March 13, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
Cal Head coach Joanne Boyle
On getting into the tournament:
"It's great. It puts us on the map and puts us on a national scene. It just exposes us and lets us showcase four freshmen who play a lot of minutes. Cal has been out of the postseason for so long, for us to make an impact and kind of be one of those elite teams in the Pac-10, it's just unbelievable for us."
What do you think got you over the top?
"I think our top 50 wins. We had Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Washington. At some point in time, they were all in the top 25 or top 50. I think it was those top 50 wins. I think the committee really looks at that, the really good RPI teams. They really go for the heavy hitters and they go for teams in the top 50."
What was your reaction when Cal was announced?
"I think I was the first one out of the seat. I started jumping. It was out of control in the locker room. I think it took us all a couple of seconds to process it because there were only a couple of seeds left. When we all registered it was us, it was just mayhem."
Did you feel the room sinking as the selection show went on?
"Yes. The kids kept looking at me, and they were going off of my expression. I think the longer it went the less chance you have of getting in. I went from being giddy and nervous to being more solemn."
What did you think your chances were?
"This weekend I didn't think it was going to happen. When we got in here today, I had just talked to some people, and it became more obvious that they were looking at top 50 wins and people were really pulling for us. An ESPN analyst called me and said I think you're in. The more that buzz hit me I thought maybe we do have a chance. Over the weekend I thought it wasn't going to happen, but I was hopeful."
What do you know about St. John's?
"Not a lot. I think it's a great match up. They are athletic, and we do well against athletic teams. They move the ball, and they are a transition team. We can probably match up well against them."
Are you saying you do well against athletic and transition teams?
"I think we do. I think that is a strength of ours. These kids rise to the occasion on good competition. It's a new start for us. It's a new season. It's not like we have any baggage and we've lost, you just go in and whoever wins advances. I think we are good at focusing on that one thing."
What does this do for the freshmen?
"It just gives you confidence and an expectation on what your next three years are going to be about. I think we talked about that we want to be sitting in this room next year wondering what seed we're going to be. Once you get into the tournament there is an expectation of yourselves every year, which means every postseason, every summer workout, every preseason, there is an expectation. What is it going to do to them is make them realize the things you need to do in order to get in this type of position."
On this being the most fun you can have in college basketball:
"In that room when our name came up, I am so glad they got to experience that. They were on the phone within thirty seconds. Every one was in there, and we couldn't get control of them. It's awesome."
Freshman Guard Alexis Gray-Lawson
"It was really surprising for the simple fact that nobody thought we were going to get in. Freshmen really don't know what the NCAA Tournament feels like, but our coaches have been telling us about it the whole year, how it is such a great feeling to know you are in it. It's just a great day."
On losing your first game in the Pac-10 Tournament:
"I think when you lose in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament your freshman year you don't feel it. After you think about it for a while it hits you. We beat UCLA and then they won a championship. It's really great that six teams from the Pac-10 get to go. I am really excited."
What was the reaction after you guys saw your name on the screen?
"It popped up and then coach started jumping, I was looking down the whole time. It was a great feeling."
"No matter how we finish, next summer I know if I work even harder anything could happen."
About choosing Cal?
"I didn't have any doubts about anything. People say we couldn't make a run in the Pac-10 and we did. People said four freshmen couldn't step up to the plate and we have. They thought we couldn't lead and we did. Everything people doubt about us, it's great that they doubted us because it has made us work so much harder."
Freshman Forward/Center Ashley Walker
On having a chance to redeem your quarterfinal loss in the Pac-10 Tournamnent
"It was such a great experience. The good things we have done we are going to keep doing. We are just ready to play, we want to redeem ourselves and we want to get back on the court. We did not deserve to lose the way we lost against UCLA. That just wasn't us at all."
On the reaction in the locker room when the team found out
"First we were stunned and then just so excited, beyond excited. We were just screaming, it took us a minute to realize."
On what the team needs to do now
"We need to redeem ourselves from our UCLA loss and everything we went through for that. We are ready to turn this team around and take the next step."
Did you think you would make it to the tournament at the beginning of the season?
"Our goal in the beginning of the season was to make the tournament, regardless of how we made it, we wanted to make it and we did. We just want to win games as much as we can."
Senior Forward Renee Wright
On what this means to you being a senior:
"I can't even describe it. I am just thankful for my team and my coaches. Nothing even compares. The coaches and the players are saying happy graduation. This is your present. I can't ask for anything different."
What do you think the teams' expectations are?
"We are expecting to go and play our best basketball, heart and soul. We have nothing to lose. No one expected us to be here, and we're here, and we have to make a statement."
What was your reaction when Cal came on the TV screen?
"It took me about two seconds to realize that it was us, and I just remember jumping up and down. I don't know who I hugged or anything, but it was just the most amazing feeling ever."
Freshman Forward Shantrell Sneed
"My reaction was delayed, but once I realized that was us, I started jumping up and screaming. I haven't reacted like that in a long time because normally I don't scream."