March 9, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
THE MODERATOR: Coach Mulkey-Robertson, congratulations. We'll have your opening statement, then throw it to players for just a few minutes for questions.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: I thought our team was very focused today. I thought the first couple of minutes in the game we were challenged. They came at us hard and aggressive rebounding, and it took us about two minutes to wake up there. We finally got on a roll. I thought we played very good basketball today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Sophia, seems like y'all dominated inside, especially in the first half. Can you talk about the passing, how y'all did it.
SOPHIA YOUNG: Well, I think a lot of team's game plan is to come and double us, so me and Steffanie posted them. So the guards are open a lot tonight. I think we just did a real good job of just passing to each other and running the floor a lot. Like coach said, I think we played pretty good tonight as a team.
Q. Chameka, they came out quick on y'all. About 14 minutes to play, y'all had those three consecutive steals, hit some fast breaks. How much did that get y'all going?
CHAMEKA SCOTT: I think the steals and the fast breaks is pretty much Baylor basketball. Like we feed off of our defense. I think that pressure kind of got to them. The fact we got to complete a lot of the fast break points we got really helped us and got us in the flow of the game back offensively in the second half.
Q. Chameka, can you talk about how it did open it up for you? Seems like particularly more in the second half, y'all kind of went inside out and it opened up some for you on the three-pointers.
CHAMEKA SCOTT: I think my teammates did a really good job of getting the ball around. A lot of the shots were coming off the transition or coming off the screens. So I really credit everybody on the team for just moving well without the ball and getting the ball to the right places at the right time.
Q. Chameka, like coach said, you started out really strong. Was that a concerted effort? They already played a ballgame. You came out and acted like you've been playing for a week.
CHAMEKA SCOTT: I think it was really something we concentrated on, just jumping out on they will early, not putting ourselves in a position that we couldn't get out of early. It was something we talked about. I think we did a really good job of just coming out, kind of carrying over the momentum from Thursday's game without kind of missing a beat. I think that really helped us to establish a lead even though we kind of trailed off at the end of the first half, that we gave ourselves a nice cushion.
Q. Sophia, I wonder if you would talk about the contribution of LaToya tonight.
SOPHIA YOUNG: LaToya was big for us tonight. I think the way that she can drive to the basket just created a lot of open players. She stepped up big tonight. I have to give credit to LaToya for her ability to drive and her ability to create.
Q. Sophia, can you talk about getting a little rest today. Looked like coach did a good job of trying to give you and Steffanie and Chelsea some minutes on the bench to maybe kind of rest you for a run here.
SOPHIA YOUNG: Well, like Chameka said, we knew we came out strong and just take a good lead at the beginning or in the middle of the game, then we can rest up for the next game coming up because the games to come is going to be pretty tough. It's not going to be anything easy. It was good that we played so well, so me and Steffanie can get rest today.
Q. Chameka, concerned at all into the first half, end of the second half, lulls there, offensive lulls?
CHAMEKA SCOTT: I think it's something we're aware of. I don't know if we were concerned. There were a lot of things that happened that I think are very correctable and things we can just go in and work on and talk about and fix later on. I think we did a good job defensively, and that kept us in there offensively. We weren't just, you know, letting them make a huge run at the end, even though we weren't necessarily scoring as much.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies, we'll let y'all go to get rest for tomorrow and keep coach for a few more minutes. Questions for Coach Mulkey-Robertson.
Q. Beginning of the second half they cut it to 10, you called a timeout pretty quick after that. Can you talk about Chameka and LaToya after you called that timeout, how much they kind of took over?
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: Well, let me say something about LaToya. You know, I don't want us to use the word "trademark" but a lot of the success we've had this year has been the unexpected player. Once again you saw that today with LaToya. I thought LaToya was on the floor. In her mind she thinks she stayed out there because she's five for five from the field. I quickly let her know she stayed out there because she was all over there defensively. She was getting deflections, loose balls, knocking balls away. She was just very good for us today. She's very quick. She has great lateral speed and quickness. Then Chameka was nailing them from the three today. As I told the team after the game, you know, you might better start making free-throws when you shoot better from the 3-point line than you do from the foul line, you're pretty bad today. And we were pretty bad from the foul line today.
Q. Can you talk a bit about the passing, especially early in the game? Y'all really set up good shots.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: Had a lot of ball movement. We had a lot of ball movement, a lot of extra passes. When we do that, you know, it's hard to guard, and it gets everybody involved. I think Abiola being involved early in the game both offensively and rebounding really helped Steffanie and Sophia a great deal. Abi, she's just strong. She is a strong player. When Sophia got in foul trouble, and I don't want to say foul trouble, but when sofa a picked up her first foul early action we are lucky that we have Abi that is six foot that can go in and guard a post player so they don't keep pounding it down in there and pick up Sophia's second foul. Back to your original question, we can turn the ball over like that and create shots for everybody. It certainly makes it a lot of fun to coach and a lot of fun to watch.
Q. Even though they've got some size, was the inside something you felt like you could dominate or have some success inside early?
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: Well, I've got Steffanie and Sophia. I'm not -- it doesn't matter how big the other team is, you're not going to go away from your strengths. And Steffanie and Sophia have been so solid for us. Once again, today. Had I played them more minutes, they would have both finished with double-doubles. But I'm not by any means going to put them in a position to get hurt or anything like that. It was the right thing to do. Get up and down the floor. We had not been on this floor. We had not shot on this floor. That concerned me a little bit. When I had a chance to get them off the floor, we did.
Q. As you mentioned, you've got Sophia, you've got Steffanie. This truly is a total team effort almost every night out.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: I agree with you. I've said this before and I'll say it today, you don't hide Steffanie and Sophia. Those guys are solid, they're good, they're All-American. But we're not too shabby around them either. And we have a lot of people that can help them, as you saw today, LaToya. She hadn't been in the game productively in probably a week or two. It may be Jordan Davis the next game, it may be Emily Niemann, it may be Chameka, it may be Angela. There's a lot to choose from. It makes my job extremely difficult through the course of a game. I don't have an eight-player rotation like you probably should because this team has just challenged me to make sure I stay on my toes and have the right people in the game that are helping us. I thought Angela and LaToya in the first half were solid. They pushed the ball up the floor for us, got post players open looks, running the floor. They gave us a spurt of energy there in the first half when Chelsea and Chameka picked up their second fouls.
Q. Could you expand on that. If that's the case, when you're coaching the game, is the first five minutes an he evaluation period for what you think -- what kind of strings you need to pull?
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: It's not just the first five minutes; it's the course of a game. You're watching what people are doing to you defensively. You realize what's sitting next to me on that bench, what that player's particular strength or weakness is. We've just been very fortunate to have a player that's a great perimeter shooter. Then you've got one that's tremendously good defensively, speed and quickness. Then you've got a big perimeter player. There's just a lot of things that go through your mind as you're watching the flow of a game. I'll tell you, it's not fun for me. It's not fun for me at all as a coach because I like to just know my rotation of eight players. But this team, as I said, just doesn't allow me to do that. I have to be on my toes and make sure I know who needs to be inn the game at the right time. You've got Emily and Abi, guys, that are perimeter three players, but they're also post players. In fact, they're probably post players first that play the perimeter for us with their size. One is a better offensive player from the perimeter shooting. One is a driver, a slasher. I thought our defense was very good today. I thought we were very aggressive, as we always are. I thought we switched well on things that were taking place out there. And, like I said, other than the first couple of minutes when they went to the boards hard, I thought we responded. I just noticed on the stats that we were out-rebounded. But I don't know that that's really the flow or the feel of that game with as many players as we played, as early as we did late in the game. I'm not going to just say our team got out-rebounded today. I think it was a case of a lot of players for us playing and just took our team out of the flow.
Q. Can you talk about that stretch early where Whitaker I think had all three steals, and y'all score on the other end? Got y'all going. I think it was a 13-0 run.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: Chelsea is playing very good basketball. She's playing under control. I can think of maybe two times tonight that were not very good for her. It was a second foul she picked up driving down the paint. Maybe one other time in transition I thought she should have faked and taken it herself and she threw to Chameka on the run down the middle. I'm not sure that's all point guard's fault, but since I was a point guard, I'm going to blame her.
Q. Can you talk about what it takes to be a role player like LaToya, not knowing how many minutes you're going to play, having to step in whenever you get the call?
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: It tells you about her as a person. It tells you that somebody raised her right. That it's more about the team than it is about herself. LaToya came across the street from MCC College and had another year of junior college eligibility. She came to Baylor, she wanted to be a part of it. She'd come to games and would see the atmosphere. She wanted to be a part of that. Ricky Rhodes and those guys would bring her over there to games. I'd watch her play. Her lateral speed and quickness is very similar to Lambert's. I know it's very difficult for all of them have to have to play a role. But I can honestly tell you, they make it a joy for me to coach because I don't deal with playing time problems, I don't deal with parent problems. That's probably because I don't allow it to happen. I set the tone in recruiting. "Look, I'll talk to you about a kid's health, their academics, anything you want to talk about, but don't ever talk to me about basketball" because you can't give them the answers they want. You can teach them how to improve, and you can coach them, but you don't ever discuss that with them. And this team is just remarkable. If you'll watch our timeouts, I saw this in the last game, Texas Tech, when we won the conference championship, those players sprint to halfcourt to acknowledge a teammate. I don't teach that. I'm not into cheerleading. Some coaches do. I don't have time. I don't even know what cheerleaders do, okay? But it's the atmosphere of being on a team that is happy for everybody's success. And that's the kind of kid LaToya is.
Q. When you talk about defense, it seems to me the most elite level defenses, you look at North Carolina, I feel your team is at that level. Make what even should be an easy play hard. Do you think that's just a simple pass play, that happened today.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: I think it's twofold. One, you've got the athletes and the players that can do it. Two, I was brought up and played for some of the legends of the game. And if you didn't guard people, you didn't play. We kind of set that tone at Baylor. Particularly when we took over the job, that's all we could sell right then. We didn't know what we had offensively. So you had to sell the aggressive defensive attitude, and just give it everything you have on the floor. This team has a lot of speed and quickness, has a lot of size, has a lot of bigness about it. If you want to go with a small lineup, speed and quickness, we can. If you want to go with good size that has good speed and quickness, we can. Then if we get real slow, I might play a little zone.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again.
COACH MULKEY-ROBERTSON: Thank you.
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