Mizzou 57, No. 17 Texas A&M 62



Jan. 23, 2014

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Mizzou Women's Basketball
Mizzou 57, #17 Texas A&M 62
January 23, 2013 - Mizzou Arena
Postgame Quotes

Mizzou Head Coach Robin Pingeton

Opening Statement...
"First of all, thanks for coming out and covering our program. We certainly appreciate it. I continue to be very proud of our players. It's a special group. I feel like they're a very resilient group. They continue to work hard. I thought we played really hard for 40 minutes. There were a couple of possessions there, again, on the offensive end and on the defensive end we've got to continue to shore up on. We are right there - it's hard. Last year you get beat by 20, 30-plus and that's a tough position to be in. I think we've grown so much as a team and now we're right there. Single possessions. It's hard in a different kind of way, but I'd much rather be in the position we are now. We're a good free throw shooting team. I think we're top five in the country. We've got to knock down our free throws. We can't leave eight points out there on the free throw line. Then, again, I just think our Achilles heel, which in the first half we did a better job of than we did in the second half, we knew they'd turn up the pressure. When they score 17 points off our turnovers - we're going to turn the ball over. There's no doubt about it. But we can't allow for those uncontested layups off of our turnovers. Then offensively I felt like we had a couple empty possessions there late that kind of hurt us. But again, it's a 40-minute game. This is a great group. I think we've got great leadership on our team, great resiliency, and we're going to continue to work hard. We're right there. We've got to stay the course and hang in."

On Texas A&M defending Morgan Eye...
"I still thought we got some good looks. Really, probably in hindsight I should've put Sierra Michaelis out there for a few minutes. I think she's a kid that has the ability to create off the bounce a little bit. Morgan [Eye] and Maddie [Stock] do a great job for us, and they're a key piece to the puzzle. But getting another kid other than Bri Kulas that can create off the bounce might've helped us in the second half to loosen them up a little bit."

On impressions of Texas A&M...
"I would say A&M is the best defensive team that we've played so far this season. I think their athleticism, their size - I just think they're a great team - I really do. I'm really impressed with Texas A&M. But I'm really impressed with our team too and I'm really proud of them. To see the growth that we've seen and consistently throughout the season, month-by-month, week-by-week, game-by-game, and that hurts. Losing is no fun. I'm probably the worst loser you'll ever meet. But I'm going to keep things in perspective and not just evaluate our team by that scoreboard. I've seen so much growth in our kids. It's really an exciting time in our program. But you just want it to show up on that scoreboard. We'll hang in there. I've said this before- not too high after big wins, not too low after losses. Resiliency is so important. We've just got to hang in there, and we have another big game on Sunday."

On coaching the team after losses...
"I think that's our job as coaches, as mentors, as leaders. We've got to really understand the pulse of our team, and absolutely you've got to hold them accountable. You've got to keep coaching them. You can't let them feel sorry for themselves. You've got to demand that they make adjustments, but at the same time you've got to make sure they focus on the positive things too. Tonight Jordan Frericks did so many things well for us. You can't hang your head over going 1-for-5 from the free throw line. You've got to get better. You've got to get in the gym. But we went to bed where we're at tonight without her. I think that's the case for all our kids. I really believe we're on the same page. We've got one heartbeat in that locker room and I really have a good understanding of where we're at as a program. We knew it wasn't going to be easy and there were going to be adversities. I don't sense anybody wavering, anybody hanging their heads. It hurts. It should hurt. But we're all going to go home and look at it, reflect and evaluate. But by golly, when the sun rises tomorrow, we're going to get better and move forward, and that's got to be the mindset."

On handling Texas A&M's size...
"I think we did alright. I didn't think we were intimidated at all. That's the thing about our girls- Kayla [McDowell], Jordan [Frericks], Morgan Stock - those are three kids that didn't get any minutes last year. There's just a lot of inexperience out there. There was a time where we had Lindsey Cunningham, Maddie Stock, Morgan Stock, Jordan [Frericks] and Kayla [McDowell] out on the court there. They're not intimidated. They're a confident group. They've got great toughness to them. Now do we have to continue to develop our skill and execution in areas? Absolutely. But I love our confidence and our toughness that we played with.

Junior Guard Morgan Eye:

On how Texas A&M shut down Mizzou's 3-point shooting...
I felt like the first half that they were giving me enough space to get if off and the second half it was almost like a full-on denial. It was hard to get off screens. I think that was the difference in the second half - just trying to get open and having them face-guard me made it very tough.

On getting over the hump against ranked teams...
I think it's everyone just looking at themselves in the mirror at the end of the day and taking ownership of their mistakes and then knowing that we're right there and we just have to work on those little things. I think we have a group of girls that'll do that; take responsibility and get better at practice. We are going to keep making mistakes but we have to keep pushing on and I think we did that tonight. We made mistakes but we kept saying `next play.' Now it's just the next game.

On her first half performance...
I was thinking `not tonight.' We really wanted this one and I felt like we kept fighting until the end and it doesn't always work out the way you want it to. But we're just going to keep going to work like we always do.

Senior Forward Bri Kulas

On not getting to low on losses and too high on wins...
Yeah. It was definitely a tough loss but we can't hang our heads. We just have to keep going forward and just really get after it tomorrow at practice. We have Mississippi State at their place on Sunday.

Texas A&M Coach Gary Blair

Opening Statement...
"Sticking with their game plan: shoot 3s and shoot them well. In the second half, we did a better job of getting out there instead of running into screens. They were setting a lot of double-screens. We'd get by the first one and then we'd run right into the second one. I think sometimes when you completely rely on that 3, you can win a lot of ballgames that way because I don't have a lot of 3-point shooters; so what we want to do is shoot less 3s, but against the zone sometimes you have to shoot. That's more than we usually shoot: 15. We were wanting to put a lot of attention on Kulas. Seven turnovers, 11 rebounds, five out of the ten, she's just a great player - one of the best in our league. But we made her work for it. A couple times in the second half she'd have a travel or something under there. Missed a couple bunnies that I know she'd love to have back. Walker had her for a while, Scott had her for awhile and nobody had her for awhile, too. Morgan Eye, what a catch-and-shoot person. That's your next Ray Allen type of kid. You can play Division I college basketball if you can catch and shoot and play adequate defense and she represent y'all very well; did a great job. But then give our defense some credit in the second half because I think we did a few things to hurt them. I could not play my bigs against y'all. It's like guarding a five-guard offense and we got hurt a couple of times when I had to put Williams or somebody on 22 (Jordan Frericks) and she stung us a couple of times but I had to go to what it took to win the game. As a result, we lose the rebounding battle that way. But it was a good college basketball game. Robin (Pingeton) is doing a great job with her team there. I think you have a bona-fide first team All-SEC player in Kulas and the Eye kid isn't too far behind her. I give a lot of credit to Missouri; they're going through a tough stretch: seven out of eight ranked teams that they've played. But this is the SEC. We're not in the Big 12 anymore. You play against Olympians and All-Americans everyday in every sport.

On getting to the free throw line in the second half...
"Another thing in the second half - we got to the free throw line 12 times and zero in the first half. We started attacking. We started running a double-high thing and turning the ball back to Williams at the high or somebody or to Walker at the high and we created a little bit of offense that way. It was a mix-and-match. We ran in-bounds plays we screwed them up every time because I had so many guards in there that they didn't know what to do."

Texas A&M Sophomore Guard Courtney Walker

On what they did differently defensively in the second half...
"We really did the same thing as the first half except we did no-catch on Morgan Eye because she's such a quick catch-and-shoot that any type of help is a shot and a make. There was no-help, no-catch on her at all opposed to the first half where we were just tight on everyone and just small help and get back. I think that really helped, her not getting touches. We really had to adjust, like (Coach) said. We had the guards on Kulas so they started posting her and we were tagging her with the screens so they would run her off of the screens behind her and we would post her up so then we had to work to get back in front. I think we did well and I think she only scored on that one or two times. We did a good job in the second half of adjusting to what they were doing."

On how her game has changed this year compared to last...
"Last year we had all of the upperclassmen that we started with and they carried us as far as leadership goes. This year we're all about the same age and the people that are upperclassmen just got here this year transferring. I think it's a lot more pressure on us as far as who are we going to look up to because it's us. But I think we're doing a good job of looking to each other and relying on each other to take the pressure off of ourselves."

Texas A&M Redshirt Freshman Guard Curtyce Knox

On how comfortable their team is starting to feel in the closer games...
"We're really getting comfortable. It would be nice if we could just pull away in some games and finish plays but I think at the end of the game it's just about the little things: blocking out and finishing the plays."



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