel. How does Myisha fit in that category?
JEFF WALZ: You're looking at a kid that scored over 2,000 points and 1,000 offensive rebounds. I mean, there's only one other player that's done that, Angel McCoughtry, and she's pretty good. She's right up there with the best of them. I couldn't be more proud of her. I'll miss seeing her in practice, there's no question.

Q. Was Danberry very much a part of your scouting report?
JEFF WALZ: Oh, yeah. She definitely was a part of our scouting report. She drives the thing. We knew she was a driver. She attacked the rim. I've got to give her credit for stepping up and going 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. She hit some big free throws. She was on the scouting report. We knew that.

But unfortunately we just -- you know, it was a great basketball game. It was just a great game.

Q. Jeff, with so many swings, the Sam foul, and the three at the end and the three at the end of the third quarter too, was there one from your chair that stuck out the most, as most impactful? How did you keep your team --
JEFF WALZ: It was a game of runs, big time shots by big time players. Obviously, Johnson's three was huge. Obviously, sends the game into overtime. But there's plays in the first half, I just told our kids in the locker room, everybody is going to look at that play and be like, man, that's the play of the game.

I've got about six of them I can show you from the first half where we didn't communicate, we didn't switch like we're supposed to, and we give up a layup on an out of bounds play. Well, that's just as critical as that last shot, but it's sports, which is great, everybody remembers the wow moment. They don't look all the way back and go, man, if you get that stop there, you win by two.

But that possession there, it was just a hard fought game. I'm happy for Vic. Vic's a great friend. That's a part of this job was tough. You build friendships with people, and then you're out there trying to beat them, and as bad as it hurts for me and my players, you're crazy if there's not a little bit of you that's not like, you know, he's a good friend. I'll be watching him, unfortunately, on Sunday instead of us.

THE MODERATOR: Time for one last question.

JEFF WALZ: I got all day.

Q. Just in terms of Myisha's future, what do you think she brings to a WNBA team?
JEFF WALZ: I think she brings power, brings strength. She can play inside out. She'll continue to work on her three-point shot, but I think she has the ability to extend to that range. Rebounding, just -- I mean, she's got a chance to have a pretty long career in the WNBA and then playing overseas.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

JEFF WALZ: Thank you. And I'd like to thank Columbus and everybody here. It's been a wonderful, wonderful event. Columbus has done a fantastic job, the committee, everybody. So thank you for that.

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