Video & Transcript: Baylor Sizes Up Hawkeyes

March 31, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Q. Obviously you and Megan are Lisa Leslie Award finalists. A lot’s going to be made of that matchup. Is it over hyped or is it important as all the hype is going to make it out to be?
KALANI BROWN: I think it’s a little of both to be honest. It’s just going to be two great post players playing a game.

Q. Chloe, your first time this deep in the tournament. What’s the experience like and how does it feel to be this close to your first Final Four?
CHLOE JACKSON: It feels great. It’s a blessing to be here, and just trying to go out and play the hardest we can, and hopefully we get to a final four, which will be amazing.

Q. I think the first time I heard you mention Tampa specifically this season was during the Big 12 Championship celebration. Now that you’re one game away, what’s the mood of the team like?
DIDI RICHARDS: I think we’re excited and ready to go there. So the quicker we get there, the better. Get the game started and get the win and get to Tampa.

Q. They have another pretty good post player inside or another good inside player. Can you talk about the matchup and could you be on Gustafson, as well?
LAUREN COX: Yeah, I think it’s going to take both of us to stop her. She’s a good post player. They have a good duo inside with Stewart and her. They run kind of some of the same stuff we do with the lob plays and kind of like our main offense look, we call it Baylor, but just like that high-low passing. So I think it will be a good matchup.

Q. What’s it like the day before the long wait? Is that the hardest part? Waiting throughout the day and then tomorrow, and how do you handle the downtime?
KALANI BROWN: Yeah, waiting is the hardest part because you’re so anxious to get out there and you’re so anxious to play. But you know, we just do what we normally do in a normal routine. It’s best not to change anything.

CHLOE JACKSON: I would say I’m pretty relaxed. Just kind of rest your legs all day. Just get mentally prepared. Never think too hard on it. Just kind of wait around for game time.

Q. Can you talk about some of the challenges you anticipate going up against Megan?
KALANI BROWN: Well, with my lack of mobility, maybe her trying to get around me will be the biggest issue. I’m just going to try to move my feet and stay with her. I mean, we’re both lefties. We’ll see.

Q. I remember one time during the game, Kim said something to you about be aggressive. Do you need to come out and maybe try to come out firing it, I guess?
JUICY LANDRUM: Definitely, I think I definitely do need to come out and be more aggressive. But when she pulled me to the sideline and told me to be more aggressive, that’s my motivation from her.

Q. Can you talk about the style of play you expect from Iowa that maybe different from what you saw yesterday?
LAUREN COX: I think they are going to shoot a lot more threes than South Carolina did. South Carolina is quicker than they are and they like to get out in transition. Not to say that Iowa won’t get out in transition, but I think they will try shoot more threes and establish their post presence early.

KALANI BROWN: They are going to try to get to their high-low game. I know their posts are a vital asset to their offense, so I don’t think they are going to try and change anything as far as that goes.

Q. You’ve mentioned how unfiltered Coach Mulkey is it and you obviously sometimes are, as well. Can you try to explain the team and how they fight and play for her because of how she fights and plays for you?
DIDI RICHARDS: I kind of feel like if you have a coach that you know that has your back, you’re going to have her back no matter what, and I feel like our team, and our chemistry is something that, you know, is shown because of how much we have each other’s back, I guess.

Q. Didi obviously went off big-time yesterday. Just curious which one of y’all is going to go off big tomorrow, who’s feeling it? Whichever thinks you’re going to have a hot hand.
JUICY LANDRUM: All five of us.

KALANI BROWN: We’re all big-time, come on.

DIDI RICHARDS: We all are.

(All five players chiming in simultaneously)

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KALANI BROWN: I said everybody. I said all five have a hot hand.

LAUREN COX: I think that’s what sets us apart from some people you is never know who is going to go off. Didi, people play off of her because they don’t think she has an offensive game. She proved that last night. She had 25 points, a new career-high. So it can be any one of us.

Q. I don’t believe you’ve fouled out this year. How big is that to keep you guys on the floor, and how much of that plays into the freshmen being able to spell y’all some?
KALANI BROWN: It does play a key role. We just have to play smart. Keep our hands straight up and not foul. You know, with our size, we can alter a lot of shots, so us being on the floor is very important.

LAUREN COX: I agree with Kalani, and like you said, the freshmen can come in and relieve us when they get tired. They don’t miss a beat when they come in.

Q. I’m sure there will be a lot made of the Kalani / Megan Gustafson matchup, both being Lisa Leslie Award finalists. Is that over-hyped or is that a pretty critical part of the game tomorrow?
COACH KIM MULKEY: I don’t know why it’s over-hyped or even a discussion. She’s a national Player of the Year. We’ve got our hands full.

Q. Just the matchup itself and style of play from Iowa, what do you see from them?
COACH KIM MULKEY: I see that everything they do offensively goes through Gustafson, and she is a tremendous player. And if you try to go down there and double her or help, she has perimeter players that shoot the 3-ball that you can’t leave them open. While she’s the best player in the country according to ESPN, she isn’t doing it by herself. She has plenty of help around her.

Q. You just mentioned there their perimeter players. Is there a matchup in particular outside of paint that you are keying on or that you really want to emphasize winning that battle defensively?
COACH KIM MULKEY: No. They are too good. Too balanced to focus on one particular player. I think it’s the same way with Gustafson. You know, everybody talks about her but that team is not a one-person show. And they all play well together. They complement each other well. So there’s not just one, if-you-stop-this-one-you’re-going-to-win-the-ballgame. They are too good.

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Q. Played Iowa in the Sweet 16 four years ago and handled them pretty easily. Is this a better team you’re facing tomorrow?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Now, I can’t remember yesterday. Now, how are you going to get me to remember four years ago? I can’t remember that. I can’t remember my team from four years ago.

Q. Kalani seemed tongue-in-cheek when she talks about her lack of mobility. How has she improved in that over the years?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Well, tell me who you’re with — where are you from?

Q. Excuse me?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Identify yourself.

Q. David Newton. ESPN.com.
COACH KIM MULKEY: Well, David, you wrote that she plays small at times, I think. So she hasn’t shrunk. She’s still 6-7. I don’t know what you mean by mobility. She’s not a perimeter player. Gustafson is not a perimeter player. Kalani had to guard Anigwe who averaged a double-double for Cal who was on pace to have tons of double-doubles. That kid’s pretty athletic. Kalani guarded her. So I’m not sure where this mobility problem people keep bringing up comes from.

Foul-line-to-foul-line are where basketball games are won, and Kalani Brown at her size can run foul-line-to-foul-line in my opinion as well as any big girl in the game.

So I don’t know about mobility. Maybe, you know, my idea of not being very mobile is different than your description of it, but I don’t — I don’t see where that kid has a mobility problem. She shoots the perimeter shot as well as any big girl I’ve coached. She doesn’t have to do it much, but she can shoot the perimeter shot. So she’s not limited to just go plop on the board and wait for an offensive board and put-back.

I don’t know. I’ve read that. I’m sure she’s read that. Maybe that comes from her freshman year or something when we played Oregon State and she had to go way out and guard three-point shooters where they had post players that shot the three. Maybe that’s where that’s coming from, I don’t know.

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All I know is the kid’s a special player and she has her hands full against what is y’all’s opinion, the best player in the country, and she’s pretty good. She averages a lot of points, a lot of rebounds. I just don’t want Kalani to have nightmares all night.

Q. I remember at one point during the game, I don’t remember if you pulled her to the side or if you actually just said it to her when she was out there, but you said something to Juicy about being aggressive. Do you need her to like maybe come out firing or be more aggressive with her shot?
COACH KIM MULKEY: No. Juicy’s coming into this regional, Juicy is our leading scorer. I need Juicy just to be Juicy. Sometimes Juicy gets a little passive and quiet; instead of shooting the ball, she’ll pass it, or instead of getting up in somebody defensively, sometimes she’ll ball watch. That’s all.

You know, she’s been really, really tremendous for us this year.

Q. Do you have any gauge on your team’s attitude and mood today on the cusp of such a big game tomorrow night?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Breakfast, I thought our morning devotion — today’s Sunday and we always do a morning devotion, was the same. I thought the film room was the same. You know, they are just happy kids. They are happy people. They just talk, chatty. Watch the film. Listen to the scouting report. I didn’t — I just — same old bunch.

Q. I think this is your eighth trip to the Elite 8 in the last ten years. Iowa hasn’t been to this level since ’93. Is that an advantage?
COACH KIM MULKEY: No. No. I’m not going to pass or shoot. Those kids have to go out there on the floor and they have to do it, and it’s an exciting time for all those kids on both teams, and it should be.

Q. Coach, is there any point in the tournament where you’re watching other games and trying to figure out if you can take something from any other team and implement it into your game plan?
COACH KIM MULKEY: Not really. Each team has its own identity. To change something this late date, I don’t think would be wise. You might see maybe a tendency of a team you’re going to play that you may not have recognized on film that they are now doing and you might want to take that away defensively, or you might see a quick hitter or an in-bounds or something.

But pretty much everybody’s identities are established at this point. I have always believed that if you try to change late in the game, you’re making a team do something that is not who they are.

So I don’t — when I watch film of other teams, I don’t sit there and go, gosh, we need to change and do that.

So no.

Q. When you have a late game the next day, because you played early yesterday, and then you don’t play till late tomorrow. Is this day hard, or how do you keep it routine when you have such a long day just to wait?
COACH KIM MULKEY: I don’t think this day is hard. Tomorrow may be harder because you’re waiting and waiting and waiting, but I don’t think today is hard. Today is needed to rest your bodies, to do some more film work.

Tomorrow, just sitting around, waiting all day, could be a little bit more difficult.

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