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March 10, 2013

Cori Close

Atonye Nyingifa

Markel Walker


Stanford テや 51
UCLA テや 49

THE MODERATOR:テつ We've got Coach Cori Close, Markel Walker, and Atonye Nyingifa.テつ Coach, opening statement, please?
COACH CLOSE:テつ First of all, I just want to say that credit to Stanford, their maturity.テつ Amber Orrange shot some humongous shots, and just calm and maturity.テつ Credit to them, and congratulations to them for a really well fought game.
We're hurting right now.テつ My heart just hurts for our seniors, because I felt like they gave so much of themselves out on that basketball game today.テつ It's hard for them not to be rewarded with the win at the end.
Hopefully, eventually, they're going to see that they were incredibly uncommon women that made uncommon choices, and we didn't yield the result we wanted.テつ But I could not be more proud of the effort from my team.テつ Our team and staff were, were excellent, and it hurts right now to not get the reward in the win.テつ But I couldn't be more proud of our process and our journey.

Q.テつ Kind of an interesting day.テつ You guys go down and scramble back to come back before halftime.テつ You built a bit of a lead.テつ It was kind of a strange day with Chiney struggling the way she was.テつ It was a very atypical day, don't you think?
COACH CLOSE:テつ It was atypical.テつ But if you look at really intense March games between really good teams, I think you see that a lot.テつ We take each other out of our first‑second options, and other people have to step up and make plays.
I had a lot of players.テつ I thought Markel Walker stepped up and made huge plays.テつ Obviously, Amber Orrange stepped up and made huge plays, and Ruef made an amazing acrobatic shot in the second to last possession.
Yes, it was an a typical day if you look at our whole body of work.テつ But this time of year, that's what really good battles end up being.

Q.テつ I know it's a small consolation that you held Chiney to a career low three points.テつ But can you talk about the defense that Brewer and the double teams put on her?
COACH CLOSE:テつ I just think it was a great team effort.テつ I think one of the reasons that Alyssia Brewer and Jasmine Dixon and Markel Walker were able to guard her is because of the pressure our guards put.テつ Atonye Nyingifa, Nirra Fields, Mariah Williams, the pressure they put that their perimeter players couldn't find Chiney in her normal positions of comfort.
So I think it was a selfless effort.テつ And I put emphasis on the effort because it is hard to cover that much ground the way they spread the other floor and put that much pressure on for 40 minutes.テつ I think it is a tremendous feat.テつ It isn't a consolation.テつ It still really hurts, but it doesn't change the fact that we changed a heck of a game on the defensive end of the floor.

Q.テつ Did you try anything different today against Stanford that you had in previous games?テつ Did you throw a new wrinkle at them today?
COACH CLOSE:テつ I think both teams tried to a few wrinkles to get the balls in our playmakers' hands in positions of strength.テつ I don't think it was anything major.テつ We need to do a better job of getting more ball movement and inside touches.テつ We needed to maintain our defensive pressure and intensity.テつ The biggest difference is our rebounding.テつ We felt like we defended them well at our place, but we didn't finish the play with rebounds.テつ That was the biggest difference further today is I thought we came up with many more rebounds.
Obviously, we outrebounded them significantly today.テつ I thought if we got more possessions and more shots on goal that we would win, and I guess we were one possession short.

Q.テつ Obviously, your coaches talked about how you're hurting right now, but do you think that this game is the game in which you guys realized how good you are and there is a lot to play for in March?
MARKEL WALKER:テつ I felt like this whole weekend was something that we can go back on and see that we accomplished something.テつ We played together.テつ Our seniors stepped up a lot.テつ Yes, it hurts, but we found something in us that we didn't know we had, and we played so well together as a team.テつ The only thing we've got to do is go back to the drawing board to see what's next.

Q.テつ Cori, Amber went left a lot.テつ Defensively what will you take from that?
COACH CLOSE:テつ Well, we got caught on it, and it will be something that we'll grow from.テつ One of the things I absolutely loved about this team this year is they're never afraid to go back and look in the mirror and say, how can I use this to get better and be a spring board forward?
I feel like that was definitely not our game plan.テつ We wanted to keep her from going to her left.テつ They put a shooter on that side, and her hesitation move got us.テつ She went right that one time down the middle of the lane and one.テつ Gets you on your heels a little bit.テつ But it was not the game plan.テつ That's easier to say in writing a scouting report than it is to live out.テつ She's made a couple of really hard jumpers going to the left too.
She's been the difference in two of the three games.テつ Up at Stanford, I thought we did a really good job on Chiney a lot of the times, but she made plays, and I thought she was the difference obviously tonight.

Q.テつ You kind of said is there that she was the difference.テつ Maybe if you could elaborate more on that because you guys did play really good defense.
COACH CLOSE:テつ Well, it's hard to have her make those plays down the stretch.テつ There are a lot of things as a coach that I would have‑‑ everything's ‑‑ hindsight is "20/20".テつ I might have done a few things differently down the stretch knowing what she was doing.テつ Just like I expect our players to look in the mirror and grow from that, I will too.
But I want to give the credit to Amber.テつ I thought our pressure bothered her a lot of the game.テつ For her to say that persistent and confident after we made her pick up the ball, turn the ball over a couple of bad passes.テつ And her steadiness, that's why they're a great team.テつ Credit to Amber that she was able to make those great plays, even though it was a really difficult game.

Q.テつ Did you consider the last possession calling a timeout?テつ After Markel's shot rimmed out, did you think Alyssia got hacked on there?
COACH CLOSE:テつ I did consider it.テつ I did consider calling the timeout.テつ But I thought that they were in a spread court situation, and I knew we were going to be putting the ball in Markel's hands anyway to drive and I didn't want to give them a chance to set their defense.テつ When I thought Markel was going to be able‑‑ I was watching sort of the level of play.テつ Was Markel going to be able to get even with them and create a driving lane?テつ And I knew that she would.テつ So worst thing I could do is get in her way at that point.テつ So I don't regret that.
It is what it is.テつ It's very rare at the end of a game that you're going to get that kind of call.テつ It is what it is.

Q.テつ Atonye, what was the fatigue level out there after three games in three days for both teams?テつ Did you feel like everybody was feeling it in the second half?
ATONYE NYINGIFA:テつ I know we tried our best to get our bodies right.テつ It was no walk in the park to play three games in three days.テつ Our team held it together, kept our composure, and we just went off with energy, and we felt great and just played our hearts out.

Q.テつ When the refs put the .2 seconds back on the clock, and you have the timeout leading the last play.テつ Were you aware of the Trent Tucker rule?テつ There had to be a discussion of that?
COACH CLOSE:テつ That there had to be a tip?テつ Yes, we were aware of it.テつ It didn't quite go the way we drew it up.テつ It's a tough read, and it was a tough play.テつ We didn't quite do what we'd hoped we would do.テつ But it's a tough situation, obviously.テつ We were trying to go to get a screen over the top for Alyssia Brewer, and there was a miscommunication on it.テつ Ultimately, I have to take responsibility for that.テつ We didn't get what we wanted on that last tip.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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