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March 10, 2013

Kim Mulkey

Brooklyn Pope

Odyssey Sims


Baylor – 77
Oklahoma State – 69

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey and student‑athletes Brooklyn Pope and Odyssey Sims.  We'll go directly to questions for our student‑athletes.

Q.  Odyssey, can you talk about just the struggles with the turnovers?  I believe this was a season high 24 turnovers.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  I think we just faded a little bit on offense.  I think we lead Oklahoma State's defense beat us up on offense, couldn't get the ball to Brittney.
No one took charge.  So I felt like we all stood around and was waiting for that one person to step up.

Q.  For both, what was the feeling like of being in a close game?  You've only had a couple of those.  Can a game like this help you going forward?
BROOKLYN POPE:  I think it was good for us to a certain extent.  I don't like close games.  I like when we win by a large margin.
I'm just happy we won.  We're going to work on some things.  I just hope this helps us.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  Close games, it does help us.  We needed a game like this.  We've been beating teams by 30‑plus.  We've been getting bored out there sometimes.
Having a close game like this wakes us up.  Makes us realize that just because we're the No.1 team doesn't mean we can't be beat.
We handled it not as well as we should have, but we'll clean it up and get it together.

Q.  Odyssey, the experience factor when you get in a situation like this.  Talk about how that kind of came through.  Then talk about playing for your third straight Big 12 championship.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  I think we didn't play as if we were juniors or seniors tonight.  We had way too many turnovers.  Everyone individually had too many turnovers.  We turned the ball over when it was critical that could have lost us the game if we were playing any other team like UConn or Stanford.
It's exciting play for the third straight Big 12 tournament championship.  I'm excited.  Hopefully we'll win tomorrow.

Q.  Brooklyn, y'all had done a pretty good job on Toni Young.  What was doing different today?
BROOKLYN POPE:  I just think Toni Young played at the high post a lot and that really confused us because she wasn't down there.  She crashed the boards from the high post where we have to block her out versus the last time we just could find her in the paint.  It was kind of difficult with her bringing BG up so high and running in there full blast to get a rebound.
I just felt like she did a great job at making us work harder than we have had to work against her.

Q.  Brooklyn, it looked a couple times like you were about to deliver a knock‑out punch.  But Oklahoma State refused to go away.  Were you thinking, What do we have to do to put these guys away?
BROOKLYN POPE:  Yeah.  We thought about that.  The coaches told us what to do.  We kind of did what they did.  When we finally did what they said, it worked out for the best.
I just remember thinking, it doesn't matter, it will be a shame if we don't win.  I think once I said that, we played a little bit harder on defense.  Everybody gave a little bit extra effort than what we have been giving.
I just felt like we kept working hard, because Oklahoma State wasn't going to die.  They want to play for a championship, as well.

Q.  Brooklyn, coach called a timeout with three minutes left.  What did she say to you and how important was that three‑pointer that gave you that security blanket?
BROOKLYN POPE:  She just told us it's time to play, a couple things to do on the court.  It goes on in the huddle because that's what keeps us going.  It's our secret.  We can't tell everybody.

Q.  Odyssey, how huge was dictating your tempo onto the game, slowing things down?  What kind of challenges does that present to you as a point guard?
ODYSSEY SIMS:  I know that I have a very big role on this team, to lead the team, be the leader when it gets down to crunch time.  I have to kind of take control.
I tried to do as best as I could today.  Had too many turnovers.
I understand what I have to do, what I need to do for this team.  Coach is not out there, so I kind of feed off of her from the sideline.  I kind of I guess wouldn't say dictate, but I just play the game as the game goes on.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Kim, from a coaching aspect, what do you feel you get out of a game like this?
COACH MULKEY:  We'll get in the film room tonight and go over situations, what we did well, what we did poorly, and move on, move on.  Okay?  There are no moral victories.  You either won or you lost.  We could have very easily lost today.
Compliment Oklahoma State, but they still lost.  Jim Littell is not going to come in here and be all excited.  Those kids played hard for him today.  They could have very easily won and we could have very easily lost.
I thought late in the game we had some very uncharacteristic turnovers, which is a sign that either I've got to do a better job of execution, making sure the right people have the ball in their hands, or there was a little bit of losing your composure.
I think in this game you try to tell players all the time, If you will do this, good things will happen for you one day.  Jordan Madden is the story.  That's who needs to be written about.  When she was a freshman and sophomore, everybody wanted to expose Jordan Madden on Griner's side and not guard her.  She has stayed in the gym more than any of the perimeter starters.  She might have hit the biggest shot of her career today, and it wasn't wide open.  It was a shot clock winding down with people having their hands up.  So that's the story, is Jordan Madden, the one you would have least expected, didn't hesitate to shoot that shot and make it.
We'll watch the film, look at things we didn't do well, then move on and get ready for the next.  We will flush it.  We will flush it.

Q.  Can you talk about the leadership of Sims.  You can't be on the floor to make the call, but you saw her maturity level keeping everybody together.
COACH MULKEY:  I thought honestly Odyssey is the one that might have had the most composure.  I was disappointed in a couple of them late.  I thought they became pouty.  I thought they didn't show any leadership.
I never saw Odyssey do that.  That's a sign of maturing.  She just kept after it.  She had some critical turnovers, and she knows it, late in the game.
But you learned a few things about a couple of them.  I won't put them in that position again either.

Q.  Kim, how tough an out is that Oklahoma State team going to be in the NCAA tournament?
COACH MULKEY:  I hope tough, tough, tough, tough and tough.  I hope everybody in this league, when they go to the NCAA tournament, I hope we all have success.  I love the league.  I love coaching against the coaches in this league because you see it all.  You see great three‑point shooting teams.  You see good defensive teams.  You see good coaches that execute to their strengths.
You've got a team in Oklahoma State that I'm pulling for.  I think Jim Littell has done an outstanding job, and he has very good players that play well together.

Q.  In the second half I noticed that you were getting back on defense.  They scored 12 fast‑break points.  You mentioned getting back on defense was really important.
COACH MULKEY:  I thought there were three things that Oklahoma State, kept them in the game.  One, our turnovers.  Now whether those turnovers were bad turnovers on our part or because Oklahoma State really caused them, I'll have to look at the film and see.  I do know they have length on the perimeter.  In the 2‑3 zone, we weren't penetrating.  When we did penetrate, we were letting them get touches, deflections and steals.
I thought there was no transition defense where we stopped the layups.  I thought they made the hustle plays.  They got the 50/50 balls.  We knew going in they were an outstanding offensive rebounding team.  They proved it again today.  They had almost 20.
Yes, got to get back in transition.

Q.  You talked about struggling to get it inside to Brittney.  She scored about two and a half minutes to go.  I'm not sure she touched it after that.  Were they clogging it up in there where you couldn't get her the ball?
COACH MULKEY:  They were in a 2‑3.  They took the forward and they would front her.  They took the inside middle post and they would get behind her.
Not anything we haven't seen, okay?  So I made a decision in a timeout about four minutes to go that I wanted Odyssey Sims to go on the baseline.  Something that we've never done.  I don't even want to call it a mistake.  You think with that many seniors and returning players, I could do an adjustment like that.  I put the ball in Nay‑Nay's hands and I should have never done it.  She went out there and turned it over, turned it over.  Keep the ball in the hands of your point guard, coach, okay?
The reason I did that, I wanted them to respect Odyssey's ability to shoot the baseline shot.  We never threw it down there.  It was like everything I said to them in the timeout, we were back to that word 'composure.'  We didn't have it.
Again, coaches protect players.  I told Nay‑Nay in the locker room, that's on me.  I should have never put you in that position.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you very much.  We'll see you tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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