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March 25, 2010

Justin Holiday

Quincy Pondexter

Lorenzo Romar


West Virginia – 69
Washington - 56

THE MODERATOR: Before we take questions for the student-athletes, Coach can we ask you to make a brief opening statement on the game.
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: It's always tough when you don't win your last game, and you have to look at the guys that have worked so hard all year and know that this is it. It's very difficult. But I'm really proud of our team. For the last two months I thought we played exceptional basketball. We played against an exceptional team tonight, however, and they did a very good job against us. They have great size. They played together. And we just couldn't get it done and we give West Virginia a lot of credit.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. Questions for the student-athletes first.

Q. This is for Quincy: You did so much to kind of extend your senior year, longer than anybody would have expected. What was it like just kind of going out like this?
QUINCY PONDEXTER: It definitely hurts. We made a great run down the stretch, the last stretch of the season. You never want it to end, especially being a senior, being in the position I'm in. It hurts right now. There's nothing much to say about it.

Q. Quincy, given their size and how many of their players seem to be 6'7", 6'8", how frustrating was it to try and attack them and how guard are they defensively?
QUINCY PONDEXTER: It's tough overall for all of us, including myself. It was tough to get around them and shoot over their size. They have a lot of size. It's hard to even get easy baskets by offensive rebounding or anything like that. Their size really is a benefit for them. At the same time, I think we had our chances and abilities to win that game.

Q. For both players: Wondering defensively what was the difference first half and second? You guys looked to impose your will the first half; second half they got some points off you.
QUINCY PONDEXTER: Second half we weren't playing as sound defensively. We had a couple of holes which they got some easy baskets. And from then on, they kind of swelled up a bit to where they were confident in making plays and they a great job of executing their offense down the stretch.
JUSTIN HOLIDAY: Also, second half, if you pay attention to how both halves went, we were pressuring them the first half. Second half we came out and let them catch the ball and let them swing the ball the way they wanted to. That's not the game plan we wanted to do. That's why the both halves were different. We started off slower, not pressuring them the way we should have.

Q. For Quincy: The ends of your four seasons were no postseason, CBI, second round out, Sweet 16. I'm sure they all hurt in their own ways. But is there some satisfaction in that progression through your career?
QUINCY PONDEXTER: I haven't really had a chance to reflect. I think every season individually was a task that we really wanted to fulfill. It depends on how much talent you have. I think last year was a big step from the other two years. And this year was remarkable how we played down the stretch. The grading for each of my four years has been different. I wish they could have all ended up with championships. But that's not how it played out.

Q. This is for Justin: You guys really seemed to figure out the zone during the second half of the PAC-10 season. Today it seemed like it befuddled you in the second half. What was it about that zone that affected you guys?
JUSTIN HOLIDAY: I think it was because we were down, we were trying to be in a rush too much. We didn't understand we didn't need to rush. We had time to swing the ball around. The reason why we're so good -- we were doing so well against the zone in the past was because we moved the ball around, and we took our time. And because we were down, I guess just us being antsy and wanting to get the lead back, we didn't really take our time to move the ball, to swing the ball to others, really.

Q. For Quincy: Your foul trouble in the first half, do you think that affected your play in the second half? Were you trying to press? Why do you think your numbers ended like they did?
QUINCY PONDEXTER: I played awful. That's it. Foul trouble might have got to me, but at the end of the day I'm supposed to play better than that for this team to win.

Q. Quincy, just kind of following up again, you said you wished that they could all end in championships. You did get two championships in your career in the regular season and the tournament. I know it's early, but can you prioritize the highlights of your career? Do you look back on something that makes you particularly happy about your four years at Washington?
QUINCY PONDEXTER: This last year I think given more responsibility as a leader, as the only senior on this team, I would probably say that PAC-10 Championship and what our team went through, how bad we started -- how bad we played in the middle of the season to where we finished up in the Sweet 16. But at the end of the day, we fill feel like we could have done better. We could have gone a little bit further. That's going to stick with us. I know it's going to stick with me the rest of my life.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, we'll let you go. Thanks very much for taking the time to come in. Questions for Coach?

Q. Lorenzo, the relationship between you and Quincy is kind of undeniable. What was it like kind of seeing him go out in that way in his last game?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: It is always hard. Probably never get to coach Quincy again. You live with someone for four years, and you establish a relationship two or three years prior to that when you recruit them. And it's like one of your own kids moving out of the house. It's time for them to move on, but you're going to miss them. You go through the ups and downs. Senior Day, all these things flash before your eyes when they're coming out of the tunnel. But whenever that horn goes off, you look and go, well, that's it. That's the last time you'll ever be in a Husky uniform again.
It was a great ride for him. I'm so proud of him, how he finished up his college career. He went down when it was all said and done as one of the greatest Huskies to ever put on a uniform.

Q. Coach, you talked the other day about facing Coach Huggins when he was at Cincinnati. Now that you've seen him, similarities, differences? Does it seem like almost identical to what he had at UC?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: It's pretty close. It's getting there. I thought, you know, their length bothered us. Their length bothered us before. So many interchangeable parts with his teams. That's what he had at Cincinnati. So very similar look.

Q. Lorenzo, kind of the feeling at halftime, did you see that second half coming? Or what sought of gave you that "uh-oh" after the first half where things went pretty well your way?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: We gave them some open looks at the beginning of that second half. The first half we didn't give them very many open looks. They also began to attack the glass. We were missing some -- we had some pretty good looks at point-blank range around the rim. And couldn't get those down. That combination proved to be lethal as the second half progressed. But I felt good. I thought we did a good job defending them in the first half. We had forced them into I think 14 turnovers, 13 turnovers. And they don't turn the ball over very much. I thought we did some really good things. But in the second half kind of went downhill in those areas.

Q. Lorenzo, this could have been an historic win for the program. Just to have lost for the third time in the Sweet 16, does that kind of add to the misery right now?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: I wouldn't say it adds to the misery at all. You're disappointed, and it's something that these things happen. The questions start, can you ever get past the Sweet 16? I never understood why people were so hard on the Broncos when they couldn't quite win the championship. They did make it there. So I feel like we still have accomplished a lot, even though we didn't make that next step this year.
But our program is growing. I think when you compare the last eight years with the history of our program, I think we've held our own. And that's just the next step. We have to get past this. And we'll work hard to try to.

Q. This follows up on that: Losing Quincy Pondexter is no small thing, but everybody else is back. If they pick up sort of where they left off the second half of this season, your thoughts on what might come back next year?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Well, for once in a long time we'll have three seniors and three, four juniors. We'll be an older, more experienced team. The success we had on the road this year at the end of the year, hopefully we can carry that into next year. But you know, we also have some guys that Justin Holiday, look how he played tonight. He stepped up. He may be able to take a big step next year. Matthew Bryan-Amaning finished the year strong. He can take a big step. Tyreese Breshers could be healthy, be able to go all year. C.J. Wilcox sat out. We have recruits coming in.
So the task at hand now is to have a dedicated spring and summer and come back next year and hopefully be a good basketball team.

Q. There's time out even before your technical when you kind of really lit into the players on the sideline about five minutes in. Were you sensing it kind of slipping away there?
COACH LORENZO ROMAR: Yes, yes. Because at that point all of a sudden we kind of lost the sense of urgency, I thought. They threw over the top of us for a lay-up. We were kind of jogging back. Once you see that, that's not a good sign. I felt we had to nip that in the bud right away. But sometimes you do that, and a team now has a little bit of a rhythm, a little more confidence. Sometimes it's too late to stop the bleeding.
West Virginia didn't just come out and go on a 25-0 run. They just slowly, methodically continued to chip away and the score began to increase very slowly, the lead, rather.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much for taking the time.

End of FastScripts

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