Oct. 30, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. - Following are selected quotes from yesterday's Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Day in San Jose at HP Pavilion, the site of the 2004 Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament.
Caren Horstmeyer, CALIFORNIA
We have a couple players who are really stepping up in practice and that has been huge for us. That was something we were probably lacking last year, but we made great strides as a team.
Last year was a year when the Conference stepped up. We feel we're stronger this year, again in a stronger conference. We have got to find a way to put more points on the board, whether that's going to the free-throw line or taking it in strong.
We know we have to play defense. Offensively is obviously something we need to work on and we have. Our defense will score points.
I think for us early, we need to win games from a confidence perspective.
Kristin Iwanaga, CALIFORNIA
We spent all summer together in Berkeley to grow together. The whole experience I think was great.
I think the experience last year with playing with (Nihan) Anaz was great. Her ability to create will help a lot.
SHERRI MURRELL, WASHINGTON STATE
The best thing about this team is character; these kids never stop fighting. The last game of the season really showed the type of character these kids have. Every kid stayed for the summer and worked out. We have a team with a lot of character.
What a difference a year makes. They are comfortable and confident. The addition of the newcomers will do nothing but help us.
The number one thing we need to do to win is play with confidence. We also need early success, we need to take care of the ball and improve our defense.
We need to look back and be proud of our journey, even though we had the season we had last year. This year, I want us to be proud of our team, we are constantly fighting to get better.
BIANCA MCCALL, WASHINGTON STATE
As far as last season, we learned how to learn from success. maybe not in the win and loss columns, but by achieving the little goals we learned.
In the offseason, we, as a team, focued on chemistry. Individually, I worked on improving my strength. I am never really satisfied with myself, there is always room to improve.
CHARLI TURNER THORNE, ARIZONA STATE
An amazing amount of improvement, obviously our freshman class was very talented, but what they also did was challenged themselves. They are challenging themselves this year, they are not satisfied with the season we had last year.
It is incredible to have Betsy (Bordman) back. You are only as good as your leadership, and with Betsy back it makes an unbelievable difference. Obviously, she is very talented. But her leadership is more important to the success of our team.
We are hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament and we are expecting to be there.
BETSY BORDMAN, ARIZONA STATE
Last year I learned a lot from a different perspective. It is different sitting on the bench and watching, not playing. It was very difficult, but I learned a lot. My role last year was to help the team in anyway I could, and lead the team from the bench.
I actually feel like I did play with these girls, even though I did not play last year. I still learned a lot about each player, so when I got on the floor it was automatic. I am never satisfied with where I am as a player, but I feel like I am 100% both mentally and physically.
CHRIS GOBRECHT, USC
Our schedule is difficult, but that is the way it is going to be. In the long run it is what the players enjoy the most. Last year, the reason our schedule was tough was because we did not have the depth.
I would guess we will be mixing up our lineup early, because we are trying to find out who we are. But, by the time the Pac-10 play rolls around we will have a set starting five. We have a lot of depth, in fact Ebony's (Hoffman) position is pretty much the only position that is secure.
I think this is the strongest the conference has been in a long time. We (the Pac-10) have a very good freshman class coming in. We have been talking about how good the Pac-10 is for years, and I think it is going to be outstanding this season.
EBONY HOFFMAN, USC
I sat down with coach and came up with a list of things I need to work on, and I worked on them all summer. I pretty much worked as hard as possible.
Going in to a big game, you prepare like you always prepare, you keep working, work work, work. We do have a sense of urgency coming off of last year. I would not want any other schedule, this is the best way we can achieve what we want to.
BEV SMITH, OREGON
A lot of the inconsistencies on defense was based on the fact that we were alternating players and asking a people to play different. Defensively was our focus all summer, and it is our focus against this fall. Having Cathrine (Kraayeveld) back is really going to help. She is a defensive stopper and having her back will really help.
Cathrine's greatest strength is defense. To me, she is one of the finest defensive players in the Pac-10. We have a much bigger confidence when she is in the lineup.
We have had wonderful time in practice because we have seven new players who are excited and ready to go. We are really excited about our five new freshman, they all come in with a lot of experience.
Our team chemistry is the best it has ever been, our team likes being together. I think that is the best thing for us, and that is the thing that will help us win.
CATHRINE KRAAYEVELD, OREGON
I do have a sense of urgency. I know that I have grown a lot. Sitting on the bench you tend to grow a lot.
As a team, defense is our focus. Our offense will come if all five of us are worried about defense.
JUDY SPOELSTRA, OREGON STATE
In Conference it's always the next game. You prepare the same way and I think all those are must-win games.
I think we just need to I venture to say that your going to see all three defenses Holly "Chucky" Chapman is phenomenal. For a 6-3 player who can shoot the three, I think she shot 39% last year. She's just gained a lot of confidence, and a reverse rip.
I think in the front court we'll be able to get another 12 points from our defense.
LEILANI ESTAVAN, OREGON STATE
I think I need to continue to do all the things that I did last year. We gotta step it up and I can't always be the nice person, sometimes I need to get on my teammates.
We made it to the NIT every year that I 've been here. We need to take the next step, I can''t describe how it would feel.
KATHY OLIVIER, UCLA
We're definitely young, its nice to have someone like Nikki (Blue) back. Again with the lack of experience, I think we have some great leadership. Our seniors are doing great in practice. We've got a lot of talent in our lower class as far as our freshman and sophomores go.
We're excited about the schedule we hope we do well. We've talked about it and we know we have to improve our non-conference so we can get in the Tournament.
NIKKI BLUE, UCLA
Our ultimate is to get to the NCAA (Tournament). It was devastating watching the TV last year and not going.
Now I can't look at Michelle (Greco). Last year it was Natalie Nakase and Michelle Greco, now it's me, I got to be a leader.
I have a lot of faith in this program and this program has had a lot of faith in me.
JUNE DAUGHERTY, WASHINGTON
We are excited about the seniors, they provide great leadership. We had some kids waiting in the wings last year, and they are ready to step up. Our freshman are very talented. We are a little bit more athletic than we have been in the past. The combination of the freshmen stepping up into bigger roles and our seniors' leadership will us win.
It is great to see Giuliana (Mendiola) get the press that she has received. She is someone who loves the game, and she has challenged herself even more this year. She has always let be example, but she is also a very good captain off the floor.
In my mind the Pac-10 is going to be better than it has been in the past, an we are trying to get ready and do the best we can.
ANDREA LALUM, WASHINGTON
Coach is challenging me to go inside more. We have some great freshman coming in, and playing with the seniors has not changed, but the freshman will add a lot to our team
The people who do have the experience will have to put the team on our shoulders and try to take the pressure off of the freshman. We are excited to get out there and start playing, we are excited to see what we can do.
JOAN BONVICINI, ARIZONA
I think teams as they played us early found out we were a little better then they first thought. We're not going to sneak up on anyone this year.
I think the player that is the biggest surprise is freshman Shannon Hobson who I've been very impressed with. A hard worker, a rebounder. I think she will be a great compliment to "Polkey" (Shawntinice Polk).
We're still young, but I think we have players that compliment each other. Then you put "Polkey" on the floor and she's a pretty good target in there.
She faces so many double and triple teams that we put in the triangle. Our team is picking it up well. It's a big deal. We're going to still run. One thing I think we need to work on is our execution in the mid court. We're going to drill a lot.
Polkey's Basketball IQ is amazing; she can pick things up, it's amazing.
SHAWNTINICE POLK, ARIZONA
I know if they're double, triple teaming me, I can kick out to my teammates.
The only reason I'm out there is to help my team. It's not the spotlight and ""Polkey," "Polkey," "Polkey"," but I'm out there to help my teammates.
I pass okay, but I don't pass well. I 've worked on my double teams, putting it on the floor, and dishing out.
TARA VANDERVEER, STANFORD
We've already played five games, been able to practice...sometimes our team is like, Why do we need to practice. They're ready to go.
We were disappointed we didn't go farther in the [2003 NCAA] tournament. We played a good Minnesota team.
We're excited to have Tennessee come to Stanford, and Georgia. Kelley (Suminski) and her teammates want to play against the competition. We really feel the schedule that we play (in preseason) prepares us for the Conference.
It's been very frustrating with some of the out-of-the-blue injuries that we've had. We've had three or four people on crutches. Susan King is returning from a high ankle sprain and is practicing. (There is) Chelsea Trotter, who is not 100 percent. We hope to have a couple of them back for Tennessee and our opener with Pepperdine, but we'll see.
KELLEY SUMINSKI, STANFORD
Our goal for this year is get back here, get to the finals and play in another Pac-10 tournament (at HP Pavilion).
(On Italy) It gave us the opportunity to get to know each of us better. We got to play, got to sight see, it was a great experience.
I think I'm focusing on staying aggressive, creating offense for my teammates, doing whatever I have to do to help us win.