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December 12, 2019

Mary Wise

Rachel Thayer

Allie Gregory

Austin, Texas

HEAD COACH MARY WISE: Like any team that advances to this round, with only 16 teams left in the tournament, proud of the work, the body of work that got us here. Thrilled to still be playing, and with this group, maybe one of the most improved teams that had the pleasure of coaching from the start of the season to this point, and have dealt with all sort of adversity and things out of our control.

But the team is a reflection of the senior class. Especially these two, what comes, comes, and you just don't stress about it, and working every day. They have really embraced the idea about every day is an opportunity to get better and that improvement we've made has allowed us to get to this point, and what we hope is that tomorrow night that we've made improvements to close the gap from what was clear the first time we played Minnesota.

But we are celebrating the fact we are here. There are -- there are a whole lot of teams that would still like to be playing and there are one of them, and we definitely celebrate and high-five this group for that.

Q. What are the things that you've improved on?
HEAD COACH MARY WISE: I think what happened, I mean, in all aspects, when we look at where we were at the beginning of the season, from an offensive standpoint, defense, our transition, serve, pass game, each week we have worked -- we've set goals at a team in terms of where we are going to put our attention, and the staff may create those opportunities but it's up to the players to embrace that, and that is the sign of a mature, well-led group, is that they understand that the work we do during the week allows us to have a chance on the weekends when we play.

You asked what areas, I'd say all.

Q. What's Thayer's status?
HEAD COACH MARY WISE: She's still day-to-day, and even at practice today, we're hoping maybe she'll be able to pass, but it's day-to-day.

Q. Is it an injury?

Q. Do you see the improvement your coach is speaking of?
RACHEL KRAMER: Absolutely. In the past we played a lot of the opponents we played in the preseason, and even towards the end of the SEC season we watched film from when we played those teams, and watching the Minnesota film, it doesn't look like this team. It's ridiculous seeing how far we have come in our offense, our defense, our serving, all parts that Mary is saying. We don't look like the same team, so watching that film is really hard, especially scouting for Minnesota that way, it just doesn't look like us.

So what we have done this season is amazing to go back and look at the beginning of the season and see what we are doing in practice and what we are doing in games. We are a completely different team.

ALLIE GREGORY: One of the things I love about this roster is that we have recognized these things we need to get better at and we have embraced the failure in the gym all season long to look like a completely different team like Rachel was saying. This team has loved failure all season long to get better at the things we know we need to get better at.

Q. Without Thayer in the past two games, how have you as a collective team stepped up?
RACHEL KRAMER: I've been so impressed with Mia. People that come to games, you don't see what happens in practice. Mia and every single person on our roster has been working the entire season and when your name is called, it's time to step up to the plate and that's what we've done this past week. We're so proud of her.

The collection of this team is going to be a great lineup on the court, so no matter who is out there, it's going to be a hard Gator team to play. Mia has been hitting all year, and you could see it last weekend, you could see it in practice. She's ready to play, and it's no surprise to us that she did that well.

Q. Do you have to flush your familiarity with those teams and base your scouting report on what's happened recently?
HEAD COACH MARY WISE: Oh, for sure. So that we did, as Rachel mentioned, we most definitely looked at the first time we played them but the scouting was based on especially the most recent matches that Minnesota has played and just see their -- you know, the things that they are doing very different from what, you know, all teams will make changes from early season.

We got to see them, the benefit of seeing them in some really tough environments and to get some really quality opponents and having that preparation, but at least their players are a little bit more familiar. Sometimes you go into this round and you're playing a team that the players have never played; they are learning for the first time.

When we talk about Minnesota, they know exactly who the personnel is. The product has changed because they have evolved, too, but the personnel is the same.

Q. What do you expect to see from the current edition of the Minnesota team?
HEAD COACH MARY WISE: You can see, this is a team that can get kills in a big way. The fast offense, they have got lively, fast, quick arms. You see their offense, but also their defense, how well they block balls and their transition defense.

There's a reason -- this is a team that's beaten some really good teams at home, on the road. I mean, we knew that Minnesota was in a position to have a special year, and wonder if they had been able to stay healthy, what their record would have looked like here at the end.

And so we have the utmost respect for the style that they play, the talent of their team, and how well they are coached.

Q. You guys have so much pressure when you play at home. On the road, you have to have the underdog mentality. What drives this team?
ALLIE GREGORY: I mean, we are playing -- this is our career year. We're playing with so much passion on the court now. The drive from the entire senior class is what's pushing everyone to keep moving forward. We're seeing a lot of that out of the senior class right now.

Q. Any hard feelings for the Gregory Gymnasium, given the controversy?
HEAD COACH MARY WISE: I have no idea what you're talking about. (Laughter).

We may walk out there and take a look at the spot, but we think maybe the ball -- but I also don't know the statute of limitations on officiating and how that goes, so I'm just going to let that go.

I would say, though, that the CRS system, you are welcome.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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