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March 30, 2019

Kim Mulkey

Lauren Cox

Didi Richards

Kalani Brown

Greensboro, North Carolina

Baylor 93, South Carolina 68

COACH KIM MULKEY: I don't have an opening statement, so we can go straight to the kids. How's that.

Q. Didi, you scored a lot of those on back-door cuts. Was that a specific game plan or something that happened?
DIDI RICHARDS: That's something that's going to happen if they to continue to double-team our posts. I'm just thankful that they are able to find me back-side.

Q. What's it like putting up a quiet 18-and-10 while Lauren and Didi were going bonkers?
KALANI BROWN: It was great. I was scoring, but I was also passing and able to find my teammates, and when everybody's scoring, I'm happy. If I can take a silent 18-and-10, that's fine.

Q. How important was it to get up on them and not let them hang around?
LAUREN COX: It was important just because they are capable of just going on some runs, because they are really quick in transition. They can knock down some threes like they did late.

So just to get up like that and keep that lead was pretty important for us.

Q. Going up against Megan Gustafson, Player of the Year, what are your thoughts going into that matchup?
KALANI BROWN: I've played against a lot of great post players so she will be another one that's going to challenge me. We're both lefties, and kind of seeing her play, we're kind of alike. That should be interesting. I'm excited to play.

Q. You had a sweet behind-the-back pass to Didi. Talk about that play and just seeing her points escalate today.
DIDI RICHARDS: I was really upset about that pass, by the way, if anybody wanted to know.

KALANI BROWN: Oh, please. You were open.

She was open, okay. It was a little flashy, I ain't going to lie. I might have did that on purpose.

But, I don't know, I was able to find Didi a lot, and it was just working, so I was trying to get it there. I was trying to be fancy, but you know, she caught it, scored it, made me look good. It's all about making your teammate look good, so thank you, Didi.

Q. How are you handling the pressure in terms of getting to the Final Four?
DIDI RICHARDS: I wouldn't say pressure, unless it's on pressure on our ourselves. I wouldn't say we feel pressure from everybody else. I would just say we play our game. We go out there and we're just being ourselves. We're just happy to get to, the Elite 8 at least, and make it to the Final Four eventually.

Q. They cut it to 16 there in the third quarter and they scored a lot of points in that third quarter, but you guys responded, I think Kalani hit a bucket and then you hit a couple layups. How important is it when they are on that run for you guys to respond?
DIDI RICHARDS: The game of basketball is a game full of runs. We really just need to learn -- well, we handled it well because we didn't get into ourselves when we they went on that run.

I think we handled it well by looking at each other and just calming down. You know, if you look at your teammate, and like Lauren is like, "Didi, you got it. Calm down."

Or Kalani is like, "Didi, we got this." Am I'm like, Okay, and I feel all right and I just pass the message on to Juicy or Chloe. So I think we really have each other and like a little hook-circle, a tight little circle.

Q. I know it's part of the offense, but was that a game plan going in to use Didi that much or did that just happen?
COACH KIM MULKEY: That's happened all year. I think they just read each other. They watch -- particularly Didi, because people don't think he's going to be an offensive threat, so she reads what her defender does, and then she knows where to cut and when to cut and they just have that connection. That's from playing a lot of games together.

So no, it wasn't like we just went in and said you're going to this, this -- she's been doing that all year.

Q. Another game plan question. You guys threw it over the top of their defense a lot in pushing the ball in transition. Is that something that you saw that you could do against them?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Yes. You try to prepare for everything, and I read a lot of things and try to figure out what it is that we may see that we didn't see last time, and I think Coach Staley was trying to say that fast versus big. So we're pretty fast, too. We're not just a bunch of slugs running the floor with two big girls.

Those kids can get up and down the floor and our guards are going to push it and we're going to wait a step or two for them to run foul line to foul line. So I was just looking at that. You know, our transition buckets were like 25-9, and so we're going to run. We're not walking the ball up the floor. I thought that was big.

I thought the second thing they might try to do is shoot more threes because we have seen that against us this year. If we could hold them or limit them to a few number of threes, because that's not really their game. Their game is to drive.

Well, we know when you drive, what you're going to see. There's going to be two bigs waiting for you and we needed to help the helper. We got beat on that two or three times; that, we did go over, and didn't do a very good job.

But I thought we ran with them. We got the transition buckets and we didn't allow them to get a lot of transition buckets or threes.

Q. They made a run in the third quarter and got it to 16, and you guys responded. How important was it for you to not let them not keep cutting into that lead?
COACH KIM MULKEY: They got to the foul line and we were hacking and trying to block shots. They got into the paint and they were dribble-penetrating and trying to make some exciting things happen for themselves.

And then they started pressing us a little bit more with a little bit more force, or should I say energy, in the third quarter. You're down 26, so you gamble and you just try to make things happen.

And there were times we didn't handle it well, but then we would score. I thought we did fine. I wish that, you know, I could have given Chloe, not anybody else, but Chloe a little bit more of a breather, but Chloe, this is as far as she's ever been in the playoffs and that's what I told her. I told her, "I know you're tired but you're fixing to get to play in an Elite 8 game, can you go a few more minutes?"

And she said, "Yeah, Coach, I got this."

Q. Is that when you were head-to-head with her? Is that what you told her at that point?
COACH KIM MULKEY: That was some of what I told her but I can't remember other things. But yes, she was tired. She was hurting. On the defensive end, she couldn't even close out one time on a three-point shooter because she knew as soon as they scored, she was going to have to get ready to break a press, and usually Juicy can relieve her a little bit but I took Juicy out early. She had gotten stripped there one time.

But I thought inside, one-on-one, it's been a long time since we've seen one-on-one coverage on the post. Yes, Didi scored a lot on it, but when we were cutting and scoring, they got out of it, so we were able to isolate Kalani a lot and Cox down there.

I thought Cox was so valuable to us in the middle of the press. Sometimes she thinks she's a guard and you have to tell her, pick your dribble up, they are coming from behind; give the ball to a point guard, but she'll take off, and like I told you, she can play any position on the score. She was scoring at the end of the press.

Q. And then same question I asked Lauren. How important was it to kind of throw a haymaker and get up 20 on them and not let them hang around?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Well, I don't know if we just throw a haymaker. It's hard. Listen, we're on a roll and that's what it takes in the playoffs. You need to get on a roll, you need to stay healthy and have a little bit of luck.

These kids are focused. These kids, I mean, they have never wavered in how they approach a basketball game. They are funny. They are talented. Elite 8 Monday.

Q. Certainly there's lots on your mind preparing for this game, but can you reflect at all, having two women coach former point guards at this level, having very, very solid programs?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Was Bluder a point guard? Oh, sorry, you're talking about today's game?

Look, I'm not in her league. That child -- I call her a child because I coached when she was playing. I was at Louisiana Tech. Dawn Staley, she's a competitor. I watched her when she won her National Championship. I watched her interview and in her moment of just pure enjoyment and excitement, she was still challenging her players.

I particularly remember Cuevas-Moore, she wanted to transfer out and all those people in New York were trying to get her to leave, and she had basically won the National Championship for them and I just told her, "Don't ever change who you are. That's what makes you great."

She's got a great recruiting class coming in, and Dawn Staley is just a tremendous, tremendous ambassador for the sport. She was a great player for Debbie Ryan at Virginia, and she's doing great things at South Carolina.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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