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March 11, 2013

Brittney Griner

Kim Mulkey

Odyssey Sims


Baylor – 75
Iowa State – 47

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

Q.  Especially after yesterday, how good did that performance feel?
BRITTNEY GRINER:  Definitely felt better than yesterday.  We came out just quick.  It showed throughout the game in the first half.  We came out the second half still doing the same thing we did in the first.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  It felt good.  I felt we came out with a lot more intensity.  We jumped on it from the start and never let up.
I don't know what was going on yesterday.  Coach got us on the shoot around.  We picked it up.  We acted like we're juniors and seniors.

Q.  Odyssey, looked like, particularly on offense, more passes trying to make that extra pass to get somebody open?
ODYSSEY SIMS:  In the zone yesterday was kind of too much.  We didn't have a leader.  We didn't have anybody cutting.  We was looking for BG when she was standing still.  Just caused everybody else to standstill.
Today we worked on moving the ball, penetrating, opening up the zone so BG could get more shots.

Q.  I know the biggest prize is still ahead of you with the NCAA championship.  Doesn't seem to ever get old for you celebrating.  Talk about the relief of getting it done.
BRITTNEY GRINER:  Winning never gets old, especially this one.  I think I speak for the five seniors.  We definitely wanted to get this win.  We wanted to celebrate this, everybody did.  This is our last go‑around with the Big 12.
Meant everything to us.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  It means a lot.  We won it three years in a row.  I'm really happy about that.  Just keep playing.  We got a great team.  We have a lot of depth.
Celebrating is always fun.  Like Brittney said, when we win, it's always fun.  You never want to lose.

Q.  Brittney, if you could play for any WNBA team, which one would you play for?
BRITTNEY GRINER:  Just a chance to play, you know.  I'm just glad there's a league for us to go play in.  Just a chance to play, it doesn't matter where.

Q.  Odyssey, you mentioned winning three years in a row.  You've won the regular season Big 12 and the conference tournament three years in a row.  You know how tough this league is.  To do that, what does it say?
ODYSSEY SIMS:  I guess it sends a statement.  It's always good to send a statement going into the NCAA tournament.
Like I say, we're just out there having fun, taking it one game at a time, not overlooking past anybody.  We have a great team and we're able to come out and beat everybody, I guess.

Q.  Anyway you can compare where you are now versus where you were after winning the tournament last year going into the NCAA?
BRITTNEY GRINER:  I think we're where we need to be, especially with this game.  If we can play like we played tonight, anything's possible.  I think we're on track, just like we were last year.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  There's really no difference from last year.  Our defense is the same, our offense.  We're just doing a better job of knowing where each other are on the court, understanding each other's roles, being able to help a teammate when they're down, working together.

Q.  Now that there's going to be a couple weeks before the tournament starts, how do you prepare yourself and make this time go faster?
BRITTNEY GRINER:  Well, I mean, coach, I'm sure she's going to give us maybe a couple days off (laughter).
But, you know, just rest and get in the gym, tune‑up some little things that we need to work on, polish some edges, just keep doing what we're doing.
ODYSSEY SIMS:  We're a great team.  There's always something to be corrected.  I think, like Brittney said, hopefully we get a couple days off.  Whenever we start practicing again, we'll get out there, nothing will change.  Working on the basics, working on Baylor things that we normally work on, getting focused, our main goal.

Q.  Odyssey, defensively was that the best half maybe that y'all have had that first half?
ODYSSEY SIMS:  I think so overall as a team.  Like coach said, I think we're not as good defensively as we were last year.  But we're picking it up.  Coach is staying on us every day in practice, reminding us it starts with me and trickles down.  When I don't play defense and push the ball, everyone doesn't do their job.
I'm trying to do a better job of staying focused, pressuring the ball more, focusing our team to play better defense.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Your third straight Big 12 tournament title.  First time anybody in the Big 12 has done that.  Put that into perspective and where does this one rank?
COACH MULKEY:  They all rank the same.  You got a job to do.  These young ladies completed another part of their goal board.  Their goal was to win a Big 12 championship, win a tourney championship, and they've done that.  It's fun to watch them be able to celebrate and do it with a lot of family in the stands.  This is an area that is basically home for most of our players.  Those that don't live in the Metroplex, you had the Florida kids' parents that were here.  It's fun when you can do something like this with those that love you the most in the stands.  It was good to see them win the championship today.

Q.  There was about 14 minutes in the first half where Iowa State didn't score at all.  How well did you think you played defense?  How many days do you think you will give the players off?
COACH MULKEY:  I'll give them a couple of days off.
I thought yesterday Oklahoma State was the story.  They needed to be complimented.  But yet in the locker room, I need to go in there and fix some things that we didn't do that we can do better.
The turnovers obviously were bad.  But I thought our defense was worse than the turnovers.  So we got in the film room last night, and I think you saw a better defensive effort today.
Not only did you see the effort, but you saw communication and you saw a team where all the players were on the same page at the same time on the floor on the defensive end.  When you see that happen, it makes you happy as a coach because they're all focused and they're listening.
I just thought that was the biggest difference between yesterday and today.

Q.  Was there anything other than yesterday that motivated this team today?
COACH MULKEY:  Probably just the way the game ended.  You know, this basketball team has won a lot of basketball games in the last two years.  They're competitors.  Along the way you're going to have bad games.  Sometimes along the way when you have bad games, you lose.
I didn't let them lose perspective.  We won the game yesterday.  You know, we won the game.  Yet today, they came back and realized, you know, Coach is right, we're going to have turnovers sometimes.  Teams are going to play very good against us sometimes.  The one thing we got away from was our defense.
I just think we'll give them those two days off and we're getting back in the gym and I don't even know if we'll pick a basketball up after that because I think we need to get back to the fundamentals of what we lost focus of against Oklahoma State, and that was defense.
When they saw the film, it doesn't take long to see a talented player go, Wow, I can't cover that up.  That slaps you right in the face when you see them not down in a stance, I'm not in the passing lane, I didn't help the helper.
I thought today you saw kids communicating, realizing that, We were bad.  There's nothing worse than looking out there on the floor, when you have that much talent, and that much talent doesn't play together, they don't play hard, they don't do all the same things at the right time, it looks bad.
If the fans in the stands were trying to encourage us from Baylor and help us get through yesterday, they deserve for us to do a little bit better today.

Q.  I know you never show your emotions during a game.  After Odyssey hit the three, her third, she came off, that's the most ecstatic I saw you in a while.
COACH MULKEY:  Because Odyssey has shared the basketball probably more this year than she has in her whole career.  Her assist‑to‑turnover ratio is off the charts.
When you look at a kid that works that hard on the defensive end of the floor, it's good to see her have an offensive production like that and shoot the ball well.
You know, I'm hardest on point guards.  I was probably hardest on Odyssey in that film room last night.  Right or wrong, they've got to learn to take it.
When they have a game like today, you want to share in it with them.  It's like Nay‑Nay Heyden, I was hard on her in the film room.  Bubba, she had a good game.  She had those turnovers early.  You take her out, but you keep building her up.  This is not the time of year where you just destroy them.
You want to just give them a sense of, Coach is for me right here, she's just trying to get something deep within.
To see Odyssey do that today in front of a lot of people that have watched her grow up in the Metroplex.

Q.  You know the Big 12 better than Brittney and Odyssey do.  To win three titles in a row, 39 games in a row, does it speak to the consistency that the program has been able to achieve?
COACH MULKEY:  Well, I don't know.  We've had that epic disappointment along the way.  I'm never going to forget that.  Those kind of things motivate us.
Honestly, I was motivated by some of the things that were written yesterday and the day before.  We've got four kids, three kids in the Metroplex over here, they should have been written about the last four years.  Let's don't wait till it's a conference tournament.  Those are big‑time players we may never see the likes of on the same team again.
I'm just selfish enough to think that each of them could have had a story written about them over here.  It takes something like that to always motivate me to motivate kids.  I think Bob Knight has a book out today, The Power of Negative Thinking.  That motivates coaches and players sometimes.
I'm not into moral victories.  Pat those kids on the rear yesterday.  They did win the game.  We give headlines like we got beat.  We won the game.  Those kind of things motivate kids, motivate coaches.
I don't take championships for granted.  We may never win another one.  This may be our last Big 12 championship.  Who knows?  But the thing you can't say about this bunch is that we were talented and never won it all, never won any.
I think, other than the one little epic disappointment, I think they've had a great run in the Big 12 and the NCAA tournament, I really do, whether we ever win another one.
THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations on your win.  Best of luck in the post‑season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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