March 11, 2005
COACH REGINA MILLER: I thought we played hard. I thought we played very focused. We really competed each possession and I thought, you know, it is something I emphasized with the team. We are a team of quality and, you know, you look out there -- and I just heard Don say that 99 percent of the fans there at the game was for the Lobos, but we did hear our percent that was there. However, we don't have necessarily have the quantity, but I thought we played with quality. You know, we put a great effort out there. It is unfortunate that we didn't make enough layups. I thought that hurt us down the stretch when they made their run. They scored two points within the last four minutes; that is going to hurt you. We just didn't close the game. I thought it was a great effort by the Lady Rebels and a very competitive game.
JIM MILLER: Questions directed to Sheena or Nikki.
Q. Sheena, talk about the sequence at the end of the game where you had a pretty open look, and you have been making them the last couple of days. What was going through your mind? Did you feel you were rushed, or did you feel good about it?
SHEENA MOORE: I shot the ball with confidence. I did feel rushed. I didn't have time to look at the clock. I believe we passed it in, dribbled it a couple of dribbles. I believe it was 5.3 seconds left. I guess I didn't realize how much time we had, and I rushed it. I felt like it was going to go off the glass actually. I felt like it had a chance.
Q. Nikki, with RanDee on the bench, you really did a nice job stepping up along with Amy Loftus to keep this team in the game. Could you talk about the role you played today, and your ability to keep this team in this game, and in the lead for quite a while?
NIKKI HITCHENS: My biggest thing was to focus and finish all shots around the basket, rebound and give my team the best opportunity to win this game. With RanDee out, I felt like I just wanted to rebound hard and focus and be concentrate around the basket.
Q. As you guys were executing and making plays, could you sense a growing confidence as you guys were playing this game? You were still in the lead. Was there a sense among the players on the court that you could keep this thing going to the end and finish it out? Did you get a sense there was a growing confidence?
NIKKI HITCHENS: I think everybody was confident at that point. I think our defense helped us build confidence. I think our intensity, you know, really helps us gain more confidence on offense.
JIM MILLER: Anything else for the student athletes? We'll let you two guys go and open up the floor for questions directed to Coach Regina Miller.
Q. How tough is this knowing that your kids basically executed everything you wanted them to do? You did a nice job against the zone, you didn't turn it over that much until late in the game. You overcame the adversity of RanDee being in foul trouble. How tough is this for you personally to know that your kids did everything you wanted and you still came up short in a game of such big magnitude?
COACH REGINA MILLER: Kind of tough to find the words because I really felt like we competed hard. It was again a game to win. I felt like we had the opportunity. We just didn't execute well enough down the stretch. You know, we stumped them with a two-white defense. We trapped them a little bit, made them spread out. They got some open looks and they missed them. We rebounded out of our zone. We went to that late in the second half. That also struggled a little bit of our run. But we had a couple of opportunities to make some layups. We missed them around the basket. And you know, contact or not, it is going to happen. You know, they let a lot go today. The officials -- it was 15 fouls to 14. It is not like it was 25 to 12. So, you know, you just got to finish those plays and finish with the contact. I think obviously some calls went against us late particularly on Marsh around the basket. She is so athletic, she still jumped and got the rebound.
Q. (Inaudible question.)
COACH REGINA MILLER: We made our free throws. My philosophy again is you have to make all free throws and layups. We missed to many layups. That is the only way you can control the game. That is all you have in your control, and rebounding the basket.
Q. I'm not that privy to the Women's NIT as I am to the Men's. Is your record good enough to permit you to keep playing beyond today?
COACH REGINA MILLER: I haven't thought much about that. Our goal has been to make it to the NCAA tournament. Last year we made a great run in the NIT. We played in the championship game. The only thing we haven't done is win it. I think in our program our ultimate goal year in and year out is to play in the NCAA tournament. We felt confident today. If we could have beat the New Mexico team, that anything could happen tomorrow. But you know, again, Steve, I haven't thought much about it. I need to visit with our seniors and see how they feel. You know, when you think about our team this year, we played with a total different team than we were a year ago. Although we had four returning starters back, the dynamics of this team totally changed without Sherry McCracken. RanDee Henry became the person that teams really double, triple team. Last year RanDee could bounce around, shoot threes, play a little bit in touch because Sherry was the big sister and more of the tiger, so the dynamics changed without her in the line-up. I have to evaluate and see where we are and if we get that nod from the NIT, we will evaluate that. We'd be grateful that we would have an opportunity to continue to play. But that is right now the farthest from my mind.
JIM MILLER: Anything else for Coach Miller? Thank you, Coach Miller.
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