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Paige Bueckers, Nika Muhl, & Aaliyah Edwards Postgame Press Conference: Creighton 2/19

May 28, 2024
Aaliah, what were the second half adjustments, what did you guys talk about in the locker room that were effective for you? The second half adjustments were definitely on the offensive end, we think we did well maintaining them. I think it was like 21 in Halim, then. We were good on the defensive end, we just kept rebounding, but offensively we need to move them more, get the ball moving from side to side and execute the things we wanted to execute as well for Leah, what was it like going against each other? The physicality in the first half and seeing Gino, you know, defend you like that when you had tea, what was the question: what was it like facing Kraton's physicality in the first half and then seeing Gino? to defend yourself and go up go up go up for you um when they called him for that oh yeah, it was a routine the whole game um but it's nothing we didn't expect um I think you know uh going against a team That's like we always move on the side offensive, so they push us and force us to communicate more often, so I think in terms of the aggressiveness that comes with the game, but I think we just work hard at it. guys secured at least a share of the 30th regular season


title, how much do you guys celebrate these goals on the way to your ultimate goal?
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Also, Gino moved on to Coach K today, so how important is that to you guys? um it's huge to just celebrate. the mini victories, obviously, when you come to Connecticut, the only thing you think about and are really known for are the national championships, but for us as a team, just the many milestones along the way, um, and you continue to develop great habits and practicing, um, I think I just just enjoyed those many milestones. I know the goal in front of us is to win the Big East Regular Season Championship, so that's what we're focused on right now and then of course celebrating the coach and the legacy and the greatness of him.
paige bueckers nika muhl aaliyah edwards postgame press conference creighton 2 19

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paige bueckers nika muhl aaliyah edwards postgame press conference creighton 2 19...

I mean, it's It's like a celebration every day with him, um, but I just congratulate him and I'm not surprised, but that's what he does. Paige, can you talk about your second half? If you were much more aggressive offensively and looked for shots yourself? Yes, I feel like I mean. In the first half I was aggressive, I just didn't take as many shots as I did in the second half, but I tried not to settle for getting to the basket more, getting out into the lanes on defense, which creates easier opportunities on offense, but Yes, especially when Aaliyah came out, you know, I had to step up knowing that she wasn't on the floor and I try to be even more aggressive in that moment, but yeah, I just keep looking for my opportunity. reading the defense, doing what the defense gives me and just staying aggressive, but for Paig and NAA you guys played almost the entire game today, I just want to say, what does your conditioning and training and all that look like at this point in the season? ?
paige bueckers nika muhl aaliyah edwards postgame press conference creighton 2 19
To stay fresh and also, you know, have the legs to last 39 minutes like that. I feel like we can thank Hoodie and our conditioning staff and Janelle for that, because I mean we can say we're used to having seven. players in rotation nine players on the court um but at the end of the day you need to have good people in the program that are going to make this happen and prepare you for things like this and they definitely did that and um I mean this a perfect example of how we did it. I feel like we've had a long stretch now with two games and a couple of practices being able to work hard for 40 minutes.
paige bueckers nika muhl aaliyah edwards postgame press conference creighton 2 19
I mean, it's thanks to them. Aaliyah um to your right um what would you do? let's say that's been the key for you, you say that since New Year's you're really on a really efficient and productive streak, you know, you come down the stretch playing really well, um, I would just say confidence, consistency, uh, I'm just trying to make it, um, make it easy. play for myself or for my teammates, be a stable player. I think it's helped me be more productive the last two games. Now I just got to March, like we said, we're trying to squeeze that chip in the Big.
Eastern Championship, so I'm working towards that and staying motivated to do it, Nico or Paige, so that you, collectively, as a group, are really effective on the glass, the guards can really be a big part of that effort. It's been the message, especially, you know, the last few weeks to make sure that they're helping Aaliyah and that they're able to not fall behind too much in that phase of the game. I mean, I feel like you know coach puts a lot of emphasis on that. You know, we see how hard Aaliyah fights there in the lane, sometimes it is today.
I saw that sometimes there were five of her players and Aaliyah got a rebound in front of all of them, so, just seeing that, it was like, oh, like you know that we. I need to step up and get in there and help her. I mean, I feel like Ash was nine. Paige had a lot, you know, just making sure she's not alone down there with ice. I feel like she grinds a lot there too. So we just need to make sure we know that we are undersized, so help each other step up, thanks Nia. Kraton's coach was just saying that he feels like every time a team comes to you, you. separate, but part of it is that Paige can make like five plays in a row that no one else in the


can play.
It's like you've been watching her do it for so long, but it's just that a big part of her has done it. Has it been fun for four years to watch her do that or is that not something you just take for granted? I guess you still admire her aism. Yeah, I feel like sometimes you know we take it for granted, you just know she's so consistent with her game she's so efficient with her game that after a while you think you know that's what she's going to do that's a which you know we're used to, but then you step back and watch his game and you're fine.
I'm surprised to know how talented she is, but people think it's talent, it's a lot of hard work, she's the hardest working player and she can come back from an injury and still be as consistent and even more efficient than you were before. I feel like today's game was a perfect testament to who she is. You know the shots weren't falling, but we as a team know we can't win without her and we're still going to make her play. We get screens for her and we still want her to shoot those shots and we still want her to play one-on-one and she always delivers because she needs, she knows we need her and that's how selfless she is and that's how great she is. she's so yeah, it's definitely been fun watching her play P Paige.
You mentioned on Friday that it was like a burden on your shoulders and it was an emotional night. Do you feel a little more relaxed or a little more relaxed? More relaxed now that that part is behind you and you know what the situation is going to be in the future, yeah, just making that decision, not having more questions all the time, and just being able to focus on the rest of the season. at hand um and sometimes the coaches yell at me or the CDRs yell at me and I just say okay, that's great, we have another year to work on it, so things like that it's just yeah, I would say it's very relevant. to get that off my chest Aaliyah, you're closing in on a thousand career rebounds, it looks like you'll be at Pace to accomplish that, assuming the team makes it to a certain round of the NCAA tournament, maybe even before that, but it's those . milestone types of things that you keep in mind throughout your career heading into the season, even throughout the season, only eight players have done that.
I wonder what it would mean for you to become the ninth, yeah, I mean, it's not something I really keep in mind, but to achieve that, then yeah, it would be cool to be one of the nine, but yeah, just my focus is to be ready. , be consistent and stay in the moment, don't get too ahead of yourself, so. um, but yeah, I'll continue with the rebounds. I can try to get that page. Two-part question, if you'll allow me, please, 28 games this season, this is the most you've played in a college season. I think 29 is your first year and you know, going back to high school, could you compare where you are physically, mentally and emotionally at this point in the season?
For example, with your first year and the second part it is a serious question, although you would probably be funny if you would ever leave. the autograph line if someone didn't take you out um so to answer the first question, I feel like all of us were freshmen when we came in like we were free dancing, we felt like we didn't have much responsibility. I know we did, but we didn't focus on that because we were so excited to play for UConn and no one was really focused on being tired and we just wanted to win and contribute in any way we could compare.
So far I have a different perspective because I've been in a position where I couldn't even play, so I don't really allow myself to think about being tired mentally, physically, emotionally, because I'm so grateful to be tired. Play a basketball game again, um, but yeah, there are some days where you know your legs hurt or your legs are tired from practice or a game or something, but overall I feel a sense of gratitude. for playing. I tend not to concentrate. on that um and I just enjoy playing basketball and I give it everything I have every time I'm on the court um and to answer your second question I'm not leaving until someone has to take me out so I can leave, but yeah, it's not up to me. .
Unless I or I stayed the whole time I would try to get everyone

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