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March 12, 2019

Joe Legerski

Marta Gomez

Karla Erjavec

Las Vegas, Nevada

Wyoming - 75, San Diego State - 70 (OT)

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski and student-athletes Karla Erjavec and Marta Gomez. Coach, an opening statement.

COACH LEGERSKI: As far as the game tonight, neither team was going to give an inch. You take a look at it, the lead changed hands 15 times. The score was tied 15 times. And you play that again, add two more minutes, and who knows what the outcome is?

But that was something that I took away from this game, was just how hard San Diego State and Wyoming ended up competing to try to get a victory. And the job Stacie's done to bring this team along is truly amazing. I give her so much credit.

We played them back in January and it's a different basketball group. They've really grown as a team.

And then I took a look at our group tonight. There was a lot of pressure on them. I thought Marta felt the pressure early, was talking to her and trying to lighten them up. But then I thought in overtime, this senior wasn't going to be denied. And she just kept making big shot after big shot.

And then to her left, Karla Erjavec hit probably the two biggest free throws for us as a freshman, to be able to step to the line when we're down two, deliver on both accounts, and then we did just enough defensively to send it into overtime.

And you saw a change on our bench during that intermission between regulation and overtime, and it seemed we relaxed. They were excited again. And, as I said, Marta took over. And that's a great player to have on my side.

Q. Marta, you didn't play bad but then overtime something kicked in. Did something kick in for you? What was the big difference from overtime from the rest of the game?
MARTA GOMEZ: I mean, I don't know. Once I heard the buzzer beating, I was, like, we're getting this. I don't know what it's going to take, and I don't really care, but we're going to get this because our team deserves to play in the championship game tomorrow.

And I kind of felt like the pressure was off, because that was it. We either win or we lose. If we lose we go home. And I don't think this team is ready to go home right now. So I kind of took over. And I knew that I wanted my teammates to experience and to enjoy the game tomorrow. So I kind of felt like I needed to do that for them. And I just stepped out and I'm glad that the shots went in when they had to go in.

Q. Karla, take us through the sequence where you got fouled at the end of regulation and made the free throws. Was that play designed for you? And what were your emotions at the free-throw line to put it into overtime?
KARLA ERJAVEC: The emotions were overwhelming, for sure. But I tried to calm myself down and knock those two. I knew my team needed those. And I'm glad I delivered.

Q. They pretty much carved you guys up offensively for the majority of that game. And then you guys don't allow a point, I think, within the last minute or so in overtime when you went on that 8-0 run. What gave you guys problems and what changed?
COACH LEGERSKI: The biggest thing, they're able to put the ball on the floor and attack you. They also have great range to shoot it from 3. And all of a sudden that puts a great deal of pressure on us defensively.

And we tried to get our rotations at times, but we had to make sure that we had the 3 covered. And one of the things we made a change to talk about was we'll give up some baskets but we're not going to give up that extra point. And that extra point is how we play.

When you take a look at this game we made five more 3s than San Diego State. That's five extra points. That's the difference in the ballgame. So it's by design, but it makes it difficult when they're scoring layups, and you're sitting there wondering if you're going to be able to stop them at some point in time. But it's very much by design.

Q. Marta, what were you guys saying? What was the mood when they were up 64-63, with just over a minute left in overtime? You knew you had to get stops.
MARTA GOMEZ: We were just saying that we were going to get it. We just needed to stay back defensively, make some shots on offense and the game was ours. I think the last two minutes of the game we didn't have any doubt that we were going to end up getting the win tonight.

Q. You're playing Boise State for a championship. The first time you've ever been in this championship game. I imagine you're happy to be there, but not satisfied either. What are your thoughts, your earlier thoughts about playing Boise State for a third time for a championship?
MARTA GOMEZ: I think it's huge. We've never been in a championship game. It's kind of crazy to represent the state of Wyoming in a championship game. It's just one more game, 40 minutes, we start from 0-0. Nothing will change from that.

So we just need to come, play our game and whatever happens, happens. But as Coach told us in the locker room, we just need to enjoy the moment that we're living. And I think it's a great experience for us to be able to actually play in that game.

Q. Marta, you said the pressure was off at the end of the game. I feel like that's counter to what most people would think. Why was the pressure not on in that situation?
MARTA GOMEZ: I mean, it's just our teammates, the coaching staff. They make you feel like there's nothing really going on, like, it's just -- you're maybe practicing. Like, you make, you make; you miss, you miss. We just move on.

And just knowing that there's actually pressure there but no one is really actually, like, telling you that you have to do something; it's just whatever happens, happens, and we just move on. And I think that really helps.

And just having everybody else around you telling you we're going to get this; don't worry, we're going to get this, makes you feel way better and way comfortable when you're shooting and when you're on the free-throw line.

Q. Karla, I know you said you were trying to calm yourself at the free-throw line. Take us through those minutes. What do you do, how do you calm yourself down with as loud as it was, with as much at stake as it was?
KARLA ERJAVEC: I try to take a bunch of deep breaths, as Coach always tells me. Just take a deep breath and just imagine that you're in practice. Shoot those free throws like you would shoot any other, and that's how I got relaxed.

Q. You've obviously had some battles with Boise State the last couple of years. They had two different players each score 30 the last two games. What makes them so tough? What are your thoughts on them for tomorrow?
COACH LEGERSKI: The biggest thing with Boise is very well coached, have a number of offensive weapons. When you take a look at the three guards they can put on the floor, all three of them can score over 30 points at any point in time. And I think that their post players are very active, they rebound really well.

When I take a look at Boise, they're very deserving of being the champion of the Mountain West Conference. They have all the pieces you want to put together. So it will be a big challenge for us tomorrow.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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