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March 24, 2019
Louisville 71, Michigan 50
COACH JEFF WALZ: You know, first off, just want to congratulate Michigan on a wonderful year. You know, we knew coming into the game tonight that we were going to have to play well.
Just watching what they did to Kansas State on the boards, 50-19, was pretty remarkable, and we talked to our kids about it. We had talked to them about, you've got to come out, you've got to be prepared to battle. It's going to be -- it's going to be a basketball game where it's going to be physical, and I thought we responded well.
To all three of our seniors, just a wonderful group of young women. So proud of Arica Carter, just being able to get back out there and play, and I know that's one of the things that she wanted to do. Like she did not want to end her career not having a chance to play the last game at home.
You know, I started her and I was just going to let her keep going until she couldn't go just for the fact that if you warm up and then you stop, and it's tough for her to get going again, and I thought she did a great job. I thought AC did well and Sam and Deja. Just a remarkable group to coach. Really, really proud of them.
Q. Obviously right off the jump, getting those two assists, getting those baskets really kind of helped jump start you all. Was that something you kind of took upon yourself or just something -- I know you had to start off at a fast pace but for you personally, did you feel like you had to take it upon yourself to really get the team going?
ASIA DURR: Yeah, I mean, I just tried to make the right reads. Make the right play, as well. They were throwing like three guards at me, three players at me. I was just trying to make the right read and make the right pass.
My teammates were getting open, making great cuts, and finishing the ball, as well.
Q. Describe your emotions when you took that victory lap, and when you left the arena for the last time.
ASIA DURR: It was great. You know, playing here for four years with such great fans, great people who follow you everywhere, literally, everywhere. I can't really put it into words because it's a feeling that you'll never forget, and years down the line, you talk to your kids, your grandkids, your friends about these four years, and I mean, it was just so much fun playing here, playing in front of the best fans in the country.
We take tried in that and we are very thankful. We never take that for granted, but just so thankful for it.
SAM FUEHRING: Yeah, AC and Asia left me.
ASIA DURR: We don't know where you went.
SAM FUEHRING: On that first victory last, they left. I had to come back out. It was kind of embarrassing, but I enjoyed it. And the fans, they clapped for me all over again.
ASIA DURR: They are awesome.
SAM FUEHRING: It was exciting. Yeah, we had a really, really big crowd. Even when we were doing the instructions, I was like, this crowd is roaring. I feel like it's not like this anywhere else, and I'm so appreciative.
Q. Jaz, you've had the last couple years to play with these two and Arica up here. Just some of the accolades, thoughts, words about playing with two exceptional athletes like this.
JAZMINE JONES: I love my teammates, and these two, and AC, I'm going to miss so much. Just playing with them, having to be with them every single day, they are all great individually, and they are even better people off the court.
I don't want to take that for granted and I'm going to miss these young ladies so much. Next year is going to be really hard without them, especially Sam and Asia, and AC, I look at her as our team leader. She's a big part of this team. And then trying to fill that void next year is going to be hard for us, but we can do it. I just want to say thank you guys for everything. Appreciate it.
ASIA DURR: You trying to make us cry?
Q. I guess for all three of you. Looked like you came out with a ton of energy. Was that something that you talked about pregame? Was there anything that triggered that?
THE MODERATOR: Asia, Sam then Jaz, please.
ASIA DURR: During this time of the year, a coach should never have to tell you that. It's either win-or-go-home. So we take pride in that. We want to win.
That was a great team, so we knew we were going to have our hands full. We knew that we were going to have to play hard for the whole game. So we were just trying to have fun, too. Focus all-in and just play hard.
SAM FUEHRING: Yeah, to add on to what Asia said, we're trying to throw the first punch every game. We don't want to start out flat because that pretty much determines the rest of the game.
But yeah, today, honestly -- I don't know about you guys -- but I feel like it was the crowd giving us energy. So that helped to boost us even more.
JAZMINE JONES: Yeah, I think everybody came out focused. It started like when the ball tipped, we started off to a great pace and then our defense was tremendous. We played like we're the best team in the ACC on defense this game, and we picked it up.
Coach been getting on us the last couple days, knew that they are a great rebounding team, so it all started with boxing out. We didn't let them get offensive boards in the first couple possessions, so that determined the tempo of the game, as well.
Yeah, I think everybody was just focused this game, because we knew it was our last game here, and we wanted to do great for these seniors.
Q. Sam, when you go back to the scouting report about Michigan and their size, what did you see on film or with that scouting report that you felt like you all really -- did you feel like you really had to push the pace to beat that size advantage that they seemed to have?
SAM FUEHRING: I feel like we're always trying to play our own game, whether that be our transition game, just playing fast. I don't think we really worry about the opponents. We always try to play our own game. But yeah, definitely worked today against them. They are a great team, though. Yeah, I mean, we're trying to play our own game all the time.
Q. Can you talk about what the message to the team was in terms of dealing with their press?
COACH JEFF WALZ: Yes, our goal is to attack the score. When we went back and watched the Kansas State film, they attacked it at times but they looked to pull it back out to set up an offense.
I told our kids, we don't want to do that. Our goal, if they press, try to get as quick and easy looks as we can. When you've got that type of tempo and mentality, sure, you might turn the ball over a few times, but you're going to get easier looks, and possibly deflating baskets.
When you're pressing and all of a sudden you give up a layup, it's one of those, you hang your head on. There was one possession where we took a quick shot, it was a good shot we missed it, get the offensive rebound, great pass back out to Asia and she hits a three.
I thought our whole mindset has been all year, if someone tries to press us, to attack the score.
Q. Hopefully four more games to go, but some of your thoughts and memories of the three seniors here?
COACH JEFF WALZ: Yeah, it's remarkable to think as a staff what we've been able to do with those three bad players. To turn them into the players they are, it's pretty amazing (laughing).
As Jaz says, they are really, really good players, but they are even better people. That's I think what we strive to do here at Louisville is to win games, of course. You know, that's really important, but to also have great young women when they leave here.
And I'm excited for all three of them, because I truly believe all three are going to be successful no matter what they do. If they want to continue on playing basketball at a professional level, I think all three will have the opportunity somewhere.
And if they are ready to get out into the real world, you know, I think they will do extremely well there. I tell them all the time, play basketball as long as you can because that 8:00 to 5:00 job, it's not much fun.
So if they can do it for five, ten, 12 years, go ahead and do it. But it's been a joy for me. It's been fun and I've said it before, Arica and Sam are exactly -- what's not happening any more in my opinion in college athletics, not just women's basketball.
It's two young women who came in here as freshmen, did not play a whole bunch, played a little bit more their sophomore year and then sat down with them and said, hey, if you want to play more, you've got to get back in this gym. You've got to work harder. And then they take that to heart, the summer of their sophomore year, all of a sudden they are making an impact on our team as juniors, we go to a Final Four and now they are right back in the middle of it and we are going to a Sweet 16. And anymore, if you don't get instant gratification, you're looking to leave.
You know I always tell them, the grass is greener on the other side because it's fertilized with manure, but I don't use that word. I make sure they all know, because it's the truth.
It's fun to see these two young ladies who are putting in their time and looking at the rewards they are getting back. You know, it's a process and they have done it.
You know, Asia came in with a lot of hype, and I think she backed it all up but what's the most impressive thing about Asia, I think her teammates will tell you, as good of a basketball player she is, she's an even better person. I challenged her, her freshman year, she would always ask, "Am I shooting too much?"
I said, "I'll tell you, when to stop shooting," and I never quite told her.
That's the one thing the teammates love about her. I remember the N.C. State game, she scores 47 and the first thing she said in the press room is her teammates did a great job of setting her screens, finding her when she was open. And that's just not the norm anymore.
So really impressed with all three of them. We're going to miss all three of them, but the good thing for us is we've got a another ballgame to play and we'll get back to work and get prepared and see who we are going to play next week.
Q. You talked about the rebounding, out-rebounding. Did you sense that the team was locked in and focused and ready to go leading up to this game; that they were taking on the challenge?
COACH JEFF WALZ: We had one day of prep, so we had just talked about it, if you want to keep playing, this is what you're going to have to do.
And I've got to give them credit. I thought Kylee came out and really set the tone early, which is something she hasn't done in the past, but she held her ground. Made their post post-up higher up off the block, and made it more difficult to score. Where in the past, she sometimes will let you get too low and all of a sudden, it's a drop-step layup and then she did a great job of boxing out. Then.
Everybody started to get into the mix because we had talked to the guards, you've got to rebound the basketball, because Hillmon, the one thing we told our kids, whoever is guarding her, I don't care if you get a rebound; she can't. And even with that emphasis on it, she still comes off with five offensive boards. So our guards are going to have to do a really good job of coming in and cleaning things up.
Q. Kind of answered my question, but I'll ask a different one. With Kylee, ten boards today, moving forward, looking at those teams down the line, what next level can you all reach if she sets that tone and if she plays that big like she played today?
COACH JEFF WALZ: It's one game at a time. That's the one thing about this right now is whoever we're going to face next weekend is our only concern.
You know, I told them, "my bads" aren't cutting it right now. "My bads" are what get you sent home. I was really excited because I think I only heard one my bad from her and I'm used to hearing about ten. So she put her mind to it and really went out there and did well.
I told her in the locker room after the game, I told her, "I've got good news and bad news, which one you want first?"
She's like, "Well, I prefer the good."
I said, "You were fantastic today. You've played as well as I've ever seen you play."
She said, "So what's the bad?"
"The bad is I'm going to expect that. So now you've shown me what you can do, so unfortunately for you, you have to keep doing it," and she got a good laugh out of it. But it's true. She has really developed over her three years here. She came from being an outside three-point shooter, which is all she did in high school, to where she's finishing at the block and being more physical. I'm really proud of her.
Before I finish up, I'd like to thank Nora Lynn. Nora Lynn, thank you. I just really appreciate what you've done for women's basketball for the ACC. You've been remarkable, we are going to miss you. I know you can't say it but there's no doubt I'm your favorite coach, so I'll say it for you, but thank you for all that you've done, because I don't know where you'll be next weekend, but thank you.
Thank you, everybody.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports