Quotable: Cougs close, but not close enough at USC
FROM LOS ANGELES — As we typically do, we have more quotes to pass along after WSU's tough, 72-68 loss to USC here on Thursday night. Read on.
(Does this one hurt any more than the other close losses?) "It feels like the same. It feels like we can go back to a few other games earlier in the year and scrap and fight, scrap and fight, we’re ahead midway, a little bit later than midway through the second half. Well, we weren’t really ahead, but we were right in there with whatever, four or five minutes to go. And we had a hard time converting, a hard time scoring field goals down the stretch with the exception of about a minute or two. That four or five minute stretch felt like it was the difference in the game.
"It’s hard to win that way. And yet we ran some decent stuff. I thought we had some pretty good looks. Maybe I’ll watch the video and think differently, but I think we had some pretty decent looks."
(Is it hard to make changes when what you're doing is working for 30 minutes?) "If I thought changing stuff would help, I would. There’s no doubt about it. Or as a staff. We’ve got six of us on staff. We rotate guys more. We have Royce (Woolridge) initiate the offense more than he was a month ago or two months ago so we’re taking a little bit off Mike Ladd. It’s hard to take Brock (Motum) out of the game. We don’t really have any other bigs that can score in the paint. Right now we’re pretty limited."
(Is it wearing on them mentally?) "I don’t know, but I would think potentially it could be if I saw a letdown or saw bad body language, but I don’t see that. I see the guys keep trying to do the right things, working hard, right attitude. I guess that’s just what a 2-8 team looks like that’s trying hard but not winning."
(Did you lose J.T. Terrell on any of those 3s?) "I thought one time we did for sure. I think it was his second 3 in the corner, I thought we lost track of him. Someone drove, we overcommitted on the help and there he was, open in the corner for a 3."
(On DaVonte Lacy's game) "That was a positive. There were some positives. DaVonte had a good game, that was good to see. D.J. Shelton five assists, 12 rebounds, that’s pretty impressive. Six turnovers as a team, that’s pretty impressive. There were things to take away from this game that were positives.
"This right here continues to haunt us (points to field-goal percentage). We’re just not a good scoring team."
(On losing close again) "They all feel the same right now. We’ve lost a lot of close games. This one, I feel like we had it and the defensive end, we couldn’t get stops we needed. They went on a run, a big run and we should have got some stops when we needed it. But it’s too late."
(What went wrong offensivelt toward the end?) "I felt like we got good shots. DaVonte got to the rim a few times and that helped a lot. We got some good looks we’ve got to finish. We’ve just got to keep it going. Shots are going to drop."
(Does it feel like the season is slipping away?) "No, not at all. We’re never going to think negatively. We’re going to go into the Saturday game looking to get a win and correct our mistakes. UCLA, I know they’re a good team, but I feel like they’re beatable. If we go in and play the way we’re capable of playing, we can possibly come out with a win."
(On the zone slowing USC in the first half) "I felt like it slowed them down a little bit, kept the ball out of the paint and they weren’t able to hit that many shots late in the first half. I feel like it worked a little bit. Our man was working too, they just hit some good shots when they needed them."
(On scoring a lot but losing) "I think it was good just to hit some shots and help my team in that way, but I would take all my points for a win. It’s just rough because we’re in every game and it’s like we’re right there with four or five minutes to go. It sucks because we’re so close. I would trade every one of my points for a win."
(Does this feel any different than the other ones?) "It’s hard because … we don’t beat ourselves every time. The other team’s not better than us every time. It’s just certain things happen in the flow of the game. J.T. Terrell got hot this game and they hit tough shots. They outrebounded us by 10 and I’m pretty sure a lot of those were in the second half."
(Is desperation starting to sink in?) "No, because we’re right there. If it was desperation I would say, like, we’re going out there for ourselves and doing our own thing, but I feel like we’re still a team, we still come here and work hard every practice. I don’t think I’ve been a part of a team where we work (this hard) every practice. … I know this is one of the hardest-working teams, and it’s rough because we’re right there."
(Is there still a belief that you can turn it around?) "If we didn’t believe we wouldn’t compete. We come out and compete every game and we’ll come out and compete Saturday. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be right in the game. It just depends if we're going to get focused and execute and see if we can finally come out with a W in a close game."