March 9, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
THE MODERATOR: We'll have an opening statement by Coach Coale. Then if you could direct your questions to the players.
COACH COALE: I was really proud of our team. I thought we competed, played extremely hard, played extremely well. Just had a little period there in the second half where we couldn't get the ball to go in the basket. Went for about 11 possessions there and had trouble scoring. I thought held Texas off, fought them on the other end, and ultimately you've got to get that ball to go in the basket. You know, we had more assists, fewer turnovers, did get out-rebounded by three, but we scored more from the field than they did. Just really proud of our kids. Got a young squad. Texas is talented and very experienced. There's a sense of urgency obviously for that huge senior class they have. Tonight they were just a little bit better.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the player athletes.
Q. Where did it get away in the second half? Were there any adjustments they made that were particularly effective?
DIONNAH JACKSON: I thought we played hard the whole second half. Like Coach Coale said, we didn't make plays, I think in the middle of the second half, we went on a drought and they kept scoring. You have to go get them; you have to make a run on yourself.
LEAH RUSH: I think the same thing. You can't name it to one possession. A few plays here and there. They were up by five. Shots aren't falling. We didn't make plays. They did.
Q. Do you feel like you've done enough to get in the NCAA tournament?
LEAH RUSH: I think we deserve to be there. I think we're a good team and we can compete with anybody out there? We've done what we can do. It's up to them now.
DIONNAH JACKSON: I agree with Leah. We'll have to see on Sunday.
Q. Is this a particularly frustrating game? It seemed like there were tough shots, (inaudible) didn't fall. Does it seem like it got away?
DIONNAH JACKSON: Actually, that's right. They won't give you anything. You know, you have to take it. We had opportunities. You know, we didn't go through on those opportunities. They did on theirs. That was the story.
Q. Leah, can you talk about what a handful Tiffany Jackson is on both ends? I know she was on you for a little bit there in the second half defensively.
LEAH RUSH: Well, she's a great player. I mean, our league knows that, this team knows that, and Texas knows that. They take advantage of that. We tried to throw in a few different things, cut down her looks, just tried to take her out of some of the things we know she's good at. She's a great player, though. You just have to try to play with her.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies, thank you for joining us. Good luck this weekend. We'll take questions for Coach Coale.
Q. Your thoughts on the post-season and what you think it will shape up to be for you?
COACH COALE: Well, obviously I feel like we've played an incredibly rigorous schedule. I think you have to look at that, look at who our losses have been to. Have we knocked off teams were ranked ahead of us, better than us? Not necessarily. Have we lost to teams we're not supposed to lose to? Not necessarily either. You look at quality wins we had over Utah, Louisiana Tech, Kansas State not very long ago, and the way we've played top teams in our conference, with the exception of a bad second half in Austin, we've been right there with every top team in this league. I tell you, Big-12 South is no piece of cake. I think you look at our strength of schedule, you look at our RPI, we're there.
Q. Regarding the shooting start you guys got, how important was it to get a good shooting start?
COACH COALE: I can't hear you.
Q. How important was it to have a good shooting start for your team?
COACH COALE: I want to make sure I got the question. How tough was it to have a good shoot -- how important was it to have a good shooting start after the second half we had in Austin?
COACH COALE: To tell you the truth, I don't feel like any of our players even went into this game tonight thinking about anything. The tough part of that was going out and playing OSU afterward. That's where the residue hangs around. You make a few shots against them, you know, it goes away, and you get ready and you play Texas A&M, shoot the ball extremely well. I know it never crossed my mind tonight, and I would be surprised if it crossed our players' minds.
Q. Can you talk about how frustrating it is to see those shots not finish, the shots in close? So many good looks.
COACH COALE: You know, all you can do is all you can do. Nobody's trying to make those shots harder than those kids. I promise you that. Sometimes maybe even trying too hard. Maybe sometimes it becomes too important to them. That's the nature of good kids. I'll take my good kids and I'll take my chances on Sunday.
Q. Can you talk about Tiffany Jackson and kind of the way she took command out there.
COACH COALE: Yeah, Tiffany's an incredible athlete, a phenomenal athlete. Jody has done a great job of getting her to play with greater intensity for longer periods of time this year. I think she's playing much harder than she did last year and is more consistent. We tried to change our defenses and keep them off base as much as we possibly could. It just seemed like every time we tried to dive down and get her to kick the ball out, it was a trip to the free-throw line. So it gets a little frustrating there on how do you defend her if that's going to be the way it goes. You know, I think she wreaks as much havoc on the other end of the floor as she does on the offensive end. You look at the number of turnovers had, what was her role in those? I bet she played a part in about half of 'em. Just quick hands and very aggressive, can be somewhat intimidating if you allow her to be. I thought she affected us.
Q. Will this Sunday watching the show be different than past?
COACH COALE: Yeah, yeah. When you win the Big-12 tournament, you watch the show, not much question whether or not your name's going to appear. So it will be a little different.
Q. You guys are showing up on a couple of brackets, ESPN. Do you feel better now then maybe you did 24 hours ago? Seems the consensus is that you like you might have made it nonetheless.
COACH COALE: I like that consensus and I would join in it. I don't know about the whole 24 hour thing. 24 hours ago I thought we were going to beat Texas, so I was feeling pretty good. But, you know, again, finding 64 teams better than us. Are you kidding me? There aren't 64 teams in America better than us. I know there's all kinds of things that go into that, numbers and formulas and opinions. I'm all about small conference teams who are really, really good getting their chance to go. I'm all about all that. All that into consideration, we're still one of the best 64 teams in the country, and that's what that tournament is about, getting the best 64 teams together and seeing who can own March.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you so much.
End of FastScripts...