March 19, 2010
Baylor head women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, Morghan Medlock and Melissa Jones all met with members of the media prior to Baylor's first round NCAA matchup against Fresno State.
Below are quotes from the press conference:
Head Coach Kim Mulkey
On how Big 12 games help prepare for the NCAA Tournament:
"There's never a game in the Big 12 where you don't feel like you were playing to survive - and that's what you do in the NCAA Tournament. You get everyone's best shot. If you look at our league, it's brutal. It's brutal. It's so physical, it's so tough. There so many great coaches in the league and so many different styles of play in the league. That's why the Big 12 is respected. That's why it leads the country in fan attendance, because people want to come out and see good basketball every night. You can look at [playing in the Big 12] in two ways. When you leave the Big 12, we're all relieved to get to the NCAA Tournament because we feel like we've prepared each other to go deep into the tournament. Yet sometimes, you wonder if we don't beat each other up and we're just mentally and physically fatigued."
On having Brittney Griner back affects Baylor's game:
"Well, the impact on our team is that we have a big cog in the middle of the paint. She'll be fine. Brittney Griner is one of the softest, sweetest kids that you'll ever visit with. She made a terrible mistake, and she has certainly had to deal with all the things that have been said about her. She will hopefully get back to being the player that she was prior to that. I thought that in the Big 12 Tournament, that she was very timid. Hopefully, with three of four days practice this week and getting on her and trying to make her understand, `Don't stop being Brittney on the floor.' We'll find out tomorrow. We'll find out tomorrow. I think she'll get back to being the player that she was prior to the incident. But I don't know if it will be tomorrow. I don't know when it will be. You can't help but be a little bothered by all the media attention that the incident caused."
On how Griner fits into the past talents in women's basketball:
"Well Brittney hasn't done anything yet. What you're talking about, at this point, is the dunk and the fact that she plays about the rim. Let's wait and let's see what Brittney's career does and let that unfold before we can talk about and compare her to the some of the greats of the past. We certainly anticpate that she will be. I think it's only fair to let Brittney have a career first and talk about her in past tense, once her career is over. Let's enjoy her while we have her. I don't have a problem telling you that she's the first player that's been around that's played above the rim. I've played with all the great ones. I've played with all the ones that were ahead of the times. But they didn't play above the rim. [Griner] plays above the rim."
On potential success in the NCAA Tournament this year:
"I've never been one to make any excuses. This team, what are we? We're 24-9 with a four seed. We got as high as five in the country at one point, and we're playing predominately freshmen. A few sophomores and Melissa Jones, Kelli [Griffin] and Morghan [Medlock]. Morghan is a sophomore in my eyes because we've only had her in the program for two years. The injury to Melissa Jones forced us to play more freshmen for longer periods of time than you would like. We'd lose a game, and we'd find a way to win a game. And then we'd win another. And then we'd lose a game. I certainly believed that we have talent out there. The games we're losing, it's because of older players on the other teams executing plays. I can only think that the experience that our freshmen are getting is going to help them down the road. Now where is that down the road? Is that now? Is it the next game? If they stay healthy, is it next year? I don't know. But I know this, I've never coached a team at Baylor in 10 years where I've had to rely on this many freshmen to play, and I have to believe that they're going to be rewarded some day."
Junior Guard Melissa Jones
On her thoughts about the NCAA Tournament:
"This is the time you play for. You spend the off-season, summer workouts, conference, pre-conference to get to the NCAA Tournament. And to get where we are, I can't think of how more excited our team could be"
On her injury:
"I feel like I am ready to get back on the floor and play for as long as possible for as much as possible. I've longed to be on the court for quite some time now, ready to go full force."
On how the team has changed since playing at Berkeley in December:
"I think our team has grown a lot since we first played here and through conference play. Since our team is so young, all the valuable minutes we have been able to get in the Big 12 has allowed us to get a lot of experience, which plays a big role in how we are playing now"
On the last time Baylor played Fresno State:
"We played them my freshman year. Obviously were two much different ball teams now, but Fresno State is a very good basketball team, and it is going to take a lot of hard work to defend them."
Senior Forward Morghan Medlock
On having teammate Melissa Jones on the court:
"She's our emotional leader on the floor. Her and our point guard, Kelli Griffin, are the two most experienced here at this program. They are very familiar with Coach Mulkey and the system. It's nice to have the upperclassmen who have been to the NCAA Tournament and who have that type of leadership."
On her NCAA Tournament thoughts"
"I cannot wait for tomorrow to come. I am really excited. It is my last year, I am very proud of my team. We got a four seed, and we are ready to play in the NCAA Tournament. I am really excited about the region we were placed in. What Coach [Mulkey] was talking about earlier in film, it was quiet, not a lot going on. It's pretty outside. There's just a lot of stuff to be excited about."