#5 Utah 68, #4 TCU 67
March 7, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by University of Utah head coach Elaine Elliott and student athletes Morgan Warburton and Kalee Whipple.
Coach, if you want to begin with some opening comments on the game.
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, I'm extremely proud of the effort. We just really wanted to feel like this after the game, and I'm not referring to just winning a game, I'm referring to just knowing that we gave a great effort. We really prepared ourselves to play hard, play together, you know, not let the ebbs and flows of the game change us.
So we did that, and that gave us a chance.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q: Kalee, what were your thoughts going to the basket there? Probably the biggest shot you've ever taken in your life.
KALEE WHIPPLE: By far the biggest. Coach just told us to get it out if they made the basket, just get out and run. Mo took it down. I saw she obviously had my player on her. She passed me the ball. I didn't think twice about it. I knew time was running out. Just took it to the hole.
Q: Morgan, you were on fire there in the first half. What did that feel like?
MORGAN WARBURTON: It felt really good. The last couple games in the season, I wasn't doing what I thought I should have been doing. I mean, it was my time to like redeem myself and, you know, get some shots up that I wasn't getting up in the last couple games. So it was really good.
Q: What are your thoughts on meeting up with BYU?
MORGAN WARBURTON: That game is going to be good. It's always an exciting game. We're going to be ready.
Q: Can you talk about the effort Adrianne Ross displayed in the second half when she started to take over for TC and brought them back?
MORGAN WARBURTON: She definitely showed she was Player of the Year this year. I give her a lot of credit for coming out and playing their game, even though their team was down, we were pushing on them. She's a great player, I really respect her.
KALEE WHIPPLE: Like Mo said, great, great player. She never gave up, not once. Kept going till the very last second. I give all the credit in the world to her. She did a great job tonight.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let you two guys go. Thank you. Questions for Coach Elliott.
Q: Seemed like you really got a different effort tonight than you got out of the Wyoming game. How did you get so pumped up for this?
COACH ELLIOTT: We worked at it for the last couple days. Yeah, it was a disappointment to, again, not have a real clear drive and preparation for that final game at home. That was the goal, was for them to learn that that's part of playing. You don't just show up. Young players don't really know how to prepare to play.
So we spent a lot of time, you know, Monday and Tuesday talking about it and trying to address, you know, why that might be and what we might want to do to change that, and that our goal was to be sure we didn't feel that way again regardless of the outcome.
So, obviously I was extremely proud because the kids just really showed a fire that, you know, was lacking in the last month of the season almost.
Q: Your two leaders, Morgan and Kalee, really stepped up today. Do you have any comments on that?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, they are our studs in the same way that Adrianne Ross practically carried them to the win. That's what your good players have to do. They have to take it on their shoulders and they have to be prepared to take that burden on.
Now, to their credit, that's a freshman and sophomore stepping up to try to get it done and getting it done in a big game. It is difficult. There's a real psychology and a real mentality to that besides whatever skills they might have. It's not easy to understand how to bring that out as a young player. The credit certainly is due them.
Q: You battled BYU in Provo about a week ago. What are your thoughts on getting another shot at them?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, again, our goal is that we're going to really come out with a drive and intention and a fire to compete. I really don't doubt that we'll be able to do that.
Q: TCU, along with a few other teams, might be tournament bubble teams. What are your thoughts on the strength of the conference and chances for yourselves to get at large berths?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, as much as the committee never talks about the RPI or says, you know, you don't get so hung up in that, it doesn't really matter, it's always really mattered for our league's teams. That concerns me.
In terms of the strength of this league and whether they deserve to be in the post season play, there's just no doubt. TCU is extremely talented and can play with anybody. And certainly, you know, it shouldn't be a matter of sort of when you lose in a tournament.
I hope it's going to come down to exactly what are these teams, how good are these teams in our league, and what they done, and not sitting there waiting to see what you are going to do next.
I mean, TCU is loaded with upperclassmen, too, and really have proven themselves as a program that can compete. I mean, I definitely think that our league teams should be well represented. I just wish I got to choose.
Q: Can you talk about after they were able to come back, the composure of your team, such a young team, to be able to weather that storm?
COACH ELLIOTT: Well, you know, that's been sort of a hit and miss proposition for us. We've done that certain times this season and we haven't done that. Our goal was the rest of this season, however long that was going to be, we were not going to have to look back and say we didn't give that, that we at some point folded.
When you do it's because you get into yourself. Your focus is in the wrong place. If your focus is in the right place, which is just being there every play, being there for your teammate if they need it, then you're not going to. You're going to force the other team to make plays to beat you as compared to beating yourself.
So I don't think that that will happen to us any more. I think that we're going to make that commitment however long this season lasts.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.
COACH ELLIOTT: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Mittie will be here in a moment. We can start with questions for Adrianne or Ashley.
Q: Can you talk about your performance in the second half and what your mindset was.
Adrianne Ross: Basically my mindset the second half was to do totally opposite to what I did the first half, and that was to keep my composure and be patient. Obviously it worked, but I dug myself to big of a hole in the first half to make the second half to be worth anything.
Q: Do you think the game was decided in the first half when you struggled there over basically the first 15 minutes?
Adrianne Ross: I didn't understand the question.
Q: Do you think the game was decided in the first half when you went cold for the first 12 minutes?
Ashley Davis: I don't think it necessarily was decided in the first half. I think we dug ourselves a hole in the first half. Offensively we weren't just clicking, getting our normal good shots that we usually get.
I do think we struggled in the first half, but I don't think the game was over at all.
Q: Can you talk about the emotion of seeing that shot trickle in at the end.
Adrianne Ross: At the end? I just remember watching the Air Force shot with Colorado State. I was like, Man, that must really suck because both teams played hard. Then de'ja vu and it happened to us.
Credit to them, you know, for not rushing down the court and getting a wild one like Coach Mittie said. All we can do is put that behind us and go from there.
Q: What are the next few days going to be like until you find out your post season fate?
Ashley Davis: I think the next couple days it's going to be hard, hoping we'll get in the tournament. We've been there pretty much every year since I've been here. That's definitely one of our goals going into the season.
I guess now it's just practice, stay in shape, just get some shots up, hope to see our name come up on Selection Sunday.
Q: What do you think the biggest feather in your cap is if you were to make a pitch to the selection committee?
Adrianne Ross: Well, usually we win the first round, so put us in there. We'll get up there and stir up some trouble.
I mean, we're a tournament team. This game is uncharacteristic because we like tournament play, short warmups, get in there and give it your all. We just didn't get it started the way we wanted to get it started.
I think bouncing back from tonight, taking these couple days, seeing if our name comes up on Sunday, keeping our fingers crossed, we put a lot of hard work into it. I think we'll get refocused and we'll find our niche that got us here in the tournament the last couple years.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, ladies. Questions for Coach Mittie.
Q: What are the next few days going to be like for you?
COACH MITTIE: You're asking me right after the game. I don't know. We'll get back home, probably take a couple days off, just kind of maybe get a workout or two in, just kind of stay in shape for selection. I think it's Monday, isn't it? So we'll wait on that and see where we go from there.
Q: Can you talk about the second half when Adrianne led you guys back, Helen contributed, Jen, as well?
COACH MITTIE: I thought we had a lot of players play well in the second half, I really did. Adrianne was quick off the dribble, made some good reads in motion. We had better movement. She hit some big shots.
Helen I thought hit some big shots. Jenna kind of cleaned up the scraps. I thought we were big on the glass. We didn't give them many second looks. But they didn't miss many shots tonight. There wasn't a whole lot of opportunities for them to rebound. I thought we did a solid job on the glass. I thought we fought hard.
Unfortunately, we did dig ourselves a hole. I thought in the first half we did not play well at all. I did not think we did things necessary to be a good team in the first half.
Q: What was that?
COACH MITTIE: We showed a lot of impatience, a lack of composure, things that we've talked about for a long time too long really. This is not a young basketball team. We're 31 games in. These should not be things we're still talking about, which is one of the reasons why we're sitting here talking about a loss.
Q: Do you think you have made enough of a case to go to the tournament?
COACH MITTIE: You know, probably out of all the years, I have less of a feel for this year than any of 'em. I think it's going to be real things will have to fall right, I think. I don't know. I mean, like I said, out of all the years, I probably have less of a feel for this year's tournament stuff than any year because I think the RPI's been a little bit different. Last year our RPI was so good. This year our RPI has really been upper 40s, low 50s. That's a tough spot to be in.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH MITTIE: Thank you.