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December 12, 2019

Hugh McCutcheon

CC McGraw

Alexis Hart

Austin, Texas

HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: We're very happy to be here and excited to be competing in this phase of the tournament and looking forward to our match tomorrow. Thanks.

Q. What's your analysis and takeaways from the game against Creighton?
ALEXIS HART: It just shows that we have a lot of grit and for the next game we just need to come out more consistent.

CC McGRAW: If we come out playing gopher volleyball right away, I think we'll have better odds, that's for sure. I don't know, I think -- we battled out way back, and we just have that and maintain the whole match, we'll be good.

Q. What were you guys not doing in that match?
ALEXIS HART: I think we just weren't connecting probably, and also, not hitting smart shots.

HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: Well, at the beginning we were playing pretty well.

Where are you from? Oh, great. Okay. So yeah, we were playing pretty well at the beginning and then Creighton had the right to respond, and they did. Played some good volleyball, and for us, we were a little bit disconnected, as Alexis said, which was uncharacteristic relative to a lot of people not finding the way to be consistent or good at their jobs in those moments.

As the athletes have been saying, they were able to figure it out and we're certainly proud of them for that.

Q. What did you guys do in that fourth set to stave off their match point?
ALEXIS HART: I think people were just hitting smart shots and just being very calm and consistent whenever things got crazy.

CC McGRAW: Yeah, I think looking back at that moment, I think we just had the belief we were going to win that set no matter what happened and we stuck together. We battled our way back.

Q. What do you think the team is taking away from being so close to being eliminated?
HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: Well, obviously it could be a feeling of, hey, we're playing with house money now. This team has had some lofty goals the whole time, so I think it probably speaks more to a feeling of, hey, we got into trouble and we got out of trouble. How great that we could do that, and those are lessons that you probably don't want to have to learn, but it would be nice if you could learn them and come out the other side still with a win.

To me, it's probably more about that issue of resolve and grit and clichés they are using, but they are real. We're out there battling and at any moment it could have been easy to say, this is hard and this isn't fun any more and Creighton is playing well and all the rest of it.

They stayed calm. They stayed present and found a way. I think that would probably be the bigger moral of the story for us. Not that we dodged a bullet because we are not bullet dodgers. We're just trying to be a good volleyball, and we were, when it mattered down the stretch and certainly in that set, I think we played well.

Q. What are you doing well as a team right now?
ALEXIS HART: I think overall, like being authentic with energy and just as a team.

CC McGRAW: Yeah, we always just find a way, like when Hugh mentioned, when it's tough and uncomfortable, we always find a way of coming together and connecting. It's one thing to play well and enjoy the game when things are easy and the other team is giving you points, but it's another thing when you've really got to griped your way through it and it is uncomfortable.

Q. How big of a deal is it to have Kylie back for the tournament?
HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: Yeah, I think it's been good for us, no question, and I don't mean that with any, I don't know, problem without other setters. You credit them with so much because they did a lot to keep us in it through the conference season. That was a bit of an adventure for everybody but they did a remarkable job to set the way they set.

I think with Kylie, a little bit more consistency, a little bit better rhythm and I thought we were playing well in the preseason, so it's nice to kind of be able to get back to that. I think, you know, overall, we're better for it, having more depth and more choices, and if we need to go to the double sub like we did the other day against Creighton, we can do that now, and Bayley is well and truly battle-tested. Some opportunity and adversity there.

Q. And running the 6-1 allows you to keep Stephanie in the back row?
HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: Well, I think it's been good. You know, Steph has a good serve and they can certainly play some defense back there but it's nice to have some offensive options to look forward to when we can maybe set her back there in the pipe or the D.

Certainly we've had matches where it's been really successful and other matches where it's been intermittent. Just the fact that it's a threat keeps the other teams a little more honest.

Q. What do you know about Florida from playing them earlier this year?
HEAD COACH HUGH MCCUTCHEON: We know they are good. Probably they are still good. That's the main thing. At this point in the tournament, we know that everyone can play, but Florida is a physically talented team and they are skilled, and well-coached, and we are expecting a battle, no question.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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