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March 8, 2013

Ashley Bruner

Dawn Staley

Ieasia Walker


Texas A&M – 61
South Carolina – 52

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and student‑athletes Ieasia Walker and Ashley Bruner.  Coach Staley, if you could make a few comments about today's game.
COACH STALEY:  I thought it was a hard‑fought game by both teams.  Unfortunately for us, we weren't able to make layups and free throws.  I thought we turned the ball over a little bit too much.
But really proud of our players and their effort, how hard they played.  I know they wanted to win.  Sometimes you got to make plays to win.  But I surely am really proud of the effort, especially these two up here, two seniors who gave it their all for four years for this conference.  So my hat goes off to them.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Ashley, you were talking about yesterday how fired up you were to get in the game.  Were you a little too excited in the beginning of the game?
ASHLEY BRUNER:  No, I didn't go into the game hyped up because that's what I did last game.  I was trying to keep calm, be collected when the game was starting.

Q.  It seemed like Kelsey goes down with a knee injury.  You don't want to see somebody get hurt, but the game was tied.  You had an opportunity there, then they ran off 14 points.  What happened during that stretch?
IEASIA WALKER:  We didn't execute.  We turned the ball over a good amount of the time and they were able to capitalize off our turnovers.  They got a lot of their baskets off of points in the paint, just us overplaying or making mistakes, overpassing or something like that.  They were able to build their lead back up.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for Coach Staley.

Q.  Obviously this isn't the way you want it to end here, but you have the NCAA announcement coming up.  What do you do for the next week?
COACH STALEY:  We'll take a few days off.  Our players, their bodies need to recover a little bit.  We need to stay active.
We'll probably get back into it midweek just to work on some things, work on executing in the halfcourt, continue to keep our defense sharp and our rebounding.
Then we wait.  I think we're fortunate in that our body of work has done enough to feel real good about our names being called on Selection Monday.

Q.  Following up on what Ieasia was saying there, when they went on the run there in the second half, what did you see going on with your guys?
COACH STALEY:  You know, I thought we shot ourselves in the foot because they were shooting in the bonus very early in the second half.  We couldn't play the defense that we're used to playing because they were shooting in the bonus.
But I just thought they pounded the ball inside.  I thought Gilbert really challenged us.  She was really a hard matchup for us tonight, got some easy buckets.
What I saw was them pounding the ball inside where we were oversized and overmatched.

Q.  Elem only had two points today.  It seemed like she let herself be backed down by their taller post players or was she just not getting clean looks?
COACH STALEY:  I don't think we got Elem the ball as much as we got her the ball yesterday.  But they are big.
What she did was she kept one of their post players honest.  That way we'll have one‑on‑one action in our places on the floor.  It just came down to us making layups.  We can count how many layups we missed, then we missed 10 free throws.  If we can just make layups, I think the game would probably be a little bit better.  I don't know if we'll win the basketball game, but certainly it would put them back on their heels and make it more interesting.

Q.  Your two seniors contributed quite a bit today.  When you look back on their year, their career, was it surprising or unsurprising to see what they did today?
COACH STALEY:  No, I mean, it's not surprising at all.  They did what they're supposed to do, which is lead our basketball team by example.  I thought emotionally they led us.  I think you look at the stats.  They led us in their experience.  They've been here before.  They are very familiar with this environment.
I just hope the younger players were kind of taking in the moment because they'll have their day and hopefully they'll be put in the position where we can take this a little bit further, winning an SEC Championship.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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