March 17, 2001
Head Coach: June Daugherty
We're very excited to be in the second round against a very good Florida team. They're a team that impressed us a lot in person last night with their athletic quickness and their great balance. One of the things that caught my eye was how hard they played. They were diving on the floor. Every loose ball was theirs. Every rebound they really battled hard. We're really looking forward to playing them in the second round of the tournament.
What do you plan to do against Florida?
I think it would be a great mistake to come in here and just focus on stopping their guards. Florida's front line is very strong and capable and last night they had their way inside. We won't change what we do. That's what got us here. We've just got to play great defense and make sure that we rotate as quickly as possible. Penetration is a huge issue with them. We don't want them penetrating. The biggest issue with them is keeping them off the glass. It's our "war zone" as we call it. Our rebounding triangle has been great to us all year. We led the Pac-10 in rebounding. That will be a huge test for us tomorrow evening.
Have you seen a team like Florida in the Pac-10 this year?
From the tapes we've see this year off the television, they've changed a lot. They've evolved through their injuries. Unfortunately they've had something similar to what we went through last year. Coach Ross has done a great job of bringing those kids around. I'm not so sure I can compare them (to anyone in the Pac-10). They compare a little bit to USC just because of how big their front line is and how their guards are not only capable of penetrating and dropping it down to the post but hitting the long range three.
Loree Payne, Sophomore
On playing in front of Florida's crowd
I think if we jump on them quick we'll take the crowd out of it. Our crowd last night brought a lot of energy to our game so I think that if we get on a run and get out early out crowd will be fired-up. They're going to try to compete with the big crowd that was here last night. Florida has an awesome crowd. There were a lot of people here, it was loud so we're also going to use that to our advantage. We like playing in front of a lot of people, we love that atmosphere. We had that all year at Hec Ed. It's great when people come out and support it.
On how long she road the emotion of last night's game-winning shot
We knew that Florida was pretty good and after our game we went out and watched them and it got our emotion out of us. We watched them and really focused on them. When we got back (to the hotel) we were all excited, but it was curfew and we knew that we had a tough game on Sunday and we were putting that behind us an hour afterwards because with NCAA tournament games, they come one right after another. We just needed to focus.
On playing with Florida's Brandi McCain this summer with USA Basketball
We were at trials together, but unfortunately she got hurt in that first week so she didn't get to go to Taiwan with the Jones Cup. She did meet back up with us in Hawaii (to play the USA Olympic Team). She's a great player. She's quick, she reads, she penetrates, she's an all-around great player. She's been playing well for Florida. She's averaging about 20 points a game so she's definitely a key player for them.
On playing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
The tournament is exciting. We came in and had a week before our first game. It got us really excited and got us focused on our first game. We play all of our Pac-10 games with one day in-between so I think that's the pattern we get into during the second half of the season. We're use to that, we're comfortable with that. It's exciting to know that we're one of the 32 teams and we have a chance to advance to the "16." That's in the back of everyone's mind. One of the wonderful things about this year's team is that we're able to take one game at a time. We know we have a very good opponent in Florida and I think we would focus just as much on them now as we would in the preseason or in the middle of the year. We're just really focused on playing Florida tomorrow.
Giuliana Mendiola, Freshman
On playing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
I'm just as excited for playing in the second round as I was for the first round. Any game, I'm going to play hard no matter what. As long as we keep playing as a team, I think we'll be all right.
Megan Franza, Senior
On the differences between last year and this year
Last year was painful. I didn't really realize it while it was going on. To come into this year and feel at the beginning of the year that there is something special about this team. The coaches said, "make your goals, make your rules, make your punishments," everybody seems to hold everyone else accountable. We came out and dropped our first game of the season. It made me nervous. I kept thinking this can't happen. We can't have this. Losing that first game in overtime, on the road and looking at everybody * just that feeling of heartbreak. We came out against Michigan two days later, beat them on the road, then came home and won a couple of games. It's been amazing. The confidence has never left anyone, young or old. The six seniors especially, we're ready to fight. We're going to go down fighting. We know this our last chance and we're going to make the best of it.
On the size advantage over Florida's guards
We're going to try really hard to take advantage of what we've got because we do have a size advantage. We're going to make some reads, see what kind of defense they're playing and we'll use that to the best of our ability. We're going to post somebody up when we have a size advantage. We'll look at the match-ups and how close they're playing on the wing and how much of a size advantage we'll actually get on the block.
Head Coach: Carol Ross
We're very happy to be in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Obviously Washington is a team that poses a lot of problems for us. We have a lot of respect for them. They were the regular season Pac-10 champions. They led the Pac-10 in rebounding, both offensively and defensively. They do a lot of really good things and they've had a great turnaround from last season. Every round gets tougher and Washington is certainly a team that certainly has our attention. I spent last night watching tape to find a way to beat them and it's more than a day's work but that's all we have to work with.
On her team's balance
Any team that hopes to survive in this tournament had better have balance. Because our guards are extremely talented and get a lot of publicity people look at those strengths and think the rest must be weaknesses but that's not the case and it never has been. Our guard play is strong - no question - but we feel like we're a pretty balanced club.
Number one they find a way to win and that says a lot about their club. With 0.7 seconds to play last night most people are thinking about overtime and they found a way to get a good shot off and hit it. That says a lot about their toughness and their determination to win. Their number one, two, and three scorers are guards so they are a guard-oriented team. They were sixth in the nation in three-point shooting so they obviously get it done. They lead the Pac-10 in rebounding so they're also very solid inside. They get those second and third shot opportunities and keep you from getting those second and third shot opportunities. They play a tough zone defensively and if you're not decisive they force you to shoot too quickly. We'll try to impose our style of play and they'll try to do the same.
Tombi Bell, Senior
On the inside-outside balance the team showed against Holy Cross
Last night was a great example of out balance. Brandi (McCain) and I weren't able to score like we usually do and it was a perfect example of how our post players can step up. It's great to have five of us being able to put the ball in the basket. Not many teams have five strong defenders so when one group is off, hopefully another group is on and that was a perfect example of that last night. I'm just scared of what our team might be like when all five of us come to play at the same time. I'm looking forward to that day. It's a great asset to have five players who all can score.
On Florida's height disadvantage in the backcourt
We've had to battle against being shorter than a lot of players. We just use our quickness to our advantage. We're not really big, as you can see. That's all we can try to do is out-quick them and hopefully play a little smarter than they do.
Naomi Mobley, Junior
On playing Washington
I don't really know what they are thinking about. I just care about how we're feeling and what we're thinking about. As long as we have our mind set to go out there and play as hard as we can, I'll be happy with that.
Monique Cardenas, Junior
On being one game away from the Sweet 16
We're all taking it one game at a time. This second round game is our biggest game of the season. That first round win was great and now we have a second game. Hopefully we can just go out there and win and move on to the Sweet 16.