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NCAA WOMEN'S FINAL FOUR


April 6, 2013


Sara Hammond

Shoni Schimmel

Bria Smith

Jeff Walz


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined now by Louisville.テつ Joining us on the dais is head coach Jeff Walz, Sara Hammond, Bria Smith, and Shoni Schimmel.テつ We're going to open with a brief statement from Coach Walz, and then we'll take questions for student‑athletes.
COACH WALZ:テつ Just really excited to be here and to be representing the Big East.テつ We're very fortunate to have three teams competing in the Final Four and then two more up the road in Atlanta.テつ I think it speaks volumes of not just the women's but the men's basketball also that you've got five of your eight teams that are still remaining from the Big East.
So we're excited.テつ We're looking forward to it.テつ And we're going to enjoy it.テつ Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll take questions for the student‑athletes first, please.

Q.テつ Shoni, can you possibly describe for us what the last seven days have been like for you personally and for your program?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ It's been huge for our program just to be able to make it to the Final Four, and even our men's team down in Atlanta, it's a great thing for the University of Louisville.
But I could never describe how it feels to be here in the past seven days.テつ Like it's just ‑‑ it's amazing.テつ And all that hard work we did in the beginning of the season is now paying off for us, and to be here at the Final Four, it's amazing.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Question right there.

Q.テつ Sara, could you talk about rebounding going against a Cal team that's one of the best in the country?テつ How are you going into the game and what's your approach going to be for a team like that?
SARA HAMMOND:テつ Yeah, the coaches told us if we're going to win this game tomorrow, rebounding is going to be key, because I think the last game against Georgia they had 27 offensively rebounds.テつ They're a very athletic team, their post players get in there and they're relentless on the boards, and their guards are too.
We'll have to have that same mentality that we've played against everybody, against Baylor and Tennessee, because we're going to be the tougher team and we'll be the team that's more relentless.テつ And we've got to fight.テつ We can't give up on any loose balls, any rebounds, and we just gotta make sure that we're putting a forearm in their post players and making sure they don't get a hand on the ball.

Q.テつ Bria, would you talk about transition defense, Brittany Boyd likes to push the ball for Cal, and what you have to do there?
BRIA SMITH:テつ That's also a key we were talking about, just being able to stop them in transition is going to limit their points, because they do like to push the ball a lot.テつ And if we can get rebounds and limit them in transition, it will work in our favor.

Q.テつ Two questions.テつ First, the relationship with the men's program, both obviously in the Final Four right now?テつ And, secondly, the last two games, except for your locker room, you guys say no one believed you could beat Baylor and Tennessee.テつ It's a different feeling here now that you guys have arrived.テつ There's not that "us against the world" mentality, I would think?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ Yes, our relationship with the guys is great.テつ We used to play pickup with each other last summer, but we're still close and whatnot.テつ And Rick Pitino comes in and he was talking to us at the end of the Big East Tournament, talked to us and gave us a little motivational speech.テつ And it was great to hear it from him.テつ And I think that's what got us rolling in this tournament.
But what was your second question?テつ I couldn't hear you.

Q.テつ The two games against Baylor and Tennessee, you guys said basically no one outside the locker room believed you could beat them.テつ Now it's a different mentality.テつ You guys aren't the overwhelming underdog anymore.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I would say we're still kind of the underdog, being the 5 seed in the Final Four.テつ Just kind of like we're going to keep that mentality and continue to go out there and shock everybody.テつ I mean, we're not supposed to be here.テつ But we're here to play basketball.

Q.テつ Shoni, the basket you made against Griner we've seen 9,000 times on TV since it happened, was that instinctive or had you been practicing that?テつ You're coming down the floor, you're looking at her standing there, what's going through your mind?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ To be honest with you, I saw her on the right side, and so I took a right and then I went back to the left because I didn't think she'd be able to get over there that quick.テつ But she made it because of her length.テつ So, I mean, I just had to do the little circus shot because I just mess around in practice sometimes doing it and it worked out for me.テつ So‑‑ in my favor.

Q.テつ For any of the student‑athletes, how were you able to believe that this was possible when you look at all the injuries you folks had during the year?テつ Three potential starters.テつ You lose one in December.テつ A couple out for the year.テつ At what point did you think that this was a realistic possibility for you?
SHONI SCHIMMEL: テつI mean, it was hard for us to do it.テつ But Coach talked to us about it, they're hurt and they can't come back as of now, except for Monique.テつ She came back, made her comeback.
So it was just adversity we had to work through.テつ And at that moment in time they couldn't come back, so we had to understand that the people on the court, the people who were healthy, that's what we're going to work with, and that's what we did.テつ And it's gotten us this far.テつ And I can't wait for those other three to get back.テつ But I'm glad Mo made it back for her fifth year, and it's been great for us.
SARA HAMMOND:テつ Well, I think anytime you hit adversity, that's when your true colors come out and shows how much heart and toughness you have as an individual and as a team.テつ And we knew we couldn't do anything about it.テつ We didn't have time to sit around and sulk and be kind of like, oh, well, we wish we had them.テつ We made no excuses for ourselves and we didn't think about it really.
The coaches did a good job of saying they're hurt, we wish we had them.テつ But Coach just focused in on the people he can use on the court.テつ And we came together as a collective group and knew with the 10, 11 people we had we were going to use what we had and everybody was going to use the best of their ability, because each one of us can bring something to this team that's going to help us win.
And I think throughout this tournament everybody's just blossomed.テつ And you've seen what's happened and how we've beat these teams.

Q.テつ Sara, what about your defense has made it so effective in Oklahoma City?テつ Held Griner without a field goal in the first half and Simmons I think went scoreless in the first half.テつ Is it completely different game plans as far as what Coach puts together?テつ What has made it so effective?
SARA HAMMOND:テつ I think it's different game plans, depending on the team.テつ We don't play the same style of basketball every game.テつ It just depends on the team.テつ And the coaches put together a perfect game plan for Baylor and for Tennessee.
So, I mean, we have the best coaching staff in the country.テつ I'd put them up against any other coaches in the country and I'd still choose ours every single day.
I think the great thing about Coach is he got us to believe in that game plan.テつ Brittney Griner, she's 6'8" of course.テつ Everybody's trying to figure out how to stop her and her team this year.テつ We're physical with her and we were going to force other players to step up on their team and make them feel the pressure and feel that they had to make the shots.テつ And it worked for us.
And Tennessee, I think the same thing.テつ Meighan Simmons is a great player.テつ She's co‑SEC Player of the Year.テつ And I think we were just going to try to keep the ball out of her hands, get her frustrated and, you know, came out with a win.テつ And it's all thanks to our coaches.

Q.テつ Shoni, Bria, when Coach Walz explained the game plan to you for the Baylor game and laid it out for you how you were going to beat Baylor, what was the most‑‑ the thing that was toughest to believe could happen that you could shut Griner down or that you needed to make 16 or 18 3‑pointers to win that game?テつ Because both of them seemed to be a little difficult to achieve.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ Well, actually, we‑‑ the first play that we rolled up, our jump ball, was that we were going to have four people back on defense.テつ But I was going to be standing at the other free‑throw line just waiting for someone to toss the ball to me for a layup.テつ We didn't get that because we boxed out for the jump ball.
But we just believe in everything that our coaching staff says.テつ And the game plan‑‑ I guess the hardest thing to believe that we were going to be able to keep Griner off the boards from scoring and everything, but we were able to do it.テつ And we came out with a victory.

Q.テつ To all three of the ladies, as much as you guys are being here in the Final Four, you're the team that kept Baylor and Brittney Griner from being here.テつ How much do you relish that achievement and how much have you fed off that to get you guys to the next couple of days, hopefully?
SARA HAMMOND:テつ We're just really excited to be here.テつ Baylor, they're a tremendous team.テつ They won the national championship last year.テつ And that's a compliment to them, because everybody's been trying to get to their level and trying to compete with them.
But I'm just going to say it again, the game plan that our coaches put together and us being able to believe in what they were wanting us to do, I mean, it's just an honor and a blessing to be here right now.テつ And we're just going to enjoy this moment.テつ We're going to remember it for the rest of our lives.テつ And hopefully our job's not done.テつ We're looking to win a national championship here.
BRIA SMITH:テつ Well, definitely to add on to what Sara said, they are a great team.テつ And we're really blessed to be here.テつ We executed the game plan, and that's how we're here right now.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ Same thing.

Q.テつ Shoni, can you give an assessment of the Cal guards and how you think the ‑‑ the importance of that matchup in the overall context of the game?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ They're a great basketball team and their guards are what gets them going, and I think they have a good set of guards and they'll be able to give us a good run for our money.テつ But they have a lot of pushing the ball and they know how to get out and run and they rebound well for being guards, too.
But I think we've just gotta give them a run for their money and continue to keep playing Louisville basketball.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Had a question right here.テつ No?テつ Yes.

Q.テつ I know it's sometimes difficult to talk about yourself, but could you for a second give me a sense what you think especially during the postseason your impact on this team?テつ And I'm sure it's more than just the point, it's also the attitude, inspiring the team, if you could talk about that?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ Well, I think kind of just being like the older classmate out there on the floor most of the time, being a junior.テつ Like I just take that leadership and continue to keep leading on the court and off the court and just keep talking to them and just keeping them calm and being a normal teammate, your friend, your sister, whatever you want to call it.
I'm just out there to help this team win a basketball game, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to talk to them and tell them stuff and talk to my teammates and just be their friend and go out there and win a basketball game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Question right over here.

Q.テつ Shoni, when you do so well in environments like this, your life tends to change in a lot of different ways.テつ I'm wondering how your life has changed.テつ Do you have a Twitter site that's blown up like Skylar Diggins or what?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ No, I don't have Twitter.

Q.テつ I don't know where I heard this, but your parents just got married?テつ What was going on with your family?テつ You have eight siblings or something?テつ Can you tell us that story?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ My parents have been together for 28 years but they've never had the time to actually tie the knot.テつ So they had a ton of kids, eight kids, and they just never really had the time to go out and do it because they're out coaching us or teaching us how to play basketball and stuff.テつ They never had the time.
But it was Easter Sunday and my dad's like, Anything can happen.テつ So my mom was like, All right, if you guys beat Baylor, I'll marry your dad.テつ That ended up happening and they ended up getting married the next day after‑‑ in between our games, the Baylor and the Tennessee games.テつ It was incredible to hear that and to actually have that happen for them because it's 28 years and they finally did it.

Q.テつ (Question Off microphone)?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ That wasn't in my mind.テつ There's no doubt in my mind that we were going to win.テつ So it didn't really matter.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Anything for the student‑athletes?テつ Okay.テつ Thanks, ladies.
We'll continue with questions for Coach Walz.

Q.テつ Coach, congrats on getting here, my friend.
COACH WALZ:テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ Two questions.テつ First off, the fact that you guys are here, you've been here before a couple of years ago.テつ Can you compare the two runs you had to get to the Final Four with the team you had a couple of years ago and this one?テつ The second part is also teams get hot in basketball.テつ They make shots and such.テつ Is it a detriment you guys have had seven days off after having that unbelievable weekend in Oklahoma City?
COACH WALZ:テつ First part of that question about the two teams that we've had that have made a Final Four in five years.テつ You know, our first team you had Angel McCoughtry on it, arguably one of the best players in the Big East and in the country, her sophomore, junior, and senior year.テつ And then we had Candyce Bingham to go along with her, Des Byrd ran the point for us.テつ We knew we were good.テつ We were preseason top seven, top eight.テつ We were in the top five three‑fourths of the year.テつ That was a team, I think, people knew was going to have a chance to compete to make a Final Four.
Now, us with our upset of Maryland in the Elite Eight game, I'm not sure everybody expected that.テつ And then we go on to the Final Four and upset Oklahoma.テつ Those two ball games I think were very good games.テつ I think people that were around the game and understood it knew, hey, they had a chance to win.
Now, this team, I mean, I'm willing to bet not many thought we'd beat Baylor, and after we did that, I'm not sure there were too many that thought we could come back and beat Tennessee.テつ So with the two teams, this one here I think more so shocked everyone of what we've done.
And I'm just as proud of this basketball team as I am our '09 team just for the fact of all the injuries that we've been able to withstand and the players have stepped up.
What was question two?

Q.テつ (Question Off microphone)?
COACH WALZ:テつ Oh, yes, I'm not worried about that, because we actually started to play better in our first game in the tournament against Middle.テつ And that carried over to our Purdue game.テつ We had a week off until we went to the Sweet 16.テつ And we've continued to play well. テつAnd we've continued to practice well.テつ So I'm expecting us to continue to play well tomorrow.
But it is a bigger stage.テつ When you go out there, there's a little more at stake and a little more pressure.

Q.テつ When was the last time you spoke to Rick Pitino, and can you recount that conversation?
COACH WALZ:テつ I texted him this morning actually.テつ We were going back and forth wishing him luck and he was wishing us luck and telling us to have fun and stay loose.テつ Coach has been great.テつ He's been great to me.テつ Ever since the first day I arrived on campus, I went in and had the opportunity to meet him.テつ And I sat down with him for 10, 15 minutes.テつ And since then, if I've got a basketball question, I can pick up the phone and call him.テつ I can call him on his cell, text him, doesn't matter what time.
And when this is over I'm sure we'll do the same thing we do each summer, get out on the golf course a couple of times.テつ It's kind of the way he supplements his income.テつ Because he sandbags, boy, I'm going to tell you.

Q.テつ Jeff, speaking of Coach Pitino, is he loaning you one of his suits for tomorrow or are you going to have your open collar ‑‑
COACH WALZ:テつ No, no, I'm not going with ‑‑ no. I'm wearing the same thing I always wear.テつ I'm wearing my dress shirt and that's it.テつ I'm trying to get it approved to be like a baseball coach and just wear a uniform.

Q.テつ You made that switch about 21 games ago, I guess, to have Bria be the primary ball handler, Shoni did, too.テつ What precipitated that change and how has that obviously worked out for you?
COACH WALZ:テつ I'm just trying to get the ball out of Shoni's hands some.テつ Just trying to take some pressure off her.テつ Because she was having to bring the ball up the floor against pressure.テつ And most teams are playing full‑court man and we're trying to set some screens for her, but she was still having to expend a lot of energy bringing the ball up the floor and then was being caught on the score also.
So I called Bria in and I said, I'm going to put you at the point.テつ She had done some in high school.テつ It's not her natural position.テつ But she was fine with it.テつ And she has done a great job for us, does a really nice job of allowing Shoni to play without the ball, which has improved her shooting percentage.テつ Since we made that move, Shoni's shooting percentage has gone up.
And then what happens for us, too, when I put Jude in the game, I'm out there playing with basically three point guards.テつ Jude obviously goes to the point, Shoni goes to the 2 and Bria moves to the 3, and what's allowed our transition game to improve is whichever one of those three gets the outlet, we're going with it.テつ We're not having to go find the so‑called point guard and throw it to them.テつ They all know they've got the green light to push it.

Q.テつ Can you talk about Cal?テつ You had a couple of really high‑profile wins; they've grinded it out a little bit more to get here.テつ What do you think about Cal?
COACH WALZ:テつ They're very talented.テつ Lindsay's done a great job with them.テつ We've had some, I guess you could say, high‑profile wins, but they are 32 and 3.テつ They haven't lost too many ball games.テつ They're a very physical basketball team.テつ Their post play is as good as I've seen on film.テつ I love how aggressive they are going to the boards.テつ Their guards push the ball in transition.
We're going to have to do a few things.テつ We're going to have to do a few things well.テつ We'll have to get back in transition, make sure they don't score easy baskets, which I'm sure they're going to score some.テつ It's just a matter you can't give them 14, 16 points in transition.
And we're going to have to figure out a way to keep them off the offensive glass because they rebound the ball so well.テつ And then they get to the free‑throw line.テつ I mean, I think they average‑‑ in their wins, they're shooting about 24 free throws a game, and that's something if we allow that to happen tomorrow night, it's not going to be a good result for us.

Q.テつ Do you think you're doing something novel or revolutionary when you put that defensive plan together to stop Griner?テつ Had you ever seen that attempted?テつ And, secondly, what is it with this jacket and tie?テつ You just have trouble accessorizing?テつ Or why don't you wear them?
COACH WALZ:テつ The first one, everybody talks about our defensive effort that we did against Baylor.テつ We held them to 81 points.テつ They average 81 points.テつ So in my book it's called average defense.テつ So we just did not allow Brittany to get 40 or 50.テつ So Odyssey Sims, instead of averaging 12, gets 29.
My whole plan is when we go play somebody, I'm trying to take away your best player.テつ And then if somebody else can score 25, then I'm going to lose.
As the game progressed, I kept telling our kids:テつ I don't think they can make enough 3s to beat us but I know Brittney can make plenty of 2 and 3 pointers, so we're going to continue to give their outside shooters open shots, and if they make them, we lose.
But the whole key to it, instead of worrying about how we guarded Brittney, how we did this, maybe everybody should start asking how do we score 82.テつ Because there's not been one team in the four years that Brittney Griner was at Baylor that scored more than 82 points.テつ We scored the most points in four years during her career.
And I think that's where it all comes from.テつ And I told our players before we went into the game:テつ I don't care about how we're going to stop them, because we're not.テつ They're going to score.テつ We have to figure out a way to score it.テつ And I thought 70 would be enough.テつ Obviously I was wrong.テつ But I was like:テつ We've got to figure out a way to score, and that's what we were doing.
And what Bria said‑‑ our plan for the tip is I figured they'd get the tip, but Bria did a nice job stepping in front, stealing, and she goes down and scores.テつ And we do our little press, and when it got to half court, I sent Bria down there to our end.テつ We're playing 5 on 4, because I was like:テつ I don't care; we give up the basket, we're going to throw it the length of the floor and score.テつ We were going to keep doing that until they either put someone back and we made it a 4‑on‑4 game.テつ Or they just said, okay, we'll see if you can keep throwing that pass.
But it never got to that, because we actually‑‑ we stopped them a few times.テつ And then the whole key to winning is if we can continue to go 7 for our first 10 from the 3‑point line, I think we'll have a chance to compete with most teams.
My wardrobe, I can't stand wearing a coat and tie.テつ I used to get out there and I used to wear it.テつ And I thank Tom Jurich because when I came for my interview six years ago, I was in my jacket and tie.テつ When I went to meet him and he said, If you don't take that tie off, you're not going to get this job, I want you just to be relaxed and be yourself, so I said, That's great.
And then one day a year and a half ago I was going to do a little speaking engagement, just had a button‑up shirt on and dress pants, I said, Do you care if I wear this to games?テつ He said, I don't care what you wear.テつ I said, Sounds great.
So that's what I've gone with.テつ And it's comfortable.テつ I enjoy it.テつ And I'm going to continue to wear it.
I'm trying to start a trend.テつ It just hasn't picked up.

Q.テつ Jeff, with your defense there's times where it looks like you'll switch in the middle of a possession.テつ Without giving away too many trade secrets, how often is that something you continue to do throughout the game, only in spots where you see certain matchups, kind of what plays into that?
COACH WALZ:テつ Really what plays into that is who we're playing, personnel, who is on the floor for us, and then most of the time honestly as the game starts to progress, our players, some are playing man, some are playing zone.テつ Our Tennessee game, at one point in time my staff is sitting there yelling:テつ What are we in?テつ What are we in?テつ And I turned around and said:テつ I don't know.テつ Shut up.テつ Who cares?テつ They're playing hard.テつ And they started laughing.テつ And I'm like:テつ Guys, at this point in time they're communicating with each other.テつ And if we don't know what we're in, they obviously can't know either.
And it's worked for us.テつ It's like I said, our goal, when it comes to scouting and coaching, is you gotta try to figure out a way‑‑ and it's not just my goal.テつ I'm sure it's every coach's goal‑‑ make somebody that normally doesn't score score to beat you.
And that's what we're going to continue to try and do.テつ Some games it works; some days it doesn't.テつ We've lost eight games.テつ There's been eight it hasn't worked very well with.

Q.テつ Two questions.テつ How important was it for you to get a trio of referees that allowed physical play?テつ And, secondly, Mark Cuban said he would consider taking Brittney Griner in the second round of the NBA draft.テつ You proved you could be physical with that player and take her out of her game.テつ Would you be an analyst for a moment and talk about the possibility of her even being remotely on NBA?
COACH WALZ:テつ Well, I'll start with the first question.テつ You know, when we went into the game, our game plan was not to try to sit there and foul her every time she got the ball.テつ Our game plan was to try to cut down on her vertical space.テつ We wanted to make sure that we crowded her when she had it so she didn't have the room to pivot and move.テつ And we did that.
They pay three officials to officiate the game, and then they pay us to coach and the players play, and then you adjust how the game's called.テつ And that's what we did.テつ I mean, we didn't do a very good job because we had three players foul out.テつ So there were plenty of fouls called.テつ And that's how you have to play.テつ There's going to be games more physical than others.テつ Some games they call the handshake; others they don't.テつ And you have to be able to go and adjust as the game's going on.
For Brittney, she's a great player, there's no question about it.テつ She's one of the best that's ever played this game.テつ I just know from having the opportunity to have sat there and played a little bit of Division II basketball on the men's side, I mean, it's pretty physical.テつ And then I can only imagine what it's like in the NBA.テつ I would think it would be a little bit of a stretch for her to try to sit there and try and go out and play in the NBA.テつ I'm not sure how she would fare against Dwight Howard.テつ I mean, she might be okay.
In our game, I would hope that she'd just stay with the WNBA because she's got the opportunity to make a huge impact and continue to improve what we already have.テつ And I consider it a very good professional game that I'd hate to see her try to go over there and do that, and I'm not sure it would be really for her or would it be for publicity to try to say, hey, look at what we did in Dallas, look what we've done.テつ I'm not sure which it would be.テつ But I hope she goes to the WNBA, and there's no doubt in my mind she'll have an unbelievable career.

Q.テつ How have you seen Shoni's game evolve this season, even during this postseason?
COACH WALZ:テつ Well, she's just matured over her three years right now.テつ She came in with flair.テつ That's what she does.テつ She can make an unbelievable shot.テつ Unbelievable pass, but what she's doing now is she's starting to understand time and score of games, knowing when to make that back behind the back pass and when to put up a circus shot, as she called it.
That's all I challenge her with.テつ I understand how she plays.テつ I recruited her.テつ It's the one thing I told her when I recruited her:テつ You can play anywhere.テつ You're talented enough to play anywhere, but you can't play for anybody.テつ Because some of the shots she takes and some of the passes she makes somebody's not going to keep her in the game.
I go back and I tease her all the time.テつ For the first game of her college career, we played Tennessee at home and she turned it over eight times in the first half.テつ Not the game, the first half.テつ I kept her in:テつ Shoni, keep going, babe.テつ It's you.テつ Because she needed to get a feel for the passes I could throw in high school now I can't throw right now.テつ They're quicker, taller, bigger, stronger athletes that I'm playing against.
And as it's progressed through her career, she's adjusted to all of that.テつ She'll still make an unbelievable pass and it will be a layup and she might throw one out of bounds, but with three minutes left she's not going to throw that pass.

Q.テつ Follow up.テつ Why?
COACH WALZ:テつ Because I let her play.テつ I let kids play.テつ Some coaches think I'm crazy, but I want them to go out there and have fun.テつ I think this game should be enjoyable.テつ I think the kids should have fun.テつ I work them hard in practice now.テつ But when it comes to the game, they're going to take some shots that aren't great shots.テつ And that's okay.
As I tell our players, I go watch high school games and I watch games on TV and it's a one‑point game.テつ Team's down one, the kid goes to the free‑throw line to shoot two shots.テつ They miss the first one, and you hear the coach yell out:テつ Focus, focus, you can make it.テつ Well, and I'm going:テつ No kidding?テつ What do you think the kid's trying to do, not focus?
So I'm on the other side.テつ I'll yell out the kid's name.テつ Like when Monique Reid went to the line to shoot her two shots, she looked over at me.テつ I said:テつ Can you miss again?テつ And she laughed.テつ Because the worst thing you can do is make them tight.テつ And that's what I try to do.テつ Like when we have kids throw up an air ball, when they'll run by me, I'll be like:テつ Just try to hit the rim; we'll get a half a point.
You want them to play and you want them to laugh, and that's what we do.テつ Some people might not agree with it, but that's how I like to coach.テつ That's why I think Shoni enjoys playing at Louisville.テつ And hopefully we'll continue to get players that want to come in here and have the opportunity to show a little bit of their personality while they're out there playing.

Q.テつ Two questions.テつ What impact has the Kevin Ware situation had on your team and your players?テつ And, two, I know you're one of the schools that are leaving, but are there some bittersweet feelings on your part to be leaving the Big East?
COACH WALZ:テつ The first one, we all were watching the men's game when Kevin Ware went down.テつ It was just a sad moment for him.テつ It was one of the most horrific injuries I've seen on TV in a sporting event.
When I talked to the kids before we went out to play, I told them:テつ It's a basketball game.テつ I mean, when the‑‑ at the end of the day it's just a basketball game.テつ So let's go out there, let's have fun, and just give it everything you got for two hours, 40 minutes of basketball, and whatever happens, happens.
But when we walk back out here after the end of it, as long as we can look at each other and say we gave all we could, that's all you're asking.テつ Because you have a kid like Kevin Ware from Atlanta that wanted to have a chance to go back and play in a Final Four at home that unfortunately he can't play, but he's with the team, which is great.
We just learned‑‑ and I realized at that time we coach a game.テつ It's a sport.テつ I mean, I love what I do, and I'm going to try to do it to the best of my abilities.テつ But we're going to make sure we're having fun.
And then your other one, I'm sorry?

Q.テつ (Question Off microphone)?
COACH WALZ:テつ About leaving?テつ Yeah, it's sad, especially when you're sitting here looking at three teams playing in the Final Four.テつ You've got, like I said, two men's teams playing in it.テつ The Big East as we know it, this is our last year.
But if you're going to have a final run, I don't think we could have made it any better.テつ Everybody can argue this league's the best, that league's the best, but at the end of the day it's what you do at the end.テつ And we've got three teams in the Final Four, and I think that says enough forward about our league.

Q.テつ Jeff, how would you evaluate the UConn‑Notre Dame game?テつ It's very rare to see a team play another team four times in a season.テつ You know these teams about as well as anybody.テつ I wonder how you would evaluate that game.
COACH WALZ:テつ It's going to be a battle.テつ If we're fortunate enough to win the first game, I'm hoping it goes about ten overtimes.テつ I mean, I'm looking for that BW3 commercial where something happens.テつ You keep going overtime, overtime, overtime, because I want them tired.
But it's been an unbelievable three‑game series for those teams.テつ Anything can happen.テつ There's no question about it.テつ But Notre Dame should be playing with the confidence of knowing, hey, we beat them three times, but at the same time I'd be going, dang, I wish we wouldn't have beat them three times.テつ I mean, it's tough to beat somebody four times in a year, but if anybody can do it, they can do it.
But UConn's playing really well right now.テつ Stewart's playing so much better.テつ And that's a big X factor for their team.テつ But Skylar and Kayla and Jewell Lloyd and Achonwa, they're still playing great, too, so I'm expecting it to be an unbelievable game.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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