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March 6, 2007

EeTisha Riddle

Cindy Stein


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the Missouri Tigers, and, Coach Stein, if you would like to make comments about tonight's game.
COACH STEIN: I'd like to congratulate Coach Conradt with her 900 wins. She's an unbelievable coach. And obviously I wish we didn't have too many of those victories against us, but she's a great coach and a great asset to women's basketball.
But unfortunately tonight our chemistry was off. We struggled on the offensive end quite a bit. Finally figured out what they were trying to do on their offense, and I thought our kids came back in the second half and did a nice job, but obviously it wasn't enough. We had trouble scoring. And I think you have to credit their defense.

Q. Cindy, you talked about the chemistry being off. What was the decision behind kind of switching up your starting lineup for tonight's game?
COACH STEIN: The starters were 5 and 11 in the league, and they weren't playing very well together. We had started in holes. It was just a matter of trying to change it up. I felt like Toy and Marchelle had been playing very well in games and that they were playing very well in practice. And in practice we looked to put a starting group together for this game that was playing well together. And they were.
So that was a decision. I didn't feel like it was a demotion. I felt it was just trying to change things up, trying to get some chemistry back, and obviously we needed a lift off the bench. When we've had great play off the bench, we've usually won. And just trying to have a really bang off the bench.
And I felt Blair and Tiffany came in and played really hard and Jessra played hard. I thought we had key minutes from Amanda Hanneman and probably some others that I'm missing.
But like I said, our chemistry was off the entire night. Especially on the offensive end.

Q. Coach, what do you think your post-season is going to look like? Do you feel pretty confident that you guys are going to play in the post-season?
COACH STEIN: I feel we deserve an NIT bid. NCAA, we don't deserve it. So we hope that we have that opportunity.

Q. Coach, all the lay-ups that Texas was able to get to, was that a byproduct of how many threes you took early or just not getting back?
COACH STEIN: You know, we've had a problem with five people getting back all year. And it's something we work on all the time. To me, it's a toughness thing. It's toughness getting down the court and getting the angle of the basket away. We had quite a few opportunities where we could get there and take the angle away and take a charge, and we backed out of it and it's just a toughness thing. And we've got to get a lot tougher.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more about Amanda Hanneman and her play tonight? Obviously she's feeling much better.
COACH STEIN: Yes, Amanda is finally getting healthy. She's had back problems and all year long and she's a tremendous competitor. And she's been getting a lot healthier. She's been feeling better. Her quickness has come back and it's not quite all the way, but she does a lot of really good things. Now she's a tough kid. And we wanted that out there. She's been playing real well in practice.
And I don't think she really revealed herself on all the things she's capable of doing. But I think this is a good start for her.

Q. EeTisha, talk about toughness. Looked like you rolled an ankle on at least two occasions. How difficult was it to stay out there?
EeTISHA RIDDLE: It wasn't hard. I didn't want my last game to be sitting on a bench with a rolled ankle. Everybody rolls an ankle. I had to suck it up and run down the floor.

Q. Cindy, going back to the first half and the way you guys played in the second half, do you feel if you could have put the two halves together, it could have given you a chance to be in at least?
COACH STEIN: Sure. It's frustrating from a coaching standpoint, you go into a locker room and our kids feel confident they can play with Texas. It's not a matter of you're trying to build up their confidence; it's just for some reason this group it takes the first half to figure things out and then try to come back strong in the second and I think our kids always play hard and it just goes back to I've said over and over again. I put too much emphasis on ourselves and not always working together. They try very hard to do things, but it's not as team oriented, whether it's getting somebody else opened or being a little more patient to set up your defender.
Little things like that, they're overrunning things. And it's frustrating from a coaching angle because we don't do that in practice. And then we'll get in a game and it's like we're overrunning passing lanes and you're seeing things that you don't usually see. We've got to be able to figure that out.

Q. In the first half, it looked, you were posting up against Tiffany Jackson and Tiffany Brooks had the ball and you were screaming to throw it in to you and she threw it elsewhere. How bad did you want the ball tonight and how bad were you thinking about carrying this team like the first game?
EeTISHA RIDDLE: I always wanted, like, demand the ball because I know I get a lot of attention, and they were going to double and triple team me, and then that's going to leave a lot of my teammates open, and it's frustrating. It's hard being a post player because you depend on other people to get you the ball.
But maybe she saw something that I didn't see.

Q. Cindy, when you talked about the emphasis on the self and in looking for an evaluation of the season, is that something that just the subtraction of a couple of players, key players from the previous team can affect? You talked about chemistry, is that just something losing a couple of key players can have that kind of impact?
COACH STEIN: I think we've had other kids step up. Obviously you miss two WNBA players, and that does have an effect on the team, but I feel the team has done a good job of getting themselves into a position to do things. It goes back to where, you know, Tiffany Brooks is able to create her own shot and EeTisha is able to create her own shot and Alyssa Hollins is able to create her own shot. And sometimes we rely on that happening instead of the flow of the offense. If you look through our games, which I've done, it's like we score when we move the ball real well. Our movement on offense is good, but when we get into a tight situation, we're a one-pass try to score. And like I said, it's tough because our patience needs to be in there in those times.
And it's something that we work on all the time in practice going eight passes before you can score, and it's just -- we've got a lot of game slippage, unfortunately. That is new people in those kinds of pressure situations, understanding what that takes.

Q. Coach Stein, could you talk about your decision to send Tiffany Brooks back into the game with four fouls with lots of time left and when she got her fifth foul?
COACH STEIN: Sure. We were down. We were basically 20 points down, if not more. And we needed someone aggressive. And she was getting in there, trying to be aggressive, and at that point you don't have anything to lose. You gotta play it all out.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, good luck for the rest of the season.

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