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March 15, 2014

Alicia Nichols

Gritt Ryder

Ryun Williams


Fresno State – 77
Colorado State – 68

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by Colorado State.  Coach, if you could make a few comments about tonight's game.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Yeah, this obviously isn't the way we wanted our season to end.  Our kids have done such a tremendous job of competing and winning all season long.
I'm proud that we put ourselves and they put ourselves in this situation.  Tonight we just didn't make enough basketball plays.  The big thing is this game stinks, it stinks to lose this game.  But we've got to look at the journey that we went on and the grind that we I think conquered, winning the league, winning a lot of basketball games.
So really proud of these two and really proud of our group, our locker room.  It stings right now in there.  Rightly so.  We have very, very competitive young ladies.  We'll be better because of this.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Fresno State came out with many three‑pointers.  Was that like setting up the tone for the game to stay in the game?
ALICIA NICHOLS:  We knew that they were a three‑point shooting team.  We know that's a part of their game.
I don't know.  We just knew we needed to stop that.  What's her name, 33, Thompson, Farley, too, are looking to shoot.  We needed to stop that.  I don't know what else to say.

Q.  It seemed like you have been a little bit more tense ever since that loss at Wyoming.  Doesn't seem like you have played with the same offensive flow.  Has it felt that way, especially in this tournament, playing not to lose instead of playing loose and to win?
GRITT RYDER:  No, I don't think so.  I guess we said losing happens.  Of course, the loss at Wyoming, that hurt.  But it's so far back now we don't think about that.
Yeah, I don't know.  I thought our offense has been flowing pretty well.  We just haven't made the shots we needed to make and that's what it comes down to today.

Q.  Fresno won this tournament last year, I think they've won their conference tournament five of six year.  Did you get a sense playing them they were used to this atmosphere?
GRITT RYDER:  Fresno is a good team.  They knew when to step up and they did that today.  I don't know if it comes from being used to being in a tournament or if they had a really good day.
Obviously with leadership like from Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley, you come a long way with that.

Q.  You get it to two points in the first minute of the second half, they stretch it back to 10 pretty quickly.  Was there anything you remember that was key during that stretch for them, something you didn't do?
GRITT RYDER:  I just felt like every time we got a momentum, they would hit a three.  That's all I remember from the game.  Credit to them.  They stepped up when they needed to.

Q.  You've accomplished so much this season.  Does this detract from it?  What do you take from this going onto maybe an NIT berth now?
ALICIA NICHOLS:  Like you said, we have a chance going to the WNIT.  As a senior, you're always wanting to go to the big dance.  It didn't happen today.  We have a good shot at the WNIT.
We're a great team.  We feed off of each other.  We know how to bounce back.  So we're going to do that, do our dangdest to get far in the WNIT.

Q.  How much did last night's game take out of you guys?  You played three overtimes, almost the equivalent of two games.  Did you feel any ill effects of that as a team tonight?
GRITT RYDER:  No, I don't.  We wouldn't be a good team if we weren't able to play tonight.  I think we came ready and we just came up short.

Q.  Do you think Fresno, with the way they play defense, is perhaps the toughest matchup for you guys, from your offensive perspective?
ALICIA NICHOLS:  We have offensive threats for them.  I mean, this is a championship game and they're going to step up and defend us.  They showed up today.  We just couldn't hit our shots at times we needed them, so...

Q.  Was there a point in the game where you felt it slipping away or did you always feel you were going to come back and win it?
ALICIA NICHOLS:  Yeah, back at home we were down by 11 at half.  I mean, we're always fighting to get back into the game.  I didn't really feel it slip away.  I don't know.  We just needed to hit those threes at the end, but they didn't come, so...
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions for coach.

Q.  Looking at the season, you go on that big run 17 out of 18 you won, three losses in the past couple weeks.  Do you think that's a matter of teams getting the book on you and adjusting to the way you're playing?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  It's not like you're going to win every game.  I mean, losing does happen, like our kids said.  When it happens, I don't know if that's a big deal.  I'm not going to read into that that we didn't play well down the stretch.
Yeah, we didn't shoot as well as we did earlier on in the year.  We've been kind of a streaky team all year.  We go 5‑22 against Utah State, 5‑21 against Wyoming.  We didn't shoot well and we still won basketball games.
It just came down to that tonight.  We won almost every offensive category as far as we have 17 more shots.  We shoot better from the foul line.  We cause 18 turnovers.  We just didn't make enough baskets.  We didn't shoot it.
It wasn't that we didn't play good offense.  We got plenty of good shots, folks.  We got plenty of good shots.  It just wasn't a night that they got converted at the clip they needed to get converted.

Q.  You talked about having to remind your team in the first two games of this tournament to loosen up, relax, have fun.  Did you feel they were a little tense in this tournament and tonight compared to the regular season?
COACH WILLIAMS:  You know, I don't know.  I don't know if I read into that, to be honest with you.  Yeah, they want something really bad.  Maybe they squeezed a little hard.
But these kids have always been ready.  You don't win 25 games with this bunch...  Their emotions in the pregame, our shoot‑arounds, everything is the same.  We haven't shot it all that well here the last couple weeks.
I don't want to credit that to being tight or anything like that.  It didn't happen.

Q.  When you look back on everything this team has done this season, what do you take from it?  Four new starters, eight new players, picked to finish seventh in the conference.
COACH WILLIAMS:  Like I said earlier, I think our kids can feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment for what they did.  Winning the regular season and winning that grind, that's pretty special for a group of new kids when you're picked to finish seventh in your league.
Teams get hot for three games in a row, and it's not always the No.1 seed.  That's what is tough about a night like tonight.  You feel very, very defeated and you feel frustrated and you feel like you let something slip away.
It's really important we take a step back and look at the big picture.  That was quite a run.  That was quite a journey.  I think these kids, they brought CSU basketball back to life.  We'll continue to get better.
We aren't going to stand still, that's for sure.  We always say 'onward,' and we'll continue to move forward and hopefully perform really well in the WNIT.

Q.  They hit 10 threes, 9 from their two guards.  Anything you should have done differently?
COACH WILLIAMS:  Just because they shot them doesn't mean they have to go in.  Farley was great tonight, Thompson.  Those two kids made clutch, clutch shots.  They're big‑time performers.  We did know that.  Those are two seniors that stepped up and had big‑time senior moments, 50 points between the two of them.
You have to tip your hat to those performances.  Those are pretty special.
Yeah, give them credit.  I forget your question.  Ask it again because I had a really good answer.

Q.  Anything you could have done differently?
COACH WILLIAMS:  I don't know.  I mean, they made 10 threes in Ft. Collins.  They scored 47 points with 10 threes.  They hit big threes tonight.  They just daggered our momentum.  Every time we cut it to five, to two, here comes a big three.  We made a couple mistakes in some defensive rotations.
Thompson was on the attack tonight.  We drew the defense.  Hit the right kids.  They shot it with a ton of conviction.
Yeah, there's some things we would have done differently, but they made the plays, we didn't.

Q.  They seemed to be pretty effective.  Sam was held scoreless.  It seemed like they were able to take away parts of her game.  What was it they were doing or was it just the size?
COACH WILLIAMS:  We've always struggled scoring on the block against Vandenberg.  6'6", 6'6".  I think where we've been effective in the past is we've drown her out, play Sam on the perimeter.  That was effective in Ft. Collins.  We just didn't shoot the ball from the perimeter as well.
Sam is a really good pick‑and‑pop kid.  Just struggled is all.  It does open up the rim, as well.  We did have some drives at the baskets that we just didn't finish.
They do a good job guarding, but they also give you some stuff.  What they gave us we just didn't convert.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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