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March 22, 2019

Alanna Smith

Shannon Coffee

Anna Wilson

Stanford, California

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the student-athletes.

Q. I understand that you guys had finals this week. Now that's over and the PAC 12 championship is over do you feel like you have a little breather to concentrate solely on this weekend.
ALANNA SMITH: Yes. Yeah, no, it's a relief to be done with finals. I think all of us have put a lot of effort into this finals season and we're happy with that being over and we're confident with our finals as well and it is now a good time to really lock in because we don't really have anything else that we need to focus on.

ANNA WILSON: I think, yeah, I think the other two NCAA tournaments we have been in we have either had the exams like during or traveling with exams, so I think it's really nice to be able to be at home and finish our exams early or at least before competition really starts. So I think that's good for us.

ALANNA SMITH: I think with the PAC 12 tournament as well, Tara always says we're always looking ahead, we don't want to be looking back all the time. She refers to driving a car and looking in the rear vision mirror, you want to look back and sometimes take a glance back, but you're always looking a head at what's in front of you and for us that's this tournament coming up.

Q. Sorry to look back but you did open the season against UC Davis and both teams have probably come a long way. Stanford has. How unique is it, Tara spoke about sort of an old school coaching where Jen came down and worked with the Stanford staff on the offense I mean is that pretty unique and cool, now you guys meet them on the tournament stage all these months later?
SHANNON COFFEE: Yeah, I specifically remember their coaching staff coming down and helping us implement this offense into our system and they were really big help, and I know her and Tara keep up with each other and congratulate each other and all of that. So it's kind of a unique and exciting moment that we're meeting them in the tournament. We started off Tara said we started our preseason with them and now we're starting our new tournament season with them. So I think it's really exciting and we were just watching our highlight kind of film before this and we have come a long way in our offense so I'm excited to see the improvements that we have made since that first game of the season and I think it's going to be really interesting that it's against the same team.

Q. What are those noticeable improvements that you've seen from game one to now? How is the team developed over the course of the year?
SHANNON COFFEE: Yeah, so I think the flow of our offense has improved so much. You can kind of see some wary movements or some kind of hesitations in some of the offense that we ran in our first game against them and so then looking at our Oregon highlight tape you can just see such a difference in the way we move, our confidence, and just the way we run our offense so it's going to be really exciting to see how that plays out.

Q. Shannon, how much sign language have you taken and also what sort of prompted you to bring it up to Tara to say you would like to sign the and them and how special for her teammates has it been to watch her do that, that takes some courage maybe that's different than performing on a basketball court to share another talent for a mass audience.
SHANNON COFFEE: I just finished my fifth quarter here at Stanford. I started my freshman year and then had to take a little break, my schedule didn't really allow for it so I came back to it this year, I've tried to keep up with it as much as I could throughout my career. But I kind of have been working one-on-one with my professor more so since it's year two it's kind of a smaller class size and so I've been working with her and just kind of getting to know her and the deaf culture and it's really important sign language is really important to them and any little signs that you can do go a long way with the deaf community and I think that there's a lot of accommodations at arenas and different things like that for different people and I think that having the signed anthem can really just make people feel welcome, deaf people feel welcome and just kind of create just a community with them involved as well.

ANNA WILSON: So I take sign language as well I'm in my first year of sign language and Shannon helps me all the time studying for exams and whenever I have questions. Sometimes we're in practice and sometimes I'll sign to her instead of talking to her, just to practice. But I'm not sure if really anyone else notices that, but what's amazing about what Shannon does is that there's this whole group of people who in most cases aren't being included in or can't participate in the anthem and what's really awesome about what she's doing is she's opening a door for other people to be able to participate in something that is a huge part of sports and it's the opening part, it's the intro, and I think it's really, really important and I think it's amazing that you do that.

Q. I asked Tara a little bit about the history being here and Auburn being here and the National Championship and she talked about her connection to Ruthie Bolton and also with DeWanna Bonner and Bird and have you guys thought about that and what do you think of the history of Stanford basketball and hosting and do you feel a responsibility to hold that up?
ANNA WILSON: I can kind of answer to the latter part, I think that hosting is a very exciting opportunity, what kind of sticks out is when we weren't able to host two years ago when we went to the Final Four there was a gymnastics meet here so we weren't able to host and that just kind of emphasized emphasizes to me how exciting hosting the first round is and kind of I think the game like game changer mentality that it has and we have our fans here and it just kind of gets us hyped, gets us more excited to compete in this tournament, so I think that hosting kind of brings a whole another dynamic to the start of the tournament.

ALANNA SMITH: I think in terms of relationships with other teams, Tara is a Hall of Fame coach and I think what's really special about Tara as a coach is that she makes connections with other coaches and keeps them. So it's really cool that we're able to play other teams that Tara has relationships with, especially a team that Bird's sister played on in the past and a superstar player and we're really excited that Auburn are able to play here and we're really excited that we have made connections with those teams in the past.

Q. Tara had an interesting take on the NCAA tournament. For the seniors it is your last NCAA tournament but for Anna it's actually your first that you're going to play. How does that feel coming in, knowing you made it through, you're on the verge of playing in your first NCAA game and is that any different, especially for a team that is always in the post-season?
ANNA WILSON: Yeah, I was here freshman year, went to the Final Four, last year we were in the Sweet 16, so I'm very excited to obviously be a part of being in the NCAA tournament. I think the most important thing for me is just being grateful for every day that I've had the opportunity to be out on the court because I've obviously had a couple of like bumps and bruises and like kind of a roller coaster of a career so far, but I think the greatest part about being apart of this team is that I get to be a part of this team every single day in practice and PAC 12 tournament and everything. So this season has been super, super exciting for me and I just want to keep moving forward and do the best I can.

Q. The follow-up for the two seniors, what's it feel like you're in your fourth consecutive 32 straight for Stanford but this is the final go and what are your emotions as you enter tomorrow's game?
SHANNON COFFEE: It's crazy. Everyone says college flies by, you don't believe them until you're there. And it's just crazy for me to think that this is me and Alanna's last go round but it also makes it that much more exciting and kind of gives us that much more of a boost, that much more of an edge that we really want to go out and go out with a bang, go all the way, get that National Championship. And I think it just adds to the excitement of the tournament.

ALANNA SMITH: Yeah, you kind of get a little bit nostalgic going out there playing in Maples for potentially the last time. And I think you have that sense of urgency being a senior and knowing this is your last go around at a NCAA tournament and we have had seniors before us leave great legacies and we're just trying to live up to that and enjoy our last time around at it. I think that's the most important thing that we're trying to do is just to have fun and be in the moment and we are, we're having so much fun, we're really happy to be a part of this team, we have made great connections and relationships with our teammates and I can't imagine this ever being over. It's going to be a bit of a reality check when it is over, but that's the goal, for it to last as long as possible and that's what we're going out there to do.

THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you, ladies.

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