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Quotes Following Tulsa's 75-66 C-USA Title-Game Win Over UCF


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March 16, 2013

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Tulsa Head Coach Matilda Mossman

Opening Statement
"First off, I'd like to congratulate UCF on a great tournament. When you look back at the fact that they got back within four points, you see that they had a valiant effort and did everything they could to come back and win. Unfortunately, they didn't have Taleya Mayberry, and we did. When you have a senior who wants the ball as bad as she did, when you have a player who wants to score as badly as she did, when you have a player who wants to win as badly as she did this many days in a row, you can't lose. All of our seniors sent a message to the rest of the team that they were going to keep playing as long as they could and were going to lead us to a victory. Now we're going to the NCAA tournament."

On going to the NCAA Tournament
"I'm just so excited. A chill just sort of went through my body when I said it. We can talk about it, but now it is real. It's stunning. It is real."

On the keys to the game
"You can look at the fact that we had four players with double figure points. Taleya (Mayberry) had 30 points last night and 25 points tonight. Tiffani (Couisnard) didn't have the scoring or rebounding game that she had last night, but she was a defensive presence out there and such a leader for our team. I don't think that any of our individuals wanted to let them down tonight."

On Tulsa's view of the tournament
"When we looked at the tournament bracket, we showed the team the big picture. We examined what had to be done. When you look at the bracket, we talked about the fact that we needed to win four games in a row. UCF has done that before. TCU won four games and won. UAB went through four games and lost in the championship. It had been proven before that it could be done. We just went through it all and broke down each game. We never talked about legs being tired or being fatigued. We just kept saying to get an ice bath, get some rest, and to come back strong tomorrow. You have to give our guys credit. They just kept coming back. They just thought that this was a new day and a new game. I give all of the credit to them for being so focused and attentive all week. Our assistant coaches have done a great job on scouting and have had our team ready to play each day."

On playing four games in four days
"Four days ago, we were just taking it one game at a time. The more we played and the more deficits we came back from, the more confidence it gave us. We came in today I thought we were pretty confident and ready to play."

On the feeling of the moment
"I'm so happy for these guys. Our seniors hadn't had a winning season in their career until now. They're going to the NCAA Tournament. They're going to postseason play for the first time in their career. This is for that 2006 team that won the league and then won the conference tournament and went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Our alums, that 2006 team, they started this for us. This game is for those 2006 alums that were on that team, the last team that went to the NCAA Tournament."

On the confidence built from Tulsa's momentum
"Any time you put a new group together, it takes time. We were starting two freshmen and playing a third one a lot. It just takes time. As we went and those freshmen got experience and what happens is your leaders start depending on those freshmen. Our leadership was awesome. Tiffani Couisnard and Taleya Mayberry, they were not going to be denied. You saw Taleya wanted the ball at the end. She wanted it in her hands. I wanted it in her hands too. That wasn't a problem. I thought Tiffany and Taleya weren't going to lose. They weren't going to lose."

On Tulsa's seniors leaving on a high note
"I promise you that Tiffani Couisnard's knees are worse than any of yours. I don't care how bad your knees are, hers are worse than yours. During the season, we were giving her the day off after every game. To ask her to come in and play four games in a row, that kid is in pain right now but she wasn't going to give into the pain. She wanted to win a championship."

On Tulsa's play this week
"Being aggressive is kind of our mojo. When you have a ball handler like Mayberry that can play both ends. Kelsee Grovey is one of the better defenders in the league. Playing physical and up-tempo is our style."

On playing at home
"I don't know how many thousands of people were here, but this group gave us energy. Even at the end, when they were cutting our lead and all the sudden it's a six-point game and a four-point game, this crowd got into it. They fueled us those last two minutes for sure. They fueled us the entire game. They definitely fueled us those last two minutes."

On Taleya Mayberry's level of play
"She's a senior that's playing like she doesn't want her season to end. She doesn't want to quit playing. There are a lot of kids out there, especially when you have a .500 record, that just want to check out and go to spring break. She's not one of those."

On going dancing in the NCAA Tournament
"I can't explain it. In 2005, my Norman High team won a state championship in Tulsa. That feeling last night was the same kind of feeling that I had in 2005. I felt pretty confident coming into today. I'm just so excited for these guys to get to go to the NCAA Tournament."

On when ball on the rim fell in, if she thought it was their day
"Kind of. Certain things happen at the end and it's like `yeah, we're supposed to win.'"

MVP Taleya Mayberry

On winning the Conference USA tournament and making it to the NCAA tournament
"Oh my goodness. It is awesome. Coming in to this tournament, the seniors made a conscious effort. Coach told us that Tulsa hasn't won a conference tournament game since 2006. We just wanted to come here and leave our mark on Tulsa and create a legacy."

On her career at Tulsa
"It brings up so many emotions in me. We struggled when I first came into this program. I just tried to stay with it. I've always had my teammates and my coaches behind me. They told me to be patient and just keep working because our time was coming. Hard work doesn't go unnoticed."

UCF Head Coach Joi Williams

Opening Statement
"Obviously it's disappointing to get to this point and not be able to close it out. I want to give a lot of credit to Tulsa, though. They did a great job of following their game plan and playing disciplined basketball. We just didn't play defensively like we had been throughout the tournament and that was disappointing. I'm still really proud of our team and how they fought to get to this point, because I don't think that anyone expected us to be here. I'm really proud of how far we've come this season and that we were able to come to this point. We had the opportunity, we just couldn't capitalize on it."

On UCF's run in the second half
"We made a push offensively, yes, but this time of March we have to talk about getting stops and rebounding. We knew going into this game that Tulsa was a great rebounding team, and we gave up a few too many offensive boards and too many points in the paint. At the end of the day, our run ended because we didn't make the stops when we needed to. We did make a push, though, and our team never quit. We never stopped believing in the huddle. I really give our girls credit for that because, all year, they never stopped believing in what we could do."

On playing four games in four days
"Both teams played four games in four days and I think we both averaged playing only seven or eight players. This time of year everyone is just running on adrenaline and I'm sure everyone's legs are a little fatigued, just like everyone in the country who is playing in March. For us what it came down to was getting stops and we didn't get them when we needed to and it cost us the game."

On the last two minutes
"I think we got anxious. We had back-to-back turnovers and didn't get the best shots that we could have. So that made us anxious and we turned it over. We didn't have good looks. We just didn't finish today."

On the play of Tulsa's Taleya Mayberry
"She's an outstanding player, and she's a senior, just like Gevenia. They don't want their careers to end, so we had a lot of respect for Mayberry coming in. It's tough to stop her. You're not going to hold her scoreless. So what we tried to do was to make it as tough on her as we could. But she did a great job tonight and she got her teammates involved. Really the key for us was not letting everybody else get out. But Ashley Clark had a great game, they all had a great game. They shot the ball extremely well tonight. It was an all around good night for them offensively. We just didn't play defensively like we needed to."

On the balance of the conference
"I think the championship game being between the six seed and the eight seed shows how balanced the league is. I don't think that if you had asked anyone who would be in this game that they would have said it would be UCF and Tulsa. But, just like I'm sure Coach Mossman feels, I felt all along that anyone, one through twelve, could be in the championship game. I think that's how much parody there is. No disrespect to SMU, because they did get it done every night as a regular season champion. But there is that much parody in our league that anyone could win the tournament. It probably is surprising to a lot of people, but I think the coaches in the league recognize how much parody there is and how wide open the tournament was."

UCF Guard Gevenia Carter

On UCF's run in the second half
"We felt good about it. We're a team, we've been a team and we've been playing as a team. As a family unit you always believe in each other. That's one thing we always do, we believe in the coaches and we believe in ourselves. So the run felt good, but we fell short."