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March 8, 2014

Elem Ibiam

Dawn Staley

Aleigsha Welch


Kentucky – 68
South Carolina – 58

THE MODERATOR:  We'll take an opening comment from coach an then open it up for questions.
COACH STALEY:  Obviously we're disappointed in losing the basketball game, but more disappointed in how we played.  This is the first I've seen our team play this poorly all season long.  Obviously the first half was one that we couldn't recover from.
But we got a few weeks to think about how we get back on track.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Looking at the stats, you didn't play that bad.  It's just that initial 12‑2 run seemed to be too much.  What was Kentucky doing to take you out of your comfort zone?
COACH STALEY:  I don't think they did anything different than they normally do.  I think it was all us.  It was all us making really uncharacteristic decisions with the basketball.  It came from everywhere.
It was not just one person.  It came from mainly our starting five, with the exception of Elem.  She really didn't have the ball to make decisions.  When she did, she put the ball in the hole.

Q.  Coach, you've not only been one of the best field goal shooting teams in the country, but you're also the most improved this year over last.  In the first half, I would have thought the problem was shooting, but it wasn't, it was the turnovers.  Address how you got to that improvement and why so many turnovers.
COACH STALEY:  We agonized through all of them.
How we did it?  Our focus has always been working inside out.  When we're able to work inside out, we are a very efficient basketball team.  When we stray away from that, you get results like today.
We got to figure out a way in which to come back and play the basketball that we're accustomed to playing, which is work inside out.  It works.
Our post players I think were 7‑9 or 10 in the first half.  At halftime we wanted to just continue to work the ball inside.  That just didn't happen at the pace that we need in order for us to win basketball games.

Q.  The disappointment is obviously there right now.  What do you tell your team to keep their spirits up?  A lot left in the season to go.
COACH STALEY:  I don't really want their spirits up at this point.  They need to feel the disappointment of this loss.  They need to feel our performance, because if we perform this way again, it will be a huge disappointment to our season.

Q.  It seemed like every time you would throw the ball inside, they would collapse on you, force you to think about kicking it back out.  Is that what y'all felt?
ALEIGSHA WELCH:  I think we were playing a little too fast.  When we finally did towards the end of the first half start to execute our game plan, I think especially Elem and Alaina did a great job of finishing quick moves, putting the ball in the hole, sparking a little run for us.
I think for the most part our posts did a good job of not letting it affect their shots when they got the ball in the paint.
ELEM IBIAM:  I think we did feel the pressure a little bit in the paint.  We were prepared for that.  Our coaches talked about that.
We executed the best we could, but it just didn't come out in our favor tonight.

Q.  You mentioned yesterday that maybe the free‑throw shooting was a little bit part of playing in a strange gym.  Going forward, how big of a concern is that?
COACH STALEY:  It's a huge concern for us obviously the last two games.  But we got a few weeks to figure it out and try to rectify that.
ELEM IBIAM:  We shoot free throws every day in practice, so we're definitely working on it.  We just have to find consistency in the next game and find consistency.
ALEIGSHA WELCH:  Just got to make them when it counts, especially me.  I'm going to be going to the free‑throw line 10 times a game, just got to lock in and make them when it counts.  We really can't afford to miss ‑ especially me ‑ timely free throws the way I did tonight.

Q.  I know you haven't talked about it a lot all season, but looking at a potential No.1 seed for the NCAAs, do you think you've done enough to grab it?
COACH STALEY:  At this point I have no idea.  It's hard for me to project that sitting here and not being able to accomplish one of the goals of winning the SEC tournament championship.
It really is out of our control at this point.  We had control of it if we were to keep winning.  At this point I can't even elaborate on it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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