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BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT


March 8, 2012


Gary Blair

Kelsey Bone

Sydney Carter

Alexia Standish


KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Texas A&M  78
Kansas  63


Q.  You come up with 25 tonight.  Talk about your approach tonight, and, Sydney, just talk about, when you hear Tyra is not going to play, what goes through everyone's mind?
SYDNEY CARTER:  I guess my role is just to be a point guard.  If I'm open, shoot the three.  Tonight I was open.  I just took what I had to take, and I guess I helped out our team since we're missing our leading scorer.
KELSEY BONE:  I think everybody is just like, oh, my gosh, Tyra's not playing.  What are we going to do?
SYDNEY CARTER:  I think it shows a lot the way our team responded.  I think Coach Schaefer said before the game, everybody has got to step up tonight without our leading scorer.
I think the main focus tonight was our defense.  If we could get our defense going like it usually is, we could get our offense going.  She was hitting shots.  Any time you have somebody hot, you keep giving it to them.

Q.  Alexia, can you talk about when did you feel you were in the zone.  Is there any particular play?  Talk about how you felt.  When did you say, man, I can't miss?  Seemed that way.
ALEXIA STANDISH:  For me, it wasn't really my shooting.  It was watching the team get motivated and excited after we'd make a good play or make a good defensive stop.  Seeing that got me really confident in my team knowing that, hey, if I missed that shot, Bone's got the rebound, Karla's got the rebound.  For me, it was a confidence thing, seeing how motivated my team was playing.

Q.  Kelsey, talk about the guards because they had been struggling from outside for most of this year.  You've been taking some criticism.  But tonight, postseason, you got to step your game up, and they certainly did.
KELSEY BONE:¬† You know, it would have been easy for us after last Sunday to just fold.¬† I mean, Monday in the film room was like torture, and Tuesday was death.¬† So for us, we knew we had to step up.¬† The season started over now.¬† Everyone coming in tonight was 0‑0.¬† We knew this was a team again for the second time in a row, they were fighting for their NCAA life.
To ourselves, we put ourselves in a situation where we're fighting for our seeding life.  We knew we had to step up.  If two or three people stand on me and they want to leave Standish open, that's fine by me.  Leave her open.  She's finally getting into a rhythm and put it all behind and just playing basketball.
I think it had a lot to do with maybe we needed to kind of depend on one another and help chemistry because now some people are in a groove, and when Tyra comes back in, she's just going to fit right back into the puzzle.

Q.  This is for Sydney.  You have some pretty good memories in this building, winning a title here.  Even though last year you didn't, you know how well last year ended.  Can you sort of talk about what this season has been like and the feelings you have coming into here?  Like Kelsey said, it all starts over again.  And also how you sort of helped Alexia get to the place she is right now as the younger player.
KELSEY BONE:  I think this season has definitely been a roller coaster.  It's kind of like I'm the leader this year, and everybody is looking to me, and I've always had that backseat to Sydney Colson, so we kind of just complemented each other.
So we always had that team where everybody knew we're going to get to the championship or we should get there.  I think the Big 12 is so just balanced this year.  So night in and night out, we're going to have to prove we're still the same Texas A&M, even though we don't have the players that we had the previous years, that we're the stars.  We're more balanced this year.  And everybody can kind of bring their own thing to the table.
So I definitely got some good memories in here.  It's nice to say that I do have a championship.  I think that this team is just working today.  We're trying to make our own name.
As far as Lex goes, I was just trying to get the ball to her because she did have the hot hand.¬† We had the emotion today.¬† We were high‑fiving each other and screaming and having fun.¬† I think that's what we've been missing this entire year, when we're out running in transition and when we're getting rebounds and people are missing shots, that's when the game is fun for us.¬† So we need to get back to that and keep chest bumping and high‑fiving like people are used to seeing us do, and I think that will help us.
THE MODERATOR:  Ladies, we're going to let you go back to the locker room.

Q.  Coach, what is Tyra's injury, and when do you expect her back?
COACH BLAIR:¬† After the Texas game, her foot had been bothering her for a week, she said, and we didn't know anything about it.¬† After the Texas game, it's a hot spot on the fifth metatarsal.¬† The X‑rays were negative.¬† She's been in a lot of pain and has been in the boot ever since, was on crutches for two days.
It's day by day, and we'll just have to see what goes.  I know Radar would like to hold her out to Saturday.  First he told me he wanted to hold her out to Sunday, and I said, there's no game on Sunday.  But that was Radar.  I said, you may be looking for a game job on Sunday.
But precaution.¬† The role‑playing that stepped up with Assarian and Collins filling a role.¬† They didn't have to step up because Lexi filled the role.¬† We'll have to see how it goes.¬† It's very doubtful she'll play tomorrow.¬† If somehow we can get by Oklahoma, she's at her hometown here.¬† We'll see.
But we don't want to do anything that could snap that thing and turn it into a fracture and we won't have her for a tournament.  But we have other kids on the scholarship, and they stood up today.

Q.  Kind of a followup to that.  Since that 87th Street start, how strange was that not having her available?
COACH BLAIR:  It killed me.  I was in a horrible mood.  I was snapping at the trainers, snapping at my team during the shootaround.  It's a good thing my wife didn't get here until about 4:00 because she would have kicked me out of the room.  She was driving in from Fayetteville.  I was in a horrible mood.  Woe is me, woe is me, I don't have all my toys to go out there.
Somehow I believed in our kids.  We had great guard play today.  How's this for a line?  Carter's had a tough year.  She goes 8 out of 13, 2 out of 4 from the three.  Missed her only free throw, and that's where she's the best.  Seven boards, I think they were all in the second half.  8 assists, zero turnovers, and guarded Goodrich.  Folks, that's 40 minutes, and that's how you play it, and that's how she is on the all Big 12 defensive team.
But she gave us the offense that we've been missing all year, but we ran some good stuff for her at the right time.  I think it's very important.

Q.  You touched on it briefly, but Carter and Goodrich have been pretty well matched up off the bench.  What makes that matchup so good?
COACH BLAIR:  They both got out of high school the same year because Goodrich had a redshirt year.  We looked at Goodrich also.  But we couldn't be greedy, we already had Colson and other point guards.  We wanted Carolyn Davis too, used to come to our camp.
I think those are two of the premiere guards in the league.  They don't need rest.  They can go 40 minutes a game.  Goodrich is so good with the ball.  She's always diving into the paint.  She's finding somebody open or whatever.  We're just lucky Carolyn Davis wasn't in there because, when you have those two posts together, they're two very, very good offensive posts.  But Goodrich can find you.
Bonnie runs more sets than I do, and I thought I had the most sets in the world, but she runs a lot of different things.  Angel Goodrich is probably the best scorer and point guard in this league.  That doesn't say a thing about Odyssey Sims now, I'm not saying a thing there, but Odyssey doesn't have to do for her team what Angel has to do for her team, and that makes a difference.
But don't worry.  Odyssey can do it the year that Griner leaves.
You know, I want to lobby for the University of Kansas to get in.  Last weekend the No.6, the No.7, the No.8 and 9th place team beat the No.2, 3, 4, and 5 in our league.  That shows you how balanced we are.  18 games is too much.  And all of a sudden, those coaches just play so hard.  She went into Oklahoma.  Nobody goes into Oklahoma and dominates the game like they did.
I think it woke up Oklahoma, and that's why they played so well in the second half.  They remembered what Kansas did to them.  But Kansas deserves to be in that NCAA Tournament.
Now, we've already had three wrong winners out there, and that's going to hurt an 8‑10 team.¬† Hopefully, with their RPI and how hard their kids play and also playing without Carolyn Davis and not using that as an excuse, that's why that team deserves to go to the dance.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you for your comments.  We're going to let you go.  We'll see you tomorrow.
COACH BLAIR:  Peter, if you come to the Cheesecake Factory, I'll buy you a cheesecake.  I didn't say dinner.  I'll buy you one piece of cheesecake.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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