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March 10, 2014

Shoni Schimmel

Jeff Walz


UConn:テつテつテつテつ 72
Louisville: 52

THE MODERATOR:テつ Joining us from Louisville is Head Coach, Jeff Walz with Shoni Schimmel and Asia Taylor.テつ Coach?
COACH WALZ:テつ First off, I would like to congratulate UConn on tonight's game.テつ It's a game where we did some good things but at the same time we didn't do enough of them.テつ And it's a 20‑point game but like I told my kids it's not like it was a gradual 20 points.テつ We let 'em get there too quick.
When we started defending and doing things well, they weren't able to extend, it and I know somebody is going to say well they weren't trying well I have a hard believing they weren't trying.テつ I think I know how he coaches a lot better than that, and he's not going to let his kids not try.
You know, we know that we very well could play them again.テつ And, you know, I believe we can beat 'em.テつ I mean, hell, what do you play the game for?
I had a reporter ask my player last time, do you think you could beat UConn, and they said yes, and then they blasted them for it.テつ What the hell you supposed to say, no?テつ What kind of reporter is going to bait a kid into a question like that and write crap like that?
Yeah, we show up to play the game to win.テつ If nobody thinks they can be beat them, let's save a bunch of money and not have the tournament and give 'em the trophy now.テつ But I believe everybody thought the same thing about Baylor last year.テつ It might not be us that does it, it might not be, but I know how Geno prepares his kids.テつ And he's not in that locker room right now going, "It's going to be a breeze for the next three weeks.テつ Let's go to the casino and roll some dice for the next three days."テつ That's not how he prepares his kids.テつ I'm excited we're going to get the opportunity to continue to play.
I'm excited that these kids are going to get a chance to keep playing, because I think we can do some great things.テつ But it's going to take forty minutes of very, very good basketball in order for anybody to beat them.テつ That's one thing that I've been preaching to our players about the entire time.
You can't play for 20, you can't play for 30, it takes 40 minutes of basketball.

Q.テつ Coach, you cut it to 8, I think it was 28‑20 and then Stewie‑‑
COACH WALZ:テつ We can't handle prosperity, that's our trouble right now.テつ We cut it to 8, we had a defensive assignment breakdown and then we fouled.テつ We fouled the jump shooter several times.テつ You know, things like that, you can't do.
That's what we talk about, where we get things going well, and it's like you just gotta come up with one more stop or make them score a contested shot because when we contested them without fouling them, I thought we did a pretty darn good job.テつ We forced Dolson into 4 for 13 from the field because we contested her shots.テつ That's what you have to do.
Unfortunately when we got it to 8 we gave up a backdoor layup and a foul and it goes to 11 and before you know it, it's 18 at the half.テつ Was there more to that question?

Q.テつ There was, it's a good answer anyway.テつ Stewie had 7 of those points and a 3‑point play.テつ How tough is she as a match‑up and how good of a player is she as a sophomore?
COACH WALZ:テつ She is great.テつ There is no question about it.テつ When you're 6‑4 and can shoot the basketball and handle the three, it's tough to guard.テつ She made a few shots that are big‑time shots.テつ I've got no problem with that.テつ I've told my kids, hey, they're going to make contested shots, that's fine.テつ You can't give them the easy ones.テつ We got beat in transition again and we talked about that and that's something we will breakdown on film and we understand now the urgency was there tonight, but now it's really got to be there from here on out because the next game we lose is our last.

Q.テつ Shoni, Louisville teams before you even got here have had their path blocked by this program National Championship games, Conference Championship games.テつ How does an athlete separate the frustration of what goes on against Connecticut with the confidence that you guys are going to get them someday?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ You just gotta keep continuing to believe in what he's preaching.テつ He knows what he's talking about and for us to believe in that, that's what we have to carry over into the game.
He got us to the Final Four coaching us and us following him and going out and executing the game plan and we gotta continue to keep doing that.テつ Tonight we had times where we didn't necessarily do what we were supposed to and it came back and got us.テつ So for us to just actually believe in what he's saying and put two feet into this whole thing, we just gotta to trust in him.

Q.テつ I have to ask about the NCAA Tournament.テつ What are your thoughts on‑‑ I know the Committee will do what they want to do, but what do you think is‑‑ we know UConn is going to be No. 1.テつ Should they go to Louisville?テつ What do you think about that?テつ Should they go somewhere else?
COACH WALZ:テつ How am I supposed to answer that question without getting reprimanded?テつ I'll lose my per diem money and everything!テつ I will be wearing a tee shirt to coach in next time!テつ It all depends what we view as important.テつ If we're trying to put a true NCAA Tournament together, which I think we're at that point now that we can, then if we're the fourth No. 2 and UConn is the first one, then they should come to our place, and I've got no problem with that.テつ That's part of it.
But I mean, I'm not sure how many families here, or writers in this room have their car gassed up and prepared to drive to Louisville if that's where the game‑‑ if that's where with they're sent.テつ You're going to fly to Louisville or Lincoln.テつ So if you're trying to run a true tournament with the true seeding, that's what you would do if we're not the fourth No. 2 seed.テつ I still look at it as I think we're the only team that has not lost to anyone who is not below 50 in the RPI who is looking to fight for a No. 1 seed, and I know everybody is going to say, well you haven't played ten top‑25 teams in the RPI, that's true, because we can only play who is on our schedule, and we had some good nonconference games and some teams had some injuries after we played 'em; they were healthy when we played 'em, but we can't control that.テつ At the same time we had a lot of opportunities to have teams try and beat us.
'Cuz like I try to tell everybody, you know, we've gotten teams in our league right now.テつ You've got UConn and Louisville.テつ You have eight other teams that hope to have an opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament.テつ I'm not sure how many of those eight believe that they could beat UConn for a top‑10 RPI win.テつ But I'm willing to bet all of them are like, we can beat Louisville!テつ So we got everybody's best shot, and we did our job.テつ We went 30‑4 and did not stumble along the way.テつ I think that speaks volumes for this group of young ladies.
We had lots of opportunities for teams that aren't ranked in the top 50, the top 30 in the RPI to beat us.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Jeff, I wanted to ask about Bria.テつ She was hobbling and ‑‑
COACH WALZ:テつ Her knee is bothering her.テつ I was going to be cautious with that, make sure we get that taken care of and get her healthy for the NCAA Tournament.

Q.テつ Jeff, I want to get your thoughts on how vulnerable the one‑two combo is, Stewie and Hartley.
COACH WALZ:テつ They're average.テつ They both suck!テつ Lordy, that's one of those great questions.テつ They're unbelievable.テつ You aren't 34‑0 for a reason.テつ They're two of the top‑10 players in the country.
You know, I personally think you had three of the top‑10 players in the country on the floor today, Shoni being one of them, and Stewie and Hartley, they're great.テつ They're talented players.テつ Next!
COACH WALZ:テつ We got time!テつ He ain't goin' nowhere!テつ He's going to his restaurant make sure they're selling food.テつ We can't even get a free meal out of him!
THE MODERATOR:テつ Did you want to ask a question?
COACH WALZ:テつ Yeah, we got time for two more!

Q.テつ I was going to ask you when you coached USA Basketball if you wanted to beat the communist team! (Chuckles)テつ Do you think next year when you're emersed in the ACC, watching what happens there every day there that your program is going to get better, because of what you are going to have to deal with on a day‑to‑day basis?テつ Versus the fact that Connecticut and Louisville, the teams in this conference are 0‑36 against you this year?
COACH WALZ:テつ I'm not going to say that at all.テつ As players we take pride in what we do every day at practice.テつ Our goal is not to go out and say we're playing this team and that team.テつ We're getting done what we need to get done in practice.テつ I'm pushing them as hard as I can.テつ So you're prepared for games.テつ I don't think that's necessarily going to make us all of the sudden a better basketball team, no.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thanks, Coach.
COACH WALZ:テつ Go ahead, we got one more.

Q.テつ Last year you guys had a great tournament.テつ How likely is it that teams can elevate even in the course of the tournament?
COACH WALZ:テつ We've found a way to do that a lot of times.テつ In '09 I'm not sure we were picked as a favorite to go to the Final Four.テつ I know last year we weren't.テつ We get to the Sweet 16 Shoni's freshman year and Asia's freshman year and if Monique Green doesn't tear her hamstring in the warm‑ups, I think there is a great shot we're playing Stanford in the Final Four.テつ We figured out a way to do that.テつ That's what our plans are.テつ You play this regular season and conference tournament for the NCAA Tournament.テつ That's why I tell everybody I would hate to coach a football team in college because if you lose a game in Septemberit screws you for the rest of the year.テつ Here we have a true tournament that you get a chance to play and it's not necessarily the best team that always wins, it's who is playing the best basketball at the time.テつ Notre Dame beat UConn three times last year and they lose in the Final Four.
You gotta figure out a way to get your kids to believe in what you're doing and to play your best basketball at the right time and anything can happen, and I think we've proven that here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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