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April 1, 2014

Tia Gibbs

Shoni Schimmel

Antonita Slaughter

Asia Taylor

Jeff Walz


Maryland テや 76
Louisville テや 73

JEFF WALZ:テつ First, I just want to say a thank you to our crowd.テつ I mean, the city of Louisville to come out, our fans to come out like they did tonight was just absolutely amazing.テつ I thought it was a great event.テつ I thought it was a great crowd, a great atmosphere, and we asked them to come out and support us, and they did.
Not every place gets the type of support that we get and has the fan support that we have.テつ I mean, they're true University of Louisville fans, and we're grateful for that, appreciative of that, and we know that there's choices to be made on places you can go, things you can do, places you can spend your money.テつ I never want one of our fans to ever think myself or any of these young ladies or our team take it for granted because we travel too many places where they can't get anybody to come out to a women's basketball game, and it's absolutely amazing what our fans do, how they cheer, how knowledgeable they are, and I want to say thank you to them.
I would like to congratulate Maryland.テつ I thought it was a very good basketball game.テつ It was a game of runs.テつ We got stuck there on 45 for about five or six minutes and just could not get a shot to go.テつ Had three or four of them that were in and out.テつ We finally would run a play and get a lay‑up and they'd call a hold on the screen, and it was like, boy, can I decline that and I'll take the lay‑up.テつ Calling for a foul all game and finally got a foul when we got an open lay‑up.テつ We didn't need that one there.テつ We needed the ball to go in the basket.
But it sucks.テつ There's a few other words I could use, but it wouldn't be appropriate.テつ These kids fought.テつ We're down 12 with two minutes to go, and I mean, there was never quit in one of them.テつ I mean, we executed that play at the end there to perfection, and we got a great look.テつ The ball just did not go in the basket.テつ Unfortunately for us it wasn't our night.
Thank you.

Q.テつ Shoni, can you talk about the final play there, how it went down, was it what you were looking for, and did you think that it was going in?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I mean, we executed it perfectly.テつ We both came up, Bri and I, and Asia was going to get the ball, and she got it.テつ All she had to do was throw it to me, and I was actually kind of open, and so for me to take that shot, we perfected it.テつ The ball just didn't go in.
The one that didn't go in was the last shot that I wanted, but it just didn't fall.テつ Nothing much you can do about that.

Q.テつ Shoni, it looked like all you could do when it didn't go was smile, and I know you weren't happy and I know Coach wasn't, but it seemed like you did everything so right down there.テつ That was kind of your last moment.テつ What was going through your head when it didn't go?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ Just not to get down on myself.テつ It was my last shot, and it just happened to be the one that didn't go.テつ It sucks, but‑‑
JEFF WALZ:テつ Amen.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ What can you do about it?

Q.テつ Shoni, if you could talk about the final 18 seconds, the two threes that you made to get your team within a shot of forcing overtime.テつ What was going through your mind when you were trying to rally the team?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I was just trying to get easy, quick buckets and I knew they were going to guard me, and her hand was down so I took that quick one right in front of her.テつ I had that mentality like I wasn't going to quit and I knew my teammates weren't going to quit and so we just ‑‑ we did a great job of fighting back, especially that last two minutes, and I couldn't be any more proud of my team because we battled to the very last second.

Q.テつ You've always had a short memory when it comes to shooting.テつ During that stretch where you missed seven in a row, I think, did you just tell yourself just keep shooting, just keep giving yourself opportunities?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I was tired of missing so I had to get an easy bucket.テつ That lay‑up helped right then and there.テつ I'm not going to sit there and dwell on the past.テつ I'm not going to sit there and think about the last shot I just took.テつ I'm just going to move on, move forward, there's nothing I can do about it, except learn what to do differently.テつ I thought we did a great job those last two minutes of doing the best we could.

Q.テつ Asia, just talk about playing with these girls the last three, four, five years and what it meant to you and just kind of your thoughts about them and spending time with them.
ASIA TAYLOR:テつ Yeah, well, it definitely meant everything to me.テつ Coming in as a freshman, from Columbus, Ohio, I never would have thought that my five years here would have went like this.テつ I've got just to say thank you to Coach Walz.テつ He believed in me when I was in high school and stuff.テつ We've had our ups and downs.テつ I know there's a lot of times he could have given up on me, he didn't, and he just kept pushing me.テつ I'm a better player because of it.テつ Off the court I'm going to be I successful person because he's pushed me.テつ Shoni and Nita and Tia, it's been amazing playing with them.テつ I'm just going to miss them.テつ I'm going to miss their faces and smiling and dancing and everything.テつ It's been amazing, and the fans, as well.テつ Never going to forget this.

Q.テつ Asia, what did you think about the stretch where you guys‑‑ I think it went about seven minutes where you guys couldn't score and they went on a big run.テつ What do you think contributed to that and how frustrating was it to see some of the baskets that didn't go down?
ASIA TAYLOR:テつ It was definitely frustrating.テつ We were playing really hard, we were boxing out, we were defending, and we were getting good looks, they just weren't falling.テつ It was tough, and they just went on their run, and we just tried to fight back.テつ Nobody ever hung their heads, though.テつ That was the big thing.テつ We always thought that we had a chance.テつ We always believed we had a chance to come back, and I think that's why we made the run at the end.テつ If we could have just not given up one or two of those baskets, mistakes I made in the first half, getting that technical foul was huge.テつ There's a lot of things that could have prevented this, but just proud of how we fought.

Q.テつ Antonita, we didn't know if we were going to see you on the court again and you get to play this last half of the season and played tonight.テつ What has this meant to you?
ANTONITA SLAUGHTER:テつ It's meant everything.テつ It's just a blessing, first of all just for my health, and then just playing with these guys.テつ You know, they're great teammates but they're great people off the court, as well.テつ Like we said in the locker room we're going to all keep in touch.テつ These four years at Louisville have meant a lot.

Q.テつ Shoni or actually any of the players, two things:テつ The last two minutes I think was one of the best examples of end‑game clock management that I've ever seen, especially the amount of timeouts.テつ Is that a drill you practice regularly, two minutes we're down 12 or whatever?テつ And secondly, you've become much more of a facilitator this year than you seemed to be last year.テつ Was that a conscious choice, and how did you develop those skills?
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ The first question, I think our coaches have done a great job of preparing us for situations like that.テつ I mean, we knew that we weren't going to give up and we knew that Coach Walz knows what he's doing, especially when it comes to perfecting the time and the scoring.テつ He's a very smart coach, and he shows it every game.テつ For him to do that, we have to believe in him and he has to believe in us.テつ That's exactly what happened.テつ We just came up a little bit short, and I mean, what more could you ask for?テつ We ran the play perfectly, and the ball just didn't go in the hoop.テつ It's not always the ending you want, but I couldn't be any more proud of my team because we fought to the very last second, and so I mean, I can't hang my head on that.テつ I don't think any of us should because we fought, we were down 12 with two minutes to go.テつ Who comes back from that?テつ We almost did, and so I mean, I'm proud of every single one of my teammates and I'm thankful for them.
For your second question, I definitely put a lot more work into my game just because I wanted to be the best person I could be on the court and off the court.テつ I took the time and went out there and worked on things that I need to get better at and just did all the smart things that I needed to do.

Q.テつ Antonita, everything seemed to be working the latter part of the first half.テつ You were forcing turnovers.テつ You were up by four.テつ If you could talk about the early minutes of the second half and how everything changed there.テつ What did Maryland do to kind of swing that momentum?
ANTONITA SLAUGHTER:テつ I'd say that the second half they came out and hit us in the mouth, just on the glass and just rebounds that we didn't get, maybe a couple turnovers that we had.テつ All that led into their run.テつ But like Coach was saying, it's a game of runs, so I'm proud of my team, like Shoni was saying, for fighting back, and just never giving up.

Q.テつ Tia, thinking back on the last minute, the last 30 seconds, what did you think about just seeing Shoni hit all those threes that were so deep, every time down she was hitting them and keeping you guys in it.テつ What was it like seeing that and maybe what that's been like just seeing her do that kind of thing her whole career?
TIA GIBBS:テつ From day one we knew Shoni was a special player and she was going to make a huge impact on our team and the program.テつ Every time she shoots, of course the crowd thinks it's going in, but we kind of know it's going in.テつ We're on the court and Shoni is like, all right, she's going to send a three and I'm going to shoot it, you go rebound.テつ Gotcha, simple as that.
Shoni, that's nothing that amazes me.テつ She hits those shots in practice with the tallest person in her face.テつ When she hit that, it was like normal.テつ Of course it gave us a huge boost and there was no doubt in my mind she wasn't going to make the last one.テつ That's what she does.テつ She puts the team on her back.テつ I was very grateful to spend four, maybe five years with her.

Q.テつ Just the seniors who have given so much to this team over the last four, five or six years, what do you say to the juniors, the sophomores and the freshmen in the locker room when you go back in?
ASIA TAYLOR:テつ Well, just tell them to keep their heads up, and next year they have to keep carrying the torch.テつ We still didn't win a national championship, and I know Coach Walz is going to do everything in his power to have them prepared.テつ As long as they put in the work over the summer, everything is going to be fine, and they know what it's like, and this year we made history, and I know that everybody enjoyed being a part of that.テつ It doesn't mean that it stops now.テつ We're going to be in a better conference next year, it's going to be tougher competition, but I think they'll be fine.テつ Listen to coach, and everything will be good.
SHONI SCHIMMEL:テつ I definitely think it's nothing to base your next season on, the rest of your career on.テつ I think it's something to learn from, especially being the younger kids.テつ They have to learn from this.テつ They saw what everybody could be, what they could do, especially on our team.テつ We saw the potential in the younger people, and for them to kind of grow up and be mature, exactly what we did.テつ We matured as people, and for us to do that, they have to do that, as well.テつ They're going to have all the correct things for them to do that, the coaches and the people around them.テつ They're going to be set up to where they're going to succeed, and they have to be willing to do that, and they have to go out there and do it for them and this team and this program.
ANTONITA SLAUGHTER:テつ I'd say just listen to the coaches because every game they're going to have them prepared to win.テつ They have the best fan support in the nation, and just to play here is a blessing.テつ Just work hard this summer and listen to the coaches.
TIA GIBBS:テつ Well, for me I think it's just to continue to believe.テつ This year we believed.テつ We believed in our coaches.テつ We believed in each other, and we believed that no matter what, we'll have a chance to get to Nashville.テつ You know, I think I can speak for all of the seniors here, we've matured and we've trusted our coaches so much that if Coach were to tell us to run through a brick wall, we'd definitely do it.テつ For the younger ones, coming in at 18 as a freshman, it's kind of hard to buy in, but once they buy in, we'll have a special group again.テつ We've got a lot of work to do and we've got a lot of freshmen coming in, but we still have five seniors, five seniors on the floor with maybe five or six freshmen coming in.テつ We'll still be a mature team with the mentality of getting to the Final Four.テつ We'll work.

Q.テつ Jeff, considering the crowd support and what you've seen lately and having a regional semifinal and final here, what do you think about the odds of maybe hosting a Final Four here?テつ I guess the NCAA has a rule as far as home arenas‑‑
JEFF WALZ:テつ I'm not sure how that works.テつ I would think you'd want to be able to host a Final Four on your home court, but I'm not sure what those rules are.テつ Like I said in my opening statement, we're very blessed to play here and have the fan support that we have.テつ Tom Jurich believing and putting a bid in to host a regional, I'm sure that there were a bunch of people that they couldn't even get their school to even bid on it, to put their name in the pot.テつ You have to believe in your fans that they're going to come out and support women's basketball, and ours do.テつ It was a remarkable night tonight.

Q.テつ You said the other day by tip‑off you'd have a strategy against Alyssa Thomas.テつ What was that today, and how do you feel your team executed?
JEFF WALZ:テつ I thought we did a really good job on her.テつ I thought we slowed her down in the first half.テつ I mean, the frustrating thing for me is we sat there, the things that I told them we had to do:テつ Stop transition baskets, we did.テつ They get six points in transition.テつ We had to do a good job on the glass and limit their second‑chance points.テつ They get six.テつ We just couldn't beat them at the free‑throw line.テつ They go 25 of 28 from the free‑throw line, we go 11 of 13.テつ We couldn't get there enough.テつ And that really is where the game was won.テつ It's real simple.テつ We turned it over way too much in the second half, some uncharacteristic turnovers.テつ When we got up seven there the start of the second half, we just did some things that we don't do, and you can't do those in a game like this.
We had opportunities to get up nine I think at one point, and we throw the ball out of bounds.テつ If you go back and look at the number of lay‑ups that we missed, there's at least six, and just one‑on‑one lay‑ups where you've just got to go finish it, and we didn't finish it tonight.
Our kids, I'm so proud of them.テつ They played so hard.テつ We never gave up, and they know it.テつ We give credit to Maryland.テつ It's a great win for them.テつ But when we sat down in the locker room, we were proud of our fight, but we knew we had an opportunity here tonight, and we let it slip by, especially with missing as many lay‑ups as we did.

Q.テつ You talked about that point where you were stuck on 45 for about seven minutes there and I think Sarah had a lay‑up rim‑out, Shoni had a‑‑ will you look back on it as you got the shots you wanted‑‑
JEFF WALZ:テつ We had some really good shots.テつ Schimmel had one on the baseline off of a ball screen, a pull‑up that she makes eight out of 10 times.テつ It didn't go in.テつ I thought we did a decent job for about two minutes of that stretch of defending them, and then we rushed a couple shots after we had missed four or five that led to, I think, four of their six transition baskets, and that's what happens.テつ When you start to press and you really want to make a shot so bad, sometimes you take one too quick.
You know, I'm proud of the kids.テつ It's been an unbelievable year.テつ There's no question that our goal was to get to Nashville, and unfortunately we fell a game short.

Q.テつ How do you think you'll reflect back on that last minute and 30 seconds or so, just to furious you came back and the threes that you hit and how close you came?テつ Was it surprising to see how well, other than the final shot didn't go in, just how well you guys executed and how you nearly pulled something off?
JEFF WALZ:テつ No, it's not surprising to me at all.テつ You know, we have worked on that last‑second play.テつ We executed it to perfection.テつ We got a great shot.テつ You really can't ask for anything more.
We subbed, we had our offensive subs, our defensive subs.テつ Just things that we do when we work on, we sub on the second made free throw instead of before the second one so now you've got a dead ball and you can set up your press.テつ If you sub before that, then when it goes in they have a chance to get it in as quick as they want.テつ It's things like that that we do practice.テつ It's a tough way to end.

Q.テつ Coach, your team averages around 19 forced turnovers against some other teams.テつ You guys forced 15 on Maryland the first half.テつ What were you doing against Maryland?
JEFF WALZ:テつ I thought we did a great job of getting our hands in passing lanes.テつ I thought we back tipped a bunch and got some steals off of those.テつ We forced them into 25 turnovers, but you can't win by getting one point per turnover.テつ Our problem was we turned‑‑ we forced them into turnovers in the first half, but then we turned it over ourselves after we stole the ball, so it washed itself out.テつ That's what you can't do.テつ We had a lot of opportunities in that first half to really put some things together and just could not finish it.

Q.テつ Just wanting to reflect on your time with Maryland, when you were with Maryland, and you knowing the coach there, Brenda, did you and her talk prior to this game, and if you did, what kind of conversation was that?
JEFF WALZ:テつ We probably haven't spoken, besides saying hi out there, in six years.テつ I mean, no, there was really no conversation that took place.テつ We both have families, we both have teams that we're trying to run. テつNo, but they had a great season and they played a great game tonight, no question about it.

Q.テつ There's a momentum shift there early in the second half.テつ Were they doing something differently when they came out of the locker room or whatever that caused that?
JEFF WALZ:テつ No, because we went up seven.テつ It's not like they‑‑ it didn't start the second half.テつ We come out and go up seven and have an opportunity for a transition lay‑up and throw it‑‑ just got a little too excited and throw it out of bounds.テつ I don't think they did anything differently.テつ We missed open shots.テつ We had a great post move by Sara Hammond that's halfway down and comes out, Shoni gets a great three on the wing that goes in and out.テつ We unfortunately went for about a four‑minute stretch where we could not get the ball to go in the basket.

Q.テつ Just talk about Shoni, what she's meant to this program, and sort of the last few years what she's brought to Louisville basketball.
JEFF WALZ:テつ You know, it's been a great four years.テつ If she's not one of the top 10 players in the country, top five, I'm not sure what everybody is looking at.テつ You know, the kid loves the game.テつ She loves to play basketball.テつ That's what she does.テつ She's been extremely coachable.テつ She's developed her game. テつI asked her to work on her pull‑up jump shot this summer, and she did.テつ That really helped her game.
She's going to go down as‑‑ her and Angel are the two best players as of right now that have played here.テつ She took us to a Final Four, to a national championship game, and it's unfortunate that it had to end tonight the way it did, but she's meant a lot to not just our program but the city, the fan support, the amount of people.テつ It's not just us.テつ When we go on road games, the amount of natives that come out and her and Jude have inspired, it's been a remarkable story all season long.テつ When you sit there after games and you're signing autographs when you're at Memphis out by the bus for an hour after the game, you know, all of our players are, and they're coming up in busloads from Mississippi because that's the closest game that we played.
It comes down to the game of basketball, it's wins and losses.テつ There's no question about it.テつ That's what we're here to do.テつ But this year for our program it's been a lot more than just that, just seeing how our players have been able to inspire so many, it's been a wonderful experience.

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