Post game quotes: Feb. 23 vs. Utah

"It was a really hard fought win tonight. I credit Utah; they play a really unique style and they play it well. I thought they did a good job coming in here, especially with their point guard going
By Cal Athletics on Thu, February 23, 2012

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Feb. 23, 2012

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Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb

"It was a really hard fought win tonight. I credit Utah; they play a really unique style and they play it well. I thought they did a good job coming in here, especially with their point guard going down earlier in the week with an injury and I thought they made it their kind of game in the first half. I love the resolve of our team, to come back out in the second half and assert our will on the game. We talked about how as much as we scout other teams and we want to be prepared, we also need this to be the time of the year that we are so confident and sure of ourselves in what we do that that's going to give us an advantage. I thought that we were able to do that in the second half. I thought Talia's performance was so far beyond these numbers, I couldn't say enough. Her energy, her effort, I think we are a special team and we have our third leading scorer in the post have a game like this because they are all the same, in terms of their ability. I thought Afure gave great minutes off the bench defensively against Plouffe who they moved to the three, and obviously she was feeling it on offense. And I thought Eliza was a huge spark for us defensively as well, those are the three that come to mind. But this was a signature CAL win because we could go deep, we could find a way. I didn't love our intensity in the first half, but I loved the way we came out in the second half."

On the 17-0 run to start the second half

"I thought the energy coming out of half time was really good. I thought that we just kept getting stop after stop and we obviously adjusted our defense on Rodrigues. We had planned for Badon to the point, she's a little bit different of a player, so we had to adjust that. We had to play those ball screens. Again, I credit Rodrigues for making a lot of tough shots, but I thought that both Brittany and Eliza picked up exactly what I wanted them to do in the second half. We toughened up a little bit, we got stops and then we were able to get out in transition and score some easy buckets the way that we want to play."

On the deepest team in the conference playing the least deep

"I was asked earlier 'Does this game allow you to go deep?' and I said 'That's what we always do, that's how we always think.' I know in the conference that we aren't playing nine to ten kids every single game, but there are nine and ten kids ready to play and are capable at any moment and sometimes we go deeper than others. So I thought that this was a night where I can look at our players and say "Hey, they only have five, wear them down, let's go." But that's sort of how we approach every game. And we know that in the second half that we are going to be able to make adjustments, we are still going to be able to have stuff in the tank and our players really buy into that."

On the style of basketball that Utah plays

"Their two post players are really physical. I've seen them both play on the Canadian National Team and they are really good players, but I think they embrace that. They try to slow the game down, they try to choke off possessions. I think they would rather have the game in the forties or fifties with fewer possessions. Sometimes you see the point guard hold the back off in the back court and then they use a traditional Utah style, motion offense, where as I said to the players, the system scores. They do a great job of lulling you to sleep and then front cut you or play off of each other. This year's team, because they aren't as deep, they are very specific with what they like to do out of that motion and I think they own those roles very well. Rodrigues is the pull up jumper, mid-range kid who can get out in transition; Wicijowski is a beast in the post, obviously they isolate her a lot; Plouffe is that inside/outside four player that does a nice job of trying to control tempo and play a certain way."

On the play of Eliza Pierre

"I think it's pretty special when you have a junior captain who can come off the bench. And I said, other than maybe Talia here, she's MVP of the game, even though she was one for four with two assists, the stats don't show. But it's a unique situation to be able to bring someone like that off the bench and those are the things that win you games, those are the things that make you a next level team. When Oregon State brings someone off the bench who goes four for four from three, I think our players can continue to really buy into that and embrace that. Look at conference play, with every single conference you get crazy scores now because some is off or people game plan you. You have to be able to adjust that and go with different counter attacks and I think that we have the ability to do that because of the personnel on this team and because of the way that the players enjoy playing with each other and buying into each others roles."

Junior center Talia Caldwell

On the play down low

"It was a lot of fun. I know, specifically, that we have been working on fixing things that, actually last game it was more of the perimeter that hurt us at their place. But we did a better job on the perimeter as a whole. And the post, we really felt we worked with Darren a lot on left sweeps and when Badon, who we though was playing, drives and kicks out to the open shot, so we were really focused on that because she had nineteen on us last game. This game Wicijowski went off a little bit, but it was a fun battle and they were both really good players."

Sophomore guard Afure Jemerigbe

On her recent hot shooting

"I think that when I got hurt I was a little bit slow coming back with my confidence, I battled with that, and Coach just told me to take it slowly and it will come, and they worked me in and I just come to practice every day and try to go hard and try to do the things that I usually do and try to penetrate more and get a feel for my ankle. In tonight's game I just tried to work hard on my defense first and let my offense come."


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