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April 5, 2019

Kelly Graves

Sabrina Ionescu

Satou Sabally

Erin Boley

Tampa, Florida

Baylor-72, Oregon-67

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Oregon. We'll take an opening statement from Coach Graves.

KELLY GRAVES: First of all, I do want to congratulate Baylor on a great game. They played like champions today, deserved to move on. That's a great basketball team.

We tried our best. We worked hard. In the end, they made the plays and we didn't. But I'm really proud of our team, no question about it. We certainly belonged to be here. We had our chances down the stretch. Just don't know if we ever really got kind of our game going. We saw bits and pieces of it here and there.

Credit to a really good defensive team. Our field goal percentages were much lower than normal, we turned it over 13 times, three more than our average. A little out of sync. Ultimately that cost us.

Credit Baylor. Again, I just want to say I'm really proud of my team. They took us on a great journey this year. I got a feeling when you look at who we have up here that this is a team that's going to be back.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Erin, did Baylor's size just wear you down over the course of the game?
ERIN BOLEY: Obviously they have two great post players. I think we worked hard throughout the course of the game. We did what we could on both ends of the floor.

SABRINA IONESCU: No, I mean, they have two of the best post players, obviously very tall, very athletic. They were beasts inside. But we had to adjust and we didn't.

SATOU SABALLY: I wouldn't say they wore us down. Obviously they did a good job, yeah.

Q. Sabrina, did you feel like you were too reliant on the three-pointer tonight?
SABRINA IONESCU: No, I don't think we were too reliant. Those are shots we usually make. They were good looks. I don't think we really forced too many threes up. We didn't hit them tonight, but we're going to learn from it.

Q. Sabrina, this team has made incremental but positive steps forward. Talk about the journey, how difficult it's been or how joyous it's been, to get here and come up short?
SABRINA IONESCU: Yeah, I mean, we continue to learn. We were put in positions we haven't been put before. But I think this is just going to make us more hungry. We got to this stage that our program has never got to. So I think learning through this game and learning through the previous years, it's just going to get us ready to want to come back.

Q. Sabrina, I know you've been focused on this game. A great season for your team. Have you given any thought to next season?

Q. Satou, what is going to stick with you from tonight's game and carry you through the off-season?
SATOU SABALLY: Personally I'm going to mature from this game. I knew before every possession matters, it's going to come down to the important shots, important drives. I mean, most importantly don't foul stupid. I don't know, I got to be there for my team. That's going to stick with me. That's going to hurt for a while.

Yeah, it's a learning process. I'm definitely going to learn from this game by just the little things.

Q. Sabrina, when DiDi Richards picked up her fourth foul, they had to switch, did that open you up to do a little bit more on the offensive end?
SABRINA IONESCU: I mean, yeah. Juicy [Landram] is obviously a smaller guard. I think that allowed me to penetrate, see the floor a little bit better and hit some midrange shots.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. We'll continue with questions for Coach Graves.

Q. Coach, tough moment. Didn't shoot the ball as well as you'd like. What do you tell your team after a game like this and season like this?
KELLY GRAVES: I told them I'm really proud of them. It always hurts right now, as it should. It hurts when you put a lot of energy and a lot of yourself into it.

I know all our team had a chance to voice how much -- how great they feel about Maite [Cazorla] and Oti [Gildon], our two seniors, who had tremendous careers. They're ones that really got this thing started.

We're going to look back on this as a tremendous season and another step. It always hurts. It does and it should. But this was a tremendous season. I think what we've done for basketball in the state of Oregon is incredible. Again, you see all three of these players up here, a lot more, this is a program that's not going anywhere. It's only a program that's going to get better.

Q. Was the game plan to trade their twos for your threes or is that just how it worked out?
KELLY GRAVES: To some degree. You saw, we actually tried to make some baskets around the basket. It didn't go so well. Unfortunately for us, we couldn't get Ruthy [Hebard] involved as much as we wanted to. That hurt us.

32 three-pointers is too many for us. We're more comfortable in the 25 to 28 range. I just thought we shot a few too many, a couple not so good ones. But that's what they were giving us tonight. If we have a normal shooting night, those threes for twos are more successful.

But I don't think that's where the game was lost. I thought we had a couple of defensive breakdowns late. Even though the boards were relatively within reason, they made some key offensive rebounds late.

Q. Satou talked about learning something. Do you think there were lessons learned tonight that you only learn if you play in this game?
KELLY GRAVES: Sure, yeah. I don't know exactly which ones, I think we've got multiple lessons we can learn tonight. I think with her being in foul trouble, any time you're in foul trouble, it kind of changes who are, how you play. We want to be aggressive, we want her to be aggressive. When she can't because of foul trouble, that kind of hurts her game, maybe on her heels a little bit too much.

But, no, again, I think we just got to get here to take that next step. You know what, we were in a position to win the game. That's all I can ask. It was a couple of possessions late in the game. But we had a chance to win the game. Credit them, they made those plays down the stretch.

I thought in a close game, it might favor us because we've been in a lot of them, and they haven't in quite a while. Now I see why. They are really, really good.

Q. When you think back on this game, with Ruthy having to battle through what she's battled through over the latter part of this season, can you help but wonder how things might have gone if you had Ruthy at 100%?
KELLY GRAVES: Yeah, I can't play that game. I mean, Ruthy gave us 100% of what she has. What she has, I don't know. But whatever she has, I just know her. She gave all of it.

Again, it's never just that one person. It was collective. It was the team. We just didn't get it done tonight, bottom line. I really liked our shot there to tie the game. We just kind of played through that possession. I think we got exactly the shot that we wanted, and it just didn't go. And that happens.

Q. Got to have some solace in the fact that Baylor is the No. 1 team and you played them down to the wire, nobody else did. You could have easily won. Does that kind of help a little bit?
KELLY GRAVES: No (smiling). It still hurts. We'll have a chance to look back on this and say and realize that this was an incredible season, incredible season. We've got a lot coming back, you guys. This is going to be a team that's loaded. Where we ultimately got hurt tonight was some depth inside. We've got Nyara Sabally, who will be one of the best players in the country, sitting on that bench who loves to bang, likes to be in those kind of moments.

Hey, we made the most out of what we had this year. You saw eight players, not very often you have eight players in a uniform at a Final Four game. But they gave us everything they had. I applaud them for it. I'm really proud of them. I love each and every one of them.

Q. Cox and Brown, how did you defend them overall as a team? They really sunk down offensively and tried to get the ball inside.
KELLY GRAVES: You know, if you had told me that we would have only lost the rebound battle by five, held them to 72, I'd like my chances. I thought we did a lot of good things defensively. They were the ones that killed us. We got killed in points in the paint. That normally doesn't happen. We got doubled in points in the paint.

Yeah, sure, that hurts. But those all count, too. We needed to make a few more threes. We weren't going to exchange them, but that usually works in our favor and it didn't tonight.

Q. What did you like about [Satou] Sabally tonight and what are some growing edges for the future?
KELLY GRAVES: Well, Satou has just matured right before our eyes. Seems like she gets better and better each and every game. I thought this year she took her game from just kind of a spot-up shooter, a straight-line driver, now she can create a little bit, continues to be a great shooter, added a little bit of post-up. She's much better on the boards this year. I think for her to continue to grow as a player, she's now got to be a creator for others, not just for herself. She will. That's all natural development.

I think you're seeing a future star there. I mean, Satou I don't think was herself tonight, but she still put up pretty good numbers. She'll be the first to tell you she was real disappointed. The other area I thought she made advances defensively. She was a big liability last year. Not any more.

Q. In Portland you said the atmosphere was electric. How much is this going to help you recruiting down the road?
KELLY GRAVES: I don't know. Do you have any leads (smiling)?

Hey, listen, yeah, I think it will. I think it will. My staff continues to work really hard. I think we've proven that this is a program that's on the rise. We'll have some staying power with everything that we're given, the resources we have at the University of Oregon. The administration and support we get, the support we get from our community. We still have really, really good players on our team. We've got really, really good players that are coming.

No, we're not going anywhere. This is a program that is going to be around. Hey, listen, now we don't have to say 'next year.' This is the first time we're here. If we can get here again or sometime soon, now we'll have a little bit of experience and that always helps.


KELLY GRAVES: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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