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March 5, 2020

Lynne Roberts

Brynna Maxwell

Dru Gylten

Las Vegas, Nevada

Utah - 72, Washington - 63

LYNNE ROBERTS: Thank you. I appreciate you all being here covering the Pac-12 Tournament. It's the best basketball in the country from the women's side, and so we appreciate so much you all being here and covering us.

Congrats to UW on a great year. Amber Melgoza is tough, man. She's tough to stop. We didn't do a very good job of it in the first half. Made some adjustments in the second half that were effective, and we did a better job. She still had 11 in that second half. That's when you know you're a really good player, is when you feel like when you shut somebody down, they only had 11 in a half.

So she had just a tremendous career at UW. You know, congrats to them.

I'm really proud of our team today. I really thought we had three great quarters. The first quarter we were really good. The third quarter and fourth quarter we were great. The second quarter we were awful.

Luckily we only ended up down six at halftime. Just a much different look from our team in the second half in terms of our toughness and swagger. And we hit some big shots at moments where we needed to bucket.

But we also scored inside. Sometimes for us this year when we win big games, we have hit, you know, 12, 13, 14 threes, and you can say that's why we scored 75 points or whatever, but today we scored a lot of points in the paint and only had eight threes. I'm proud of that balance.

And just Brynna Maxwell is a talent. She kind of got us going there in that third quarter. And Dru is our anchor. I thought she did a tremendous job on Melgoza there in that third quarter.

These two are deserving of being up here and certainly helped us get the win today. But it was a total team win, and I'm really proud of our group.

Q. The adjectives you use to describe these ladies and the rest of the team, the story line, or much of the season the big story line has been the underclassmen, 73 percent of the scoring, two freshmen, two sophomores today with all in double-digit scoring. Can you talk about the emergence, the growth, what they meant today and just how they maybe continue to surprise you with their maturity.
LYNNE ROBERTS: That's been the story line of our team and our season, has been -- you know, the way that the schedule -- the cycle of the schedule, we have played all of the top ten teams twice.

So it's tough for us to gain momentum, where we'd win a couple, two, three, be playing well, then play at Oregon or something. And we're just not quite there yet. We weren't at that point.

But this group continued to show up the next day, ready to go. That's sometimes the beauty of youth, too, is they move on pretty quickly.

They stayed hungry, hated losing, but didn't feel sorry for themselves. I really am excited about the direction of the program we have got. You know, all those guys coming back, and then we signed a top ten recruiting class. It's exciting to think about the future.

But we're not done yet. But I do think a game like today really will help us, you know, springboard, and now these guys next year and tomorrow, we have been here, we have won, we know what it looks like, feels like, I think that's huge.

Q. Dru, the media has heard the story plenty of times about how much Melgoza can deadlift and how strong she is. Just your point of view, how tough is that, to absorb some hits from her and to be able to stay in place, to make the jump shots she takes tougher?
DRU GYLTEN: She's an amazing player, and she's a big guard. I think we knew that coming in as we had to stop her. And even though she still had 30, I think it was a team effort on her case.

They set a lot of screens for her. After halftime, a couple of us had to step up. We knew if we wanted to win the game, we had to shut down her. She still scored 11, that's how good of a player she is. We knew if we could make her miss a couple of times and get the rebound, it would come out on our end, and that's what we did.

Q. That's two of your several good games against your home state school, Washington. Do you get particularly excited when you play them or pumped up?
BRYNNA MAXWELL: It is definitely different from other games because I have grownup watching UW, it is my hometown, home state. It's definitely a different vibe for me. This game was just different because it's a bigger stage. It is the Pac-12 Tournament, everybody wants to win.

It is definitely different, but it is really fun. Today, I mean, I'm just proud of our team and how we exceed.

Q. This is for all three of you. It has been a little more than five years since Utah has won a game in the Pac-12 Tournament. How important is it, do you feel like, that you broke that streak?
LYNNE ROBERTS: I think it is great. It's a kind of monkey off your back. I don't think they knew that. I haven't been talking about it.

Every year is a new group, a new journey, a new season. It's what you did last year, didn't do last year, especially when we have, you know, so many new faces, it wasn't something we have talked about.

But I do think, like I said, I think us winning, you know, for this group, this team, moving forward, I think it is really, really important.

Q. Right before your game, you saw Cal knock off Arizona State, a big upset, obviously, and you're looking at what would be a big upset if you win your game tomorrow. So how -- did you ladies see that at all? Do you take inspiration from that? What are you thinking about playing Oregon tomorrow?
DRU GYLTEN: I think it is just what March Madness is. It is the month of March, and I think every team, especially this year, in the Pac-12 is just filled with amazing players and amazing talent.

We look at it as an opportunity to play the top team in the country, and we have nothing to lose. We're going to go out there and fight like we did today. And I think Cal also showed that; that they don't care who they're playing, they're just going to come in ready to fight.

I think that's our mentality going into tomorrow. Just bring it on. We have nothing to lose, and we'll go out and play our best.

Q. You are playing your best. Brynna, you just set the Utah three-point field goal record. You had 76 going in the game, you have 80 now. You're going still. What's it mean to you personally? And Coach and Dru, your freshmen are balling out?
BRYNNA MAXWELL: I think -- I mean, to me personally, I mean, I didn't even know about it. I don't really care about that kind of stuff. I think it is more exciting for us to win this game. I think that's the thing that's going to stick and going to last. I think that's the biggest takeaway for me at this game. Yeah.

LYNNE ROBERTS: It goes without saying, she isn't going to say it, because what she just said is true, she doesn't care. But it is pretty cool. It's pretty amazing that -- I think she led the league in Pac-12 shooting. Think how many great shooters and players are in this league. And our little freshman here from Gig Harbor took home the trophy.

The sky is the limit for her. She'll be legendary at Utah for sure.

DRU GYLTEN: It is cool playing with her. She's the first in the gym, she's always the one going to the gym on a random day at a random time. She'll be the one there. Kudos to her for always working hard, and she totally deserves it.

LYNNE ROBERTS: It is not by accident. For sure.

Q. You all are working hard, freshmen, making a lot of accomplishments. What's the driving force that you all have to keep you all going be a part of history and to do great things with the program?
DRU GYLTEN: I think all of us, coming to Utah, we knew it was a program on the rise, and we wanted to be the team and the players to change that.

I think it is just leaving our mark on the program, Coach Rob is always saying when you come in, leave it better than what you found it.

I think that's our motivation, each year get better and better, and that's -- we're just baby steps, and each year, we're just going to take it to the next level.

BRYNNA MAXWELL: I think also it goes to what drew me to Utah was the fact that we could do a thing that's never been done before. I think tomorrow is a great opportunity to do that, and, you know, show the world what Utah is all about.

Q. Obviously a whole different animal. What's kind of the low-hanging fruit for your team, looking back on the team before, and where do you feel your team will be better than where you were earlier this season?
LYNNE ROBERTS: I feel the first couple of times we played them we were a little bit intimidated, but we opened at their place, Pac-12 play, and I just feel like we were a little bit kind of, you know -- and I think since we played them both times, we have improved. Of course they have as well. I don't anticipate the intimidation factor. I think that's a big thing.

There's no secret we'll have to shoot the ball well and score, you know. There's not a lot of holes in their game, not a lot of weaknesses. I think defensively they're long and big.

And so we'll have our team ready. We'll have them ready to roll. You know, like I said before, too, out there, if we rebound defensively like we did in the first half against UW, then we'll get blitzed. We have to box out and give them one opportunity and just not shoot ourselves in the foot that way.

You know, you talk about low-hanging fruit, things we can control, not turn it over and rebound like crazy.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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