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March 19, 2012

Kelly Graves

Katelan Redmon

Kayla Standish


Gonzaga – 65
Miami – 54

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Gonzaga head coach and student‑athletes.  We'll start with an overview of the game from coach.
COACH GRAVES:  First of all, I do want to congratulate Miami on a tremendous season.  I've gotten to know Coach Meier a little bit over the last several weeks and now having coached against her and watched her team play, I'm very impressed.
She's I think now one of my very favorite coaches.  Her team played really well.  Tonight for two offensive teams, I thought we both showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness.  We were just fortunate I think to make some of the plays and some of the stops down the stretch.
But my hat is off to Miami.  But I am really very proud of my team, especially my senior leadership up here.  You know, sometimes I get on my team for being a little bit soft, but I thought tonight we showed a lot of grit, a lot of toughness, and we were physical.  For that I'm very proud and happy that we're moving on.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  You had to be tougher down the stretch.  Can you talk about the difference of playing that type of game right from the beginning today.
KAYLA STANDISH:  Yeah, I mean, we knew it was going to be a tough game, just like it was on Saturday.  They're a great team, all very skilled players.  They play well together, just like us.  We knew it was going to be a good matchup.
But we had to come out fighting from the beginning because they're a much bigger and physical team than us so with had to get a jump‑start from the beginning and carry it through to the end.
KATELAN REDMON:  Just like she said, they're very physical on the inside, we definitely had to make sure we were battling hard.  One of our big focuses was rebounding.  We had to make some space so we could get the rebounds.  Just battling down there and all around physical play.  We came out hard and fought with them.

Q.  Katelan, talk about the difference between Saturday and tonight for you personally.
KATELAN REDMON:  For me personally, I struggled a little bit from the floor.  I needed to make sure I came out relaxed and continued to shoot the ball.  A lot of times I find myself leaking out a little bit.  So one of my main focuses tonight was actually going to the boards and making sure I was crashing hard and getting the rebound.

Q.  You were the underdogs going into both these games.  Did you ever get the feeling you were the better team out there in either one of these games from the beginning?
KATELAN REDMON:  We go out there and we don't like to think of ourselves as underdogs.  We know we're a very good team.  They're also a very good team.  We can compete with any team out there.  We go out there thinking we can win and we did that tonight.

Q.  When Shawnice Wilson went to the bench early in the first half, how did that change the conditions for your team on the floor?
KAYLA STANDISH:  With her out of the paint, we had to take advantage of that.  She's obviously a very skilled and...

Q.  ...formidable challenge?
KAYLA STANDISH:  Yeah, whatever that means (laughter).
She's obviously a lot bigger and more physical.  Getting her out of the paint was a key to our success really.  With her out of the paint, we're allowed to get it in more.  We had to run a lot harder when she was out.  Just numerous things we had to take advantage of her with her out of the game.
COACH GRAVES:  I was actually disappointed in the first half.  I think we needed to separate more.  I don't think we took advantage of her absence in there.

Q.  Ladies, yesterday coach talked about a group effort to guard Shawnice Wilson.  Can you talk about how that worked out for you today, what adjustments you had to make, what kind of an obstacle that was.
KATELAN REDMON:  One of the things we really wanted to focus on was packing in our defense so that it was a challenge for them to even get the ball into her.  What we did on the wings when the ball went inside, we'd cover down a little bit, force her to throw the ball back on the outside.  By doing that, we help try to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible.

Q.  At the end of the game, you're last game at the athletic center, what was that like?
KAYLA STANDISH:  Very happy to win our last game in our hometown, our home gym.  Our fans are amazing.  To go out with a win like that, have all the support we've got, we couldn't ask for a better situation.
Being a senior, you like to go out with a good taste in your mouth on your home floor and we did that.  Yeah, being a senior, I'm very happy with what we've done, very sad we won't be able to play in this gym again.  We've still got more games to play, so that's a good thing.
KATELAN REDMON:  She already covered it all.  It feels really good to go out with the win here at home, it being our last game here.  You always want to go out on a win.  Especially me being from Spokane, playing in front of that hometown crowd, having my family in the stands, it feels good to have my family watch my last game here.
THE MODERATOR:  Ladies, you're excused.  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  I was one of the experts to predicted a high‑scoring game.  Were you surprised at that final score or did you think it was going to be something like that?
COACH GRAVES:  Well, no, I actually thought it was going to be more on the defensive end.  Knowing Coach Meier, we both were focusing on that.  I think everybody thought like you, they thought it was going to be a high‑scoring game.
Typically in the NCAA tournament like this, it does come down to who plays the better defense.  Both of us played pretty well defensively tonight.

Q.  You talked all season about Jazmine Redmon being the sixth starter out there for you.  How important was she tonight?
COACH GRAVES:  You know, Miami forces about 23 and a half turnovers a game on the season.  We committed 11.  Seemed like there were more of them.  We really did a nice job of taking care of the basketball.  It wasn't always pretty.  They did a nice job of extending our possession.  I mean, sometimes we didn't have a lot of time to score.
But Jazmine has been terrific all year.  I actually give her a lot of credit defensively.  I thought she did a really good job with Shenise Johnson.  That's one of the best players in the country.  Jazmine just fought her like crazy.  I thought she did just a really good job.
No one player can take her.  We had to defend her as a team.  But I thought Jazmine did by far the best job on her tonight.

Q.  Do you ever get tired being considered the underdog?  Do you ever feel like you are the better team?
COACH GRAVES:  You know, we take whatever they give us.  It honestly doesn't matter.  It doesn't affect how we play.  This is a group now that has gone to three straight Sweet 16s.  We never consider ourselves an underdog.  I think we're a really good team.
Where they seed us they seed us.  That doesn't bother me.  But we're good.  We're gritty.  We have a lot of different players that can contribute and do things.
What I'm most proud of with this group is every single night it's somebody different.  Sometimes every half it's somebody different.  I'm proud of my team.  I wouldn't trade this group for anybody.
I'm telling you, this is a good basketball team.  It's not always pretty.  We've been used to pretty around here.  But these guys are good.  This team is effective.

Q.  Obviously you talked about how winning the turnovers tonight was huge to winning.  Seemed like when you were trying to break that press, how important was it having a big that can handle the ball against that kind of pressure?
COACH GRAVES:  That's an area Kayla has really gotten better in.  As she progresses in her pro career, it's going to be something she has to be able to do, is handle the basketball.  I'm actually really comfortable with the ball in her hands.  I prefer it not to be because that means we're doing other things better.  I'd rather have her down finishing.
At times she has to be a pressure release for us.  She's comfortable with it.  She makes good decisions.  Kayla from time to time, you have to, C'mon, Kayla, let's go, which works great in press situations.  She's always under control and confident and composed.
Yeah, she played big all weekend.  She played big.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about when Haiden...
COACH GRAVES:  I hope they didn't get that on camera.  It was my attempt at a chest bump.  If you want to know the truth, that play, that loose ball epitomized our game tonight.  That's what made me so excited.  There was no quit in her.
The one thing about Haiden, she does some things from time to time, head scratcher, and I don't have much hair left to scratch, but then she'll come back and do something like that.  It energizes the team.
I think she epitomizes what this group is about.  We play with heart.  We're tough.  I just got a little emotional there for a little bit (laughter).
A chest bump from me is a really ugly thing.  Then I grabbed her head and kind of squeezed it a little bit.  But you know what, my team actually enjoyed it.  It's something they'll talk about for a long time, I guess.
I tell you, after that play, I just thought, you know what, this is going to end well for us.

Q.  A lot of people might argue with this crowd, home crowd, it's an advantage against these higher‑ranked teams.  Is that taking away from how well your girls are playing?
COACH GRAVES:  It's a great question.  I've tried to deflect the importance of the crowd.  Listen, we love playing here.  Our crowd is terrific.  This is an atmosphere that you don't find anywhere else in women's college basketball, nowhere.  It's terrific.  It's good for the game.
I think everybody goes in knowing what the rules are.  We bid on it.  We get to host.
Ultimately, listen, good teams win on the road.  That's why they're good teams.  That's why they get high seeds.  I just think it comes down to the execution on the court.  So I've tried to deflect it, even though I realize that it is important.  But we have a good team and we executed on the floor.
Tonight they gave us a lift.  There were some times with the shot clock winding down, I think Miami was a little bit confused because they couldn't hear.  So they definitely are an advantage for us.
But I don't want that to overshadow the fact that we're a pretty good team that executes well and plays hard.

Q.  One of the first things Coach Meier addressed is the fact you had big shots.  Can you talk about that against Rutgers, Miami tonight, the ability to hit those shots?
COACH GRAVES:  I'm just blessed with those kind of players.  I have gamers.  It's Kelly Bowen, Haiden Palmer, Taelor Karr.  You go on and on, it's always somebody different.  I have a lot of confidence in them to shoot.  We like to get the ball up, shoot a lot.
They've been in this situation.  This was the 11th NCAA tournament game for this senior class.  That's a lot of experience.  So they've been in those moments.  They expect to make 'em.  I know they have confidence in taking those shots because I have confidence in them to take it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach Graves.
COACH GRAVES:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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