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March 29, 2011

Brittney Griner

Melissa Jones

Kim Mulkey


Texas A&M – 58
Baylor - 46

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey and student-athletes Melissa Jones and Brittney Griner.
We'll take questions from the floor.

Q. Brittney, kind of a rough shooting game out there for you and the team. In your perspective, from your perspective, was it something A&M was doing defensively or were the shots just not falling?
BRITTNEY GRINER: Just my shots wasn't falling. It wasn't anything A&M did. Just poor shooting.

Q. M.J., when you all cut it to seven, there was about four minutes to go. Were you thinking it's time -- I mean, that you all still had time to come back?
MELISSA JONES: Absolutely. I mean, we've come back from deficits more than that before. It just came down to A&M playing better than we did. We just didn't come prepared. We didn't make shots. We just weren't ready to play. We just didn't -- we just didn't play well at all. And you gotta give credit where credit's due and A&M deserved it tonight.

Q. M.J., first of all, congratulations on a fine career with Baylor. But 20 turnovers tonight, and their guards, could you talk about Sides and what you had to go up against because you met this team four times and you knew what they were going to do?
MELISSA JONES: You're talking about some of the best guards in the nation. A&M is a great team. Nobody wants to go up against them. They're just tremendous athletes. They play well together. They're a team. And they know how to get excited when it's necessary, and they come up with big steals and just are just smart players. And you gotta respect them.

Q. M.J., what's the mood like in the locker room right now, and what did Coach say to you all?
MELISSA JONES: Basically it's just hard to deal with this because we just didn't play well. It's just one thing to, you know, just walk out knowing that you gave it everything you had. But we didn't tonight and that's what's so stressful and so frustrating is that we didn't give our best effort. And I mean not taking away from A&M at all, because they played their hearts out tonight.
But we just -- we, on the other hand, didn't.

Q. Brittney, can you talk about what M.J. gave you all tonight, right down to the end. I mean she's busting it all over the court and just looked like a senior that didn't want to lose?
BRITTNEY GRINER: I'm going to miss M.J.. we're all going to miss her. She never gave up. On the court she just kept telling us, you know just keep our heads up and keep fighting.
You saw she was driving. She drove into the lane and just went flying. I wish I had some more years with her.

Q. M.J., can you talk about you and Brittney as captains, during the run where you brought it back within 7, just all the emotion you were putting into it at that point?
MELISSA JONES: We just know never to give up doesn't matter how much you're down. We were still in it the whole game we were still in it. Just up until towards the end, we just didn't take advantage of it. We just needed the whole team to hop on board, and we just had spurts from everybody but not entire game. And you're not going to win a ballgame when that happens.

Q. Brittney, despite the loss, tough end to this season, can you talk about the future of the program, you're still young, a lot of young players?
BRITTNEY GRINER: We're young. A lot of learning to do. I mean, the future's bright for us. We just gotta get in the gym, get everybody on the same page, get everybody mentally tough and that's about it. Just mentally tough. Just getting in the gym.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, did you feel that experience was the factor, where you had freshmen and sophomores on the court against mostly juniors and seniors for the most part?
COACH MULKEY: I want you to ask Gary Blair that question, okay? . The difference in the ballgame was guard play. Difference in the ballgame was guard play, our inability in the first half to capitalize on their foul trouble. Brittney had great looks, couldn't finish. We missed way too many free throws. And, yeah, to answer your question, you know, when you reach this point, you gotta have some upperclassmen that are comfortable, can run your offense and can execute and we'll get better. We've had a great year.
And 34 and whatever we are, 3 at the most wins in the history of our program, No. 1 seed is another first. But we've elevated our program to a level where we want to be disappointed. You want to see kids cry.
Like M.J. said, take nothing away from A&M. But we didn't play well, and it wasn't anything that A&M I thought did. I mean, you're still right there, shooting 26 percent, down 11 or 12 at the half. You're still right there, and we just couldn't score. And we've got to go back and we've got to ask ourselves why. Why could we not score tonight?
And we will go back to the gym and teach them.

Q. Can you just talk about the challenge that it presented you to have to beat A&M four times this season?
COACH MULKEY: Well, I've already harped on that enough. A&M and Baylor are going to be two of the top four or five teams in the country. If we're going to go on geography go on and let us know for the next three years we're going to be in the same situation, unless we're both No. 1 seeds or we're both No. 2 seeds. Nobody likes to play anybody four times, nobody. It's no fun. I said it yesterday. I'll say it tomorrow. I'll say it next week. It's just not fun. This is supposed to be March Madness, the excitement of it. When you've earned a 1 and 2 seed, it is not fun.

Q. Kim, is the hardest part that you didn't play well and then can you talk about how much you hurt tonight for M.J.?
COACH MULKEY: The hardest part is losing, but then you evaluate if you lost to an A&M team that shot lights out and they were unstoppable and they were just awesome tonight, you almost can handle that a little bit better.
But I'm more concerned in trying to figure out why did we play so bad. Melissa Jones, your heart goes out for her. You hurt for all your kids after a loss but your heart goes out to seniors. Your heart goes out to seniors that have the personality and the will to win that that young lady has, and she didn't want to come out here. And truthfully I didn't want her to have to come out here, but she did.
And you saw a very vulnerable kid, and you saw a kid that tried to answer your tough questions. And that's Melissa Jones.

Q. Coach, you mentioned the guard play. Odyssey tonight, two points, and just trying to make the right moves to get the ball inside. Can you talk about that and Hayden's performance as well?
COACH MULKEY: Odyssey was 0 for 6 and Kimetria Hayden was 1 for 5. Their guards really weren't any better. You had two of them that were three for 11 and four for 11. Carter was seven for 15. I thought she was a difference really in the ballgame, and especially the first half. So you know those kids are juniors and a senior. Ours are freshman and a sophomore. They'll work and get better. And hopefully they'll remember how it feels in that locker room. I know they remembered how it felt last year when we beat Duke to get to the Final Four and that was a happy locker room. And this year it's not so happy. But you want them to remember it all.

Q. You mentioned the looks that Brittney got and obviously you guys kept going to her. Are you thinking during that stretch, she's going to start making some of these?
COACH MULKEY: Sure. You just keep going to her. And we did. And we tried all night to keep going to her, and we'll do it again. If we had another ten minutes to play we'd keep doing it.

Q. What lessons can your younger players take from this tournament considering the teams they've played and A&M and Green Bay and West Virginia all with seniors who really showed what it looks like when a senior doesn't want to lose their last game?
COACH MULKEY: We'll take a lot, not just from the NCAA Tournament, but we'll take a lot from the non-conference opponents. We played Tennessee. We played Notre Dame. We played Connecticut. We played all the top teams out there. And we will get better. You can only get better if you play the best.
And as I've said all along, I'm really amazed that we are 34 and whatever we are with the youth that we have, because at some point your youth surfaces.
And some of the things that we've been able to get away with through the course of those games this year you're not going to get away with when you play a team four times. And, again, I want to congratulate A&M and I hope that they go to the Final Four and win the whole thing so that they will represent the Big 12 well. But, again, I'm concerned about why we played so poorly, because I don't think it was really what A&M did. And I usually give credit. But we were missing point-blank shots. I mean, Griner's right there at the rim. So anyway, the nature of sports.

Q. Kim, you don't like losing either. I know this has got to be tough on you. How long does something like this stick with you?
COACH MULKEY: Well, the older I get, the faster I can get rid of it, Jerry, because if you don't, you're going to drop dead in this business. But 11 years ago losses lived with me for a long, long time.
I don't know. I don't know if I'll be over it anytime soon. But the season's over. And I'm going to go home and I'm going to enjoy MacKenzie and I'm going to go watch Kramer play baseball and have a banquet at the end of the year and have the end of the season meetings with each of them and go back to the drawing board and do what we do every year, go recruiting, and keep making them better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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