March 13, 2006
Washington Women's Basketball Press Conference Quotes
NCAA Selection Monday
March 13, 2006 On Making the NCAA Tournament:
Head Coach June Daugherty:
"I'm very, very proud of the team and the program. It's great to be back in the Big Dance. We started out the year and people doubted us, the coaches picked us seventh in the conference, the media picked us sixth. We kind of took on the underdog role all year and kids got better, and they fought hard, and we finished fourth in the conference. I think by the way the selection show is going, the whole country knows now how good the Pac-10 conference really is. It's so exciting and I'm just really especially proud of the fact that our seniors get to go back to the Dance. These three (Kayla Burt, Nicole Castro, and Kristen O'Neill) have been through an incredible amount of adversity, an incredible amount of joy, ups and downs, but they have been so mentally tough, they have grown up before our eyes, and then some. For them to have the opportunity to go back to the Big Dance, I'm just happy for them most importantly, and the rest of the team. But they have been great leaders, they've been through a lot, and it's nice to be one of the 64 left playing for a national championship."
On Waiting for the Announcment:
Senior Kristen O'Neill:
"I think waiting was the worst part all week. We were practicing hard, assuming we were in, but just not knowing. The whole time we were just very eager to find out but I'm so excited that we're in."
Senior Kayla Burt:
"I was a nervous wreck. I mean I was just sitting there waiting for the commercials, they were talking too much, and I just wanted them to show all the brackets right in a row but we had to be patient. But once they showed our name man, I think I hurt my back a little bit."
Senior Nicole Castro:
"I'm just excited to go, I can't wait for the opportunity to be back again. Like June said, it's going to be an awesome opportunity so I can't wait."
On Team's Number Eight Seed:
"I don't know if you guys saw but California just came up, that's six teams from the Pac-10 in the Big Dance. Again, I can't reiterate how exciting it is that we are being recognized as a conference, as well as Washington, for the great seasons that I think all 10 teams had. At this point, we kind of got excited when we saw everything come up, I think we saw eight or nine seed, I'm not sure what we saw. It doesn't matter, we're just really excited to go play and get after Minnesota."
On Seeing Familiar Pac-10 Teams in the Tournament:
"We're the only conference that plays a double round robin and then plays again at the conference tournament. It's going to be kind of nice to play someone different, to be honest with you, but I think the preparation of playing so many well coached and highly ranked teams all year, whether it be the preseason or in particular the Pac-10, should definitely help us."
On Importance of Non Conference Schedule:
"You know, it's huge. You talk about kind of nerves, and having to wait, how many days has it been since the Pac-10, it seems like a long time. I thought, coming out of the 7-2 preseason, getting those wins at Florida State, Alabama, playing Baylor pretty tough on their home court, Texas A&M, on and on. Then getting then wins over Utah here, who ended up conference champion, beating Stanford here, beating UCLA as well as we did, they're Pac-10 champions. I thought that, as things went on, whether it's preseason or late with the conference tournaments, I felt more and more confident about us getting in and what type of seed we were going to get. These guys took care of business, starting us out 7-2 in preseason. I think that, in itself, weighed very heavily on the committee, and then when they saw what happened toward the end in the Pac-10 tournament with UCLA and them winning the way they did, I think that helped as well."
On Importance of Playing Minnesota Last Season:
"Well we certainly have a tape of them upstairs, we know that. We're a little bit familiar with them, just having to play them a couple times. They've played a couple of people in our conference over the last few years that we have tapes on. I think that is going to help, certainly going to help."
On End of Season Losses:
"To be frank with you, I think that the media made more out of it than it was. There were only two teams that went down to the Bay Area and didn't get swept, - Stanford and Arizona - everybody else got swept down there. It was unfortunate maybe the way our scheduling was at the end of the year, but from every indication I've seen, whether it was preparation for the Pac-10, or now for the NCAA, these guys are more than capable of letting it go and I do think that they've learned some from it."
On Health of the Team:
"We've had some time to rest, if you will, and let these guys get through their finals, but I think it was a good time for them to take a break and concentrate on their studies. Getting back in the gym today was great, we had a good practice. I think we're good in the health area and, knock on wood, it stays that way."
On Tournament Success of Last Year's Pac-10 Teams Being a Factor:
"When you talk to people on the committee they say it's not a factor but I think it is, in the back of your mind, to know that five teams went last year and all five advanced. I think it did help - how well the conference did last year. The other thing is, looking at the numbers, and looking at what happened, especially preseason, is that our conference is stronger this year. You see that when you have six teams go in like you just saw."