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March 10, 2019

Joe Tartamella

Chicago, Illinois

Marquette - 88, St. John's - 57

JOE TARTAMELLA: Certainly a disappointing effort from our end as far as how we showed up today. I thought we didn't do too much too well. I thought Marquette did a great job. Obviously they're a very good team, so if you don't show up, you're going to have the results you did. I thought they did a good job of really controlling the tempo on us today compared to the first two games, and I thought after -- the beginning of the second quarter we started to get a little winded and really just lost focus.

Obviously credit to them, and they're a great team. Certainly been a long year for us up and down, proud of our kids how they played, how resilient they were through the second half of the season and getting us to a position to be -- to have an opportunity to win this tournament, which I think is wide open still. However, obviously I wish we would have played a little better in our last game.

Q. Can you speak to Akina Wellere, a four-year player, and what she's done for your program?
JOE TARTAMELLA: Akina has been a four-year player for us who is a Big East champion, a tournament champion as a freshman, so she's been kind of a cornerstone for us in the last four years, so she's done a great job in her growth, and extremely proud of her, where she came from as a freshman, and has really become a leader for us on the floor. I think really has matured to a great level from where she was as a freshman, and kind of excited to see where she goes next, as she takes her next step, and certainly she'll be missed.

Q. Natisha Hiedeman kind of had her way in the first half. What makes her so hard to game plan against?
JOE TARTAMELLA: Well, when she's ready to play, she's difficult. She can score it, certainly has the ability to drive it on. You can shoot it -- when she's making shots, she seems to have a lot more energy, obviously, like most players. Just a great player. I mean, she's Player of the Year for a reason. She had a double-double in the first half, so she was ready to play today. We've historically had some good games where we've been able to kind of limit her a little bit, but you're not going to be able to do that for long, as she showed today. She's just a really good player. She's had a great career, and certainly happy she's graduating.

Q. Is there anything in particular that she's doing differently compared to before or anything she added to her game?
JOE TARTAMELLA: We're still on Hiedeman?

Q. Yeah.
JOE TARTAMELLA: I think I just gave it to you. I think she's been like that since a freshman. She's shot it well. She's attacking. She's playing with confidence. She's really good. I mean, I don't know how much more you want me to give you.

Q. Tiana was frustrated a little bit today, but yesterday she basically controlled the game, showed the ability to do that. What does she need to do this off-season?
JOE TARTAMELLA: Who did you say again?

Q. Tiana, just for her to kind of take that next step, kind of developing her game.
JOE TARTAMELLA: Listen, the kid is -- her year this year I think was terrific, and I think a little bit underrated, and for what she brings to our team and when she's playing well -- she struggled today. That's why we struggled. But she's never had help. She'll have help next year, so I'm excited about that part where she's not going to have to play 35 minutes a game. She hasn't shown her ability to be able to shoot as much second half of the year as she did, so I think her scoring ability is a little bit underrated, but when you look at how she distributes the ball and what she does, and I feel bad -- she's tired. She plays 35 minutes a game. And I feel bad about that, but at the same time, no one else feels bad, so you've got to get out there and play.

So I think, looking at her game and what she did this year is really, I think, showing the next steps of what she's done. Scoring I think will be a big piece, and then defensively becoming a better defender, which she started to do, will kind of finish that off for her as far as becoming a complete player. But dynamic on the floor and athletically she's as good as anybody in the country as far as getting off the bounce and being able to find people.

Having T, Q, Alisha back, adding a couple kids that we have that are sitting out with some other things, I'm excited about what we have in our youth. They're getting good minutes in big games from last year to this year. So Tiana has been fun to watch. I think she's one of the more exciting players we've had in recent years.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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