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March 5, 2020

Tina Thompson

Jocelyn Willoughby

Lisa Jablonowski

Dominique Toussaint

Greensboro, North Carolina

Syracuse - 67, Virginia - 50.

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to start with Virginia. Now joined by head coach, Tina Thompson, and players Dominique Toussaint, Jocelyn Willoughby and Lisa Jablonowsk. Coach?

TINA THOMPSON: Well, it's tough to lose like this, you know, especially with the heartfelt season that we had. We just weren't ourselves and when you're in the tournament, it's not the time to not be yourselves. You have to come in kind of being your best selves and playing your best game, especially to have to win night after night after night and we just weren't.

We turned the ball over way too many times to be successful. Our effort was there but just did not turn into the positive intentions that we were wanting and hoping for.

Q. Coach, that was basically anybody's game going into the fourth quarter and then the ball just wouldn't go in for y'all. Was that a matter of their defense that they were putting on you?
TINA THOMPSON: Well, I mean, they didn't do anything differently than they do all year. They have a basic zone defense that they play and they tweak it every now and then.

We weren't on. We didn't make shots that we normally make, our decision making was a little off. We were just a little different. I can't put a finger on what it is right now, but you're right, going into the fourth quarter we definitely had an opportunity to get back into the game and win and it just didn't happen for us.

Q. Coach, I believe you beat Syracuse by 17 in Charlottesville. What was the difference in the two games or two teams?
TINA THOMPSON: Well, for us, we were different just as far as our aggression. We were very aggressive in transition as well as defensively. Our trapping, as well as our doubling in the post. We were just kind of clicking on all cylinders. We forced quite a bit of turnovers and were able to get in transition. We ran on made baskets and that was our game plan today. We just couldn't find a way to get to it.

Q. Jocelyn, great career. Can you speak to the team and lessons learned and moving forward?
JOCELYN WILLOUGHBY: Yeah, I mean, this has been a decent season. We are young, so we knew there were going to be some ups and downs, and right now looking forward as Coach said to the team in the locker room, right now it's about taking advantage of the opportunity that's before the younger players. We're done, and it goes by just like that.

So for the younger players, realizing that this season went by really quickly, their second year. They've been second years in our minds for a little while, but they're going to be taking on more responsibility. So the question for them is what are they going to do with that? How are they going to work and step into that role and just carry the team forward, the team and program forward.

I think that's where we are right now, knowing that we're young but just like a lot of responsibility was put on us when we came in as first years, the same kind of situation is happening again.

DOMINIQUE TOUSSAINT: I think Jocelyn said it all. These underclassmen have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders just like we did coming in and we expect a lot of them because we know their potential and what they can do. So it's up to them to take advantage of the opportunity and make sure they're putting in the work to show what they can really do on the floor. Not even just on the floor off court as well because UVA is an amazing academic school as well, as you see Joc winning all these awards. I want them to take advantage of the opportunity they're given and really shine for this program.

Q. Jocelyn, can you talk about your recognition before the game? Will it be easy to separate that from the game today?
JOCELYN WILLOUGHBY: I'm sorry, can you give more clarity?

Q. Talk about the ceremony before the game where you were recognized and will you be able to put the game behind you and separate it from that award?
JOCELYN WILLOUGHBY: Yeah, I mean, I'm very honored and thankful for the award. I was notified yesterday so the ceremony piece be wasn't as much of a shock. I'm definitely going to embrace that moment and the game I was expecting to win, honestly. We go into any game look to go win and compete so that part is a downer. Any game, any moment you take it for what it's worth. I think there are things to learn and grow from and so even though we didn't have the outcome that we wanted, there's still a lot to be learned from this experience.

It was the last game of my career, so I'm not going to dwell on it or be super sad about it. I'm going to be thankful for the opportunity, because for some, that last game comes sooner than expected. I was able to play in it healthy, so I'm thankful for those little things and for the whole experience, the ceremony before the game and the game itself.

Q. Lisa, your teammates have touched on this, but is there some satisfaction that you're part of a class that laid the groundwork for what's going to follow and do you feel like younger players are buying in as you led this year with them?
LISA JABLONOWSKI: I think it's always hard if you have such a big incoming class and us as such a big class. We have been trying over the season to bring them to the same level as we are at this point. It's definitely satisfying to see how they have been growing from game to game to game over and we feel comfortable giving the torch over to the younger players.

Just at this point, all we can do is watch from the sideline and see our fruits grow and hopefully they will have a successful season next year as well.

Q. Coach, talk about Syracuse's size. Obviously it didn't prevent you from winning the earlier game, but how big of a factor was that today?
TINA THOMPSON: Everybody is bigger than us, so we go into every single game knowing that we're going to have mismatches, and it is what it is. We try to keep the ball out of the post as much as possible and double team especially when Lisa is in isolation. Tonight the double didn't come as frequently as it needed to, they were strategic in taking Jocelyn away from the ball so that she could actually be the double. Our weak side didn't come no matter how many times we reminded them of that.

Of course you would like to go back and change those moments but the reality is we didn't and their size was a factor because they were able to play one-on-one and put Lisa on an island, basically.

Before we go I want to say how thankful that I am of these three and what they've done for helping us build the foundation of this program.

They were committed when I came in last year to the work that was necessary in order for us to grow in a way to be successful going into their senior season. It's tough that they didn't get the outcome that they wanted but the work that they invested, their hearts into this program is definitely something and an example that we're going to be able to build on. So I'm very thankful and grateful for these three for investing into us the way they did. I appreciate you guys and thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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