Here is what Louisville coach Jeff Walz said to start his postgame press conference after Louisville lost 70-67 to Mississippi State in overtime at the Final Four Friday night.
“Thank you. Just first want to congratulate Vic and Mississippi State. What a great ball game. I mean, back and forth runs by both teams. It was a great ball game. I thought we competed, we played our hearts out. I thought they played their hearts out. Just an unbelievable basketball game,” Walz said.
“I’d like to thank these three next to me and the nine in our locker room right now. It was one of the most enjoyable seasons that I have had in coaching, and it’s not because of our record, it’s because of these young women. They’re not only great basketball players but they’re great people. And I told them, I said, you know, the most disappointing thing to me right now is that we’re not going to get a chance to practice tomorrow, and that’s the tough part of this.
“Athletics is a wonderful thing. It’s a great thing, boy, but there’s some ups and downs that just kick you square in the ass, and right now this is one of those. But you can’t let a moment define you. You’ve got to figure out what are you going to do to be able to get back here next year and then make sure that doesn’t happen.
“Myisha Hines-Allen, she’s a young lady that we’ve had four wonderful years together, and I truly — I treat them all like they’re my own daughters. There’s ups and downs. They don’t like me a lot. My 4 1/2-year-old doesn’t like me a lot. It’s okay. It’s called parenting. But the one thing I do know is this young lady is going to walk out of here with a degree, and she’s prepared for life. There’s no doubt in my mind.
“No matter what Myisha decides to do, she’s going to be successful, and we take great pride in that here. Not only winning basketball games, but making sure they are productive citizens, can make a contribution when they’re out there because, as my grandfather says at 96, that’s the most important thing I can do as a coach is make sure they go out there and they are productive and they contribute because he needs to keep getting his social security check. So he wants them to get good jobs and pay taxes.
“So it’s just — it’s a tough one, but I couldn’t be more proud of these young women.”