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March 11, 2013

Jeff Walz


Notre Dame: 83
Louisville: 59

THE MODERATOR:テつ Joining us is Louisville Head Coach Walz.
COACH WALZ:テつ I would like to thank the media for making the press conference, unfortunately there isn't anybody from UConn in here and I understand they're playing but with the uncertainty with what's going on for our tournament next year and the conference support I would like to put a thank you out to the UConn fans.
I think it's spectacular with the attendance they had for the game tonight, it's been an interesting six years since I've been here.テつ Of course it was my first year I said it's a shame we have to come up here and play a conference tournament on somebody's home floor, which I will stick to that, but it is really‑‑ actually I've made a few friends from the UConn fan base because when they email me, I email them back and they're shocked, "Oh my gosh!テつ He is replying to his e‑mails?"
I've had a few of them call and I don't have a secretary so I answer my own phone and all of the sudden it's Walz, women's basketball and they're like "Coach?"テつ And I'm like, "Yeah!"テつ I have had four or five of them come up to me before the game.テつ It's been a good six years for me, I've enjoyed it.
I think they did a nice job of putting on a good tournament here and we'll see next year where we are and who is playing in it and all that good stuff.テつ For the game, I thought we‑‑ I thought we fought.テつ It got away from us, you know, the first five minutes of the second half, we came out and we ran a‑‑ we executed perfectly, the play that we wanted to run, got Antonita Slaughter a wide‑open three and she has struggled from the 3‑point line.テつ She is a 37% 3‑point shooter on the season and it's a 6‑point game and if that goes in it's a 3‑point game and we got momentum in our favor.テつ I think we got the miss and got her a second one from the left wing in front of our bench that was wide open and could not make it and then they started to score in transition.
They did a nice job of scoring when they needed to and they made some big shoots when they had to.テつ Unfortunately for us our depth is not quite where it is with the loss of Dyer, Taylor and Mo only being able to play 5 minutes in the game.テつ Right now I'm pleased with how hard our kids played, very pleased.
I told them in the locker room there is nothing to hang your head about and we're close.テつ We're close, we're fortunate to be able to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, obviously we have to win the first game to play in the second but we're close to being able to make a significant run and we'll be able to put things together and start it on the 24th.

Q.テつ Coach, you mentioned Antonita Slaughter.テつ She had a lot of trouble the last two days, how much did it hurt that she couldn't hit a shot, especially today?
COACH WALZ:テつ It hurts.テつ You're talking about a kid that averages 10 points a game and 37% from the three.テつ She had good looks, really, really good looks that normally go down for her so when you've got someone you're counting on to score and unfortunately the ball is not going in, it makes it that much more difficult on everybody else.

Q.テつ Sara and Shoni had the first 24 points for you guys tonight, how important is it for a third shooter to step up?
COACH WALZ:テつ We've had one, Antonita Slaughter for the entire season has been as consistent as any player I have coached.テつ You go back to the first conference game to 16, she has been consistently putting up 10 points a night, getting seven, eight boards a night for us, doing a great job and we have to get her back on board.テつ Bria Smith we have to get to the boards more and get her to knock down free‑throws.

Q.テつ Was Monique a product of playing the back‑to‑back situation of‑‑
COACH WALZ:テつ Mo is a product of just some‑‑ she had the same surgery last year that Greg Oden had.テつ I still don't think he's playing.テつ For her to even be out here playing was great and she was doing well throughout the year.テつ We're limiting her minutes, then in practice one day she went in and landed funny and chipped some cartilage in the back of her knee, in that same knee, they scoped it, took the piece out and she is going to have to have surgery again to repair the rest of it but she wanted to continue to try to play.テつ Back‑to‑back games are not a good thing for Mo.テつ She is excited because she knows from here on out if we can continue to advance she'll get a game, day off, play a game, four or five days off, play, if we can win, day off, play, so there is no more back‑to‑back games.テつ If we had figured out a way to win this game, she probably wouldn't be able to get out of bed tomorrow, so that's part of it.

Q.テつ She was always one of my favorites when she was playing.
COACH WALZ:テつ When she was healthy, she was something else.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the dynamic of Shoni playing more "2" this year and what she brings to the team?
COACH WALZ:テつ She gives us a better opportunity to get her shots instead of her having the ball in her hands.テつ We're trying to run her off screens without the ball in order to get her open looks and she has adjusted to it well.
I've been pleased with how she has performed.テつ We're still giving her the option if there is an outlet on a rebound and it's thrown to her to go with it.テつ So she is continuing to get better, I thought she played hard tonight, she missed some shots, and she made some tough ones, so we're going to sit here, watch the film, put some things together, good things we did and get prepared for the NCAA Tournament.テつ Hopefully we will get a 4 or 5 seed like I think we should and get prepared to play.

Q.テつ Coach, Notre Dame had four players in double figures, nine scored for them total, how difficult is it to deal with their depth?
COACH WALZ:テつ They're a very good offensive team, Skyler made some big shots especially the first half.テつ We tied the game up at 16 and she came out and hit a three and I think she may have done that twice.テつ But more so I was pleased with how we defended‑‑ we let the game slip away in the second half because she started to score on transition and then again, their depth, we have to play with what we have.テつ For us to be 24‑8 and finished tied for third in this league with three kids that started at one point in time last year and Tia Gibbs hasn't played in two years and started for us, I'm thrilled.
I don't think people realize how well our kids have played and dealt with adversity.テつ You don't lose a player like Shawnta' Dire who is as strong in the post as she was and rebounds the ball and not get affected by it but we have figured out a way to keep it going and players have stepped up to keep it working.テつ I'm thrilled with where we are now and I'm looking forward to a good run in the NCAA Tournament, which I think we're capable of doing but for the most part I couldn't be more pleased with this group of players.テつ

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