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October 25, 2012

Kim Mulkey


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach Mulkey.

Q.  Sounds like the commissioner has put a little pressure on you guys as far as being one of the great teams.  I wonder if you can just talk about the challenge of bringing such a loaded nucleus back and trying to go back for one more championship?
COACH MULKEY:  Well, Bob spoke at our luncheon yesterday at Baylor, and I need to let you guys know I'm already sold on him, because I was a little intimidated with his background coming from Stanford and the midwest, but he said y'all in his speech, so he now has another fan in Kim Mulkey.  The challenge is I think there are only four teams in women's basketball, and you are certainly welcome to correct me if I'm wrong.
But from the research that I've done, four teams that have ever repeated and that being Louisiana Tech, USC, Connecticut, and Tennessee.  And we'd like to possibly have that kind of goal.  Going undefeated is not a goal.  It wasn't a goal last year.  The goal for our basketball team is to win championships.  We'd like to win another Big 12 Championship, and we'd like to win a National Championship.

Q.  Talk about some of the challenges of motivation with this team.  You guys won which an average of 26 points last year.  Is it difficult to keep the morale up when the wins are that much?  How much have you seen from the girls?
COACH MULKEY:  Well, you have to talk about complacency.  You have to talk about hunger.  You have to talk about all of those things.  Because I think when you have a group of seniors who did go 40‑0, you don't want them to become bored in practice.  I think what helps them is the fact that they want to be an elite group, as I mentioned earlier, of those other four teams that repeated.
But we also have a group of freshmen that requires a lot of teaching.  I think that our seniors probably are the best teachers on the floor more so than any of the coaches because they were freshmen at one time.
So it makes for interesting practices.

Q.  You've been in this position before, not with the entire nucleus coming back, but being the defending national champion.  Is there any takeaway that you have from a coaching standpoint when you have players who have been to the top in terms of getting them ready for that next season?
COACH MULKEY:  No, because that's like comparing your children.  The team we had coming back after '05 was certainly not the same team.  We have the same players, but we're not the same team today that we hope to be.  And I don't know that we'll be the same team this year that we were last year because I feel like we have even more depth than we had last year.

Q.  You mentioned the freshmen coming in, you have all the starters back.  Knowing that that's kind of the future, do you try to blend them in maybe more than you normally would with freshmen?
COACH MULKEY:  Yes, we have to rely on our freshmen to play this year.  We lose so much after this year that they're going to have to play.  You don't want to wait until next year to play them.  You've got to mix them in in practice.  We have to use our dream team which are our guides a lot so I can look at combinations.
We have a couple that are out with stress reactions right now, so I haven't even had them on the floor yet.  Those freshmen have to play for us this year.

Q.  You faced West Virginia in the tournament, but what do you expect them to bring this year in contrast to Baylor or in comparison to Baylor?
COACH MULKEY:  First of all, two great coaches.  Their reputations speak for themselves.  We played TCU probably in the playoffs.  I don't know.  We were in Seattle together.  I remember that the year we won in '05.  (No Microphone) Baylor in the playoffs they're a great addition to our league in women's basketball.  I'm excited because in women's basketball those two programs bring credibility, and they bring great coaches and great players.

Q.  I want to ask you about the team around Brittney, and how we know Brittney is a dominant player, but how the team around her and everybody plays together and how that works for you guys.
COACH MULKEY:  Brittney Griner is such a hard worker.  When she comes to practice, I can think of very few days that she's just had bad days.
When a great player like that comes to the floor every day and plays hard, it's kind of inexcusable for you to come and not play hard.  I think when you look at Brittney Griner in the face of women's basketball right now, and if you look around her, there are probably three or four more draft picks.  Maybe even one coming off the bench.  So she's surrounded by great players.
Odyssey Sims in my opinion is the best point guard in the country because she plays both ends of the floor.  But Brittney understands she doesn't win championships by herself.

Q.  Can you talk about last year's performance, all the stuff that went on, and also coming back from her injury as far as that?
COACH MULKEY:  I don't know all of the stuff that went on, but her injury is fine.  She does her longboards, I think she can tell you better than I can.  She was trying to maneuver a turn or twist or whatever they do, and she saw that she was not going to make it.  She didn't actually fall to the ground.  She jumped off.  When she jumped off, she caught herself on the wall and broke a bone in her wrist or forearm, radius, somewhere in there.  But she's fine.

Q.  Geno made a couple comments about lowering the rim.  What is your opinion on that?
COACH MULKEY:  I really don't have an opinion on that.  We changed the women's game.  We've got a smaller ball than the men.  Changed the distance from the three‑point line.  (No Microphone).

Q.  The Commissioner talked about you moving the tournament away from Kansas City where it's been with the men.  It's going to be here by itself.  How do you feel about that?  How do you feel about marketing the women's game?  Is that a good thing, bad thing, wait and see thing from your standpoint?
COACH MULKEY:  I've always believed that women's basketball, the market for great attendance, whether we like it or not, is just in certain areas of the country that are more well attended than others.
Our tournament, I thought Kansas City did a good job, but our tournament was not attended as well as the men's tournament was.  Maybe in the future if we get back together and we're at the same time, it will be in a place where both men's and women's tournament is attended well.  Where that would be, maybe it could be here in Dallas, I don't know.  But it sure is convenient for us to be in Dallas.

Q.  There's been a movement as you've referenced to the change in the women's game, once again there has been an emphasis to monitor the game as far as‑‑ I guess what they want to do is speed the game up a lot faster than what it is right now even though you all do have a shot clock.  The reason I'm asking is there was a notice given out ask sent out by a press release by the NCAA that they wanted the officials in the women's game to start monitoring back court and front court shot clocks.
COACH MULKEY:  We're always changing something.  I'm of the belief sometimes that if it's not broken, don't fix it.  I like our game.  I think it's at a pace where I don't know what you need to change.  But I'm good for whatever is good in women's basketball.  Right now I don't have an opinion on lowering the goals.  I don't have an opinion on the back court.  Just tell me what the rules are and let's go play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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