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March 5, 2020

Mark Trakh

Kayla Overbeck

Alissa Pili

Las Vegas, Nevada

USC - 69, Utah - 54

MARK TRAKH: You know, we're happy with the effort. I think our offense, you know, we ran our offense efficiently tonight. And Colorado is a tough team, and they played hard. It was -- the second quarter they played at a different speed. I knew we had to pick it up. I was happy with the way we played our zone and the way we executed on offense.

I think our kids, you know, had to rise to that level that Colorado was playing. Colorado plays like -- I mean, you know, Peanut gets every offensive rebound, Hollingshed. That's our main area of concern, was can we keep them off the boards.

You know, I don't know what the final stats were, but they got a lot of second-chance points. I think when we went to the zone, I think we did a good job, they did a good job boarding, we got a couple of loose balls.

I was happy with the effort tonight. There was two good teams. It was a battle. It was up and down, but just really happy with the way our kid performed and Kayla went 5-5, eight rebounds. Alissa was really good tonight. And then Endyia Rogers had a good game, and Kyra White had a good game.

We had good contribution from five freshman tonight, and five freshmen have been playing the last two months of the season for us. They have really come a long way.

For the most part, in the last two months, we've played five freshman, a sophomore, and a senior. I'm just proud of the way they finished the season when they could have really just said, hey, you know, we have too many injuries, we don't have enough people.

You know, they never did that. Tonight was our 17th win, and, you know, we're going to go to the WNIT, we're invited. Who knows? You know, let's keep on going and see if we have an outside chance at the NCAA Tournament, if we get one tomorrow against a great UCLA team.

Tomorrow will be really, really tough. You know, we'll enjoy tonight. As far as I'm concerned, we're playing with house money right now. We're just rolling the dice, going out and playing and having fun.

I'm really proud of the kids. 17 wins, for as young as we were, as many injuries as we have suffered all year. We're missing four players all year that were going to be main contributors to us on the basketball floor.

Just to see how the young kids have stepped up and the job they have done, I'm really, really proud of these kids. And it's a good -- we have a good building block to build from.

And, you know, I'm really happy for Kayla, senior year, she'll see a postseason. She's been playing really well. She's the rock and the anchor of our defense.

We'll just enjoy this one tonight and see what happens tomorrow.

Q. Can you all speak on the poise you all showed tonight for being such a young team and a few seniors on the team?
KAYLA OVERBECK: I feel like we have had that poise throughout our season, you know, because we have had to play our young players. You know, we lean on them a lot. The poise that you see is the poise that we have built since, you know, before September, playing together, really trusting each other in key moments because it is a family.

We really are happy for each other when we succeed. And then when one of us falls down, we're all there to pick each other up.

Q. Coach, you spoke on the accomplishments of Alissa and Kayla and Endyia, but I felt like the pivotal moment at a time where neither team could shake each other was when Alyson came down, she hit back-to-back threes from the same corner, and from there, you sort of took off. Can you talk about how big that was at the end of the third quarter?
MARK TRAKH: Alyson is a great shooter. You should see her in practice. Another big freshman. Those were big threes. It sparked us. She wound up making three, hitting three, I think she was 3-5. Those were huge. You know, for her to accept up, again, being a freshman, step up in that situation, and the score was I think tied when she made those two threes, that was big. Alyson was huge tonight. Down by 1. Two big threes, yeah, that was huge.

Q. As a senior, you have been here before, and then you have three other, two who are scoring double digits, one almost scores in double digits. What do you have to say about them succeeding in this tournament so easily?
KAYLA OVERBECK: You know, I think it's the games and, you know, just us needing them. So it is just easy, I guess. Not -- it is not actually easy, but they're used to it. You know, they're ready for it. I think when they go to shoot and they go to score and play defense and everything, they're like: We've got this. We've been here before. We have been in so many close games, and we're not going to quit until the fourth quarter, until the very end, until it says 00 on the clock.

And that shows a lot with the young team, because most times it is like, okay, cool, I have three years. No, we're -- we are ready to prove something, we're ready to play the basketball we have been doing since late October, early November.

Q. Both the players, you have short rest. Coach said you're playing with house money and such. You're playing a team tomorrow you know pretty well, UCLA, a rivalry, you lost in double overtime the last time you played them. How will that help you that you know them well that you're playing next?
ALISSA PILI: We beat them last time in double over time.

But I think it just gives us another chance to go and compete and show them we can compete with one of the top teams in the country. You know, just they're very athletic team and a very good team. I think it's just our time to come out and compete and show why we came here.

KAYLA OVERBECK: I completely agree with what she said.

Q. For Alissa, for you, it seemed like tonight at times, I don't know if it's because you're the Freshman of the Year, or what it may, but it seemed like Peanut was coming at you. You maintained your composure and your poise and just showed so much maturity and patience. Your mental game, could you speak to that and sort of what it took to just stay composed with as close a game as it was for three quarters?
ALISSA PILI: All my life I have been just raised to keep my head and not get frustrated. Even though I may get frustrated, just not to show it. Even playing in high school, it was hard playing against the refs too, so I always just had to keep my head and play poised the whole game like that.

Q. Endyia Rogers played well tonight. Can you comment on how she played again? What did you make of how she played tonight?
MARK TRAKH: Endyia Rogers will be really, really good for us. She plays with poise. She's incredibly skilled, and she's deceptively athletic. You know, she doesn't -- again, she's a freshman, doesn't know any better. She thinks she's out playing with her dad on the playground when we go play.

She just goes. Pressure doesn't mean anything to her. And she's going to be a really good player moving forward. I think she's just going to get -- she's had some really good games in the Pac-12, had a 30-point game, a 29-point game.

I think she's really just going to continue to get better and better. I can't say enough about that.

Q. Alissa, what's it like to get bombed on the set? I saw a link on Twitter, and they came in at you, behind you, dancing, rallying. What's that moment like for you?
ALISSA PILI: It just shows how much my teammates have my back and how much they love me and care for me and, you know, it is just -- it's just a great family atmosphere with my girls. So just showing on TV, the love we have for each other.

Q. Alissa, this one is for you. You have had a great start to your career as a freshman, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, you're in the first game in the Pac-12 Tournament, scored 22 points. What's your experience been like so far this season? Did you ever think you would be at this point already in your first year, being the top scorer in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament?
ALISSA PILI: I really didn't know what to expect when I came in, like performance-wise. I knew I had high expectations for myself. You know, I just came in with the mind set of I'm just going to work hard and earn my spot, do what the coaches ask me to do and help out the team in every way I can.

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