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March 29, 2019
Albany, New York
Louisville - 61, Oregon State - 44
JEFF WALZ: First like to start off and congratulate Oregon State. We knew coming into this it was going to be a hard-fought game. Scott does a remarkable job with that program, with his team. They're always very well prepared, run multiple sets at the offensive end of the floor, and then will throw different defenses at you.
So I thought we did a really, really good job of preparation. Coach Purcell, Coach Williams, Coach Norman, my assistant coaches did a remarkable job. And our players were confident in what we had gone over. And that's half the battle. When you can step on to the court when a game is about to start and your kids feel confident in what you've gone over, really it gives you a good sense of just calm.
So really, really pleased with how our young women played. Everyone I thought gave great effort, and then everybody had a little bit to do with it throughout the entire game. And that's what you have to have.
I say it all the time: We might not have the best five players on the floor every single night. Our margin for error is thin. But I do believe when we all play together as a team, we're a pretty darned good basketball team.
Q. Asia, can you talk about the defensive effort tonight? I know yesterday you were talking about how you guys don't probably get as much credit as you deserve for the defense you play, but to hold the team to the points you did tonight, just the defensive effort you guys put on?
ASIA DURR: I think we played hard throughout the whole game. We made them take tough shots, and it was a whole -- what am I trying to say? It was a whole team, it wasn't just one player or one person. During this time of the year, that's what it comes down to. It can't just come down to just one player guarding their best player. It has to come down to the whole team. That's what we did a great job of doing that tonight, and I'm glad that we got the win.
Q. Asia, you're usually the three-point threat. Tonight it was Sam to start the game. How cool was that? And Sam, when did you really know that you were feeling it tonight?
ASIA DURR: You know, I'm proud of Sam. I've said it all year long, like my teammates can score. That goes to show you that's what they do. I'm very confident in them and very proud of Sam for showing off that three-point shot.
SAM FUEHRING: Thank you, Asia.
ASIA DURR: You're welcome.
SAM FUEHRING: But when did I start feeling it? I mean, shootaround we've practiced it. Coach Walz has given me confidence in that. The coaches have. My teammates have, too. But yeah, it was all shootaround really in preparing for the game. That's why I shot it and it went down, so I just kept shooting it.
Q. Who is the best player at Scrabble right now in the lobby? There's a Scrabble board in the lobby.
ASIA DURR: I haven't played.
SAM FUEHRING: I didn't know.
ARICA CARTER: I would definitely win if we played.
SAM FUEHRING: Definitely me. I was in the spelling bee, too.
Q. Asia, forgive me for going ahead already to Sunday, but it's going to come up pretty soon. You guys are going to be playing UConn again. Can you reflect back on the victory you had against them in January? You guys did a lot right, including 11 three-pointers, outrebounding them, and what will it take to do that on Sunday?
ASIA DURR: Well, the same thing but 10 times more. We're going to get their best shot. It's going to be a challenge for us guarding them. I'm very confident in my team, though, and we're going to accept this challenge and have fun with it.
ARICA CARTER: I think Asia hit it on the head. We've just got to come out and play hard. It's March Madness, so everybody is going to give you their best shot. We've got to make sure that we do the things good again this time and fix the things that we didn't do so good last time.
Q. Asia, Scott talked about your defense, and defensive metrics really love the game you've put up, especially this season. I wonder if you think people are starting to catch up with perception, the reality of your defensive abilities?
ASIA DURR: My defense?
ASIA DURR: What are they saying?
Q. There's an appreciation for it, your synergy numbers are top 10 percent.
ASIA DURR: So this is like Gary Payton now? I'm just kidding.
Q. But do you think that your defense --
ASIA DURR: No.
Q. You don't think --
ASIA DURR: Do I think what?
Q. Do you think your defense deserves greater appreciation throughout your time at Louisville?
ASIA DURR: Honestly, I couldn't tell you that. I don't pay attention to what people say. So I don't know. I just try to dial in. I know my team needs me to guard, and I don't want to be the weak link, so I just try to step that up.
JEFF WALZ: It's definitely improved. As a freshman, no one could go by her.
ASIA DURR: Anybody can go by you, my grandma can. No, just kidding.
Q. You tied a low-scoring number on the season. What was it like battling that defense?
JEFF WALZ: No, you know, was that our low you say? Was it? Tied it, okay.
You know what, I thought we came out extremely well in that first quarter. The first quarter I thought we came out, we were focused, the ball was moving. And then we got a little stagnant there in the second quarter, only scoring nine.
But we were fortunate that we continued to defend, and that's one thing that we continued to talk to our players about, if the ball is not going in the basket, you can't worry about it, and then you've got to get back down the other end of the floor.
You know, our goal every night is to get 70 plus. I think it's in our game notes, Nick has got it in our game notes, our record when we score 70-plus is pretty impressive throughout our 12 years here.
That's our goal offensively. But in a game like this where Scott does a great job of executing, and they're going to run through their stuff, and there's just -- there's not a ton of shots, you know, we had 57, they had 56, and then there's 13 free throw attempts for them, 11 for us. So it's not -- it wasn't a high-possession game.
So when that's the case, you've got to make sure that you're being efficient at the offensive end.
I think the stat of the game for me, what I'll talk to our kids about, is we gave up 11 offensive rebounds, but they only turned those into three points. We ended up with four offensive boards and came up with five. And that's what you have to figure out -- you've got to figure out a way to get some easy baskets, and one of those, I believe, led to a three in the first quarter.
Q. You always joke about how winning games by scoring more points than the opponent, but it seems a lot of success you've had in the NCAA Tournament and getting to the Final Fours is on the defensive end. Looking at the game tonight, defense helped UConn win, other games around the country, same way. Is defense more important in a sense this time of year because everyone has scouted everyone well enough to know what to do?
JEFF WALZ: I know what you're saying, and yes, it's important, but I really believe if you want to win in March, you've got to figure out a way to score, especially on Sunday. We're going to be playing a team that puts the ball in the basket at a pretty high rate in UConn.
But of course, we sit here and we take great pride in putting a scouting report together. We play each and every individual player differently, and our kids do a remarkable job of it, because it's not easy. I tell people all the time, it's another class. They're taking 15 hours in college, and this is another class, because of the detail that has to go into it.
But they've done a remarkable job all season, and that's how we've been able to continue to have success. So yeah, we'll come out here on Sunday with a plan. We're going to have to do everything we can to at least make them take contested shots, and then we're going to have to rebound the basketball because that's the one area that obviously we got out-rebounded again tonight by eight, and that's always been a concern of mine.
Q. Earlier I asked a question to the Oregon State coach about how impressive his conference was with the Pac-12. When you look at your conference with NC State and of course the champs, Notre Dame, when you're playing teams like that in your conference, how much preparation does it give you going forward when you're facing a team like UConn in the tournament?
JEFF WALZ: Well, I think it's a ton of preparation. The one thing about our league that I've always enjoyed is there's so many different styles of play. It's not just one style. And that helps prepare you for the NCAA Tournament because there's somebody that you're going to be able to tell your players, hey, this team reminds me of Syracuse. This team reminds me of Miami, whoever it might be within the league.
And because we have I think such really good coaches in the ACC, they're going to throw different looks at you. They're going to challenge you. You know, the one thing we knew coming into this tonight, that Oregon State was going to change up defenses. And I thought we handled that really well. And that's because that's what you get when you play Clemson. And that's why I think you have teams in the ACC that have success in postseason, because you are prepared for it throughout your league play.
Q. They went 2 for 22 from three and they can shoot it pretty well. Sometimes it's just the ball not going in. Did you do anything special in terms of getting out on their shooters or --
JEFF WALZ: Well, you're right. We gave up a few open looks. Like the one at the end of the third quarter was a straightaway three from the corner, I believe, for McWilliams, who normally knocks that down. But I thought we had a little bit to do with it because I thought we got them playing a little faster than what they possibly like to play. And when you're sitting there and all of a sudden there's a great look and here comes someone flying at you, your routine speeds up. And then all of a sudden you're a little shorter or you're a little long, and I think we had something to do with that. But at times, it is luck.
I mean, I think there were two or three that were halfway down and popped out, and that's why I always say, this time of the year, anything can happen. And then you've got to get a break here or there in order to figure out how to squeeze out a win.
Q. UCLA gave UConn a good run in that fourth quarter, just UConn was UConn. UCLA has never beaten them, your kids have at the end of January. How important is that, to have that confidence of having beaten them?
JEFF WALZ: Well, I think it's really important. I think that just to have that knowledge of, hey, we can do this, we've done it in the past, they were at full strength when they came to our place. And at the same time, you can't be overconfident thinking, oh, hey, all we have to do is show up, we beat them last time. I'm sure it'll be out there somewhere, but when is the last time someone beat them twice in one season? Was it in '13 maybe? Did Notre Dame beat them twice in '13? It hasn't happened very often.
So we know what's in front of us, and it's -- now you're in the tournament. I tell people all the time, gosh, you're on the same side as UConn, you're on the same side of the bracket as UConn. I can tell you from experience being on the opposite side isn't very good, either. I mean, I think we still own the record for the worst defeat in a title game.
So you know, it hasn't worked out very well for us being on the opposite side. So let's see how this works out.
But it's going to be fun. I've got the utmost respect for Geno and for what he's done. I mean, how many Final Fours have they been to? 11? I've got to use my toes to get to it. I mean, I tell people, he makes it look easy, and I don't -- it's not easy. It's really remarkable.
You know, we're going to have a chance to come in here on Sunday and lace it up and see what we can do. We're going to give it everything we have. I tell my kids all the time: If we're going to lose a ball game, I want to lose just simply because we missed shots. I don't want it to be because we didn't give great effort, we didn't follow a scouting report. I just want it to be because, you know what, we missed shots. We got good shots, and we missed them. And it happens sometimes.
So yeah, we're excited. We're going to enjoy this win tonight, which I guess it's over already, and then we'll sit tomorrow, and it's not going to be one where we're up and down and doing a whole bunch, because we just can't. We have to get some rest.
Q. You guys made it really hard for Oregon State to get the shots they wanted inside. How do you translate that to Sunday with the likes of Collier in the post?
JEFF WALZ: Well, it's going to be different. It's a completely different look for us in terms of how they spread the floor. You know, it's going to be a challenge. Napheesa is playing as well as anybody in the country. I enjoyed watching her in high school and then having the opportunity to work with her with USA Basketball. She's just -- she's a competitor.
Same thing for Katie Lou and Crystal. What Crystal did there in that fourth quarter was pretty darned impressive. She threw them on their back and said, Come on, people, let's go. I think it was either a 7-0 or 9-0 run that she had herself, and they were not easy shots. That one three she hit off that screen was from about 24 or 25 feet and then the step-back she hits driving on the left baseline were difficult shots.
So we're excited for it, and we're going to enjoy this tonight, though, and then get a plan together and come out on Sunday.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports