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March 12, 2008

Elaine Elliott

Leilani Mitchell

Morgan Warburton


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you want to begin with general thoughts on the ball game.
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, obviously we had our problems. CSU, you know, you come in, and, I mean, they're just -- they've got just great energy. They played with great energy, played with, you know, a real intensity.
You know, I don't discount -- I really believe in this team, I trust in them. The there was no sort of coming in and overlooking and that kind of crap. That's not what it's about. It's team who, you know, played really well, is playing with sort of a real intensity. And for us to -- it's tough. We're in a tough spot. You know, we're in a no-win spot. And there's lots of things you can talk about that -- you know, why did you have your struggles, or why now. I'd say, Well, why not now? I'm sure the questions will be, Is it better to lose now than going to the NCAAs and the whole bit?
We just want to give credit to CSU. We want to put this where it belongs for us because certainly for us as far as what we've accomplished and what these kids have done and the incredible consistency that they've shown in their play has been phenomenal.
So, you know, to have a blip on the radar screen is just something that usually happens many more times than this and usually, you know, isn't something that doesn't crop up earlier. So that's the good news. You know, we'll try to just rebound from that.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

Q. Obviously, you're both going to play again this season. And CSU was done as soon as they lost. I mean, coach says you didn't overlook. I mean, do you feel you had the intensity in this game that they did?
LEILANI MITCHELL: I think to start the game we did. Then, you know, towards the end, um, when it was time to make plays, I think they made more plays than we did. And they did a good job the boards. You know, they were aggressive. I think we kind of, you know, we kind of shied away from that. That's time when you need to make plays if you want to win the game.

Q. Either one of you guys, can you just talk about the effort trying to slow down Amaka there in the second half? I mean, she went off for like 12 rebounds there.
MORGAN WARBURTON: I mean, she's a really good player. She showed a lot of intensity tonight. I mean, their whole team did. You know, we had the intensity at the beginning of the game like Lei said. It comes down to big plays.
The whole year we've made the big plays but tonight it just didn't go our way. The credit to CSU. They're working hard and doing the things they need to did to win ball games.

Q. Did you make a more concerted effort to contain her there in the second half?
COACH ELLIOTT: You mean, put three people to check her out? We could have used ten to check her out. She was just a horse. She did a great job on the boards. All the credit is hers.

Q. This is for either of you. They talked a lot about their defense. They had several defenses. How much did that confound you, going against the defenses they showed you?
LEILANI MITCHELL: They did a good job of, you know, switching it up. But I think we, you know, we got good shots. I mean we shot 29%. You're not going to win games shooting 29%. So I think we did a good job with handling it and, you know, just running our stuff. Just the shots didn't fall for us.

Q. For the players, just how do you guys regroup from this and head into the tournament? I mean, can you use this as a positive? It might hurt your seeding a little bit, but can you still maybe take something from the loss and make sure you bounce back?
MORGAN WARBURTON: Yeah. I mean, you know, coach just said this to me and Lei out there. Just rather it be now than the first round of the NCAAs when you know you're done for good. So, you know, it's hard to take this, but at the same time, you know, things happen for a reason. And, you know, maybe this is just a little bit of a wake-up call for us. You know, we've had a great year, been really consistent with everything. You know, maybe we just need to get grounded and find what we do best and take it to the NCAA tournament, you know, and go far there.

Q. Elaine, CSU scored 28 points on you guys first time you played them. Scored 60 tonight. Can you tell me the difference between them offensively that night and you guys defensively that night and then tonight?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, you know, that's a long time ago. That was a long time ago. So, you know, I'm not sure I got any remembrance of why. You know, I mean I just -- we just want to try to use this to help us as much as we can. You know, we're going to rest. We're going to, you know, not do a thing until Monday.
You know, these kids, the ones you are looking at there, boy, they've put a lot into this for a lot of time, starting clear last summer. You know, they're asked to do a lot. We're thin, you know. We don't have a deep bench. So there's been a lot of minutes over the course of the season. And we just will turn this into an opportunity to say, Okay, let's, you know -- we'll use this to sort of revive and rejuvenate and rest up and just move to the next segment of our opportunity.
It's really, really difficult to do what they did in the regular season. And though we will never say that's not -- that's not an excuse, like we came in here to win. We didn't come in here to say, Who cares. You know, we intended to battle hard and win. CSU just did a great job. And for whatever reason there are certainly many that you can speculate.
But, you know, it's the first game all year that we've had that difficulty shooting the ball. That's what's amazing. I mean, you know, it's just really an unusual scenario. So let's just talk about how can they help us. Well, okay, better now than later. We just got to simplify this and be in a good place come next week.

Q. Did you think the shooting, particularly the three-point shot selection, was good and they just didn't go in?
COACH ELLIOTT: I'll watch the film. We didn't shoot the ball extremely well the last time we played them either. But we didn't shoot this poorly. I'll watch the film. You know, the first time I was quite pleased with what we got. And this one, you know, I mean it's really the first time that we haven't been able to sort of call on our mental toughness down the stretch. And that's the good news. I mean when you can sit here and talk about an entire season and, you know, all the ways that we found to win games, and this one we didn't, that's actually pretty positive.

Q. Recovering from this, how do you think this might affect you? I know as a coach, but the match-ups matter in the tournament. Do you think this might affect your guys' standing as far as seeding placement?
COACH ELLIOTT: You know, I mean everybody who loses early it does. Upsets all over the country. I don't know if you have been watching TV, but, you know, the men's tournaments, the women's tournaments. I mean, Oklahoma loses to Missouri and Rutgers loses a quarterfinal game. These are like top-ten teams in the country and they're losing to lower-echelon teams in their own leagues in the tournaments.
This is very hard to do. What do you have to say for your championship? You want to play them again? It's very difficult. It's very difficult. And we just didn't -- we just weren't quite good enough to do that. So, you know, we'll just try to say -- that doesn't mean that we've done a bad job. We just didn't get it done tonight.

Q. Do you think that the shooting woes were -- was it like a fluke situation or do you credit CSU's defense?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, I mean, you know, you always credit an opponent. I mean, you know, they came, they played hard, they did well. But we've seen everything. I mean, they played the same defense this game that they played against us the last game. They didn't do anything new. We understand what it is that they're doing.
We just run our stuff. We didn't try to make big adjustments and try to do things. It's the first time all year that all three of our scorers struggled on the same night. And that's just -- we just feel like, you know, that's more of a statement about how good we've been, not how bad we were tonight.

Q. You were around when Utah men's team left the tournament early and played till the last day of the season. How much will you use that with your team?
COACH ELLIOTT: It's really interesting. It's true to sort of use this question about, so, you know, what about losing now and would it have been harder to keep winning and going into the NCAAs? And, you know, I told them even though they think this one hurts, like it wouldn't have hurt any worse -- you know, it didn't hurt worse to lose this one or the semi-final game or the championship game. I mean, losing would have hurt.
As far as looking at this as, you know, okay, you know, we lost. I'm like sorry. You know, you just sort have created your own monster. Like, Wow, how did that happen? You gotta go, Well, because it happens and because you can have bad nights and because there can be different motivations and there can be teams in different places. And you know what? We just want to try to put this where it best helps us and move to hopefully, you know, be refreshed and ready to go.
You're right about that. I mean, that particular scenario they lost and went on and did well. I was telling our kids that went to the Elite 8. You know, they lost, they had these kind of things happen to them during the conference. We lost two games that year at home on buzzer-beater putback baskets against us at home, I mean, the kind of losses that can crush you. And that team did not win the regular-season title. So they went on though and won the tournament and had the moment.
It's real interesting, you know, mental and emotional place, things that go on in competition. And we just want to try to be the ones who can control it well enough for ourselves so that we can use whatever happens to our benefit.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach. Good luck next week.

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