Oct. 25, 2007
BERKELEY - California hosted a women's basketball media luncheon on Thursday with head coaches and select players from both the Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal in attendance.
Here is what Cal's Joanne Boyle had to say about her nationally ranked team:
California Head Coach Joanne Boyle
"We're just excited to be here at the start of our season. We get started next week and we're just excited. We're going into our third year and you can see a huge difference in our team in a lot of different ways from the time they walked on the floor as freshmen to where they are now. They have a different presence about themselves. They carry themselves in a much more mature manner. They understand where we fell short these past few years, even though we were young. I think they understand the growth that we've had and that we need to continue to have in order to have a great season."
On staying at Cal:
"The reason I stayed was because of the kids. When we came here, [the players and I] jumped in this together. You're just at different points in your life and everybody has a different journey, but I asked them to go through this with me and just to trust that we would get it done. Two years into it, that group in general was sophomores, and I just couldn't see myself walking away. We hadn't accomplished the things we wanted to accomplish."
On Alexis Gray-Lawson and Natasha Vital:
"You can look back, what if and in some ways, you never want [Alexis Gray-Lawson] to go down the way she went down. What it did was to make [Natasha Vital's] growth out the window and off the charts. She probably wouldn't have gotten those kinds of minutes last year, but the fact that she did, she's much more confident. She's a much better player. You bring Lexi back into the mix, and she worked so hard this summer on rehab and put in the time she needed to and really worked on her game to the degree that she could. You watch practice and [Gray-Lawson] has not missed a beat. To put her and Tasha on the floor together gives us a back court [of] ball handlers; we can run a lot of stuff for both of them. We can set Lexi up in ways that we have not been able to in the past. It just gives us a lot more flexibility in what we can do with both of them. When I look at our team right now, either one of them can play the one or the two, so it gives us a better transition team on just whoever gets the ball. The other one can get up the wing, and both of them are comfortable doing that right now."
On team maturity:
"First day of practice, we walk out there and typically they'd be looking at us, 'Okay, coach, get us started.' I walked in and they were all out there. We had our strength coach out there and they were all lined up on the baseline and they were as loud as they could be. They were talking and they were going through all this stuff. They had their captains' meeting. It was like I was about to watch practice and not have to take them through it. They just understand what they need to do and they want to do it. It's not that they didn't want to do it as freshmen and sophomores, but they didn't know how to do it. They were just trying to find their way here and play 40 minutes a game."
On this year's team:
"We get a little bit deeper this year. We need to stay healthy because we're not a team that can run them in and run them out. We get Lexi back, that's an addition. Rama [N'diaye] is playing at a different level. I think last year, having to come in, learn the language, live in America, the American system, the food and the travel was so overwhelming to her. Now, she is at a different level. One of our freshmen, she's about 6-2, Kelsey Adrian, who's played on the international level. The youngest kid to play on the Canadian National team got major minutes overseas, played in the Pan Am games and all that. You watch her practice, you don't know she's a freshman. So we're pretty excited about her as well. We have a little more depth, [Krista Foster] is a senior now, [Shantrell Sneed] is a junior. They're all a little bit better than what they were and where they were."