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March 30, 2019

Dawn Staley

Tyasha Harris

Alexis Jennings

Greensboro, North Carolina

Baylor 93, South Carolina 68

COACH DAWN STALEY: I'm super proud of our team for playing as hard as they did for 40 minutes. Obviously we didn't execute what we needed to execute, and that was because of, you know, the challenge that Baylor posed for our team. But proud of their effort. Proud of being able to sit here and participate in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. We look forward to a brighter future.

Q. Alexis, can you talk about the inside matchup, and I guess with Kalani and Lauren, how difficult that is containing them?
ALEXIS JENNINGS: It was pretty difficult, you know, we're giving up a lot of height advantage with them, but I feel like we did the best that we could. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Q. With all the things about Baylor that you have to defend, when Didi Richards has a night like she had tonight, does it make it that much harder to contain them?
COACH DAWN STALEY: Yeah, their guards are solid. Obviously, if given the opportunity, you know, they take advantage of the opportunities that they have. I thought we just got our defense off-balance a little bit, especially when we took some shots and it allowed Didi to get out and get some transition buckets that were uncontested.

Q. You obviously know what a National Championship team looks like. What does Baylor look like to you right now?
COACH DAWN STALEY: Baylor has all the key ingredients to be a national champion. They have size, they have athleticism. They have an ability to beat you at a lot of difference places. You definitely have to game plan for them and you have to adjust to their style of play.

You know, their load; we had post players that were, you know, not as big, but as imposing, and that led us to a National Championship, although they didn't play in the same game. Just the day-to-day beat-down that we imposed on other teams was a great thing to experience, and not so much when you're on the other side of it.

Q. Y'all had dug a big hole and got back to within 14, 15, and then I think Baylor reeled off -- were you feeling like you were back in it at that point? You had gotten it back down to 15, 16 points?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I thought we had some momentum, and then we -- I think we missed a free throw that could have got us down to 15.

Here's the bottom line that we didn't really harp on as a staff, and you don't want to put that much pressure on your young team in that only maybe three players have experience being in the Sweet 16.

Actually being in the Sweet 16, three or four players, and the roles that some of the ones that didn't -- wasn't a part of those Sweet 16s, and those Elite 8s and those Final Fours, this is their first time to ask them to perform at a high level against a National Championship contender team, you know, was a bit much. But we didn't want to mention that, but when you actually have to decompress and look at it, it's hard for them to have to be able to do that at this level.

So I'm pretty encouraged by the returning players and pretty encouraged by some of the future players coming into our program that we'll have enough experience if we're able to get back to this level of basketball.

Q. Looking back on this season with all of the newness that you mentioned so much, what are some of the other buzzwords that will describe this season once you wrap everything up?
COACH DAWN STALEY: I think we achieved the potential of this team. I don't think we lacked the potential. I thought getting to the second weekend of this tournament would be, you know, a real goal for us. I didn't say that out loud, obviously, but I thought it was a real goal, attainable goal, to reach for.

Obviously we wanted to end it somewhere else, like Tampa, but we just didn't have enough. When you look at, you know, what was on our roster, you look at the inexperience of players who had to make an impact for us consistently, the depth of our rosters, the injuries at the beginning of the season, it was just hard to build that chemistry.

Once we got healthy, I thought we could get to this game; and if we got to this game, we had to play almost perfect basketball to advance.

Q. And also, you will have some experienced players, some seniors like Cooper and Harrigan and Harris next year. Are those automatically your leaders next year?
COACH DAWN STALEY: They make their debut today, right now. This is it; this is it for them. They are seniors, and they have one more year to perform for us; so they are auditioning for who is going to be the leader of our team in this next year.

Q. Can you speak to your rivalry with Kim, two great point guards now leading two great programs?
COACH DAWN STALEY: Well, the rivalry is lopsided. We're 0-2.

But I think Kim's done a great job at making a huge transition, and I know she's been doing this for a very long time, from being a great point guard to a great coach, a National Championship coach.

You know, I think we give hope to some other, current players, and other former players; that it can get done, as far as being successful in the coaching ranks, and impacting young people's lives on a daily basis is something that I guess we have been impacted by the coaches and the mentors that have been in our lives at a young age; that it allows us to have some success, while returning a favor to some young people.

Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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