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March 22, 2019

Terri Williams-Flournoy

Stanford, California

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach.

TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Yes. Thank you very much. The team is very excited. Any time you can still be playing this late in March is an ex exciting time of the year. We're very happy about our selection. We're one of the top 64 teams in the country and we're happy to be part of the NCAA tournament right now.

THE MODERATOR: Now open it up for questions.

Q. How much was this group motivated, I mean it's the third year and third NCAA tournament berth in four years, I believe and after missing last season was that something that stung and that stuck with these women to motivate them into getting back to this stage?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: It didn't really sting but we knew what we had missed last year, especially after having gone two years back-to-back. So it was something that we knew we wanted to do. But it wasn't something that we talked about. We continued talking about being a team of excellence, doing everything that we needed to do without saying the NCAA tournament but we know that that was our ultimate goal to get back to the NCAA tournament.

Q. Does BYU compare to any of the other high level teams, tournament caliber teams you played this year?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: They do, right in our own SEC conference. They're very much like a Missouri team that we play every year with the three-point shooters, not so much the big in the middle, but with the perimeter three-point shooters that can shoot the ball extremely well, they remind us of a Missouri.

Q. Could you talk about Janiah McKay and what she has meant to the program being a starter at your point guard for now in her fourth season?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Yeah, Janiah's awesome, when you think about her four years, she is one of the players that has gone to the NCAA tournament three times out of the four years, so that right there speaks to Janiah and her ability to run this basketball team. She's been the starting point guard since her freshman year she broke into that starting position, she's just been great. She works hard every single day, she's like my sidekick, the point guard has to be connected with the coach, we constantly talk a lot. She understands what I want, so I feel very comfortable when Janiah's on the floor, she knows exactly what we want to do. I'm very happy for Janiah because last year was very hard for her not getting back to the NCAA tournament, it's her ultimate goal, and so we always have had the conversation it's either the point guard's fault or the head coach's fault and sometimes it's both of our fault. So us not getting to the tournament last year was both of our fault and she wanted to make sure that her senior year she got back to the NCAA tournament.

Q. You got as far as Albuquerque earlier in the year but it's not too often that Auburn gets this far West. How do you and the team feel about the experience of getting out to Stanford and this environment?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: It's so hard when you think about the NCAA tournament because the excitement is not just the NCAA tournament it's like okay, so where are we going and as soon as they heard California you would have thought that it was the greatest place on earth like three said we were going to Disney or something. It's very exciting. We probably -- I don't know if we have had anyone on our team that has been out to California. So that was exciting for them as well. They're really excited to be here, it was a long flight, but I mean it was well worth it.

Q. How well do you know Tara Vanderbilt and just the legacy that she has created here and all she's done for women's basketball.
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Unfortunately I don't know her personally, but you can't play this game and be involved in this game and not know everything that she has done. She's been an unbelievable person for the women's basketball game and all that she's done here at Stanford, she's just, you look at her and you're just like, wow, she's one of the legacies in women's basketball that you continue to watch and just not just at Stanford though, from the USA Basketball and at so many levels, it's really an honor to just even be here on her campus.

Q. You lost Emari Jones in the game right before the conference began. Just talk about how this team recovered, won nine games in the SEC, set a record for most wins on the road at Auburn in the SEC.
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: I think if you ask Erin who took her place, she's still recovering. It's been that hard shoes to feel. She was our senior we felt very bad for her because she had played so many games she had lost her eligibility but she wasn't just a leader on the court, she was the one that was controlling the locker room, taking care of the younger players, and Emari started over the summer she was here when the freshmen got here. We got them here early, she was one here, so she started her leadership right away. She wanted to have an unbelievable senior year so she was there before practice, she was there after practice. It was a huge loss for us and that first game going into the SEC play against Tennessee, that was a tough game. We recovered from it, we're, there are still holes that are missing because Emari's not on the team but we have continued to get better each game without Emari.

Q. Did you say none of your players had been to California before?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: I don't think so. I didn't ask them. Just the way they were celebrating you would have thought they had never gone out West before. I don't think so. A few of them had talked about this being the first time, but I don't think they have been.

Q. You discussed BYU comparing them to Missouri, what defensive challenge does that present to your group in terms of defending the perimeter and also protecting the paint when they have some inside players too.
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Right, when you're going against a team like BYU that can shoot from the outside and that can score on the inside it's almost really no defense that's perfect planning for it. Whether you play man, whether you play zone, whatever it is, it's so many ways that you could get hurt just with the caliber of shooters that they have and then six, seven on the inside, so you just, at this point right now you can't control your matchups, so we are just going to go and play Auburn women's basketball.

Q. What is your definition of Auburn Women's basketball?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Our definition of Auburn women's basketball is that we apply pressure. We're a pressure team, we probably one of very few teams in the country that press for 40 minutes. We press off of a free throw, we press off of a made basket, we press from a timeout, like when we, when they do the synergy numbers I think it came out that of the 40 minutes we probably press about 35 of them when you take out the timeouts and everything else. That's what we do and we like to cause disruption, make things a little harder, make teams a little bit more uncomfortable, that's Auburn women's basketball right there.

Q. Your theme this year was team of excellence. Can you talk about your thought process in selecting that theme this year?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: Yes, absolutely. Well it actually came about, this was probably about the second year that we started building a team of excellence. One summer I was on the road and I was listening to Joel Osteen and one of his podcasts was a spirit of excellence. And so as I'm listening to it I'm thinking, wow, he just talked about living a life of excellence. Just try to be excellent every single day. Try to do everything right even when no one's watching. Keep your house clean, keep your car clean. If you see trash on the floor, pick the trash up. It's your house. Get to work on time and when you get to work on time don't stroll to the computer and start Googling everything, it's just, he just was talking about that and as I was listening to it I was like, wow, like if we could just change just to our team how can I get our team to be a team of excellence. So I sent the podcast to our team and we talked about coming to practice early, getting to class early, doing all the things that you know you're supposed to do without your coach even telling you to do it. Be a good teammate. If you're going out to get something to eat ask your teammate if they want something to eat. Just so many things and I actually thought if I could get them at this young age, 18, 19, 20, to start living a life of excellence, by the time they get to be our age they're already excellent. So that's kind of where it just came about, just as a coach not just being a basketball coach, but being a coach that's building them to be better people in the world as well.

Q. Getting back to a comparison of sorts. Sara Hamson anything, anyone similar to what she gives BYU in the middle?


No. Not at all. Her height, her length, not in the SEC, not anyone that we have played against. Maybe close maybe Teaira McCowan at Missouri State, but she's different. Like Teaira is like, she's a beast like she's huge. So, no, probably not really.

Q. You always talk about your defensive presence. What are some of the offensive keys to beat BYU?
TERRI WILLIAMS-FLOURNOY: One is to get some offense from our defense. We like to take our turnovers and push those into points. That's one of the big things. Our kids understand and that's why we don't have a whole lot of rules when we do get steals or live ball turnovers that they're kind of given the freedom to go and score. We're not just out there to just randomly run helter skelter, we actually have lanes and positions and places that we have to go. But this year has been probably one of our better years than in the past, we have actually been able to put five players on the floor that can score. In years past and if you look at our numbers how our offense numbers have increased this year, that has been one of the biggest reasons. You got three guards around the perimeter that can score. Maybe not at the caliber of just being three-point shooters, but we can shoot the 3, we can drive, we can attack. Crystal can go in and post up at the three position. Emari was a three-point shooter as a stretch four, Erin comes in and is a stretch four. Unique can score on the inside. You got some guards coming off the bench that can score. So it's really been a change of our players that we have been able to put into our offense that have been able to score. So scoring in transition was always what we wanted to do, but now adding scoring in the half court has been really big for us this year.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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