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March 30, 2014

Alaina Coates

Tiffany Mitchell

Dawn Staley


North Carolina – 65
South Carolina – 58

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined by University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley and student‑athletes Alaina Coates and Tiffany Mitchell.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH STALEY:  I'm just disappointed that our season ends tonight, but truly proud of the team we put on the floor, just proud of the effort that we gave, proud of the season that we had.
I think our players did probably what most people didn't think was possible.  I'll say this and then you can open it up for questions.  This probably won't be the last time you see a South Carolina women's basketball team at this late stage of the NCAA tournament.  So we're going to look forward to our future.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  Tiffany, just seemed like very early in the game North Carolina was really shutting off the passing lanes, not letting you get inside.  What were they doing to keep you from the rim?
TIFFANY MITCHELL:  They were just clogging.  They were sagging off a lot, clogging up the paint, making it difficult for us to drive in the lane.

Q.  Alaina, what advantage did you see when you were able to get things going inside there for the team?
ALAINA COATES:  I was able to take advantage of the fact that their post players were in foul trouble and they weren't trying to go as hard as they wanted to because they were in foul trouble.
I saw that as an opportunity to get really physical, knock down the shots, make sure I was open for my teammates to see me.

Q.  Alaina, with that, you started out a little rough with your teammates.  The layups would not fall.  Was it just the rim, strange gym, North Carolina bumping you a little?
ALAINA COATES:  We just weren't able to execute shots.  We know how to hit those shots and we just weren't making them today.

Q.  Tiffany, can you talk about at one point you were down 11, what Coach Staley said to you at halftime to bring you back?
TIFFANY MITCHELL:  She just told us we're still in this game, not to put our heads down or anything.  We still have a lot of time to play and come back.
THE MODERATOR:  Ladies, thank you.
We'll open it up for questions for Coach Staley.

Q.  You have been inside all year.  That's been the preferred game plan.  How frustrating is it to see you get the entry lanes but they wouldn't fall that early?
COACH STALEY:  A little frustrating.  But anytime you can get a high‑percentage shot like that...  A little bit disappointing is us taking outside shots.  I think we got lured into taking them.  If we can pound them, penetrate into the paint, drawing fouls, when we started doing that, we started decreasing the lead.

Q.  What effect did it have when Aleighsa had to sit down with two fouls in the first half?
COACH STALEY:  Well, unfortunately for us it was Lisa and Tiffany Mitchell that had to sit a few minutes in the first half.
It's hard, but it wasn't a place which we've never been.  I think Mississippi State was one in which both of them had to sit.
I thought we had enough to keep the game close.  If we can hit some of those easy shots in the paint, I don't think we would have felt it as much.  Since we didn't, your leading scorer and second leading scorer out, you feel that.

Q.  You mentioned this in your opening address, but how bright is the future for this program?
COACH STALEY:  I feel really good about the future of our program.  We're probably a little bit ahead of schedule with what we're trying to do as far as continuing to play on the second weekend and the third weekend of the NCAA tournament.
I just hope our players feel really disappointed that our season ends today and hopefully they'll go back and work on their individual games, watch a lot of film, watch the rest of the tournament, hopefully get motivated not being at home at this time of the season.

Q.  What did you see from North Carolina?  You saw them in December.  What did you see different?  What type of growth did you notice from them?
COACH STALEY:  Well, probably North Carolina is a little more patient.  They seemed to be a lot more patient with us than most of the games that I've watched them.  They were really selective in the type of shots that they wanted.  I thought they did a good job of working inside‑out and keeping our post players on the move.  Also getting us in foul trouble.
I thought they just put us back on our heels and forced us into some foul trouble that you don't want to anticipate coming into a game like this.
THE MODERATOR:  Coach, thank you very much.
COACH STALEY:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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