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March 10, 2019

Jeff Walz

Bionca Dunham

Asia Durr

Jazmine Jones

Greensboro, North Carolina

Notre Dame - 99, Louisville - 79

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Louisville head coach Jeff Walz and student-athletes Bionca Dunham, Asia Durr and Jazmine Jones. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH WALZ: Just first like to start off congratulating Notre Dame. I thought they really did a great job of controlling the glass, which was what was our problem.

You come into a ballgame, injuries, they happen. They're part of it. Unfortunately, about found out about 20 minutes before tip A.C. was not going to be able to go, and Sam goes down with a sprained ankle. But still it's the next one up. And we just -- we just could not gain any ground on the defensive glass for us.

When you play somebody and they get more offensive rebounds than you get defensive rebounds, it's not going to be a good day. And unfortunately for us that's what took place. So you've got to tip your hat to them. I thought at times we fought, we made some really nice runs. But then we just couldn't keep them off the glass.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about Arica's injury? And, secondly, you had the same rebounding differential in South Bend with Sam playing. How much was a factor her injury today?
COACH WALZ: It was a huge factor. She's our best defensive rebounder that we have on the team. And they just really controlled the -- their offensive glass the entire night. It wasn't just their post players. Jackie Young really hurt us at important times. We came up -- we switched some defenses and forced them to miss some shots, and then just couldn't come up with a defensive board. That's a dagger. Kills your spirit. Kills your confidence at times.

But it's one of the things we've just got to get back to the drawing board. We've got to get some kid's healthy. It's A.C. I'm still trying to figure out, I know she sprained her ankle in yesterday's game. I'm waiting to get confirmation exactly what it was or what it is. And then we'll get her taken care of and healed and back hopefully in practice in a few days so we can get prepared for the NCAA Tournament.

Q. Bionca, between the combination of Turner and Shepard, just talk about having to try and guard and deal with them for 40 minutes?
BIONCA DUNHAM: It was a battle down there. They crashed the boards. It was hard to try to help and keep boxing them out, keeping them off the glass also. They just got more rebounds than us.

Q. Jeff, looked like Sam was trying to come back and you could see you talking to her a little bit. When did you sort of make the decision to maybe not have her --
COACH WALZ: I talked to her before we started the third quarter. I said if you're going to go out there you can't limp. And end all, end all, this isn't our final, our major goal that we're trying to get to. And the last thing I wanted was for her to go out there and try to continue to fight through it and then all of a sudden you take a one Grade 1 sprained ankle and turn it into a Grade 3 sprained ankle and now you're out three weeks.

She went out there, got a ball, she may have gotten fouled or something. And I think she tried to plant and that's when she looked at me and said, "Coach, I can't go." Which I was proud of her because she's a little stubborn and it wouldn't have surprised me if she tried to keep going. But I wanted to make sure she understood, yeah, we're always trying to win every game we play. But at the same time I wasn't willing to sacrifice her being able to play in two and a half weeks when the big tournament starts up.

Q. Asia, your final ACC Tournament, but as Coach mentioned a bigger goal ahead, just speak about the NCAA and what you're thinking about that?
ASIA DURR: Yeah, this is one game. This wasn't our final goal. So I think we fought hard at certain times throughout the game. But this is not our final goal. So we just gotta learn from it and continue to push forward.

Q. Jazmine, this is the second time that they've had a pretty dramatic rebounding difference against you. Do you see this as just a bad matchup for this team or is there another issue at stake here?
JAZMINE JONES: We've got to come out with a mindset to chop wood, like our coaches say all the time in practice. We just have to come with a mindset. It wasn't there today. We've just got to get back to it.

Q. You've been projected pretty widely as the No. 1 seed in Chicago. Presumably Notre Dame will get that given their proximity. What do you expect now? Do you still think you're a No. 1? If not, what happens?
COACH WALZ: Well, I mean, it's one of those -- I was really surprised when the last reveal came out that we were going to Chicago. I mean, with the fact that UConn was kept in Albany, it only made sense to put Notre Dame and Chicago based on the proximity of them.

And for us, at the end of the day, you know, being a 1 seed is great. It's a great honor. It just shows you what your body of work has been throughout the entire season.

But wherever they send us, we know we're going to get the opportunity to play the first two at home unless this loss put us to a 5 seed, which I don't think it did.

So, I feel pretty confident about that. And then it's one game at a time. I've said it the 12 years I've been here. If you can figure out a way to get to the Sweet 16, it's anybody's ballgame. They're great teams. And you've just got to play your best that night.

And it's the one thing that makes this time of year so exciting is the best team doesn't always win. It's the team that plays the best that night. That's why everybody loves March Madness. It's not a best of seven.

In '13, I promise you, we could have played the best of 100 and we may have won that one against Baylor. You've just got to come out and be ready to play from day one.

I would be surprised if this would drop us very far, especially with the injuries that we had. But whatever it might be, we're just going to have to embrace it and move forward.

Q. Jeff, this team hasn't lost very much. You have been to a championship game twice after playing UConn in a final that didn't go real well. How much can you share with them about quickly turning the page?
COACH WALZ: Well, yeah, this is the one thing about this ballgame. There were some things that we did well. We shot 49 percent from the field. It wasn't the offensive end of it. We scored. We attacked their man. We were getting layup after layup. But the problem was we couldn't get a rebound. They shot 83 shots to our 66.

And the thing about it we both shot the same amount of free throws. Normally when you see something like that, we may have shot like 35 attempts at the free-throw line when you see such a huge discrepancy. But they just kicked our tail on the offensive glass.

If you give me 17 more shots at the basket, it's hard to win. And you've got to give them credit for that. They played extremely hard. They attacked that glass. And we just couldn't keep them off of it.

Q. I know obviously defensively was tough for you today, but could you describe how hard it was to defend Shepard and Turner, having them two together inside?
COACH WALZ: Jess, I had the opportunity to work with USA Basketball. And I've just -- I told her when we played up there how impressed I was at the shape she's gotten in. I'm not sure how much she changed her body or what she's lost. But it's remarkable. She gets up and down that floor so much better. She's always had a great touch.

The one thing she doesn't do for them that she has is shoot the 3. That's one of the things, when she tried out for a few of the teams that I was part of with USA Basketball, she had a great 3-point shot. But for them, when you've got Turner and Shepard inside, it's almost pick your poison.

But we talked about it; you can't let them get two feet in the paint. When they get two feet in the paint they're scoring on you. And there for a little bit in the first half we stopped them from getting two feet in the paint and they missed some shots. So they played so well together, they passed the ball real well.

But I'll say it, I think the key to their entire team is Jackie Young. The kid gets -- I think people might not talk about her as much. I just go back to the Final Four game, I think she went 10-for-10 against UConn in that semifinal game. She just defensively, the way she attacks the glass, she passes the ball. She's the one that when I watch on film she impresses me. She might not make the wow plays as much, but she puts -- she's got a heart and she's a motor that just does not stop.


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