home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 7, 2020

Cori Close

Charisma Osborne

Michaela Onyenwere

Las Vegas, Nevada

Stanford - 67, UCLA - 51

CORI CLOSE: It was the tougher team tonight. They outexecuted us. They played with more unified purpose than us. And, you know, when you're playing this level of a game, you have to -- we have to control some of those things.

You know, obviously as head coach, it starts with me. So I have to go what led to that, how do I lead us to a point -- I can handle losing, but it is really hard to swallow when we get out-toughed, out-executed at that level.

Credit to Stanford. They'll make a great, deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully a spectacular final tomorrow.

And the Pac-12 is the best conference in the country, and hopefully some of the things that got exposed in us today will really inform our next two weeks of practices.

I can pretty much guarantee you we'll come out different for the first couple of rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and we'll be much tougher, we'll be much more together, and we will be able to execute through difficult circumstances at a higher level credit.

But credit Stanford. They were the better team today.

Q. I'll start with Maya. The early part of the game was pretty much a slog, the score was low, you guys were kind of slugging it out a little bit. What changed in terms of -- like Stanford's third quarter, they had a really good offensive third quarter. What changed there, and what did you guys not respond to?
MICHAELA ONYENWERE: In the first half, we had good defense, we kept them to 25 points. Which is great for Stanford's offense. But we didn't come out with a sense of urgency and competitiveness and focus like we had in the first half.

That was something we need to continue to get better at, even when shots are not falling for us.

Q. Can you speak on how competitive the Pac-12 is and how does it prepare you, and does it motivate you all to play better in the tournament?
CORI CLOSE: I'll take the preparation part, they can take the motivation party. There's no doubt, playing in this conference, I think the success in the postseason speaks for itself. You know, there's only seven teams in the entire country that have been as successful as us in post-season play over the last four years, and three of those seven are in the Pac-12.

So the reality is not only is it such a grind, forces you to deal with different styles of play and your strengths and weaknesses, things -- bad habits are exposed right away, different styles of coaching and different styles of play, I think you're ready for whatever seed or matchup you get.

A lot of other conferences aren't as prepared, not only because it's not as deep from top to bottom in terms of excellence, but also the styles of play are more narrow within that conference. And so if they get the wrong match-up, well, you know, it is too bad a little bit. You have to adjust to those things in the Pac-12.

I'm very grateful for how it prepares us. Right now, of course, we're disappointed, and it stings. But I don't think anything but good can come from these environments. It is like your dress rehearsal for the NCAA Tournament, and it gives you a taste of the intensity that will be required, the attention to detail, what must happen to be able to play your best when your best is needed, and now you get a chance to regroup and address some of those things.

But the duration of the entire conference from tactical standpoint is the best preparation you can ask for.

MICHAELA ONYENWERE: As far as motivation, I think this will motivate us. From here on out, it is one and done, and we don't want to go home. I believe in my team, and I believe we'll get better and come back better.


Q. Stanford's depth makes them -- makes them built for three games in three days, you don't this. Nobody does this all season?

Q. Was the depth a factor in anyway tonight?
CORI CLOSE: We played a lot of people too. I don't think they're -- I think their consistent purpose was more of a factor than their depth.

I think we turned them over 21 times, you know, we -- I mean, that's a big number for Stanford. You know, even we got 20 offensive rebounds, so I don't think -- you know, effort-wise, I think we forced them to do different things, we were not as productive out of those things.

The reality was they played to their identity together more than we played to our identity together. You need all five people. That doesn't mean other people can't -- we tried to create one on one match-ups for Mikaela, they sagged in, tried to double her up everywhere we went.

That means there is a chain reaction that needs to happen for everybody else. I think when we made them make some really tough decisions, they were able to find their chain reaction in a unified way, and that's something we have to grow in.

Q. Cori, last night Scott made a joke about I think every Pac-12 team is sick of playing each other, we're all ready to play someone else. Do you feel that? The conference is great, right, but there is also no nights off?
CORI CLOSE: No. I think in a joking way, I think we all are ready to face somebody else. At the same time I don't think we would be as ready to face somebody else if we didn't have to face each other night in and night out.

I tell our team all the time you have to embrace the hard. You have to led it refine you. When it is -- nobody grows the most drinking Mai Tais on the beach, right. You don't. You grow the most when you have to conquer really hard things, when you have to really be uncomfortable. You know, I think maybe that's a bad analogy.

The reality is that I think it is both and. Right? It is both and. I'm ready to play somebody else, and I'm ready to take the fruit of our labor of grinding it out against each other and go apply that to someone else, and I'm so thankful for what grinding out versus each other has done inside of us.

Q. Coach, Stanford went on a 23-4 run in the third quarter and pulled away. What do you think went wrong during that stretch?
CORI CLOSE: Well, I think a lot of things went wrong in that stretch, right.

We knew that if we didn't disrupt -- if they were able to get in an offensive rhythm, you know, we really didn't see their offense much in the first half. They had to make really difficult play, late in the shot clock, they scored six of the first points off of offensive rebounds and then we tightened that up.

All of a sudden in the third quarter, what did you see? You saw all their passes, cutting, getting the ball who needed it, coming off screens, getting in rythm shots, getting to the cup one on one, and that does not bode well for us, they're too good at that. They're a really high-level execution level game. We let them be that. We knew we had to disrupt them.

I thought we played really good defense the first half. I mean, I thought -- I told our team, if we could maintain that intensity on defense and clean some things in on offense we would be fine.

It was a 4-point game at the half. So really disappointed that we weren't able to come out and really assert that same kind of defensive prowess in the third quarter, and that's what got them going.

Q. Cori, at quick glance, Mikaela, Charisma, Japreece, they all scored in double figures for you. That's nothing new. Not to discount the quality of the opponent, but 7-30 in the those two quarters, where does the offense have to come for you guys? What didn't happen tonight that maybe disappointed you, you expected to happen?
CORI CLOSE: I think we have been talking -- I was talking to the team in the locker room, in March everyone is going to know what everyone does. You know, we know what they like to do, they know what we like to do. You're going to have to go to your -- Tara said it -- they were asking her about her secret sauce, she talks about how she takes away their first and second options, what they like do the most.

Everyone does that. We did that to them in the first half. Then who can move to the third and fourth option? Who can stay patient in purpose later in the shot clock? You know, the points in March always go down because it becomes much more of half-court game, we're one of the most high-tempo games in the country, but you have to in March be able to survive and grind it out with more half court games when you're not able to get your transition game going.

You're not going to turn people over in live ball situations as much in March. The reality is that we didn't -- I don't think it's one person, I think it is when they take away our first look at Michaela, they take away our first isolation for Charisma, going down the line, what's our counter, the backside of that action? What are we doing at seven seconds left in the shot clock that's still together, putting people in positions of strength?

I thought we got good actions and we weren't tough enough to finish them. We got to be -- we didn't pass -- I mean, it sounds really simple but if you look at really good offenses, they catch, screen and pass really well and with rhythm, with purpose, and with awareness of whose around them, and we need to grow in that because everybody's game plans will start with Japreece, Charisma and Mikaela. Not everybody not that simple, we have to know what we're doing and creating those together so we make a higher percentage of those shots .

I really appreciate all of you guys and covering the tournament. This has been one of the best years for Pac-12 women basketball not only on the courts but in our coverage of telling the stories of the women. As frustrated as I am in a loss that stings I'm very grateful for the work you put in and the way you tell these stories.

We need you. Our game needs you. We really appreciate how you're telling these stories. Thank you for your work and for your efforts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297