JEFF WALZ: I’d first like to just congratulate Stanford on a fantastic season. We knew coming into the game tonight that we had our hands full. We knew we were going to have to play extremely well, and I thought we did that. So just to congratulate them on a great year.
And then I’ll question you all, are you past your deadlines? We’re past deadlines, so what you’ll see is you can ask me as many questions tomorrow as you all would love to because I’d like to get these kids back to get into bed and we have a noon game on Sunday. My cell phone, I’ll be happy to give it to you when we’re done, you can call me, I’ll give you as much as you want. But I’m finished with my statement because it’s 12:10 right now and we play a noon game on Sunday. So I want to get these kids back to sleep. It’s the student-athlete welfare that I think is important. Thank you.
Q. You guys had some pretty unselfish play tonight, but talk about on defense, what were you able to do differently tonight that maybe you feel like you haven’t done against other top teams earlier this season?
ASIA DURR: Well, I think it’s been the same thing all throughout the year whole, pressuring the ball. We do a great job doing that. I mean — sorry, it’s late. But yeah, we do a great job of doing that. Dana, Myisha, Sam, throughout the whole — I can go throughout the whole team. I mean, we got some great steals. Our post players were getting steals. I think we played hard tonight.
Q. Asia, talk about Myisha just a little bit. 2,000 points. You know how difficult points are to come by in this league. What does that mean she’s able to score that many points?
ASIA DURR: I’m going to make it short, but Mya is a heck of a player. I have so much fun playing with her. She brings me so much confidence. It’s been nice to see her grow as a player. Each year she’s gotten better. I mean, she plays her butt off, and she does some great things on that floor. I feel like she’s the best post player in the country. She does some great things for us.
Q. How was the 9:45, 9:50 start for you out on the court? Did you notice any appreciable difference?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: No, we were happy to play. We were happy to be out there and got an opportunity to play a great team and to have the opportunity to get to an Elite 8. We weren’t really worried about the time, we were just ready to play, and it felt like a regular game. We weren’t really focused on what the time was. We just did our normal routine, warmed up the same way, so it was just like regular game, let’s go, let’s get the ball going.
Q. Myisha, did you know that you had the 2,000 points?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Yes.
Q. What does it mean to you?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: It means a lot. I mean, I really can’t explain it. It’s just like 2,000 points, not a lot of people can do that or get that. But Angel McCaughtry and Shoni Schimmel in this program have gotten it. Just to be with those type of players is amazing, and I know Asia Durr is about to be up there, too, soon. Just to be in company with those players is crazy just to think about it.
Q. Sam, on the glass tonight, what was the difference for you personally?
SAM FUEHRING: I feel like I’ve been going to the glass a lot more than in the regular season. I don’t really know why I’ve changed like that, but I mean, it’s been working.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: She wants to steal my rebounds.
SAM FUEHRING: No, Myisha used to steal all of my rebounds, all of them.
ASIA DURR: Now you steal mine.
Q. Myisha, near the end of the third quarter, I’m not sure if this was the basket, but you had a long pass that you caught and laid it in and pounded the floor after it went in. Was that celebration of 2,000, or was that some other milestone?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: No, that was just milestone of us getting closer to the Elite 8. That was. I was just excited. I’m an emotional player, so I just got emotional.
Q. For everyone up here, how exciting is this to get this chance on Sunday to get to the Final Four, your first Final Four?
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: I’m super excited. I’m ready to get back to it and continue to work. We’re not stopping here. We want to go to the Final Four. We want to compete for a National Championship, and we know we have to take care of business on Sunday, so it’s going to start once we get back to the hotel with treating your body good, making sure whatever it is that Carissa our trainer needs us to do, we’re doing it, so we have a chance to actually compete to get to a Final Four.
Q. Both of you guys had your brothers in attendance tonight. Can you talk about how important family is on the sidelines and in the crowd?
ASIA DURR: Well, my brother is my best friend. We’re 14 months apart, so we’re pretty close. We do everything together. He’s really like my twin, but the boy version of me. It’s pretty much — yeah, I’m a big family person, so that means a lot to me.
MYISHA HINES-ALLEN: Well, if my brother wouldn’t have came to the game, I probably would have had to beat him up because he’s here, so it’s like — I’m just happy that he came, though. He’s in support of us, and Sunday he’ll be wearing red. Yeah, impressive.
Q. Asia, what was the key to you all getting — creating the types of shots you got tonight and being able to knock them down so well?
ASIA DURR: Tempo. I think we played with great tempo tonight. We were trying to push the ball. Our point guards have done a great job doing that, and our posts, as well. I mean, our posts are spreading the floor. It’s fun to play like that. You want to play with such a fast pace, but I think we did a great job spreading the floor tonight.
Q. What made your defense so effective tonight?
JEFF WALZ: Well, it’s been effective all year. We just played hard. The kids were dialed in, they knew what they were supposed to do, and I thought they executed extremely well.
Q. I’d like for you to speak individually about the three players that were up here, Asia, Myisha and Sam, and their performance tonight and how much you can appreciate the effort they put in.
JEFF WALZ: Yeah, when we recruited them, they weren’t very good. My staff has done a fantastic job of taking bad players and making them good. That’s what we do. I’m not sure any of them had scholarship offers. So we take — our staff takes all credit for what they’re able to do. Next one.
No, I mean, it’s all of them — they’re all — they work. They’re the first ones in the gym, last ones out of the gym. They’re great — not just great players, they’re great young women. You know, I’m hoping that we have a chance to play three more games. You know, but we know we have one on Sunday. But when it’s all said and done, the games are fun. The games are — you know, obviously it’s what we do, but it’s a time that we get to spend with them off the court that really is what this is all about. It’s why I love coaching women’s basketball, because you get these young women for four years, so you actually get to watch them grow. You get to watch them come in, and I call them kids and they get upset, but they come in as kids, and they leave as young women. We take a lot of pride in making sure they’re prepared for life, not just to be a good basketball player.
Q. 15 minutes before the game, you’re sitting on the bench, daughter in your lap, singing along to Journey. Don’t you feel stressed in that situation —
JEFF WALZ: Not one bit.
Q. — that’s a tournament game?
JEFF WALZ: Not one bit.
JEFF WALZ: I haven’t missed a shot in 22 years. I keep telling them all the time, everybody is like, hey, man, I don’t want to talk to you — no, I’m fine, I’ll talk to anybody.
You know, we’ve done all of our work, and then my time comes when the game starts. Before that, I’m not one of those, you can’t talk to me, don’t do that. Again, that’s why I love coaching women’s basketball. You asked me that question about would you be interested in a men’s job. No. I mean, I want to sit there with my daughter to experience it. Unfortunately our four-and-a-half-year-old was home sick, but hopefully she’ll be able to come Sunday. But that’s what it’s all about. Memories like that that I’ll be able to sit there and share with her in 10 years.
You know, Coach Purcell’s daughters got on the big screen, and our players were watching the game out in the hall, and they all just started — our players are like, oh, your girls are on, your girls are on. That’s what it’s all about. Sure, if you don’t win enough games, you get fired. It’s part of it. But I love what I do, but it’s not my life. I tell people all the time, I’m going to play the power ball, I’ve got my tickets. I think it’s about 485, and there’s a chance if I win, Steph might be coaching tomorrow. You know, 485 million, I mean, I’d like to go count that, you know? I’ll ask for it all in 5s and 10s.
You know, I love these kids. I love what I do. But I think family is the most important thing. You’ve got to make sure you have a good balance.
Q. You talked about your family. Your team plays like a family. Offensively you’ve got almost all five scorers in double figures. You held four of their starters to a total of 21 points, the passing. Have you ever had a team that is playing this well together at this time of year?
JEFF WALZ: Yeah, well, we’ve had two that have gone on and played for National Championships. I mean, you have to be playing pretty well at this time of the year to have that happen. But I will say it’s — our locker room is great, and that’s what it’s been like. You know, when you’ve got players that are excited for each other and not necessarily worried about themselves or trying to figure out how do I get a teammate on my page because I’m not playing as much as I think I should so now you try to grab one to complain with, we don’t have that. Everybody knows what they’ve got to do to play, and everybody is honest with each other. The players are honest with each other.
You know, and there is no — we have a saying that I can’t use the word for, but you don’t want to live in this area, okay. Like when you wake up in the morning, you have a choice to be in a good mood or be miserable, and we talk to our players every day. If you’re having a bad day, try to put a smile on somebody else’s face, instead of having to let everyone know you’re having a bad day.
And I’ve got a group of young women that have bought into that. I mean, they’re great to be around. It’s really hard to tell when someone has had a bad day on our team. And you have them. But everybody doesn’t have to know. And I commend them for that, and I think that’s why they enjoy playing with each other as much as they do.
Q. Obviously there’s going to be excitement after any big win, but a lot of these players have never been to an Elite 8 before. Is there added excitement right now in the locker room about beginning to take a step that’s never been taken before?
JEFF WALZ: No, it’s one game at a time. We know we have to play a very, very talented Oregon State team on Sunday. Sure, they’re excited because they get another opportunity to compete. But I’m telling you, and I’ve said it all year and everybody laughs. If we can keep winning, I’m telling you, we could win a National Championship, and our kids would want to play the next day because that’s all we talk about is just one game at a time. We don’t get caught up in the moment. Sure, will we sit there and enjoy this? Of course we will. But we know there’s bigger fish to fry, but I’m telling you, this group of kids, they love — they just love being around each other. They love playing with each other, and we have fun. I mean, we literally have a good time. Life’s too short.
Q. Tara was in here, and she said that if she didn’t have to play you, she would enjoy watching your team. What is it about your team do you think that is appealing to another coach?
JEFF WALZ: I think how hard our kids compete. I mean, I really do. I’m waiting to see what actually happened, but like Sam Fuehring, the epitome to Sam Fuehring and what she does is when she got the offensive rebound in the first half and the three players from Stanford fell on the ground. And I don’t know what happened. I don’t think she fouled them. But that’s Sam. I mean, there’s three kids on the ground, Sam gets the rebound and makes it, and then Sam falls.
You know, we compete. We play hard. Our kids have handled adversity throughout the year in terms of we’re down 12, it’s South Dakota State was a very difficult place to play, we’re down in the ACC Tournament — as I’ve said, we won an ACC Tournament championship I think by a combined total of 10 points in three games. You know, our league is really good. Virginia Tech is making a great run in the NIT, and NC State was who we beat in the semis, and they just lost tonight but had a great year.
So we’ve been in games that we know that you can’t get too caught up in the moment. You have to make sure you’re able to handle some adversity because it’s going to come.