Jan. 13, 2009
On the rivalry:
"It's going to be a great game. It's been coming down to this becoming a big rivalry or trying to create a rivalry. Both teams know each other really well, we know their strengths and weaknesses and visa versa. You've got o be able to put a good plan together. We know them so we should be able to do that. And I'm sure they're working on the same things. We have to be able to execute those things in practice so your kids going into the game are just comfort and confident. That's our goal this week."
On Stanford's recent games:
"They're a system, they run the triangle a lot. They're very successful at it because they've been running it for years and they know what they're looking for. I think the biggest thing right now is that they have a lot of balance. Their scoring is out of wack where [Stanford's Jayne Appel] is getting 30 and everybody's getting five. There's a lot more balance. The triangle is a great offense when you have a lot of scoring. They're executing it well, they're shooting the ball really well and it makes it tough for you to double. You just have to come up with a game plan that makes them feel uncomfortable."
On preparing for Stanford: "That's who we all want to be when you're playing like that. It just makes you really dangerous. Obviously you can see from the numbers they're putting up - 112 - it's major numbers. They're sharing the basketball. Again, you've got to pick your poison and you have to decide where their weaknesses are and what you can take away from them to make them not feel comfortable in their execution."
"Obviously they're thinking. We've got great post players and they've got great post players. They've got deep post players, and we don't. They're going to, I would think, try and take advantage of the fact that we're thin at that position right now. I'm sure they're going to get us in foul trouble and make us go small and all that. It's just us being smart, and again, changing things up and making us counter what they're trying to do."
On watching Stanford film against Duke and Tennessee:
"I think it's really good to watch that. Obviously you gain things when you watch teams where they blow them out. It's great to see what other teams do against them and how they're successful, and what really hurts them, and if you can create some of those situations. The great thing is we have seven days for us to be looking of tons of film of them and them to be looking at tons of film on us to have the best game plan for both teams going in."
On practice this week:
"We worked on the first three minutes of the game today, the middle of the game, the end of the game, and making them make decisions. We're recreating game-like situations so that practice they get better at that. So the next time we're in those situations, they get better at that and making decisions."
On Devanei Hampton:
"It goes back to where has Dev gotten better in the past couple of weeks in her conditioning? She's dropped some weight. Again, you're not going to get it back all at one time. But now it's getting her touches, rhythm and timing and finishing. That's what I would consider step two with her. Again, having a week to have the rhythm will hopefully give her some confidence too. You see her in practice more 'give me the ball', like she was last year. Whereas at the beginnings of the games, she was more worried about 'Just let me get up and down the court, let me just get in the play.' There's that balance between us staying true to who we are based on us getting here with people shooting the ball well and being confident and stepping up. And not going back and just pound the ball in and making decisions when the ball goes in. Is it for Dev to get that touch or for her to kick it out? And to keep the balance."
On the memory of past Cal-Stanford games: "I think we're a new team. We're different. You take JJ Hones out of the mix for them, you talk about Dev just coming back but in a much better place than she was. You're talking about them having a much bigger post rotation. We're talking about different teams but similar teams. You've got to focus on the kids that you have on the court right here, right now. I'd say no - we're just really focused on this game with them."
On Cal wanting what Stanford has: "They still have it. We want it. It hasn't changed. We've got a little group at the top trying to get there. I think that's just the level of respect we have for them. Not a fear, just a level of respect. We want what you have and we're trying to take it. If you're looking at [Gonzaga as an example], as a West Coast, it's a good analogy for a mid-major and people are gunning for what they have. Just like in the ACC, you've got the top-three teams and everybody's gunning for them. You're always striving to be the best in your conference. I use Connecticut a lot with our team in terms of examples. Everyday in practice, just the level of play that they must have in their practice every day so that their practices are harder than their games so their games are so comfortable and confident. We have to be able to perform like that everyday in practice."
If Cal is viewed as an underdog against Stanford:
"I don't think we'll ever present it to our team as we're an underdog. I think that three years of playing them, although we haven't won, it's not as if we're going into a Final Four game trying to play them. It's a regular-season game, at our place, in our environment, very comfortable. We were in the game with them last year, and it came down to the last couple seconds. I think we look at us more to finish games out more than we did last year. That's a perfect example: can we be in the game just like this year and finish them out? Or could it be totally different - could it be an Oklahoma situation for us? It's just about prep, confidence, game planning, adjusting game-planning and your style and not playing to their style."
On the game's importance on the Pac-10 Championship:
We don't talk about it everyday in practice because you know it's in the back of kids' minds. Last year we had a chance to be co-champions [of the Pac-10], and we didn't finish that game out. We've talked about that against Washington. It's not that we owed Washington, it's that we owed ourselves. That's kind of the theme that we've been carrying throughout a little bit. We owe ourselves this opportunity. Stanford is another chance to do that. It's early. There's a lot of basketball to be played after this. This doesn't make or break anybody's season. It's not on the line, it's not the last game of the year. You want to establish yourself. For Stanford, you have to ask [head coach Tara VanDerveer], what does it bring to her team for the win? Which is different than it brings to our team for the win. We're just in different places. I think both teams are going to roll the ball out and will play. It's always a hard game. It's a competitive game except that final [in 2008]. It's always momentum swings and all that. "