March 5, 2023
Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Postgame Press Conference
Virginia Tech 75, Louisville 67
JEFF WALZ: Obviously the ball game didn't turn out the way we would have liked it to or we had anticipated or hoped for.
But you've got to give a ton of credit to Virginia Tech and Kenny and their kids. They played extremely hard, fought, Amoore was fantastic, and I apologize if I pronounced her name wrong. A guy that stutters, it's always hard when you're sitting here trying to pronounce a name, so I apologize. She was fantastic, just really, really good with that basketball, made some big-time plays, goes 10 of 10 at the free-throw line. Yeah, I thought she played well.
We did not have the gas and the juice there at the first half defensively like we had our last two games. We didn't pick the ball up early enough. We didn't kind of cause enough chaos. But again, you've got to give them credit. The three that she banks in at the end of the first half, it's a big shot. Then we put them at the free-throw line in the second half, and we couldn't get to the line. We drove it, we attacked it, we just could not get to the line.
At the end there, we may have fouled them two times, I think, or three to try to put them to the line. Besides that, we weren't. But we made our free throws for the most part when we got there. We just weren't able to get there enough.
Q. Obviously you mentioned struggling with the offense, but the way CC was able to get going in the second half, how would you describe her performance. And CC, what kind of got you going there in the second half?
CHRISLYN CARR: For me, I'd definitely say my teammates. They believe in me a lot, and I believe in them. I couldn't do anything without them. All credit goes to them.
Q. Coach, I just want to ask you about particularly your offensive game plan and just how you guys were able to execute today and how you feel it worked.
JEFF WALZ: Well, I mean, obviously it didn't quite work well enough. I don't know -- you know we lost, right?
Q. Yeah, I do.
JEFF WALZ: Okay. So obviously it didn't work as well as we would have liked it to have.
I thought we got some good shots. I mean, you look at it, we only turned the basketball over nine times. We were 25 of 67 from the field, and had some real good looks there in the first half and throughout the game, but the ball just did not go in the basket.
I tell our kids all the time, if we're going to lose, I want it to be because we didn't make shots, and that was evident today. But I would say we did not defend as well as we had the past few games. That did have an impact on it.
But you've got to give Virginia Tech credit; they made some tough shots. Traylor made a big-time step-back three going right, which is what she does. That's her go-to shot. That 7-0 run to start, I think, the third quarter was really a dagger. It really hurt.
But I was proud of our kids. I thought we kept fighting, continued to fight, and there was no quit in them.
Yeah, I'd say the offensive game plan obviously did not work the way we had hoped.
Q. Going off of that, how much would you credit Virginia Tech's guard play but particularly Georgia Amoore?
JEFF WALZ: She played great. I said that. She played fantastic. She had a great ball game. They did a very nice job defensively, as well.
But we did miss some good shots. We had some good looks, especially early in the game around the basket that just did not go in, and that's part of the game.
You know, did we come into this game anticipating and planning on winning an ACC championship? Of course we did. But I'm not walking out of this building pissed off at these kids or anything like that because we fought.
There are just some big plays. There's a bunch of them throughout a ball game, and you always talk about this play, that play. We had it twice where we had a 10 -- about to get a 10-second violation in the backcourt and just a millimeter of a second that we don't get it, we don't get in front of them. And all of a sudden, instead of a turnover, it ends up being their ball, then we have to foul.
So there's just tons of plays throughout the game. But overall, you've got to just give Tech credit and Kenny and his staff. I thought it was a great basketball game.
I know Tech was up 15 and up 10, 12 there, and we chipped it back to seven and had that opportunity end of the third quarter to get it to five and just couldn't get it there.
But you know, that's sports.
Q. What kind of growth have you seen in Tech since the first meeting?
JEFF WALZ: I think both teams are a lot better. Yeah, I mean, I think both teams are better. I think both teams have a great shot at making a run in the NCAA Tournament. Tech has got great guard play, and then with Kitley, and then Soule made some big shots. We challenged her to make some 15, 18-footers, and she did. You've got to give her a ton of credit for that.
It's one of those -- the free-throw line is what killed us. At the end of the day, that's what killed us.
You look at the other stats, points off turnovers, 14-4 us; points in the paint, 20-16 us; second-chance points, 13-9 us; fast break 5-2; bench 9-4. That entire column, we won that column. We did not win the free-throw line.
That's unfortunate for us, but I thought our kids competed. They played hard, and you've got to give Tech credit for stepping up and making free throws.
Q. You've talked about how this week things clicked into place early on that didn't during the regular season. What are you going to take from this week forward to the tournament where you've had so much success?
MYKASA ROBINSON: I think this weekend we came in with a different intensity. Not today, of course, but I think our mindset was different, and I think that's going to carry over for us.
CHRISLYN CARR: Yeah, same thing Kasa said. I think we came in a different mindset these past few games. I think We could have did way better today. We just to pick up the intensity bringing it into the tournament.
Q. How would you assess your team in this defeat right now, and then what are some things you can do as a player to help make your team better going forward?
MYKASA ROBINSON: I think overall from a team standpoint, I think those last few minutes really showed how hard we wanted to play, and I think that's something we have to start the game with. I think we didn't make shots, we didn't get as many free throws.
I think just as an individual player, just stepping up in those leadership moments and just encouraging the team, telling them they're still in it, just things like that.
CHRISLYN CARR: I agree with what Kasa said. I think that we have to play harder in the first and second quarter. I think we played better in the third and fourth, but we have to anticipate the whole game.
From an individual standpoint, just bringing energy and talking more. And like Kasa said, in those moments, bringing everybody together and saying, hey, we're still in it.
Q. Going off the question that was asked of your players, what were the biggest areas of growth or optimism that you saw from your team to make this run to the championship game, and where do you think they need to grow the most as you guys look forward into the NCAA Tournament?
JEFF WALZ: Well, we're a good basketball team. You know, our Achilles heel had been throughout the year throwing the ball to the wrong team. We'd throw it to the other team instead of us a lot. And these last three games, I think we had 12, 11, and 9 turnovers, and if we can continue to keep our turnovers low, then I like our chances. I think we're going to be a hard out for someone.
That's the mindset we have to have, and we have to continue to defend. We've got to try to speed things up, play with a little bit of a passion, try to turn people over and get some easy points off of that, and yeah, it's a great group.
Then we've just got to get back in the gym. We have two weeks. You've got about a week and a half to get back in the gym and really simplify some things. Just being able to knock down open shots. Just catch and shoot, catch and shoot, and have that confidence to do it.
I thought Olivia Cochran battled. I thought she battled all game today. I was really proud of how well she competed.
Yeah, and that's -- really to me, I don't think we're that far off. I mean, I think we've shown that in this tournament, and I like my squad. I'll take them into fight here, into a battle for the NCAA Tournament as it starts up here in about a week and a half.
Q. I just wanted to ask Coach, you said the other day, Mykasa is the best defender in the ACC. I wanted to know what makes her so special in terms of not only her on-ball defense but her off-ball knowledge.
JEFF WALZ: It's everything she does. She has a high basketball IQ. She has a motor. She doesn't quit. She's shunting plays off. It's hard to find these days. She's old school. I can chew her and get on her and challenge her, but she knows I love her.
When it comes to basketball, every one of these young ladies, they tell me they want to compete for a championship, and then a lot of them have aspirations of playing after college.
We know what that looks like, and we know what it does not look like. I've just been thrilled. I mean, Kas one that -- I said it the other day in here, if I was able to retire our last game, I'd retire. I'd go out with her, because she to me is the epitome of what Louisville women's basketball is for these past 16 years.
I'd put her up there with an Angel McCoughtry because the kid is a competitor, she's a warrior, she's a smartass at times, which I appreciate. She gives it back to me as much as I give it to her. And she's also the type of person that I'd be thrilled if my daughters grew up to be like. My kids look better, but personality-wise and character-wise, I would be thrilled. Her parents have done an unbelievable job. Yeah, she's one of a kind.
Q. Their defense on Hailey, did they do anything to make it a tough shooting day for you guys?
JEFF WALZ: Yeah, they played well. They played well. They were there on the catch and really did a nice job coming -- when we were trying to come off some ball screens, and Kitley's length caused some problems. But when we slowed ourselves down -- CC did a really good job of it. When she came off the ball screen, our post adjusted their angle and she didn't over penetrate. She took the shot in between Kitley and trying to drive in to create chaos or get a foul or get a lay-up, and she did a great job of that.
Once we got adjusted to that, I thought offensively we did some really good things. We did not screen very well. This was one aspect of the game that we did not do a good job of. And when you're playing a team like Tech, you've got to put them in possessions where they've got to help, and we didn't do a great job of that. But overall, I'll take this squad and go into battle with them here in the NCAA Tournament.
Q. Mykasa, when you hear Jeff say that you're the epitome of Louisville women's basketball, you got a little emotional. What kind of feelings or thoughts come over you when you hear him talk about you like that?
MYKASA ROBINSON: It really does mean the world to me. I would do anything for Coach Walz, and I know he loves me just like I love him. Yeah, sorry. Just like he says, we know how we are with each other. I'm just very grateful to be able to play for Louisville for the past five years, and I would do it all over again if I could.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports