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March 6, 2020

Jeff Walz

Jazmine Jones

Dana Evans

Greensboro, North Carolina

Louisville - 71, Syracuse - 46

THE MODERATOR: We will get started with the Louisville press conference. We are joined by Jeff Walz and we are joined by student-athletes Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones. Coach?

JEFF WALZ: I would like to congratulate Syracuse on what was without a doubt a tough year going into it you realize you're not going to have Tiana with the news that they received but so excited that she is doing well and will be back on the court next year. She runs that team for them. I thought Kiara got thrown into having to be at the point and I thought she did a nice job.

Overall I thought, you know, Syracuse and Q really handled everything extremely well. I thought they competed. Just really impressed with their team. They're going to be really, really good. As they continue to move forward for next year and once they get Tiana back at the point.

For us I was just really proud of these young women. I thought we competed from the get-go. We defended extremely well. It's pretty impressive when you can lead the league in points allowed three straight years. You're obviously doing something the right at the defensive end of the floor. For us to be able to lead the league offensively with points discard I think it says something about our kids the fact that they're willing to defend and also willing to get in the gym and work on their offensive game. So just pleased with how we played today.

Q. Coach, the defense has been pretty spectacular the last couple of games but you hold them to 27 points tonight, stepping it up a notch. What were you seeing that was allowing you to shut them down tonight?
JEFF WALZ: I wish we held them to 27 points. We held them to 27% but points sounded better! What we did was we dictated a lot of what we wanted them to do. Instead of just reacting to what they were doing, I thought defensively we were there on the catch. They missed a few shots in the first half when they had open looks but after a while when you only get so many of them, you start to press, like my God I finally got one! So now you rush your shot.

These young women did a remarkable job of making sure we had a hand in the face. Kiara Lewis is a big-time player. You aren't going to hold her scoreless, but we made her take 21 shots. I thought that was a win.

Not giving them a bunch of second-chance opportunities was another key thing we talked about, we had to do a good job of keeping them off the glass and we did a great job of that today.

Q. Jeff, when you're coming in as the unquestioned head liner of a tournament, winning it outright in the regular season for the first time, is there anything different this year as opposed to past years where you shared the regular season title with Notre Dame? Anything different this time?
JEFF WALZ: No, there are still plenty of people that don't think we're all that good. It's just a fact. It's okay. They not might not like the way we play or what it might be. At the end of the day, we compete. I watch all the stuff that goes on and Oregon is having a fantastic season and they talk about their one loss in November but they won't ever say who beat 'em, I think it was us.

I would love to get the chance in the future to possibly play them again. We are 2-0 against Sabrina, that's not too bad! We are a pretty dam good ball club. Do we just have to show up and win, no! We have to compete. We play hard. I think for the 13 years I've been here I don't think anybody would question how hard we play, and that's the one thing I talked with Q about at the end. He said, man, I'm just so impressed with how hard your kids play. I take a lot of pride in that about we have wonderful young women who represent themselves off the basketball court as good as anybody I've been around but when you step on to the court, they're here to compete. That's what it's all about.

Q. Dana, you struggled against Syracuse in these first two games what was different tonight?
DANA EVANS: I would say the tempo of the game, I got more easy shots this game but I credit my teammates for looking for me and getting me those open shots. Defensively we got the ball out and rebound and had were able to push the ball so they weren't able to set up in their zone as quick.

Q. Jeff, what about your personnel defensively allows you to play the way you want to? The way you switch screens and deny passes?
JEFF WALZ: We have good legs. That was one thing we missed when Elizabeth was with her national team qualifying for the Olympics here this summer is she gives us a lot of length there on the wing. You put her and Yaya, they both play extremely well. I've said it all along and I'll knock on wood and hope it keeps going but we have not had a ball game where they have both played bad the same game. If you want to say someone struggled, they've both -- someone came in and played well, or they both played well. They both did not defend, they didn't rebound. One might struggle, but then I've got the next one to throw out there and they complement each other so well.

Q. Jazmine, Coach talked about rebounding before the game you out rebounded them 53-31. You had 10 rebounds. How much of a concerted effort was that?
JAZMINE JONES: Now he can get off my back about rebounding.

JEFF WALZ: Seven of them fell into her hands.

JAZMINE JONES: He's been challenging me these last couple games getting to the glass and get rebounds and helping my teammates out and Coach put a big emphasis on it everything else. We really committed to boxing out this game and rebounding and that's what I think was a big part of this game for us.

Q. Coach, last game against Syracuse the loss at the Dome, much better shooting percentages today than then. Was that because of changes you made?
JEFF WALZ: We had some shots that didn't fall up there, but you gotta give Syracuse credit. I thought they really did a good job. Like I said, the thing about Elizabeth is she is not scoring 20 a night, but what she does, you have to respect her. She's got the ability to make four or five three's in a row so it spreads the floor for us and that allows Jaz to do what she can do and she has been shooting 40% from the three-point line in ACC play. Now you've got to respect her from out there, Kylee is shooting the ball well from the three-point line. Dana is shooting it well. Yacine goes 1 for 2. Now we're able to spread things out so when we do get a chance to drive and attack the gap we're getting nice looks from 8 to 10 feet on a pull-up jump shot.

Q. Dana, congrats on the award this year. How much has Jazmine been a part of helping you to take the next step in terms of challenging you?
DANA EVANS: She is a great teammate and great person. When I'm struggling, she always picks me up and I feel like she complements me and I complement her well too. I just tell her go run. Nobody can catch you and we feed off each other.

Q. How much will you hang your hat on what you can do defensively with Elizabeth back tomorrow in terms of defending the Seminoles?
DANA EVANS: She is long and she played great D. She is going to help us and complement us a lot in this next game. Because they're a really good team.

Q. Jaz, we've seen so much joy, when you look at this team the growth, what's the thing that you're most proud of in terms of the kind of ball you're playing right now?
JAZMINE JONES: I think consistency, after two losses we regrouped and came back playing Louisville women basketball and we've been consistent especially on the defensive end too and that will allow us to get out in transition like Dana and Coach said. That is what I think is leading us to this run we are making. We just have to keep it up and that will lead us to easy offense.

Q. Jeff, you have talked about Bionca and how well she is playing down the stretch and Dixon came in today and gave you a lift when Kylee picked up those fouls, how important are those two in anything you want to do long term?
JEFF WALZ: For us I thought Liz played as well in the first half as she has played all year. She was on top of every assignment. She knew what she had to do at the defensive end. She was rebounding the basketball with two hands, just really, really impressed with how she played, and that's what we're going to continue to need from her as she goes forward, and I talked to her, it's not just bout this year, but every day she is learning and getting better for next year, also, because it's a process. It's the one thing I can say about Dana and Jaz sitting here. They did not come in as freshmen and completely dominate. It's been a process. Jaz has worked on her game year in and year out, and has gotten better and better.

Dana was a little bit of a bullhead, and that's being nice. I'm watching my language, here, her freshman year, but I will say she is fortunate to have a wonderful father who puts her in her place every once in a while, which does not happen all the time as a coach when a player can come and be like, man, I want to apologize. My dad said he not wouldn't have played me as much as you did.

DANA EVANS: Shout out to dad!

JEFF WALZ: It's great! Then for Bionca, I'm so excited and proud of her. A kid that, you know -- we were the only division I scholarship offer she had out of high school. The only one. She came in as a freshman. I tried to redshirt her and God bless her, she goes, "I didn't come here to sit on the bench. I came here to play," and I was like, all right. And she has just developed year in and year out. What she does for us at the defensive end of the floor, she controls everything. She is talking every second she is on the floor. It's amazing how well she knows what everybody is supposed to do.

You know, we have had a few in the past. We had Keshia Hines that played for us my first few years, it was the same way. Sam Fuehring knew what everybody was supposed to do, and Bionca is out there directing traffic, which we're going to need her to continue to be able to play. I played her all 20 minutes in the first half and was fortunate that we only had to play her four minutes, because she was like, "Hey, Coach, I can only go so long." It's perfect.

Everything is great, and she has been wonderful all season. We've only given up 70 points once in the ACC, and that's the game Bionca did not play, at Boston College.

Q. Dana, Jeff mentioned Oregon and you guys are 2-0 versus Sabrina. Do you have a reaction to that?
JEFF WALZ: No, I'll take care of that. We just state facts. That's it. We're all about fact checking, and that would be accurate if you looked it up. I fact check for them.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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