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June 1, 2018

Megan Kleist

Jenna Lilley

Shannon Rhodes

Gwen Svekis

Mike White

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Washington - 6, Oregon - 2

THE MODERATOR: This is the Game 5 press conference featuring the Ducks of Oregon. We're joined by head coach Mike White, student-athletes Jenna Lilley, Gwen Svekis, Shannon Rhodes and Megan Kleist.

Coach White, you were able to -- when you swept Washington during the regular season, you were able to beat Gabbie playing twice. From your vantage point what was the difference tonight?

MIKE WHITE: Oh, that's a good question. Obviously she pitched well. But we watched her skip the ball down. We did not make any adjustments. We really played into the game plan.

I'm very disappointed in the way our team approached that game. Offensively and defensively. They just simply outplayed us. Obviously in all phases.

I thought our pitching staff did a pretty good job, but defensively, and I said this before, defense wins championships and it can also lose championships. We just did not make the big play when we had to and they did. They made some superb plays out there.

But we'll bounce back. We know what we have to do. We just didn't execute. We didn't do what we needed to do to beat them today. They're a tough team. They were ranked number one in the country for a long time for a reason. They have a good pitching staff, superb defense, and a good mix of power and speed, and they put the pressure on you. But unfortunately we weren't able to make the big play.

Q. Is this the moment where you draw on the loss and talk about how it does benefit you in these types of situations?
MIKE WHITE: Well, yeah, we have to. We've shown we can bounce back, but we've got to play better softball. That's what it is. Their performance today is not going to get us much further if we don't get better. But we've shown we can be better, and that's the frustrating part about it is not putting your best game out there on the big stage. And we'll talk about that.

But I'm proud of my players. I'm proud of the way they played this year. Unfortunately, we just didn't have our best game today.

Q. Megan, you were rolling along through four innings matching plays. What do you think happened in the fifth inning when it unraveled a little bit?
MEGAN KLEIST: When people get put on base by me personally on walks and stuff, that puts unneeded pressure on your defense. And I obviously can't make the big pitches when I needed to. So I think that was just, I don't know, kind of where it went wrong. I could have gotten out of that easily by obviously not letting them get on base.

But, you know, you can't give up walks. Because normally it comes back to bite you, and that's what it did today.

Q. Was the heat a factor at all?
MEGAN KLEIST: No, it's just as hot for them. That's something we've been talking about all week. Every team here, nobody can get used to this. It's hot, obviously, but it's just as hot for the other team.

Q. Gwen and Jenna, how difficult is it for you guys to sit back and look at this game having scored 11 runs yesterday and obviously it's just two today? Coming into the 7th inning, how difficult is that for you guys to sort of sit there and swallow knowing that you beat Washington three times as well this year?
GWEN SVEKIS: Well, it's obviously very frustrating, but we have to give credit to Gabbie Plain. The reason she's so good is not because she blows it by people or a ball that's untouchable movement-wise, it's because she hits her lanes really well.

And like Coach said, we didn't make adjustments to her. We knew exactly what was coming, and we didn't go after it. So it's very frustrating, but at the end of the day, I think today was more on defense than it was on offense. Yes, our offense didn't play up to its abilities, but our defense is what let us down.

JENNA LILLEY: I just don't think we committed to what we needed to do early on enough with enough urgency or we didn't fully commit to what she was giving us.

Q. Mike, you guys have been in this position before here as well. Just what's the message going forward, and what do you guys need to do going forward?
MIKE WHITE: Well, it's like I've been saying, we've got to play better defense, better decision-making, expect the ball to be hit hard. At this level it's going to be hit hard. We've got to make better throws in pressure situations. We should have been out of that inning, you know?

One, we've got to handle that first hit. Two, we've got to make the throw home, and we don't make the throw. So it's a little frustrating. It puts a lot of pressure on our pitches. I know Megan's taken a lot of the lump here, but she did a great job of making good pitches at key times, and we didn't step up behind her.

But things happen for a reason, and we've got to figure out what that is. We just simply need to get better in key situations. It's frustrating, because we work on that, you know, but sometimes it doesn't happen. I don't know why, but we will look at this game. We'll go back, look at the tape, see where the pitches were, see how she was pitching us, make the adjustments and come out and give it everything we've got tomorrow to fight to try to keep another day alive.

Q. Shannon, I know you guys played Georgia and Florida State way back when, but will it be kind of nice not to play a Pac-12 team tomorrow and try to stay alive?
SHANNON RHODES: Sure, if you want to put it in that perspective, but I think when you get to the postseason, everything starts over for everybody 0-0. So it doesn't matter what we did before, obviously, playing Washington tonight. But we're going to go out there and give it our best every pitch.

Q. In Washington's press conference yesterday, head coach Heather Tarr, she definitely did not forget the sweep. Could you tell there was a different level of intensity from Washington today compared to the regular season because of that?
JENNA LILLEY: I think Washington always plays intensely. They always come out with a chip on their shoulder and rah-rah, and the Husky fans love their Huskies, so I think they played exactly how they did at home, and we didn't play how we played them at home, which is the real difference. I think they played exactly the same way, and that's what made them good, except when we played them there, we made the defensive plays or we stopped the bleeding and we hit their pitchers around, and today we didn't.

Q. Coach, maybe I'm naive and don't quite understand this, but whoever you play tomorrow will have had to win in the morning. So how do you game plan? A lot of time tomorrow morning. Do you game plan both teams, all their pitchers, or do you somehow have to do that after that game and then convey that to your team?
MIKE WHITE: Everything you just said, that's what we've got to do. We have to prepare for both teams. We have seen Georgia before. We've seen Florida State before. I think those are the two teams, right? Yeah, we've seen them before, so it shouldn't take much. We have tape and film on them. Obviously they've made adjustments throughout the year. Georgia's hitting the ball very well. Florida State's got good pitching, good depth at pitching, so it should be an interesting match-up between these two to come through the playoffs. Then we've just got to be ready.

Q. Shannon, what were you guys talking about after the game? What were you guys coming together saying going for it for tomorrow?
SHANNON RHODES: I think the main message is you can't go out there and expect to win. You need to go out there and fight every single pitch. Be focused every single pitch. There is a lot of focus after ten seconds, walk out, focus back in. And I think personally I didn't do that for my team today. Just moral of the story, got to do better, got to be better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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