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|| BAYLOR QUOTES: PRE NCAA FINAL FOUR
On her health:
"Don't ask me to smile. And I think the distortion of the face is mild compared to cases I have seen before. The biggest problem I'm having is my eyes. The light bothers me. The tears and the dryness and itchiness they say is all a part of it. And my ears. I feel like one ear is blown out and I can't tell if the other one is hearing or if it's just off balance.
"As far as the distortion or whatever you want to call it of the face, hell, I'm just another ugly coach (laughter). It is what it is. And I'm not vain, so it doesn't matter."
On playing Stanford for first time this season:
"I have something to compare it to. I guarantee you Notre Dame and Connecticut don't enjoy playing each other four times, but the good thing is they're doing it at the Final Four. Yes, I would much rather play teams that you don't know so much about.
"It's exciting for us because I don't think we've played Stanford since Nneka was a freshman. I'd have to go back and make sure I'm not overmedicated and forgotten something here. But, yeah, it's exciting to play somebody different. We are familiar with Stanford. I recruited all three of those Houston kids. And these kids, Odyssey and Brittney and Brooklyn Pope, they've gone head to head in some serious competition in the summer between the two organizations. So they're all familiar with each other."
On whether or not she feels pressure coaching Brittney Griner:
"Not at all. Not at all. And I want to say this to all of you: Don't ask her about the Olympics when you go talk to her. That's a non-issue. She's kind of surprised that the Olympic team was even announced at the college Final Four. Her focus is a national championship. Brittney is a blessing every day I go to work. Because so many great ones that are as good as she is and have done more than she has done, you don't enjoy coaching them sometimes because they know they're good and they don't work hard and they have an attitude about them that they're better than everybody else. When I'm done with Brittney Griner, the thing I'll tell people is: That child brought her workpail to work every day. She brought it every day to practice. She never had a bad day in practice.
"Her worst days were just missed shots or she thought she should have done something better. But she brought her A game to the floor every day."
On team being focused:
"I just told them at half court that that hour of practice was -- of course you're not out there showing your hand on anything. It's more for the fans. But I saw a focused basketball team. I saw a team that came and they're enjoying being out there. But at the same time, they focused on finishing, shooting. Look, it's beyond coaches now. The coaches have gotten each of their teams here. It's now in the players' hands. It's now players making plays.
"The big stage is when the big-time players surface. It's not about coaching at this point."
On Shanay Washington:
"Well, Shanay Washington was a starter for us as a freshman. She and Griner were two of our players that started. That's how much I think of her talent. And for her to have another knee injury. She has a decision to make at the end of the year to either give up the game, medically have the surgery, do I even have the surgery if I'm going to give up the game. There's lots of things that I'm sure she's thinking about.
"But here's what I do know: She's a part of this team. She'll always be a part of this team whether she can play again or not. She'll travel with us. And whatever she's allowed to do, she will do. We have brought her along, and if she's got a uniform on and we're playing for that championship and we're way ahead and there's an opportunity to put her on that floor, I'm going to look at her and say: Do you want to go step out there? That's how much I think of Shanay Washington."
On maintaining positive attitude:
"Listen, the alternatives are worse. Bell's palsy is fixable. Bell's palsy with time will get better. This is just a -- I guess you call it a little bump in the road. I can assure you the spit that will fly out of my face in a timeout won't faze them. Or the spit that will come out of my mouth, they'll understand what I'm saying.
"It's really nothing. It hasn't affected them.
"It hasn't affected me. It aggravates me. It aggravates me, but there are worse things in life. And you just deal with it. Kidney stone would hurt a lot worse than this. Having a baby didn't hurt near as bad as a kidney stone. You deal with it. Every male in here needs to have a kidney stone. It's the closest thing to child birth for y'all, so y'all need a kidney stone."
On staying focused:
"You see the prize at the end. It's right there. So it's not hard at all to stay focused."
On Neka and Chiney Ogwumike:
"Looking forward to it a lot. I haven't seen Neka or Chiney since high school, since summer ball. They play remarkable together. That sister instinct for each other on the floor at high/low. We're going to have to guard them and keep them off the guards."
On people saying that she's changing the game:
"I mean, I wouldn't really say I'm changing it. I'm just adding on to what great players before me have added on. And I know there will be somebody there that comes along and do something I couldn't do and add on. And that's the thing about it. Just keep adding on to the game."
On Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike:
"We expect a good matchup. They have two outstanding post players; we have a bunch of outstanding post players. It's going to be a great matchup. I think it's going to come down to who rebounds the ball well. Both posts will get great touches and finish around the rim. It's going to be an exciting game."
On matching up against Stanford:
"It's exciting to play against a team you haven't seen all year. It will be a great matchup. Stanford will do some things to try to score, and we're going to do some things to score and turn out a defensive rebounding. They are coached by a great coach, and we have a fantastic coach. So it's like an even matchup. And it's going to be an exciting game for women's basketball, for people to watch, and go out for a win."
On differences betwen Ogwumike sisters:
"Nneka has more experience than the younger sister. She's the leader on that team. She's just helping her sister out to become a phenomenal player like she is. And Nneka has improved her shooting to her skills, and Chiney is just more of an offensive rebounder, close-to-the-basket-type post, and Nneka extending her game, working on her 3 shooting. It's a little different, but pretty much hustle plays. They're the same about that."
On the keys to a win against Stanford:
"We have to keep them off the boards, especially the Ogwumike sisters, stop ball penetration and stop the 3-point [shooting]. For us, we just have to execute our offense and play our game."
On Baylor having a perceived target on the back:
"Definitely it feels like there is a target on our backs because everybody wants us to go 40-0. We just have to take it game-by-game. If we get to 40-0, we will be happy about it, but we need to take it one at a time because if we lose Sunday, then we can't be 40-0."
On what it will take to get to the championship game:
"We just have to be patient and do our inside-out game and the most important thing is we have to play defense. We are just more mature than we were two years ago. We're back at the same spot and two years ago we made it this far, but we had not made it [before]."
On being a senior leader of a team that has no seniors in its starting lineup:
"I just help my team out any way I possibly can like when my teammates [get too excited], telling them to keep a calm head." On playing in the NCAA Tournament all four years of her career: "I feel really excited, especially to be able to come to the NCAA Tournament four times."
On dealing with the pressure of advancing to the Final Four as the No. 1 team in the country:
"There is a lot of pressure because most people expect us to win since we're the No. 1 team, going 38-0. Of course we want to win a national championship, but we want to take it one game at a time. We want to stay focused and hope to come out of here with a "W."
On returning to the Final Four for the second time in three years:
"I'm not going to say we are used to it, but it is new to some people. We have one freshman and we have (sophomores) Odyssey (Sims) and Makenzie (Robertson), so it will probably be new to them. But to (the upperclassmen), it's not that new."
On playing some of the other national powers in the Final Four:
"It's exciting for us. The last time we were here it was my freshman year and it's a good experience for us to come and see other teams and play against other talented people that we haven't seen. It is good for our program, too. Our fans - they like to come out to watch us, have fun, be here and enjoy it."
On how to defend Stanford's Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike:
"I think what we are going to have to do is we are going to have to box out and limit them to one chance shots and limit them to scoring easy buckets. We need to make them shoot perimeter shots and guard them."