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March 7, 2013

Elem Ibiam

Dawn Staley

Ieasia Walker


South Carolina – 77
Alabama – 35

THE MODERATOR:  We're now joined by South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, student‑athletes Ieasia Walker and Elem Ibiam.  We'll let Coach Staley make an opening comment about the game.
COACH STALEY:  I thought we played extremely well.  I thought we played with a lot of energy, especially our second half.  Second half is something we've really been concentrating on, getting off to better starts.  I thought our players really concentrated on taking care of the basketball, getting the ball inside, taking care of mismatches that we had on the floor, taking advantage, and we put a total 40 minutes together.
IEASIA WALKER:  I think this was a good game for us.  We got to play everybody.  Everybody got to feel what it's like to play in the SEC tournament.  We took good shots.  Knocking down our open shots.  I think teams won't necessarily play us in zone, see they have to play man.  Our inside game is also working.
ELEM IBIAM:  I think we all came out and played well together.  We all knew what was on the line.  We were pretty much focused and ready to go.  I think it went well for us today.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Elem, it seemed like you were making a deliberate effort to go inside early in the game.  Can you talk about coming off the bench and replacing that effort going against Alabama with a smaller lineup.
ELEM IBIAM:  Always try to come in and feed off their energy.  I try to come in, keep the momentum up, feed off of them.
So they found me open on the inside and the shots were just falling today, so it just worked out.

Q.  What kind of confidence builder is a game like this for another shot at Texas A&M?
IEASIA WALKER:  I think it shows that we can make a team effort to play Texas A&M better this time.  I don't think we were shooting very well that game.  To come out hitting shots on this floor on our first night here is good.  We found what plays were working for us.
We got out to a lead, so that allowed us to rest some of our starters.  We'll pretty much be fresh for tomorrow.  So I think it will be a great competition tomorrow against them.
ELEM IBIAM:  Like Ieasia said, it was a good confidence builder for us.  We know what we have to do from the last game.  We have to come out stronger and I think we're just prepared for that.

Q.  How important will an inside game be?
ELEM IBIAM:  I think it will be crucial.  We have to get defensive stops early.  Also on the offensive boards, make sure we're making plays.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for CoachStaley.

Q.  Seems like y'all came out with a conscious effort to pound the ball into the post.  For this game with their guard lineup was this much more of something that you wanted to do?
COACH STALEY:  We knew where the mismatches were.  Against Alabama, they are very athletic on the perimeter.  I think they're kind of undersized.  We're undersized, but I don't think their post players are used to playing defense on the block.
I thought we really made a conscious effort to get that ball in the paint and allow our post players to kind of open the game up for us.
Usually we open the game up by hitting shots from the outside.  But I thought we worked from the inside out and it worked out where everybody got a chance to get shots fluidly and knock them down.

Q.  With Texas A&M coming up, shooting better is obviously one thing you want to do against them.  Is there anything else from this game that you take into that game?
COACH STALEY:  We're going to take the winning streak into tomorrow.  I think it's very important.  We came down here to win an SEC Championship.  If it's Alabama, Texas A&M is up next, we feel real good about where we are.  We're focused in on what we need to do to try to get that SEC Championship, something our program has yet to achieve.
So however we need to play, however many buckets we need to get, rebounds we need to get, how many hustle plays we need to make, we'll be up for the challenge to make those.

Q.  Texas A&M lost three straight.  Do you think they're dealing with a lack of confidence.  How can you take advantage of that?
COACH STALEY:  I think they had a longer break.  I think they probably have reevaluated some things.  Just looking at the games they lost, they haven't shot the ball well.  When you don't shoot the ball well in this particular league, you can lose basketball games.
I think we are a victim of not going able to shoot the ball well, especially in those type of games when you go against teams that can put it in the hole.
I think it came down to putting it in the hole, and they didn't.  Hopefully we can keep that streak going for them.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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