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March 4, 2012

Shoni Schimmel

Bria Smith

Jeff Walz


St. Johnテや冱 テや 68
Louisville テや 61

THE MODERATOR:テつ Please welcome Coach Walz.
COACH WALZ:テつ I was really happy how hard our kids competed.テつ I told them in the locker room after the game I was pleased with their efforts.テつ I thought we battled. We fought and just really competed.
St. John's played a very good game.テつ Kim does a great job.テつ Unfortunately we both had to deal with three out there that really made it a very interesting game.
I'm really proud of our kids.テつ You know, like I said, St. John's played extremely hard.テつ We've rebounded the ball very, very well.テつ Just we struggled putting the ball in the basket on some put-backs, and then we missed some free throws that we normally make.

Q.テつ Let's go with Bria, they were able to turn you guys over a little bit more.テつ Can you talk a little bit about what the message was at halftime and about you guys, so you lost it?
BRIA SMITH:テつ Well, they pressured the ball a lot.テつ I think that at halftime we were just trying to just get into our on offense more ask just execute things more, and it kind of helped.テつ But I think that we just turned over the ball a bit too much.

Q.テつ Shoni, you came out and got off to a great start in the first half.テつ Then it seemed like Shenneika Smith really took it as a real challenge and stepped up and played phenomenal defense in addition to hitting her shots.テつ Can you talk about the type of game she had and the extra pressure she put on you and how difficult it was with the defense she was playing?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I felt like in our second half we definitely tried to get more people involved.テつ So she played a good game.テつ She ended up getting 24 points.テつ It was a great game for her.テつ We just couldn't execute as well as we wanted to.

Q.テつ You made a little reference to it.テつ How hard was it to get into an offensive flow today?
COACH WALZ:テつ You were at the game, right?テつ Did you watch it?テつ It was an absolute debacle. テつBut you've just got to deal with it.テつ Both teams competed.テつ I mean, both teams played really, really well.テつ The fact that the effort they gave, I thought St. John's and Kim has done a great job with her team.テつ They came out focused and prepared to play.
I thought we did a great job of rebounding the basketball.テつ There was just a lot of‑‑ I mean, you know ‑‑ that's all I can say.テつ I'll get in trouble if I say more.テつ Believe me, I'd love to say a lot more.

Q.テつ Over the course of the season there's been so many ups and downs, highs and lows with this team between the injuries.テつ After this type of game where, yes, it was hard to get into a flow and it was hard to watch at some points.テつ We couldn't believe some of the things ourselves.
COACH WALZ:テつ Really?テつ So it wasn't just me?

Q.テつ No, it really wasn't.
COACH WALZ:テつ It's really interesting when they can't figure out whose ball it is to start the second half and they screw that up.テつ I wasn't sure if we were at a YMCAAAU event or this is actually the Big East tournament, because I don't know how you screw that up.テつ But we figured out a way.

Q.テつ Getting to the point.テつ You now have to get to the NCAA Tournament.テつ After having a game like that, what do you as a coach?テつ You go back home, and how do you get them prepared starting all over again for the next one?
COACH WALZ:テつ Yeah, that's not hard.テつ They're excited.テつ Like I told them when I talked to them after the game, I was really, really excited for them.テつ It's just of how hard we competed.テつ They got us down nine in the second half, and we continued to defend.テつ We just couldn't buy a basket there for a while.テつ We kept going at them hard.テつ When we would get fouled, we'd go 7 of 17 from the free‑throw line.テつ Then to give St. John's credit, Kim's done a great job with that team.
We get two stop that's row when it's a four‑point game, and get back‑to‑back offensive rebounds which leads to five points, and you can't do that with a team like them.テつ We had them.テつ We were defending them extremely well.テつ They weren't scoring a whole bunch either.テつ But when you give them second chance opportunities, it's just a killer.

Q.テつ Coach, it seemed from Connecticut media, at least, that you guys had the crowd support behind you.テつ Did you feel that?テつ Did you feel that it pushed you when you did get down nine to fall back into the game a little bit?
COACH WALZ:テつ I think it's a little love‑hate.テつ The UCONN crowd my first few years absolutely hated me.テつ What I've learned is the emails that I'd get, I'd always reply to them.テつ Then we'd go back and forth.
I've got three or four UCONN fans right now that are my best friends, and they're great.テつ I had one email me today.テつ I kill them with kindness.テつ I'll email them back and they're shocked to get something back from me.
I think the first few years when I complained about the tournament being held here, boy, that was like a no‑no.テつ Nobody should ever do that, but I did.テつ After that, it's been great.テつ Their fans have been great to us.テつ I think they know that Geno and I have a pretty good relationship.
I wanted to win this game so bad because I was going to tell everybody to say it would be nice to play them tomorrow if he wouldn't foul every time we try to run our offense, because that's all he did at our place was foul us, but, unfortunately, we're not.
But it's great.テつ Their fans are great.テつ I think they're very knowledgeable of the game, and that helps out from a basketball standpoint to know you've got fans that are there cheering.
I wouldn't say it's just for us.テつ I think they cheered for the game in general.

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