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March 14, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
PETER IRWIN: We are now joined by the lady Bears from Baylor.
Coach, congratulations to you and the players on a big win. Coach has decided she doesn't want to make any opening comments.
We will go straight to the student-athlete questions.
Q. Jess, it looked like you were aggressively looking for your shot today. I mean, was that by design or just kind of the flow of the offense?
JESSICA MORROW: I think it was the flow of the offense. We ran a couple of set plays, and my teammates did a good job of setting screens and getting me open looks. So ...
Q. Jhasmin, just your thoughts about being involved in a close game down the stretch. You guys have made a habit down the stretch of winning those games. It must feel good to do that and get into the championship.
JHASMIN PLAYER: I think I will start by saying that Jessica Morrow has proven the player she has been and she should have been recognized. This is her third game in a row Jess stepped up big. She hit shots that seniors hit.
She made plays at the end of the game. She made plays at the offensive end of the floor.
Q. Jess, you had a string there kind of early in the second half where the shot wasn't falling and then you got hot again late. Was there ever any hesitation in your mind shooting the ball?
JESSICA MORROW: No. I just think other people were getting open looks. We have a lot of people who can score. I think it opened up for me at the end because they were worried about those people who were scoring in the beginning of the second half.
I mean, it was just -- we ran -- we executed a lot of good plays. We executed a lot of good plays, so that was basically it.
Q. Jhasmin and Jessica, first half, you all went through a spell there where you basically had to defend -- rely on your defense to get things going. Just talk about what you went through there going into halftime.
JHASMIN PLAYER: We have a great coaching staff and Coach Barmore does a great job with us defensively and sometimes our offense isn't going. So we have to rely on our defense. We have been having to do that all year. Just chasing around all day, just chasing those shooters around. We didn't even know if Ezell was playing. That's what players do.
We just had to come off all those screens and keep your hands up and keep hands in their faces.
Q. Jessica, talk about the -- Iowa State had gone up four with five minutes to go and you hit a three in the next possession. How key was that moment-wise?
JESSICA MORROW: I was surprised I was that open. It was basically the flow of the offense-type thing. They were all -- the momentum was on their side, and we wanted to get that back on our side.
I was just thankful it went in (smiling) because I had been missing a couple few before that. So we needed a spark at that point.
Q. Rachel, your thoughts on facing A&M for a third time this season.
RACHEL ALLISON: Who else? Who else would we want to face? They're a great team and athletic and I think that they're a good matchup for us and we've already played them twice.
So I think that the scouting report area of that is to our advantage.
Q. Rachel, during a time-out, your mom went out there and won a shooting contest. Did you see that?
RACHEL ALLISON: No, I didn't see it. I just heard about it walking in here.
Q. Is she buying dinner tonight?
RACHEL ALLISON: I don't know. Was it 500 -- I thought it was in gas. I think it is in gas.
COACH MULKEY: It is against NCAA rules probably. Let that woman win her gas money.
Q. Jessica, yesterday Alison Lacey went off for a lot of points. What was the key today to slowing her down and then getting your own basket?
RACHEL ALLISON: Alison Lacey is a good three-point shooter. She is a good player all around. We knew going into that game that we had to defend her and contain her, and I thought my teammates did a really good job of helping me when she drove. There was always somebody there.
They have a lot of good set offenses. Like Jhas said, we had to chase them. They used the shot clock and we had to be mentally strong and play through the whole 30 seconds, and I think we did a good job of that tonight.
Q. Jhasmin, it seemed like when you are most successful, you executed your offense really well. You got some really great screens. Can you talk about that? It seemed like Melissa set some very key screens for you at good times.
JHASMIN PLAYER: Melissa does all the things that outside of rebounding you don't see on the stat sheets, helping everybody defensively, getting offensive boards. She is shooting free throws if she doesn't get the put-back. If I am coming off a screen, I want M.J. to set it.
She sets a screen for the person who is hot right there and puts herself aside. She was setting the stagger that was getting Jess wide open. That's what M.J. does.
Q. Jhasmin, can you talk about the big offensive rebounds you got down the stretch, you in particular getting inside and getting a couple of those that kept possessions alive or just getting big rebounds.
JHASMIN PLAYER: Just trying to get in there and mix it up. We had a small lineup at the end, and M.J. and I -- I tried to do whatever M.J. was doing. Offense isn't going, you want -- at that point you want to get Jess another shot.
Going in there and just trying to be tough and being in the mix of things, maybe if you can touch it and hit it off on somebody or something, and we were able to do that.
Q. Jhas, is Coach going to let you watch the men play?
COACH MULKEY: Y'all stop asking questions, we are out of here.
JHASMIN PLAYER: We want to see them just like you guys.
COACH MULKEY: We got priorities. We got to get over there.
Q. Just your thoughts on A&M -- playing A&M for the third time tomorrow.
COACH MULKEY: A&M is playing very well, and you don't come here and beat Oklahoma -- you don't beat Oklahoma twice in one year if you are not a very good basketball team.
I don't imagine it will be any different than all the Big 12 games. It will be a battle. And whoever makes plays down the stretch will win. They are very similar in what they do offensively.
Defensively, they're a little bit different in they like to extend their defense more than we do. But it will be a battle.
Let me say this about Bill Fennelly. This guy is one of the best coaches I have ever had to coach against. He can take talent and just work with it, and he is just one of my favorite guys in this business. His kids really -- you just love coaching against them because you know you are going to have to work.
I also want to say one other thing in defense of our men's basketball coaches -- is John Rohde in here? Is he the guy that wrote the article in today's "Oklahoman"? He stated in that article -- our men are on a great run here. It is a great Cinderella story and he tainted it by what he wrote in that article by saying our men's basketball coaching staff is highly regarded as the worst coaching staff in this league.
Now, guys, that's a cheap shot. What if we walked up to him and said, "that's the worst article I have ever read in my life"?
Now that I got that off my chest, next question.
Q. Did you feel you played better tonight than last night? If so, what kind of effort is it going to take tomorrow against A&M?
COACH MULKEY: I thought we started the game better. I don't know if we played better. I thought down the stretch we made plays like we did last night.
I thought individual players played better last night. We had more of the production on the offensive end. I just thought we just made plays and your seniors led you. And those three, what a better three to have here than your three seniors. They made plays, got big rebounds, made defensive stops. We're playing for a championship, and we're still winning without Danielle.
Q. It looked like in the first half you guys were really shooting the ball from the perimeter a lot and doing it well. Was that part of the game plan?
COACH MULKEY: No, no. That's Bill's game plan. Bill shoots the ball from out there a lot. I think I was told, and correct me if I'm wrong, that may be the most threes we have made all year. Those kids had the green light. Bill's -- I don't know what his defensive game plan was, but from our perspective it looked like he was sagging off so it was hard for us to get to driving lanes and they gave us some open looks and our kids made those shots.
Q. Did you know at all that Heather Ezell was going to play today?
COACH MULKEY: When I hugged Bill before the game, I just -- you know, I just wished him well. I actually asked about Heather and he said she probably will play tonight, and we were talking about -- I was asking was she going to be able to play in the play-offs and we were chitchatting about her and Danielle and he thought she would play today.
Q. How was her performance?
COACH MULKEY: Just a warrior. All his kids play like that. They give you everything they have and they never get rattled. You can have a 20-point lead and not feel comfortable because of their ability to shoot the three-ball.
Q. Coach, can you talk about Morrow. I know she had a huge game against A&M and had big shots down the stretch and again today. What is it about her? Does she want the ball in that situation?
COACH MULKEY: I can't speak for her, but I was a senior one time and played this game and you don't want it to end. I think she understands the games are dwindling down and you want to go out in a blaze of glory. I think Jessica starting her senior year shooting poorly from the field, very unlike Jessica to shoot the ball poorly. She has made up for it at the right time her senior year.
Q. Rachel Allison has had some ups and downs obviously this season, but it seemed like today especially she was really battling for it.
COACH MULKEY: Well, today, she's picked up her -- she's made -- she's become the Rachel that we know. She did have a senior year that was not typical Rachel.
Some of that was probably that she drew a lot of attention that she didn't draw in years past. She came in here as a freshman and Sophia Young got all the attention and Rachel was able to quietly do her thing. And then as she got better and drew a lot of attention, I just think that Rachel fought through it and it is so good to see her come out of that and hit some big buckets and battling rebounds in there for us.
Q. Talk about the contrasting styles between Iowa State and Baylor and how it worked in your favor today even with the teams somewhat doing what Iowa State does best as far as shooting the three outside.
COACH MULKEY: Iowa State, they execute so well, they make you defend them for 30 seconds. We like to push it and run. They execute the half-court offense as good as anybody.
They set screens. They use screens. We are an athletic team that runs the floor, tries to get transition baskets, tries to do a lot of on-ball screens.
Yeah, we hit some threes today, and that's not really like our style of play.
PETER IRWIN: Thank you very much.
End of FastScripts