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March 8, 2019

Jody Wynn

Missy Peterson

Amber Melgoza

Las Vegas, Nevada

Washington - 68, Oregon State - 67

COACH WYNN: What a game. A few years back I saw a guy go from a D-III head coaching job and take over an Oregon State team that was depleted, and he was able to convince some great players to come to Corvallis and turn that thing around, and I always admired that.

You know, I was trying to build a program myself at Long Beach State with incredible fan support. I just have always admired the way that Scott has gone about building his team, and he's such an incredible strategist. I never really told him, but we got the chance to play against his team in Corvallis my last year at Long Beach, and our gutty little 49ers had a chance to pull off the biggest upset in 90 years in an NCAA tournament.

And I just was saying like, you know, this is why I do what I do to empower young women and give them an opportunity to do something that is great and that will stick with them the rest of their lives and maybe do something that they don't believe they can do.

Coming here to Washington, you know, everybody says all the stars have graduated, you've inherited kids that might not have had an opportunity to play ever Division I basketball, a couple walk-ons that are now on scholarship on our team playing out here tonight.

It takes time to build a program, but when you have incredible women that have high character and they check their egos at the door, you know, and they just want to learn and want to get better, and truly appreciate all the small things that these guys do, you know, it's pretty awesome to see them be able to achieve the reward of the scoreboard for all their hard work.

It's really difficult to win at the Division I level. I'm sure at every level, especially in the greatest conference in the country. You know, we only had two coming into this tournament, and everybody wrote us off and an easy out, whatever. But when you have a group of people that believe in each other and love each other and inspire one another, I learn so much from these guys every day.

I'm just incredibly proud of their courageous effort. I'm proud of their resiliency. I'm proud of their coachability. And I admire their team chemistry. Sorry, that was long-winded.

Q. Take us through that last five seconds, from the play, the shot, the technical foul. That probably felt like an eternity, but just walk through that last few seconds.
COACH WYNN: Well, it was sideline out of bounds, and we drew up a screen-to-screener action for this one right here. And our best inbounder all year long, or actually for two years, has been Missy Peterson. I just trust her with the ball in her hands.

We did a screen-to-screener action, and we said they're going to switch a lot of stuff, so if we can't get it to Breezy, Mai-Loni flash back to the ball, and she's going to step in. And she's a basketball player, Missy is. She's not a robot. She just plays free and makes decisions, and they went to a zone. We set a pin screen for J-Mo. We set a screen to screener. We couldn't get it in to Amber, and we were able to get it back to somebody with ice in her veins. She's just a gutty, a gutty girl. Yeah, she knocked an incredible shot down.

I think the inbounder is usually the most dangerous player on the floor in a situation like that. She just moves so well when the ball's not in her hands. So she stepped up and made a big-time shot. And then we got a technical. We get excited somebody said. I think it was you that said like you celebrated yesterday like you won a National Championship. You're darn right we did. Why not? Wins are hard to get. My goodness, you know, this is a tough gig we've got. It's hard to get wins in this league.

So, yeah, we got a little too happy on the sidelines. The officials made the right call.

Q. Missy and Amber, wins have been pretty hard to come by especially in the last few weeks. To put these two games together back-to-back in this tournament, just both of you kind of talk about what it means? How it feels?
AMBER MELGOZA: It's amazing. We couldn't have done it without our coaches. Just the UW staff in general and my teammates obviously. But we've obviously had a tough season. We've just worked so hard, and we've had so much toughness and grit, and just heart. I thought that the last couple weeks almost, we've really focused on our defense, and I think that's something that's really going to carry us on and carried us on in this game for a win.

MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, adding on to that, we've battled through a lot of adversity this season, but one thing that has always remained the same is how together we are, our team, our coaching staff, everyone supporting us. We never quit on each other. We never gave up on each other despite our record. Even when things got hard, we kept our heads up. We see behind closed doors how good this team is and how bright our future is.

So these last couple games, you know, we weren't ready for our season to be over, and we laid everything out we've got on that floor. We pulled it off two games in a row, and I couldn't be happier about it. It's even better to do it with the people that you love, so it's great.

Q. Missy, Coach certainly gave the Xs and Os of that last sequence. From your perspective, what is going through your mind when the ball finds its way to you there and you make the shot? Obviously, there is enormous jubilation, but the chaos that falls there after. But sticking before that, the ball gets there, and you make it. What's going through your mind in those couple seconds?
MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, when I had the ball out of bounds, the first thing I noticed was when they were kind of sagging off in a two-three zone, I waited a little and tried to see what was going on in the screening action. You could they were really (indiscernible). So the second I saw Mai, they weren't looking at me throwing the ball in. So I hit Mai and I knew their eyes were on Amber and Jenna and the rest of the shooters on the floor. I stepped in and didn't realize I was as deep as I was. But at that point, you've got to let it fly. When it went in, it was a great feeling.

Q. Obviously a tremendous win for you guys. But had any number of things in those final 30 seconds gone another way, we'd be talking in a little different way about what Hannah did in the last 30 seconds in two instances. What do you say to her here in this spot? It's easier after a win, for sure, but what do you say to her about what was an inexplicable shot and then leaving the bench?
COACH WYNN: These are young student-athletes that are trying to learn every day, you know? Nobody's a professional. And Hannah's going to be a great coach one day. She wants to be a coach, and she's going to be a great coach.

It's certainly easier to talk about it now, but it's a life lesson. We talk about life lessons all the time. We talk about who we're becoming as women and the character that we're building. So I call them kids because I'm a mom and I have two kids, and these kids sometimes do things like make great shots and big plays, and sometimes make mistakes.

You know, she's just -- if you know Hannah Johnson, she has an incredible heart. I mean, she'd give her shirt off her back to anybody, and she was just so proud of her teammates, and you can't fault that. You just can't, you know.

You know, she got a little excited on the break, and she was open, and she just got a little excited. That's all. But it's a life lesson, you know. She's going to be a coach, and she's going to talk about time and score to her players for the rest of her life, and staying on the bench (laughing) .

Q. For Amber, last season around this time you guys lost in the first round to Cal, but it was a very close game. You had, I think, 30 points. Was that in the back of your mind anytime this week, thinking that I don't want to go out like that and we have to perform down the stretch so we can continue?
AMBER MELGOZA: Yeah, definitely. I look at it as like a new season for us. After the game losing against Cal, it was kind of -- it was a little frustrating and it was sad. But I think that made everyone who was coming back very hungry. And just to prove people wrong; that we're meant to be here and meant to be playing in March.

I just thought that I just carried on each day, each practice, each film session and each workout in general throughout spring, to summer, into season, we've all come together and worked really hard. I think that was just really showing what we have done through the off-season and during the season.

Q. Missy, have you hit a game-winning shot like that before? Obviously not as much on the line, but in your high school career or some other point?
MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, I have. I've hit two.

COACH WYNN: She's got ice in her veins, guys.

MISSY PETERSON: I've hit two before in high school. One was a lay-up, one was a three. A game-winning shot is always one of the best feelings in the world. But at this level, and with this team, and everything we went through, I think this was probably the funnest game I've ever played in my life.

Q. I don't know if you guys have been on social media yet, but the men's team --
MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, we saw that.

AMBER MELGOZA: That's so amazing.

Q. What's it like to have their support through this as they're going to gear up for this next week?
AMBER MELGOZA: When I first watched it, it gave me chills. It was just amazing to see like the men's team, we're so close to them and we have such a cool connection with them. It's just so cool to see them just cheering for us, and getting so, I guess you could say, hyped for us. It was awesome to see that video.

MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, those guys are like our brothers. We see them every day. We look up to them in many ways. They're a great team, and we love watching them. To be able to have them support us, especially through all the ups and downs that we've been through this season, and all the people that might have given up on us or continued to doubt us, that's a men's team who is just so well experienced and just a group of great guys.

Just to see them supporting us and cheering us on means the world, and we love it.

AMBER MELGOZA: Get the W tomorrow.

MISSY PETERSON: Yeah, they need that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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