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NCAA WOMEN'S REGIONALS SEMIFINALS & FINALS: OKLAHOMA CITY


April 2, 2013


Shoni Schimmel

Jeff Walz


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

Louisville テや 88
Tennessee - 76


THE MODERATOR:テつ We're now joined by the victorious Louisville Cardinals.テつ Coach, opening comment.
COACH WALZ:テつ Wow.テつ I'd first like to just congratulate Tennessee on a great season.テつ Holly's done a fantastic job with that group.テつ They're very talented players.
We knew it was going to be a battle from start to finish.テつ But we also knew we had to come out and try to throw the first punch, which is what we've done.
And I'm just so proud of the entire team.テつ I think we played fearless the past two games here, taking shots that probably most coaches wouldn't think are good shots.
They cut it to 3 and we're pushing the ball, throwing it over the top, shooting layups and coming down the floor and shooting 3s.テつ And it's a remarkable group.
It's an unbelievable story.テつ I mean, it's really what it is.テつ And we aren't planning on it to end right now.テつ To start the season, this was our goal.テつ Our goal was to get to the Final Four.テつ And when we lose Asia Taylor, Tia Gibbs, Shawnta' Dyer, and Monique Reid is playing on one leg, I never would have dreamed that we would be able to do what we've done. テつBut it's all a credit to these players.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.テつ Shoni and Jude, could you comment on what the coach was saying during the season, losing the kids you did?テつ At what point did you guys just say, look, we'll have to make up for that, and was there a turning point in the season where you felt like you were over those losses?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I don't think we dwelled on it very much because we knew had to be healthy in order to come back in.テつ Just like Mo came back and made her comeback, and we just didn't necessarily‑‑ like, we knew they're hurt and we wait for them, so we did what we could with the people that are available and healthy.テつ Now we just gotta get those other three healthy and be back next year.
For us to make it where we are right now, it's remarkable because nobody thought we could do it.

Q.テつ Shoni, and actually all three of you, could you talk about what made you believe when you couldn't get odds in Vegas.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I think that starts with our coach.テつ He believed in us so we believed in him.テつ So that's the mutual feelings you have towards each other, you believe in us and we'll believe in you.テつ And after watching the NC State documentary, just put the fire in our eyes.テつ And we were going out there to win, and that's exactly what we did is beat Baylor and we beat Tennessee, and now we're going to a Final Four.
BRIA SMITH:テつ To add on to what Shoni said, to have the coaches believe in us and we have 100percent belief in them and the game plans that they write for us.テつ So it's just a great feeling to be where we are right now.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Jude, do you want to comment?
JUDE SCHIMMEL:テつ I think we've known all along we had everything we needed to get to this point.テつ But we owe a lot to each other and we owe a lot to our coaches.テつ Our coaches have been showing us a lot of inspirational things like that documentary, the NC State one, and a couple of videos of Muhammad Ali.テつ We went and visited the Muhammad Ali Center.テつ I think it just has a lot to do with seeing all the underdog things like that, and it motivated us even more to believe in each other and believe in ourselves.

Q.テつ Shoni, they cut it to 3 and at that point it seemed like they were closing in on you and then you went in for that layup.テつ Can you just talk about how there's sort of a fearlessness that you approach the game with that you right then almost‑‑ that told them you're not going to catch up with us?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I was definitely playing basketball.テつ So to be honest with you I didn't know we were up by 3.テつ But for me to just go in there, I saw the lane wide open, so I took it.テつ And I knew the girl was going to come down on it.テつ So I had to just time it right, so I just went up.テつ No doubt in my mind that I wasn't going to make it.

Q.テつ The Final Four looks a little bit like it's going to get the Big East Tournament.テつ Were you pleased‑‑ with an interloper from the West Coast thrown in there.テつ I know you haven't played Cal but you've played the other three teams that made it through.テつ Do you believe that having lost to them during the regular season and in the tournament that you've got the ability now with the momentum that you've got to go all the way?
COACH WALZ:テつ I'll make the comment on that.テつ In'06 I believe Maryland, it was the ACC Tournament in the Final Four, and we actually had to go through North Carolina in the semis and then beat Duke in the finals.テつ The five years I've been there, that was the first time we'd beaten Duke.テつ We hadn't beaten Duke in five years.テつ The first time we played them I think they beat us by 60.テつ The first year there.テつ It kept going down, 60, to 50, to 38.テつ And it was the first time we'd beaten them.
And I told our kids that today, as we sat there and watched UConn win last night.テつ Notre Dame comes through today with a big win.テつ And I said why can't it be us?テつ I mean, why not?
All it takes is one game.テつ And that was our motto in the Baylor game.テつ All it takes is one.テつ Just come out here and you gotta play the best.
If we go 8 for 23 from the 3‑point line the other night, we aren't sitting here right now.テつ We figured out a way to go 16 and 24, 16 and 25.テつ But we made some big ones tonight.
So we're just excited about the opportunity.テつ I know we're going to have to take on a very good Cal team.テつ But, again, we're not worried about that right now.テつ We're going to enjoy this tonight.テつ We're going to enjoy it tomorrow.テつ And we're going to enjoy it for the next few days, too.テつ And we'll enjoy our Baylor win, too.
Life's too short.テつ And I'm not going to sit here and tell these kids, okay, tonight at 12:01 we've got to start preparing for the next game.テつ We don't need much time.テつ We figured that out.テつ We're out there defending, we're out there playing, and we don't know what we're doing half the time.テつ I've got some in man and some in zone, and my whole coaching staff is saying:テつ What are we playing?テつ And I go:テつ I don't know.テつ Who cares.
But that's what our kids know.テつ Our kids know we're just going to try to go out there and be as unconventional as we can and have fun.テつ And that's what we're doing.

Q.テつ Coach, second Final Four.テつ Does this in some way validate that one, not to say that that was a fluke, but does that kind of announce to the rest of the women's basketball that University of Louisville is a power?
COACH WALZ:テつ We're trying to put ourselves there.テつ We're trying to put ourselves there.テつ I mean, our goal every year is to try to compete to get to the Final Four.
We've kind of figured out a way in our six years at Louisville that we are normally playing our best basketball at the end of the year, because nobody cares if you play great at the beginning of the year.テつ It's how you play at the end, because that's all that matters.テつ It's March Madness.テつ And it's crazy right now.
So we're thrilled.テつ I believe we have a program, not just a team.テつ And I think we've proven that.テつ But as I got, after our Baylor win, some e‑mails from people telling how bad our kids were and how mean they were and dirty they played‑‑ I had one guy send me a text this morning and it said:テつ Go Tennessee, so I texted him back and said:テつ Go Vols.テつ And what the heck?テつ I'm sure some would say we did something, like we shot it, we made too many, it wasn't right, the ball had our name on it.テつ They'll make up something.
But I'm proud of every single one of them and I know we're getting a chance to go play in the Final Four.テつ And it's a memory these players will never forget.テつ You beat Baylor with arguably one of the best players to play in the game.テつ Everybody thought that was a fluke.テつ And I promise you no one thought we'd win tonight either except for this team.テつ And we figured a way to pull it out.
I'm not sure if we trailed the entire night.テつ They may have scored the first point.テつ I don't know.テつ But we just continue to fight and continue to fight.

Q.テつ Jude and Shoni, at what age do you guys remember, maybe as little kids, that you might have first talked about playing in a Final Four together or had that dream?テつ If you guys could both talk about that.テつ And what do you think this means to your family and people back home?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ To be honest with you, I think we were talking about going to different schools, because we watched the little Disney show where the sisters play against each other, and so Jude was always like, I'm not going to the same school as you.テつ So for her to go to the same school as me and for her to be here with me along with my other teammates, it's a great opportunity because‑‑ I'm stuttering‑‑ acting like Jeff‑‑ no, but it's awesome to have her right here by my side.テつ But also my other teammates are right there, too.
So, I mean, I remember her sitting there saying she didn't want to go to the same school.テつ But it was a blessing when she did.
JUDE SCHIMMEL:テつテつ She's lying.テつ I tricked her.テつ I was going to go to the school they went to.テつ It was a crazy feeling.テつ The first time we talked about it was when we were in middle school, we were young, watching the Disney channel.
We owe a lot to where we came from, our family and our coaches and teammates, but really it's just a blessing.テつ And we're just‑‑ it just so happened we made it to the same school, and I'm just thankful.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions for Coach.

Q.テつ Jeff, in both of these games in this regional, your team came out right away playing well, playing with a lot of poise and a lot of heart.テつ It doesn't look like this team gets very nervous before the game.テつ Could you kind of characterize how your team was before these games?
COACH WALZ:テつ Yeah, I mean, with both games today, with both games this week, nobody thought we could win.テつ I mean, there's not anybody here that I think still actually believes that we beat Baylor.
So I told our players, we've got nothing to lose at all.テつ So who cares?テつ I made the comment:テつ We're going to play street ball.テつ And I know it got misconstrued by Kim.テつ But what we were calling street ball is just we weren't running much offense.テつ We were just coming down the floor.テつ We were going to drive and kick and shoot 3s and have fun.テつ That's what you do when you're playing on the street.
That's kind of what we did today, too.テつ Tennessee is very good.テつ They're long, they're athletic, they're big.テつ We couldn't get into a lot of offensive sets.
So I just kept telling our kids go out there and play, have fun.テつ If you get an open 3, shoot it.テつ I mean, Antonita Slaughter shot the one 3 from about half court.テつ And she thought it was a good shot.
I just kept telling them, hey, you gotta shoot it.テつ So I think because no one believed that we could win, I just kept telling them we're playing with house money, people.テつ I mean, if we win, hey, it's one more to chalk up.テつ If we lose, everybody's going to say:テつ I told you so.テつ So who cares?
And that's how they approached it.テつ As the game kept going, both games, as the game kept going our kids started getting more confidence and more confidence and it didn't matter what the name across the front of the shirt was.テつ They just started believing in each other and they were just playing basketball.

Q.テつ Coach, I went back after I saw the 16‑25 3s to see what your 3‑point shooting was like the rest of the season.テつ And let's say it wasn't quite that.テつ Have you been like hiding this as a secret weapon for the postseason, or have you got some special 3‑point training program that you've been kicking in over the last week or so?テつ Just where is this coming from?
COACH WALZ:テつ I mean, it's a great question.テつ Antonita Slaughter, even though she goes 1 for 6 at the 3‑point line tonight, she's been our best 3‑point shooter the entire season.テつ It was just back in February, the end of February she went on about a five‑game stretch where, I think I said it the other night, she was 4 of 34 from the field.
And finally started to make some shots against Middle Tennessee and Purdue.テつ She started getting a little confidence.テつ Then she comes out against Baylor.
But we hit some big, big shots.テつ Shoni hits a big 3 in transition.テつ Jude hits that huge 3 in transition at the end.
I mean, it's quite‑‑ Sara Hammond in the first half hits that 3.テつ She started to think she was Dirk Nowitzki.テつ She wanted to stand on the 3‑point line.テつ And I said, Sara, please go post up once in a while.テつ I told her at the timeout, I said, Dirk, can you go try to post up for me.
We keep it fun.テつ It's enjoyable.テつ Even games when we're getting our butt kicked sometimes, I'm a big believer.テつ And I always have been especially in games.テつ I love going to watch‑‑ we recruit, watch high school games, and you see a kid go to the free‑throw line, they're down one, they miss the first.テつ Coach says come on, you gotta make it, you gotta make it.テつ I tell our kids all the time how many players go to the free‑throw line down 1, miss the first, and then look at the Coach and say, hey, I think I'll miss again.
Why put the extra pressure on them.テつ So I kind of use the other philosophy.テつ I like to try to make them laugh.テつ If they go up there, miss the first, I say, Do you think you can miss two in a row?テつ I want them to laugh.テつ You gotta enjoy it.
And that's kind of how we've done it.テつ We're going into the Final Four the same way.テつ We're going out there, if we've got a 3, we're taking it.
Everybody wants to talk about how we defend, like you guys did a great job against Baylor, you stopped Griner.テつ Yeah, we held her to 14, but we gave Odyssey Sims 29.テつ They average 81 points a game.テつ They scored 81 points that night.テつ We just have to figure out a way to score 82.
Offense is what's going to win us games in March.テつ We scored 86 against a very talented Tennessee basketball team that I don't know if anybody else has scored 86 on them all year.
And we did it in a regional final game when there's pressure on them.テつ So I try to take all the pressure off of them.テつ And we're just going out and we're having fun, and it's paying off for us.

Q.テつ That carefree approach to coaching in these high‑pressure situations, is that how you've always coached, or is that something that you developed over time?
COACH WALZ:テつ Well, I mean, I try to have fun.テつ We do some odd things. テつWe always have.テつ We'll start the game with some jump ball plays.テつ We'll come out and trap when no one's expecting you to trap.テつ It's not how we are in practice.
I mean, in practice I'm pretty tough on them.テつ Because, like I told them with about 2:20 to go and it got down to about 6, I said, I make practice miserable for you all.テつ So situations like this are nothing.
And they're all going, You're right, you do, you do.テつ And we handled it.テつ And that's my job.テつ I mean, I'm not here‑‑ as I tell them, I'm not here to be their best friend.テつ If I have to be their best friend, it's really sad because they have no friends.テつ I go I'm going to push you, I'm going to be your coach, and if you need something‑‑ they know to come ask me anytime.テつ There's a situation going on, I'll do anything I can to help them.
But I want them to enjoy college, too.テつ It's a job in a way, but when they finish playing here, when Monique Reid finishes after our next loss, whenever that might be‑‑ we only have two more opportunities to play‑‑ when somebody asks about her career at Louisville, I'm pretty confident she'll say I loved basketball, but I loved my college experience.
And that's what it's about.テつ You want to get them as well rounded as you can so when they make that next step and they go out in the real world that they're prepared for it.

Q.テつ We heard Jude and Shoni's description of how they ended up together.テつ Would you talk about how you might have envisioned them playing together on this level?
COACH WALZ:テつ You know what, my assistant, Steph Norman behind you, we went out and saw Jude play.テつ Obviously Shoni was a year older.テつ Shoni was the one that got all the press, all the pub.テつ But we both really liked how Jude competed.
I mean, she was kind of a little bit everywhere.テつ She's a pest.テつ Get out there and guard and knock down some shots.テつ I think really you go back to our Baylor game, and in the second half there's that loose ball with about four or five minutes left.テつ And it's going in the back court, and Odyssey Sims kind of went after it and Jude came out of nowhere and cut right in front of her and gets it.
Those are the plays she always makes.テつ Our Texas A&M game, first game of the year, I think we were down 1, and with about 14seconds, sideline out of bounds, they take it out and she steals the inbounds pass and goes down and shoots a layup and we win the game.
She's got very good basketball IQ.テつ And she's really improved her understanding of time and score.テつ So I'm just really excited for both of them because they both, I think, made a big jump to come to Louisville, to come so far away from home.テつ Because it's not the norm.テつ And I think they both are excited about it, because they've grown as people and grown as individuals, and hopefully when they're finished up here, they'll be able to either go back home if they want, go someplace else, but they will know that they can do it because they went through a great experience here at Louisville.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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