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March 11, 2014

Jane Albright

Mimi Mungedi

Danika Sharp


Nevada – 53
San Diego State – 48

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Nevada.  Coach, just some remarks on tonight's game.
COACH ALBRIGHT:  We're just glad to get a W.  I thought that SanDiego State played really hard.  I don't know if y'all can tell from where you are sitting, they're a big team.  They're big, athletic, strong.  It's so hard to rebound.
In the first half we couldn't get many rebounds and we weren't able to run at all.  That was our game plan.
We're normally a much better offensive team than we are defensive.  But tonight it proved to be the opposite.
I thought our team defense on Cierra, she was one for eight.  First team all‑conference, I thought we doubled her, had a great game plan, and they followed it.  She is a dominant player.  Trust me, we've watched her and she can play, play, play.
Really kind of sagged off I think their fatigue.  We kept telling our players if we could get to the last 10 minutes, we'd be all right.
I think Mimi had seven blocks, which is one of the reasons she's co‑defensive Player of the Year.  Danika hit some tough shots in the first half, extended it.  In the second half we got to the free‑throw line.  That's really where the battle was won, with the free throws and our defense.
We didn't shoot the ball well.  It was just hard to find shots.  They're just so long and strong and big.
I thought T‑Moe, when she was at point guard, started a run for us.  I think we got down by three.  They got to the free‑throw line.  As she can kind of will things to happen, she did a really, really good job there.
SanDiego State was in the championship game last year.  The last three years they kind of owned everything.  For us to be picked 10th in the league, we only played them once this year, I thought that would be an advantage, I don't think it was much of an advantage tonight.  They seemed to know what we were going to do and take it away.
I was really, really proud of our players.  They found a way to win.  It was a very ugly basketball game.  I know that.  It probably looked like there weren't a lot of shooters out there.
We didn't make 11 threes.  Last time we played them we made 11 threes.  We made five.  That was the difference in the game if you look at it.  We won by five free throws in that, didn't we?
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Danika, talk about what changed when Mimi came back in after her third foul?
DANIKA SHARP:  Just her presence in the key is a huge factor for us.  She is a defensive threat.  Like coach said, that's why she's co‑defensive Player of the Year.  We need her in there because she changes shots a lot.

Q.  Mimi, you picked up your third foul in the second half.  How hard was it to sit on the bench and fight?
MIMI MUNGEDI:  It was really hard.  But I knew my teammate, we are a good team, we stick together, which is one of our motto.  I think that's what we did.  I was just encourage them, We can do it, let's go, let's go.  We got it.  So I was pretty happy about it.

Q.  Talk about facing Fresno State in the semifinals and having two days off to prepare.
DANIKA SHARP:  Well, obviously we know they're a great team.  They're the No. 2 seed for a reason.  But we split with them in the regular season, so we know we can compete with them.  We have to guard all their shooters because defense is going to be a huge factor.
MIMI MUNGEDI:  I think we have to perform better on offense and defense to beat them, to be honest.  They're a really good team.
COACH ALBRIGHT:  They didn't have much trouble finding the basket today.  We watched that game.  They're fun to watch, aren't they, unless you're coaching against them.  That's not a lot of fun.
We'll come up with something.  We don't have as big of bodies.  I think we just couldn't find the shots we normally can find.  Hopefully we'll be able to find some of those shots.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Last year you played in the opening game, won that.  This year you find yourself as the No.3 seed playing in the semifinals.  If you had to pinpoint one or two things, what has been the biggest turnaround for you?
COACH ALBRIGHT:  I think the off‑season was.  It was our first year in the Mountain West.  Boy, what a difference it was.  It was a lot of distance between us and the other teams physically.  I think Matt Barber, our strength coach at the time, he's now at Maryland, and now Bubba, our kids committed to get in the weight room.  They're stronger, faster, more agile.
They changed the NCAA rules.  It was the exact perfect time for us because we got 'em in the gym.  They all elected to stay at summer school.  We're fortunate that we have administration who paid for them to be at summer school.  We saw them a lot.
They paid their own money to go over to SanFrancisco and play in a ProAm game.  I think that probably helped Mimi the most of anybody.  She got a lot of minutes.  Her team only had two post players.  She had to play a lot.
That's the first long answer, is the off‑season.
My staff was tremendous in their player development.
The other thing is the chemistry on this team.  They're so unselfish.  They get along very, very well.  They have given up any individual goal.  We never had a Player of the Week.  I think we are the only team that never had one.  I'm not saying we should have.
Our depth, you probably didn't see our depth tonight.  We feel like our depth, we can usually outscore the bench about 20 points.  It was a little different tonight because we played Mimi more minutes.
I was thinking about this, our depth tonight almost hindered us a little because everybody was nervous when they went in there.  The second time they all did well.  You saw it in Nyasha at the very first of the game, we had a little lead, she just gave it right to them, then fouled them.
When you are doing that with a lot of people, we couldn't get the flow, so we shortened the bench the second half.  We'll get back to that probably when we get to Fresno State.

Q.  Moving forward with the game against Fresno State, you split with them in the regular season, what do you see as the keys to Friday's game?  You played them without Alex Sheedy and then with.  How different are they?
COACH ALBRIGHT:  They're better with her, that's for sure.  She just gives them another player that can play three, four, five.  They all play all positions.  They're really tough.
But when all is said and done, we'll do the very best we can.  They won the tournament last year.  It's a tough game.  I mean, it's got to be a tough game, doesn't it, when it comes down to the four teams.
I think that Taylor Thompson, she's just such a heady point guard.  They spread the defense so wide.  If there's a team that is exactly opposite to guard, then SanDiego State who is inside, you can pack it in.  Oh, my gosh, they're so outside oriented.  They could hit 20 threes in a game and it would just be easy some nights.
But they are not invincible.  They've lost some games this year.  We've got a lot of tape, a lot of ideas.  We're excited to have two days off to prepare for them.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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