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March 2, 2012

Ashley Bruner

Dawn Staley

Aleigsha Welch


South Carolina – 59
Georgia – 55

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, and Aleighsa Welch and Ashley Bruner.
We'll take questions.

Q.  It seemed like y'all were making a concentrated effort to go inside, stay away from the three‑point line.  Was that the game plan going in?
ASHLEY BRUNER:  Part of the game was to get the ball in the paint whether it was passing the ball or getting it to the post.
ALEIGHSA WELCH:  I think the last game we let their post players get kind of what they wanted.  We watched a lot of film.  It really did get to us how they were scoring at will.
We knew we needed to come out and play our game.

Q.  Talk about what it means to make the semifinals.
COACH STALEY:  I think it's great for our program.  I think, again, our seniors, they've seen this program from being 10‑18, to now participating in the semifinals of the SEC tournament.
I think it's something we've been working for all year long.  They're definitely leaving a legacy that hopefully will continue for a long time.

Q.  I think you might have said yesterday that Ieasia was hoping to get a rematch with Georgia because they eliminated you last year.  Has anybody been wanting to take on Tennessee again?
COACH STALEY:  You know, I think we have some confidence.  I think it's a neutral site.  Tennessee played a tough game today.  We played a tough game today.  The fact we did beat them on their floor does help with our confidence level.  At this time of the season, if we do stick to our game plan and execute, we can give ourselves a shot at winning it.  That's all we did in this particular game.

Q.  What does it mean you won this game with what ended up making three‑point shots, that that wasn't going for you at all tonight?
COACH STALEY:  For us, I think our players, their legs got a little bit weary.  They just settled for taking outside shots, the three‑point shots a little bit too much.  At the same time when we were rebounding the way we were, the way our post players were making plays in the paint, it just happened like that in this particular game.
Hopefully we won't rely on shooting the three ball, especially shooting it the way we did.  What I'm most proud of is our ability to knock down free throws.  That's the difference.  We lose a basketball game like this if we don't shoot 70% from the free‑throw line.

Q.  Is it kind of incredible looking back the last two games that you have been pretty automatic considering what the stats are?
COACH STALEY:  It's something that we want to point out but we don't want to jinx ourselves because we're shooting it at a pretty decent percentage.  For us, games like this we lose, and we have to point to our free‑throw percentage, our free‑throw performance.
We do have to congratulate our team for knocking them down, sealing the deal.

Q.  It seemed like in the last five minutes, you would miss shots, but you would get the rebounds, have two or three possessions in a row.  What was the key to that?  How do you think Georgia reacted when they weren't able to get the ball?
ASHLEY BRUNER:  I think it's hustle play.  I don't know what they were thinking.  Didn't care.  Just went to the boards.
ALEIGHSA WELCH:  I think we tried to drain them out as much as possible.  We played the game yesterday.  Anybody would come in thinking our legs were gone.  It's disheartening when you play defense for a whole possession, then you give up a defensive rebound.  We wanted to drain out the clock as much as possible because we knew we couldn't trade buckets with them.

Q.  Can you talk about Ashley's contribution.
COACH STALEY:  She has been playing well from the offensive end.  We feel like we can create an advantage with her at the high post or on the block because she has pretty decent footwork.  I think with Ashley, she wants to score.  She wants to score every time down the floor.  She screams at our perimeter players to give her the ball.
Fortunately for us, she made some key baskets down the stretch.  Also she raised her free‑throw percentage by making four out of nine.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH STALEY:  When we inserted Tina into the game early in the first half, we felt like Tina could stretch the defense out.  We know she shoots the outside shot.  I put a bug in her ear to say, Don't rely on shooting outside shots, put the ball on the floor.  She made some things happen for us.

Q.  Considering how you did shoot from the outside, the outside was important in Knoxville.  What are you going to do to get that reinvigorated tomorrow night?
COACH STALEY:  I mean, it's what we do.  Our kids are going to take shots within their limitations.  If they're open from outside the three, they're a three‑point shooter, we're going to encourage them to toe the line and knock down shots.  People that can get the ball in the paint by driving, penetrating, we'll encourage them to do that.
For the most part our defense has been our staple.  We'll have to create some stops, get some easy opportunities from our defense.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, ladies.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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