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March 14, 2008

Ryan Amoroso

Steve Fisher

Lorrenzo Wade

Billy White


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you want to begin with general comments on the game.
COACH FISHER: I want to start by congratulating Beth Burns and our lady Aztecs for the great job they did to be playing in that championship game tomorrow. We were hoping we could lock arms with them and return the favor, but we just didn't get it done.
But Beth and her squad made us proud. And we're going to be cheering for them.
I thought with Lorrenzo sitting on the bench for the first half, we did a good job of hanging in there, keeping ourselves in the game. Had it gotten to a point, I was prepared to put him back in the first half, but we were able to maintain, only down one at halftime, had a chance to be ahead at halftime. We felt good about where we were.
All year we have struggled to consistently make shots. We had chances tonight where we just didn't make enough shots. I thought in the second half, whether it was the inability to make some open looks or a little fatigue, we gave them easy baskets that we didn't give them in the first half. And that's the difference between winning and losing.
Zo and I were talking after the game. Even at that, about five minutes to go, we had back-to-back opportunities down 5. You know, you cut it again to 2 or 3, but we didn't. So you don't go back-to-back conference champions and not have a team that's capable of beating anybody. They're very good and they take advantage of opportunities. They were better than we were tonight.
We are hopeful that we'll have an opportunity to play again this year. I'm hopeful that our conference will be represented in a fashion that it should be with multiple berths, and that BYU and whoever else would get in would carry the banner proud for the Mountain West Conference.
THE MODERATOR: Questions now for the student-athletes.

Q. Ryan, Plaisted was more of a factor tonight than he had been in the previous two regular-season games. Could you talk a little bit about what was different tonight in the paint.
RYAN AMOROSO: I mean, I think for the most part, I didn't do a very good job of kind of keeping him away from the hoop. I kind of let him get the ball too close to the hoop. He was able to capitalize. You know, when I picked up two quick fouls there in the first half, it's kind of a tough situation.
But I think he played well for the most part tonight.

Q. Billy, early in the first half you had I think it was three straight buckets when you were really attacking him. Later on you couldn't seem to develop much offensively. Did anything change for you?
BILLY WHITE: Just a little bit. Every time they tried to front me, every time I got the ball, they tried to double-team me and I had to kick it back out. They did a very good job of not letting me get the ball.
So, yeah, it was kind of different.

Q. Did that early foul trouble, sitting out for most of the first half, get you out of sync offensively?
LORRENZO WADE: It's tough to say. Who knows if I'd have shot the ball better if I'd have played more in the first half.
Bottom line, when I did get in the game, I don't think I did as much as I possibly could to help my team win. I needed to be more - I don't know - intense out there on the floor and a better leader. They did exactly what they needed to do to keep us in the game, especially while I was out.
When I got in in the second half, I don't think I made the best decisions.

Q. Billy, talk about the nerves of playing so many minutes as a freshman and also the added nerves of being named the freshman of the year.
BILLY WHITE: It felt pretty good. You know, to be freshman of the year, I try my best to help my team win every game. I play a lot of minutes because I play my heart out every game. It's up to coach to play me. I think I did a good job this year. Hopefully next year I can do a little bit better.

Q. Lorrenzo, I know the decision is not going to rest in your hands. But right or wrong, do you think you deserve to play again this year? In getting an NIT bid, how deserving?
LORRENZO WADE: Statistically speaking, no team in the Mountain West Conference whose achieved 20 wins in the season hasn't made post-season play. I feel we're definitely deserving of an NIT bid. We had a couple of key wins, especially against BYU at home.
But, you know, it's not in our hands. We'll be prepared if they come calling. But if it doesn't happen, you know, we'll definitely be prepared to go next year.

Q. Lorrenzo, even when you were on the bench in the first half, it looked like you were pouring your heart and soul out into this game. How much does it hurt right now for you?
LORRENZO WADE: It's a tough one to swallow. You come into a game like this, I mean, you have Lee Cummard on the other side. Regardless of what anyone says, I look forward to matchups like that. To be on the bench, to see my team out there without me playing, it's definitely tough.
When I got back in, like I said, I tried to do what I could. But I could have been better. I could have been a lot better. It hurts a lot. But there's nothing I can do about it right now. Hopefully we get this NIT bid. If not, I got a lot of things to improve on during the summer.
THE MODERATOR: Also, guys, you can go.
Questions for Coach Fisher.

Q. Does playing in a tournament like this lend itself to maybe playing a little slower paced than you might anticipate or was the health of your team maybe more of a determining factor in that?
COACH FISHER: BYU is the best running team in our league. We wanted to try to run when we created a turnover, look to see if we could run off a miss, and if we couldn't, we wanted to make sure we got through a set and we had another one to go into.
We did not want to get into an up-tempo 80-point game. They've got greater depth. You know, we've had some injuries and some illness.
So we felt it was to our advantage to not get into an up-and-down game, but you can't win if you don't get some easy baskets. So our thought was, can we score in the first seven seconds or maybe in the last seven seconds?

Q. I know you don't like to get into this thing, but how many kids on this team were sick?
COACH FISHER: Well, too many. Everybody goes through it. When you start carping on who's sick, who's hurt, you're not dealing with reality, because you play with whoever you've got.
I'm sure BYU's had some sick and hurt people. So rather than get into all that, I'd just as soon say that I'm proud of how hard we fought and yet we just couldn't take away easy baskets for them in the second half. I thought the first half we did a really good job. By my calculations, they had eight layups in the second half. You can't give a good team that many.
Plaisted, to answer your question that you asked Amo, he ain't all conference for nothing, he wasn't freshman of the year for nothing. He's good. We've done a terrific job on him in the past. He got a little deeper into the sweet spot. I think he's playing better than when we played them earlier also.
So it wasn't my thought coming in here a week ago that Matt Thomas would be our power forward. But Billy, you know, we played him too many minutes. We didn't know if he was even going to be able to play.
But we're going home and they're going on. Hopefully we will learn and get better. We're all going to get flu shots before the season next year. That's going to be mandatory.

Q. Considering how much you lost in Brandon and Mo, how much does it speak to your team's ability to be consistent, win 20 games this year, to be where you were this year?
COACH FISHER: You know, everything's relative. But I think we've got a program now. I think we've got a program that expects to win 20 games. Now we've got to raise the bar even further. It's been raised for us.
But we've got to raise it further and say, 20 ain't enough. We want to win this league. We want to be with one game to go with a chance to win the league. We want to do what BYU's done the last two years, what we did three years ago. I think our kids feel that.
I think what we have done is we've had guys that have been in a program. We've had a couple of the guys that were here when we went to the NCAA tournament and won the conference undefeated. Most of them were here when we last year fought and went to the NIT with 22 or 23 wins.
You know, I think that's what good programs have. I think we're proud of the fact that we can say that we've got a good program.

Q. Is there any reason those 20 wins should prevent you from going to the NIT?
COACH FISHER: You know, everybody but me two weeks ago started circling and saying, These are teams. I have not done that.
I don't have a clue. I hope that we do. I think that we would represent well. The point Lorrenzo made, I told the team, I think that's true. Somebody that's smarter than I am told me that no team from the conference who's won 20 games hasn't gone. So I'm hoping that trend continues.
If it does, we're going to be in the NIT. But if it doesn't, as Lorrenzo says, we've got work to do. We will hopefully use that as a motivation to get ready the next time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH FISHER: Thank you.

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